case studies, community, Online organizing

The Power of We: Blog Action Day 2012

8 Comments 15 October 2012

Today, more than 2,000 bloggers from over 200 countries are collectively writing about The Power of We for Blog Action Day, “a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet halfway around the world.” One of the reasons that I participate in Blog Action Day is because I believe strongly that blogs have a role in social change: by creating interest and motivating stakeholders, through offering resources and news, inspiring people to share and act, and as a marketplace for ideas and conversation. As a special “thank you’ to organizations engaging in The Power of We through social media, I’m giving away a copy of Beth Kanter and K.D. Paine’s new book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit (donated by Hubspot). Read through to the end of this blog post to find out how to win your copy of the book.

I’ve often talked about the role of social media in social change. Simply put, I believe that social media is a tool to help organizations connect to the people who could and do care about their causes, engage meaningfully, and create change together. From an organizational standpoint, it’s about utilizing the Social Media Funnel, a concept I first coined in 2008. From an individual standpoint, it’s about finding the organizations and causes that really speak to what you care about, engage in real conversation and transparency with you, listen thoughtfully to your opinions, and respect your contribution to the conversations and cause.

The Social Media Funnel

Over the past three years of blogging, I’ve featured many organizations and changemakers using social media’s “Power of We” to make a positive difference in the world. Here are just a few:

Leveraging the Power of We on Facebook to Make a Difference

 What Makes Lilly the Black Bear so Incredible?

The case study about how the North American Bear Center’s Lilly the Black Bear Facebook Page created an incredibly devoted fan community. In all my years of blogging, I have never received so many comments on a single blog post, especially by fans of the organization. Through The Power of We, the NABC is educating people about the role of black bears in North America, their value to society, and creating a devoted community dedicated to preserving these bears.

The Israeli organization NATAL effectively utilized of Facebook Groups to create a highly successful blood donor type awareness and registration campaign.


Fundraising With The Power of We

I’ve written a number of case study blog posts about how organizations can leverage social media communities to raise money. Some of them are testing social media, some are “born digital”and entirely raise money through social media, and some focus on those “free agent” fundraisers raising money for causes they believe in…and rallying their social media friends. Below are some of the organizations and fundraisers that I’ve featured, who are all leveraging social networks and channels to raise money through The Power of We.

March Madness Fundraiser at Campus Kitchens

For Japan With Love, free agent fundraising for Japan

To Mama with Love, an Epic Thanks fundraising event

Groupon Case Study: Jolkona’s Fundraising Experiment

Carter Gibson’s Google Plus Fundraising Story

 UNICEF UK’s Ami Musa Pinterest fundraising campaign


The Diabetes Hands Foundation runs a yearly online campaign called the Big Blue Test. For the past two years, they have motivated their 40,000+ online community to take the Big Blue Test, view a video, and leverage donations for people living with diabetes. I wrote about their highly successful 2011 campaign here. This year,  the Diabetes Hands Foundation’s goal is for 20,000 people to take the Big Blue Test by November 14, 2012.

The Friends of Multnomah County Libraries hired a consulting firm to create and run a campaign for “Yes on 26-125,” a bill to support reapproval of a ballot measure that would continue the financial support of the county’s libraries. They leveraged the Power of We by encouraging place-based local library check-ins and reviews, in one of the most unique social media advocacy campaigns I’ve run across.

The USA for UNHCR launched its Blue Key Campaign in 2011 to raise money for the organization and awareness about the issue of refugees in the USA. In this blog post, I interview Lauren Melling, the Online Marketing Manager at USA for UNHCR, about how the organization has used social media for its Blue Key Campaign and what it has learned about using social media. I also wanted to highlight how a traditional organization like USA for UNHCR might use social media to create community change.


Win a copy of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

Hubspot’s nonprofit marketing division has generously donated a copy of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit to give away. In the comment section below, leave a comment about how your organization is using social media to make a positive difference in the world. I am particularly interested in reading about social media campaigns that your organization has run (or will be running), or a social media campaign that you know about and want to share with others. Please include the URL of the organization mentioned within the comments. Within the next five days, I will randomly select a winner from among the commentators.

  • Debra – thank you so much for your support and for this awesome post!!  Wow!~ 


  • These stories of communities being brought together to create change never fail to give me the warm and fuzzies.

    On a more personal note, my organization, The Association of Junior Leagues International, ran a campaign earlier this year to fund local Junior League children’s hunger and nutrition programs. We put the call out using Facebook, Twitter, and our blog in the hopes of securing a $75K grant, the maximum possible, from Kashi. Our online community came through and we received the full $75K that in turn went to fund 29 local Junior League programs. The money will expand a variety of programs including some that provide children who are enrolled in the federal school lunch program with healthy, non-perishable food for the weekends and programs that bring age-appropriate nutrition education to under-funded schools.


    Debra Askanase Reply:

     Susan – wonderful story of leveraging a $75K grant, through the Power of We. Thanks for sharing!


  • Carolyn Edsell-Vetter

    Thank you for the timely post, Debra! I’m in the middle of writing our first social media proposal for the non-profit (to remain nameless!) of which I’m a board member. I’m reading a borrowed copy of Beth’s first book to help me along. On a recent (snail-mailed) board survey, I noted many of the problems that she describes in her hypothetical non-networked board – reporting rather than discussion, asking for money and volunteers from the same depleted pool, over dependence on events, reliance on print media/ communications. The good thing is that we aspire to at least walk, rather than crawl. We already have some good engagement on Facebook, including connections with partner and client organizations. We are redesigning the website to be less static, facilitate social sharing, and include calls to action. And we are planning to hire a staff person with blogging and social media as part of the job description. I look forward to sharing some of your case studies with my more hesitant colleagues!


  • Pingback: What PR Pros Can Learn From Social Good Campaigns()

  • Khalid Bhatti

    In these days in our country this topick that Bloger is doing right way or media man on TV is on right way.Please send me by mail the any suported meatarial about the support of Bloger.I  coated a qutiostiones that is in Panjabi langue that is its means’If  you distrub the honest person when he start in action nobody can fight with him.


  • Pingback: Social Media – for the good of the communityDigitLab | Social Media Marketing()

  • Pingback: Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. | What PR Pros Can Learn From Social Good Campaigns()


Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

Follow Debra

Subscribe via email




© 2020 Social Media Strategy for Mission-Driven Organizations.

Site by Arrow Root Media