By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
As we move forward, it’s critical we do better than the generation before us. It is the compassionate human spirit that will preserve nature’s beauty and mend our tattered social fabric. We have identified ways in which change agents–businesses, organizations, communities and individuals alike–can elevate their impact and advance the conversation within their respective communities. Here are five essential trends inspiring the next generation of social action:
1. Grass Roots
Type #cause #nonprofit into a Twitter search and you’re likely to get results ranging from Save the Seal Donation Fund to Coral Reef Preservation. Hashtags are an example of how cause-agents from around the world are organizing, connecting, sharing and discussing social cause issues on Twitter. Twestivals (Twitter + Festival) can create social impact by organizing change-agents for a cause-related event via Twitter. Through social networking, change-agents are advancing the conversation and organizing social initiatives. Facebook has thousands of groups dedicated to cause-related topics and organizations.
To inject meaning and relevance into your social cause, consider customization. How can your social followers personalize your cause? To help individuals reduce their carbon footprint, Climate Culture offers a simulation to let users generate the world they currently live in and find creative ways to lower their carbon emissions. Climate Culture relies mainly on its simulations to customize the users digital experience, but global, regional and local social cause organizations can use social media. Using Ning to create a social community within your web portal can spur user discussion and spark change. Profile pages can be useful for users to customize their passion points and claim their social individuality.
Blogging for a cause is one approach organizations and change-agents pursue to deliver updates and perspective. Change.org is a great resource for social cause blogging. Emily Gertz from Change.org’s Stop Global Warming blog introspectively ponders aid programs impact on people and the environment and other related topics. This honest examination makes the cause more transparent and spurs engaging conversation within cause-related communities. Another way transparency is impacting social cause is through a company called Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is an organization that evaluates nonprofits. If you’re curious about how your money is being spent, the nonprofit evaluator is a valuable resource. Charity Navigator is a part of a larger transparency trend, where each philanthropist has the tools to be their own Private Eye.
4. Tangible Impact
Visualizing progress is an important way to show you’re making an impact. Habitat for Humanity is an example of tangible impact. Building homes is very tangible. The value of Habitat’s efforts can be seen with every nail hammered and every hole drilled. Through the collaborative efforts of volunteers, Habitat has a very tangible cause.
5. Creative Expression
For some people, the stories of their lives can be told in the tattoos on their bodies. To Write Love on Her Arms began as an online community for those struggling with depression on the social networking giant, Myspace. Renee Yohe, TWLOHA’s founder, spread her message not only in her body art, but through out-reach discussions in digital communities and speaking engagements. Her cause has spurred many a legion of tattooed fans to find safety and comfort within TWLOHA’s online community. Renee’s creativity and empathy for those suffering from abuse and depression, is an example of innovation paired with compassion.
Image by ilker from Stock.Xchng