Thursday, August 21, 2008

Positive Mobility

I know I've neglected posting throughout most of this month as I've been incredibly busy. I'm hoping things will pick up again here as the summer dies down.

In the meantime, I came across an interesting article by Jack Ewing that ran in BusinessWeek discussing recent data supporting the benefits of mobile phones in poor countries. Considering the projects discussed here throughout the months, especially those focusing on SMS technology, it's nice to see a report with actual evidence that this technology has had a positive effect throughout the world.

The data, issued by the GSM Association, reported the impact mobile phones have had on small businesses, the status of women and on farmers and fisherman among others.

You can read the BusinessWeek article here.

Ewing also provided an in-depth look at mobile phone technology in Africa last year. Although he provides the link in his article about the GSM Association report, I'll link to it here because it's really worth looking at.

Here's the report:

GSMA Development Fund Top 20

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Feeling the Vibe

While perusing through the latest non-profit news at work, I noticed a lot of buzz around a new social media platform known as SocialVibe. The idea behind this site is to allow users to select a cause, choose a sponsor and then post your badge to different networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace or your personal blog. The more active you are on SocialVibe and on social networking sites in general, the more points you can earn, which translates into monetary donations for your cause. Money is collected from the brand sponsors and everything from uploading pictures to your SocialVibe profile to inviting friends to join can help you earn points.

The concept builds on other sites such as Free Rice or the Hunger Site where the simple act of clicking a mouse can earn money or food to be donated to those in need. Just like SocialVibe these sites also depend on sponsors for their money, making it a win-win situation for all sides. Charities get more donations and further their impact, companies get their name attached to a good cause and people can become involved in an easy and inter-connected manner.

SocialVibe recently reached a milestone by raising $100,000 in donations for charity within six months of its public launch this past February. I'd say that's not too shabby and another testament to how non-profits can be strengthened through the use of social media.

My cause for now is Peace & Human Rights, as you'll be able to see from the widget posted on my sidebar. Perhaps I'll change it at some point to gain exposure for another cause, which leads me to one complaint about SocialVibe. You can only have one cause at a time. I'd like to earn points/money for a couple of different causes. This wasn't addressed in the site's FAQ but you can have up to two sponsors.

I guess I can't complain too much since, in the end, I'm trying to do my part.