Not Your Average Bake Sale: Change the World with Creative Social Good Campaigns

It’s no secret that we are a generation with the potential to change the world. Although all of the sessions at the third Find and Follow Your Passion conference this past Saturday were full of inspiration, Not Your Average Bake Sale was one of my favorites. As a young creative I have dedicated my time and skills to make a difference through volunteer work with She’s the First, a non-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world. I enjoyed hearing the stories of how Catchafire, DoSomething and Change.org are making the world a better place one creative social good campaign at a time.

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Whether you work for, volunteer with, or have a passion for founding a non-profit or social good campaign of your own, the ways in which these organizations are embracing the power of the web will inspire unique ideas about how you can make a difference.

Match Professional Skills with a Cause
95% of non-profits need access to talent but don’t know where to find it. Adrienne Schmoeker, Talent Solutions Lead at Catchafire, helps to solve the problem by connecting skilled volunteers with NGO’s, which in turn contributes to fixing the nation’s 26% volunteer dropout rate. She worked on the campaign that launched Catchafire’s presence in Durham, North Carolina. The expansion involved a class of 20 Founding Members including organizations such as Meals on Wheels- Durham, Ronald McDonald and Habitat for Humanity. A group of pro-bono leaders in the area were then selected to commit to social projects. In total, the expansion helped save $150,000. Interested in using your talents to give back? Apply for a project. Most require just a year of experience and can be completed virtually.

Use Passion, Time and Creativity to ‘Do Something’
93% of teens say they want to change the world, but only 22% do. Muneer Panjwani, Business Development Manager at DoSomething.org, shared a few of the many unique campaigns which are aimed at 13-25 year olds and help create a real impact in ways that never require money, an adult, or a car. Instead, SMS is key, and there’s a simple measurable call of action: celebrities we love join in to champion the causes they care about most, and each campaign gets a co-branded microsite on DoSomething.org.

One example is “Teens 4 Jeans”, a national jeans drive to benefit teens in homeless shelters across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Then there’s “Thumb Wars”, a campaign in which thumb socks were a reminder for teens not to text while driving. My favorite was “Pics For Pets,” a phone app that successfully used the power of share ability to help shelter animals get adopted. 1,100+ photos were taken of animals in shelters across the U.S. , collectively resulting in 75,000 shares on Facebook, 159+ animals being adopted and 300 million + media impressions.

DoSomething’s innovative approach to social good has resulted in 93,000+ mobile subscribers and made them the largest charity on Twitter. Even with the busy schedules we juggle on a daily basis as students and young professionals, we can all find the time to join a campaign and make a small difference with our clicks, tweets and text messages.

Start a petition to change anything
Change.org is a platform that has revolutionized the way we can create the change we want to see. Katy Spencer, Director of Business Development for the world’s largest online petition platform, says the power is not that you signed the campaign, but that you shared it with all of your friends afterwards. The secret sauce for success is to be dramatic, inspiring, relevant, and to have the petition addressed to the right target.

There are many examples of ordinary people using the platform to create change. Inspired by a good friend, Dena Patrick started a petition to President Obama shortly after Hurricane Sandy that supported giving federal health care benefits to the FEMA first responders. Within weeks, the petition had accumulated over 112,000 signatures, and the campaign was a victory. Another petition helped a little girl continue to play football, a sport she loved and had been playing since she was 5 years old. After the Archdiocese of Philadelphia decided to enforce old rules that said girls could not participate in the sport, her mother started a campaign that resulted in the ban being reversed. Want to gather people around a cause you care about? Start your own petition.

If you find passion in creating social change check out some key advice for following it.

What creative social good campaigns inspire you? Share them below in the comments.

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