can unlock greater potential for nonprofits
By FRANK BARRY
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
20, 2010 - Can social media help nonprofits raise more money and
engage their constituents? I've certainly been asked that question
numerous times and I suspect I'll be asked for years to come as
social media usage continues to increase at a staggering rate --
it accounts for 23 percent of time spent
on the Web.
nonprofits are seeing tangible fundraising results:
raised more than $135,000 in a few days for LIVESTRONG and World
Bicycle Relief using Twitter, blogging and Friends asking Friends.
a 48-hour event where Stacey Monk and Epic Change encouraged participants
to express their gratitude using social media, raised more than
$10,000 in year one and more than $22,000 in year two.
the largest global grassroots social media fundraising initiative
to date, has raised more than $1.2 million within 14 months for
137 nonprofits. (Charleston's own Twestival contributed to that
it's about more than raising money. After all, fundraising is just
part of the supporter journey. Social media offers nonprofits an
unparalleled way to engage their constituents online in a highly
personalized one-to-one manner.
did the web get social?
all the current talk about "social media," you might assume
that the Web's core technology recently changed. But really (and
of course), the Internet was conceived as a social medium. Email,
the origination point for social computing, got started 39 years
groups and file sharing started 31 years ago as USENET. "Talk,"
a real-time chat program like Yahoo! Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger,
arrived on the scene 27 years ago. And the now-venerable World Wide
Web made its debut a full two decades in the past.
with these beginnings, why was the first Wikipedia entry for "social
media" not created until 2005? To see why this might be so,
consider these two recent developments:
Internet's ability to move and store large volumes of data has
quintupled in the last decade.
majority of people in the U.S. now have a high-speed connection
to the Internet in their homes.
two trends have created the technical and social environment needed
for the original vision of the Internet as social medium to "go
mainstream." And that's what's different: The Internet no longer
could be social; now it actively is social!
supporters and future supporters are out there, sharing photos,
making connections and telling stories:
than 3 billion email accounts
than 500 million Facebook users
billion photos on Facebook & Flickr alone
than 190 million visits per month on Twitter
as a nonprofit, where do you start? Luckily, social media is based
around providing social capital (it's not just about what you ate
for lunch anymore). That said, there are some great resources (locally
and on the Web) to help nonprofits get started:
Barry is manager of professional services at Blackbaud
and blogger at NetWits ThinkTank and Mashable.
efficiency to political efficiency
By ANDY BRACK, publisher
20, 2010 Hats
off to the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina for visionary
thinking in crafting a new way for rural families, farmers and small
businesses to get loans to make their homes more energy efficient
and then use the money from energy savings to pay back loans.
innovative Rural Star idea, which passed 240-172 by
the U.S. House, would allow 1.6 million consumers across the country
to make their homes or facilities more energy efficient. The smart
thing about the loan program is that after folks pay back their
$3,000 to $7,500 loans over 10 years, theyll still have lower
energy bills, thanks to the upgrades.
South Carolina, up to 225,000 consumers would qualify for the innovative
loan program. More than 2,000 jobs in the state likely would be
created. And best of all the energy saved is the equivalent
of what is generated by a new 500 megawatt power plant.
lets just hope the measure will pass the U.S. Senate.
* * * *
of the biggest wastes of time in politics is all of the party organizing
done at the precinct level.
spend hour upon hour fiddling with lists and trying to get precinct-level
leaders to spark neighborhood conversations and canvass for votes.
the age of the Internet, couch potatoes and iPhones, this kind of
politicking is old-fashioned and no longer pertinent. People spend
little time on front porches or at clothes lines talking to neighbors
as they walk by. Its unfortunate, but most people at home
keep to themselves these days.
instead of fiddling with political precinct organization once every
two years, parties ought to concentrate more on building their organizations
through town meetings, e-mail outreach, Internet sites and social
media tactics that actually energize and involve people in the political
voters standing in line to cast their ballots. (2008 photo
by Andy Brack.)
the precinct political organizing system would force parties to
organize more based on peoples common interests at
community events, bars, workout facilities, football games and whatnot
instead of relying simply on geography.
use of political precincts, however, cant be abandoned completely
because some sort of geographical base is needed to help split people
into manageable districts for candidates. In other words, there
has to be some sort of system which allows candidates to run for
office based on population figures from the U.S. Census.
just because candidates might be geographically based over a city
council district or multi-county Statehouse district, that doesnt
mean political parties need out-of-date neighborhood precinct-level
organization to be successful. In fact, in an age where technology
provides an easy phone-in method for television viewers to vote
for contestants on American Idol, theres no reason that voters
need to actually vote in one assigned precinct.
if the state allowed voters to cast ballots in any voting location
they desired? All that a voter would have to do is show his or her
drivers license or a state photo identification card. (Voters
currently have to show that form of picture I.D. or a non-photo
state voter card to vote. ) Once an election worker checked
a photo I.D. and the voter cast a ballot, technology would keep
that voter from voting again.
the long run, wouldnt such a non-precinct based system of
voting centers at schools all over the state be more convenient
and encourage more people to participate? (The state currently has
about 1,800 precincts and 1,200 public schools.) More than likely,
most people would vote at or near where they now vote. But having
more convenient voting places, particularly for people who commute
to work, could reshape voting in new ways.
to that ways to increase electoral participation through early voting
by mail, same-day registration and voting options, and more. There
are a lot of ways to reinvigorate voting while not relying on outdated
Brack, publisher of Charleston Currents, first published this commentary
in StatehouseReport.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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action for S.C. schools
one of the state's technology leaders, has been quite busy focusing
on fuel cells, lasers and other critical efforts. What is not so
obvious is that SCRA team members also have been quietly working
in another area that they consider just as important- - community
Orren, an SCRA senior program manager, spends his lunch hour gathering
boxes and supplies and reaching out to coworkers - after all, it's
that time of year again. For many children, the beginning of a new
school year presents a challenge with limited resources for paper,
pencils, new clothes and notebooks. That's where Dale and SCRA associates
decided to take action.
at SCRA locations across the state completed a "Flash Drive"
to provide school supplies for those in need.
with a member of the Teachers' Supply Closet staff.
the year we identify worthwhile programs to support, and ask employees
to bring donations of appropriate items," Orren says. "We
then deliver these donations to the selected programs, with no prior
notice, providing the much-needed contributions ... We have such
a caring, generous team across SCRA that once we get going, it takes
care of itself. "
recipients of the recent school supply Flash Drive included The
Teachers' Supply Closet in Charleston, Connie Maxwell Children's
Home in Greenwood, Sistercare Inc. in Columbia, and School District
#5 in Anderson.
Teachers' Supply Closet is a non-profit organization that provides
free school supplies to teachers in the Charleston tri-county area
who work at schools that have at least 90 percent of their students
on free or reduced price meal programs. The organization accepts
donations of new and gently used office, school and art supplies,
excess inventory, slightly damaged merchandise and outdated tradeshow
products. In 2009, The Teachers' Supply Closet provided basic school
supplies to nearly 5,000 children across the three counties.
is not the first Flash Drive conducted by SCRA employees. Past drives
include care packages for military personnel overseas, canned goods
for the local food bank, clothing, toys, and items for animal shelters.
Orren and the SCRA team soon will be busy again.
really enjoy doing these Flash Drives, as it provides the best possible
reward -- a bright smile and a heartfelt thank-you from those we
help," Orren says.
Food Charleston "digs in" on national volunteer day
Dozens of local volunteers and members of Slow
Food Charleston are coming together on Saturday, Sept. 25, for
Slow Food USA's first "Dig In," a nationwide effort to
make our communities better by planting gardens, improving school
grounds, organizing community classes and hosting pop-up farmer's
Food members plan to "Dig In" at the Murray-LaSaine Elementary
School children's garden by building raised beds, painting and working
on other small carpentry projects. Murray-LaSaine, located at 691
Riverland Drive in Charleston, is one of the Charleston Area Children's
Garden Projects, a partner of Slow Food Charleston. Children and
adult volunteers are welcome to join the project from 10 a.m. to
12 p.m. Following the hard work, volunteers will celebrate over
a picnic potluck lunch, where everyone is encouraged to share a
To sign up to volunteer at "Dig In," e-mail
Virginia Carlsten. For more information about the upcoming "Dig
In" or to learn more about Slow Food Charleston, call 843-225-4307
or e-mail this address.
energy efficiency program wins national recognition
South Carolina program to promote energy efficiency recently was
commended by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Washington, D.C.-based American
Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy gave awards for exceptional
state-led energy efficiency programs. Eighteen programs from 14
states were recognized.
Carolina won an honorable mention for its program that encourages
the purchase of energy efficient manufactured homes by capping sales
taxes at $300 if they meet or exceed energy efficiency standards
specified in state law.
new manufactured homes that meet state-designated energy efficiency
levels, the South Carolina Energy Office distributes energy efficiency
labels to dealers. The SCEO distributed 47,000 energy efficiency
labels since 1998. Over $9 million is saved annually by homeowners
with energy efficient homes in comparison with homes not built to
energy efficiency standards.
Young Professionals seek mentors
Charleston Young Professionals, an initiative of the Charleston
Metro Chamber of Commerce, is looking for experienced business professionals
to be mentors in its fifth mentor program beginning in January 2011.
mentor program has been a great success helping to foster meaningful
relationships between members of Charleston Young Professionals
and business leaders in the region. This year-long program gives
mentees the opportunity to learn from business leaders and gain
support and guidance, while offering mentors an opportunity to strengthen
ties with the young professional community. Mentors will be paired
with young professionals who have similar professional interests
and can gain a fresh perspective and additional experience as an
advisor, supporter, tutor and coach.
commitment of a mentor requires meeting once a month with their
mentee or at Charleston Young Professionals events. To apply to
be a mentor, go
online. The deadline is Sept. 30.
Young Professionals was launched in 2006 by the Charleston Metro
Chamber of Commerce to empower and engage emerging talent in the
If you have a review or recommendation of a book, movie, restaurant
or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to
editor Marsha Guerard.
Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
is tough for loggerhead babies
loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), a threatened species,
was named the state reptile in an act signed by Governor Carroll
Campbell on June 1,
1988. Recognizing the loggerhead as "an important part of the
marine ecosystem" and that South Carolina's coastline provides
"some of the most pristine nesting areas" for the turtle
on the East Coast, the General Assembly declared that the state's
responsibility is "to preserve and
protect our wildlife and natural resources."
loggerhead is one of the world's eight living species of sea turtles
and evolved some sixty-five million to seventy million years ago.
At birth, hatchlings are about two inches long. Adults can weigh
from 200 to 350 pounds, and their carapace, or upper shell, measures
from thirty-three to forty inches in length. The animal is yellow
and reddish brown and has a distinctive large head - the source
of its name - with powerful jaws enabling it to crush clams, crustaceans,
and other food. Its great size and hard shell protect the adult
turtle from most predators.
loggerheads in the western Atlantic range from Newfoundland to Argentina,
but they nest in the temperate zones. Breeding occurs in the ocean,
and females lay their eggs between May and September. South Carolina
beaches are favorite nesting grounds. The female comes ashore at
night, lays from eighty to two hundred eggs in her nest, then returns
to sea. Eggs and hatchlings are prey to many predators, from ants
and crabs to dogs, raccoons, birds, and fish in the sea. Hatchlings
must head directly to the ocean, and it is estimated that only one
in ten thousand loggerhead eggs makes it to maturity. Dangers to
the baby turtles include artificial lights on land, for they may
head toward those, instead of seaward, and fall victim to predators.
It is believed that it requires twelve to thirty years for loggerheads
to reach maturity.
loggerheads are imperiled by collisions with boats and, especially,
by being trapped in commercial fishing and shrimping trawl nets,
in which they drown if they cannot escape. South Carolinians have
been active in working to protect nests and hatchlings, and communities
have enacted restrictions on coastal lighting during nesting season.
State legislation requires turtle excluder devices (TEDs) on trawl
nets in order to protect the species.
Excerpted from the entry by David C. R. Heisser. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
of the Charleston Parks Conservancy gives tips on fall gardening
to a group of people Saturday in Mount Pleasant. (Photo by
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at the Gibbes
does an art curator develop favorites among her "children?"
Pam Wall, curator of exhibitions at the Gibbes Museum of Art, says,
"It is tough to pick five favorites from a collection of 10,000
objects, but here are a few works of art that resonate with me."
Robert Gilmor, Jr., by Thomas Sully, 1823.
"Quite simply, this is a beautiful portrait. Thomas Sully
is one of the best, and the combination of Mrs. Gilmor's delicate
features and exotic dress make for quite an arresting image of
this Charleston beauty."
in the Broom Grass, An Autumn Evening, from the series A Carolina
Rice Plantation of the Fifties, by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith,
"Alice Smith is a master of the watercolor medium - the delicacy
of her washes and the vibrancy of her color are truly amazing.
Her paintings capture the beauty of the Lowcountry landscape and
remind us why we are so lucky to call Charleston home."
Sand, Sea, by William Halsey, ca. 1959.
"Halsey is such an important figure in the art of Charleston
and I love his abstract paintings. With this particular painting
he incorporated sand into the surface, giving the painting a wonderful
Wrightsville Beach, by Minnie Evans, 1968.
"Minnie Evans is a self-taught artist and I love the color
and pattern of this painting. Her paintings offer an escape into
a fantasy world full of dreamlike imagery."
Remembered, by Leo Twiggs, 1997.
"To me, this is one of the most personal and heartfelt works
of art in the Gibbes collection. The batik depicts the artist's
great grandmother, Sarah. Though he never met her, Twiggs pieced
together family stories to create this moving tribute to Sarah
as a young girl."
"Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third
- - Truman
THIS WEEK |
on negotiations: 6 p.m., Sept. 20, Embassy Suites, 5055
International Blvd., North Charleston. Jane Perdue, principal/CEO,
The Braithewaite Group, speaks on "Negotiation: In Life and
In Business" at the Jessamine Chapter of the American Business
Women's Association meeting. Non-members are welcome and dinner
will be served. $18. Reservations requested, contact Donna Vellon
at (843) 486-3966 or go
Digital Filmmaking for Adults: 6:30 p.m., Sept. 20,
The Meeting Place, 1077 East Montague Avenue, North Charleston.
This six-class course meets on Mondays and Wednesdays and focuses
on understanding professional techniques for making short films
and documentaries, as well as new ways to self-distribute as an
independent filmmaker. Using real-world production techniques, this
course is designed to support the beginner and the emerging digital
filmmaker. Participants will receive hands-on training in camera,
composition, lighting, audio, and editing. This is an excellent
opportunity for the home-schooled, K-12 teachers and librarians,
and is suitable for ages 16 to adult. Fee: $65. Go
online to register.
Film festival: 7 p.m., Sept. 25, Olde North Charleston
Picture House, 4820 Jenkins Ave. A national nonprofit organization
called "Lights. Camera. Help." is sponsoring a festival
to celebrate cause-driven films in partnership with The Greater
Park Circle Film Society. Nationally recognized and local films
will be presented. Tickets
are available online and at the event for a $10 donation.
Mile Weekend: Sept. 25-26. Visit five museums, seven historic
buildings and one powder magazine all for $20. This single Museum
Mile Weekend pass gives you admission at 13 sites along Meeting
Street. Many of the cultural institutions will also offer special
programs during Museum Mile Weekend. Order
online, call 722-2996 ext. 235, or buy in person at any official
Charleston Area Visitor Center location. $20/adult, $10/child 12
ONGOING AND SOON
reform talk: 4:30 p.m., Sept. 29, The College Center
at the Complex for Economic Development at Trident Technical College,
7000 Rivers Ave., Building 920. The Education Foundation and area
chambers of commerce present Mike Fanning, executive director of
the Olde English Consortium. Fanning will speak on South Carolina's
tax system and the need for comprehensive tax reform to improve
funding for public education, health and human services, public
safety, roads and infrastructure and higher education. Free. More
Cowboy Couture Gala: Sept 30, Memminger Auditorium.
This gala features bolo ties, 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots to
benefit the Hemangioma
Treatment Foundation. After filling up on grub from Iverson
Catering, hit the dance floor to bluegrass favorites by the Carolina
Chocolate Drops and funk and soul ensemble The MAXX. A live auction
has fantastic items in store. Tickets are $150 and can be ordered
by phone (843) 647-8662 or online.
and paint: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Oct. 26, The Meeting
Place, 1077 East Montague Ave., North Charleston. An adult workshop
featuring Poetry and Paint taught by Mary Harris and Karole Turner
Campbell. Participants will be inspired to combine poetry and paint
in a unique experience that combines two art forms. Materials are
provided. Fee: $5. Registration begins one month ahead and ends
two days prior to class.
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Fine Art Annual
220 years of service
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House in order
Lowcountry Loc 1st
away some pecans
film on Jews, baseball
into the Lowcountry
Class of '14
to do on 4th
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the Pump, more
to do locally
"new era" for SC
isn't dirty word
Dave the Potter
pix make impact
LUCASH: BUSINESS INDIGO
Kucha 7 coming
After 5 hits Chas
fair, CED venture
on working with Boeing
library text questions
GARVAN: CHARLESTON GREEN
can be tied to ideals
Tech green grant
for going back to school
to rid roadblocks
for keeping warm
for your face
on long-term care
on childhood obesity
on breast cancer
at the Gibbes
local dog romps
+ Food fest