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#SocialGood Stars: @PlantAFish Founder Fabien Cousteau (@FCousteau) on Helping Our Oceans

17 Sep

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Social Good Stars: Plant a Fish Founder Fabien Cousteau on Helping Our Oceans

Posted: 09/02/2012 9:08 am

This is the twelfth installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the eleventh interview with Global Impact CEO Scott Jackson here.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
– Jacques Yves Cousteau

Fabien Cousteau was born with a passion for the ocean. His grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, was a prolific ocean documentarian and explorer (134 documentaries, 70 books), and an inquisitive conservationist who helped invent the aqualung, allowing modern SCUBA diving. Fabien spent many years on board the Calypso and Alycone with Jacques and his family, developing a love for the ocean, filming it, and helping its creatures. His father Jean-Michel and sister Celine are also avid explorers, and the three of them completed a three-year multi-hour series for PBS called Ocean Adventures in 2006. Fabien uses his environmental economics degree from Boston University to bring insight into striking balance between regional and global environmental issues and the realities of market economies. In 2010 he founded the nonprofit Plant A Fish to empower and educate local communities by replanting aquatic plants and animals.

Between traveling between France and New York City, Fabien spends a great deal of time on the oceans filming. He also speaks around the world about the Ocean and its ecosystems, and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Gayle King, and NBC’s Today Show. He is involved with the boards of SeaKeepers Society, Water Innovation Alliance, Millennium Project, and many others, and has spoken recently at TEDx and the 2012 UN Rio Earth Summit.

Here are some of his thoughts on saving the world, one fish at a time.

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Plant A Fish (PAF) is an active, hands-on outdoor education and restoration experience developed by Fabien Cousteau, third-generation ocean explorer, documentary filmmaker and environmental ambassador. Photo courtesy of PlantAFish.org

You’ve said, “The oceans are the circulatory system of life on this planet. Quite literally saving the oceans protects ourselves.” Can you expand on that?

Oceans make up 71% of the earth’s surface and 97.5% of all the water on earth. And around 70% of all food contains ingredients from the oceans, even down to the grain grown using fish meal that may be fed to animals, or the kelp in ice cream. Someone skiing on a mountain 1000 miles inland is skiing on snow from water in the oceans. It’s critical to protect this ecosystem since it impacts all facets of life.

Once you start to learn more about the ocean and all its incredible life forms, it’s nearly impossible to turn your back. That’s why Plant a Fish came about – to educate, empower, and help restore these amazing creatures and ecosystems in a hands-on, fun way.

Telling stories visually, through documentaries and photos, is a hallmark of yours. Why do you think that’s so impactful?

Although it would be ideal for everyone to be able to experience the wonder of the ocean scuba diving or on a scientific submarine, since that’s not practical, being a storyteller for the oceans is the next best thing. I started film making when I was 8 and love it. Visual elements are at the core of telling compelling stories, and telling stories is a great way to inspire people and evoke emotions.

This is useful for any organization, visual storytelling. And although the attention span increases with the quality, any tool is a great tool when used properly – even a casual video shot from a smartphone can capture the essence of an event in a way that shares it more fully with the audience. And photos can capture the beauty and emotions of particular moments so they’re recreated for others, and create a desire to help or learn more.

What are some ways individuals can help the ocean?

Of course we offer many programs, and ideas to start an effort in your area, at Plant a Fish. Another great resource is your local aquarium. They will have access to conservation groups, events, and activities you can join to get more personally involved. There are hands-on actitives like beach cleanups and local restoration projects that are an opportunity to have fun and learn as well as protect and restore.

Just as important are simple, day-to-day things, a different way of seeing. Stay curious. Respect nature. Get guidance when doing new activities outdoors. Look but don’t touch. Explore, learn, and share what you discover.

And things like recycling are invaluable, but often come a bit late in the process. Instead, think: Refuse to use, reduce, reuse, then recycle. Conservation and protection are far more helpful to the environment that fixing things after they’re broken.

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Fabien Cousteau was inspired to protect the oceans growing up on the decks of his famous Grandfather Jacques Cousteau’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone. Photo courtesy of FabienCousteau.org

You can learn more about how to get involved with the oceans at Plant a Fish, on Facebook, and @PlantAFish on Twitter.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Share the Joy: 12 Days of Giving – #12DaysOfGiving

12 Dec

This also appears on the Huffington Post.

“One person can make a difference, and every person should try.” ~ John F. Kennedy

‘Tis better to give than receive, as the old adage goes. And at no time of year do we feel this more keenly than the holidays! The spirit of giving is everywhere. People are a little kinder, a little more generous, and a little more willing to help a stranger.

All of these things led to the #12DaysofGiving, a 12-day bonanza of giving, sharing, and promoting social good from 12/13 to 12/24. Each day, amazing people and charities will be highlighted, with the goal to raise over $12,000 for the causes, as well to enlist the help of millions of passionate social media users globally to help spread awareness. The goal is not only to show support for these causes, but also to illustrate the power of social media for social good and the massive impact thousands of small, meaningful actions can help when used collectively.

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12 Outstanding Charities.
12 Inspiring Influencers.
12 Days of Giving…
One Amazing Project

How can you help? First, please share this on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, your Blog, and email. And if you can, please make a small (or huge!) donation on Crowdrise to any or all of the diverse group of incredible charities here.
You can follow @12DaysGiving, and learn more on the 12 Days of Giving site, GivingKicksAss.com or on Crowdrise.

Happy giving!

39 Inspiring Men and Their Passion for Charity

5 Dec

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2morrowknight/38-inspiring-men-and-thei_b_956168.html

39 Inspiring Men and Their Passion for Charity

Posted: 09/16/11 04:50 PM ET

  Charity ,   Inspiration ,   Twitter , Feel Good Stories , Giving , Nonprofits , Passion , Slidepollajax , Social Good , Impact News

This is the latest post in our series, TwitterPowerhouses, which focuses on the contributions of people who’ve helped to expand, influence, and redefine how we view social networking.

A life of kindness and gratitude is tremendously powerful. And when applied to the charitable efforts making the world a better place, the results are often extraordinary. From across diverse backgrounds and all ends of the globe, these gentlemen exemplify a global view of sharing and helping others in their daily lives, and through the amazing networked nonprofits they support. They all embody the spirit of Booker T. Washington’s famous words: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

Reluctant to talk about themselves, they deftly shift conversations from themselves to other people, or to one of their many projects. They are dreamers and visionaries. They like to imagine vibrant communities bursting with culture — music, art, history, theater, film — and full of people realizing their potential. But they’re not only dreamers, they want people to be a part of their dreams.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz, leader of Social Innovation at Twitter Inc., and author of the book Twitter for Good, is brilliant in the international community of philanthropy and is someone all three writers on this post respect. Her ideas, and Twitter, have led countless people toward social good. The Networked Nonprofits we support – 2morrowknight with SeeYourImpact, Amy with United Way, and Yasamin with The 1010Project – are impacted by her work. And by Twitter. As are all of the men highlighted here. In fact, if it weren’t for Twitter, we may not have had the honor of talking with all of them and sharing their insights.

In a world that will soon have 7 billion people, these men understand how important it is to engage non-profits that help raise our standard of living, expand our worldview, and give us hope for the future. Indeed, together, we thrive!

Authors’ Note: In case you missed it, here’s Part 20 of the series: The Social Media Vision of Jessica Northey.

Click here for the original article SlideShow!

Social Good Stars – Beth Kanter (@kanter)

19 Nov

This post originally appears in the Huffington Post in my new series for Impact, “Social Good Stars.”  Thank you to the amazing Beth Kanter!

Writer, speaker and social media consultant for nonprofits and businesses
Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Social Good Stars: Beth Kanter

Posted: 11/18/11 12:43 PM ET

This is the first in a new Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton

Some people stand out as an example of a person who is indeed the bright candle, from whom others can help spread light. Beth Kanter, well-known in nonprofit and social media circles alike, is one of those people. She has been named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.” She is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits, and the book, “The Networked Nonprofit” with Allison Fine. She is also co-founder of Zoetica Media. Most importantly, Beth spends a lot of time listening to others, curating key information, and sharing it so other people can also be Social Good Stars.

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Beth Kanter in Kenya with a winner of her book.

With 32 years in nonprofit social good, Beth is the perfect person to answer some pressing questions about current and future trends. Our interview is below.

You famously co- authored the book, “The Networked Nonprofit” with Allison Fine, and have worked with social good luminaries such as Claire Diaz-Ortiz of Twitter and Randi Zuckerberg of Facebook.  With such legendary background knowledge, can you reveal any social-media-for-social-good trends you see?

What’s top of mind at this moment is this stat:  In 2020, 40% of the world population will have grown up knowing nothing but the Internet and social networks.  Think about that. I’m a baby boomer and my first job was with the Boston Symphony in late 70’s, early 80’s.  I was in development and wanted to see examples of membership or annual fund brochures from other symphonies.  So, I wrote letters to about 20 of them, asking for a copy.  It took a month, but I then had a great collection of ideas — which was good because the annual conference when we could exchange that sort of stuff was six months away.  Now, we can learn in real time from our peers. Think how fast ideas are shared and copied from nonprofit to nonprofit.  I also watched my son last night do his homework.  He is 12.  He had to do a PowerPoint on Portugal.   He had a PowerPoint document uploaded into Google, was collaborating on it with two friends, and they were talking to each other on Skype. Our world is changing before our eyes and organizations really need to think about what this means for their work.  I think about the younger people in nonprofits — and those like free agents outside, and how important it is for nonprofit leaders to empower younger, millenials on staff and outside their walls.

Who is a personal  hero/ine in the social good space?  What makes them unique?

This is such a hard question — I have so many heroes/heroines.  But, I will name one.  Kristin Row-Finkbeiner the co-founder of Momsrising. “Where Moms and people who love them go to change our world.” They are such a fantastic example of working in this agile and transparent way and leveraging social media for on the ground social change.

 How important is “networking” to you in social media (and IRL)?  Has social media made it faster, slower, more or less relevant?

Definitely faster. I’ve always been a networker, before the tools — that is seeking people out, introducing people, and learning from the network/community.  The challenge when you add online tools is that you can connect to so many more people that you run the risk of having shallow relationships.  I have a lot of connections or friends, and I often feel that I don’t get a chance to just to chat and get to know people in a deeper way. These days I get a lot of requests for a lot of things. I find that introducing people to other people where there is a mutual need or potential for reciprocity is a good thing.

 What’s the “killer app” of social media right now?

Tools come and ago — and they change faster than humans.  Right now the killer app or type of app is content curation.  Less about the tools, more about the process.  I’m really excited about the whole concept of people whose job it is to make sense of information on the web. They used to be called journalists — but we have so much information available to us now that the sorting and making sense of it is a job in and of itself. This primer on content curation talks about why.

Do you have a favorite “social media success story” for this this year?

Yes, grist.org. They use a unique combination of entertaining content and environmental reporting, dubbed the “The Daily Show of the environmental movement.”  They have inspired a whole new generation of environmentalists who don’t take themselves so seriously while creating on-the-ground change.

What personal projects and charities do you love & support?

My main charity is the Sharing Foundation which helps kids in Cambodia.  My two kids were adopted from that country – and supporting the organizations is a way to give back.

I’m also on the board of Ushahidi , a non-profit tech company that develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. I support a number of other organizations in small ways.

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Beth Kanter

You can learn more about Beth at BethKanter.org and follow her on Twitter @kanter.

Amy Neumann is a writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her CharityIdeasBlog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.


Social Media for Social Good

24 Oct

Thank you to Arizona State University for having me as a featured workshop presenter at your 19th annual Sustainability Conference!  Held at ASU Lodestar’s Dessert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix, Arizona, October 14, 2011, it featured some of the most brilliant minds on Collective Impact.  This year’s theme was “‘Go fast, go alone; go far, go together’: Collective Impact.”  Nearly 250 nonprofit leaders, community partners, students and professionals from across all sectors – business, government, general public, and nonprofit participated.

In the 90-minute Workshop, we covered a multitude of reasons why social media works so well for social good, and got many brilliant questions.  Although we can’t recreate the full session, the entire Keynote presentation can be downloaded for free  HERE.

[And I’m always reachable on amy@amyneumann.com. ]

Warren Buffett himself has quoted the wise ancient Chinese proverb — “To go fast, go alone; to go far, go together.” And it’s eloquently perfect for social media.

To put it another equally eloquent way, when thinking of social media:

“Luck is quite predictable.  If you want more luck, take more chances.  Be more active.  Show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy

Essentially, that’s what social media is.  Conversations between people interested in the same things, in places convenient to them, when it’s handy.  If you’re in all the right places, at all the right times, with all the right messages, everyone will happily work together, almost instinctually.  That’s the message.  And that’s what I believe is the theme of social media, for Collective Impact, and for Social Good.

Why I Love QR Codes – Amy Neumann

2 Oct

Scan Amy Neumann's QR code for more!

Simply put, I love QR Codes because they make getting key information directly into someone’s hands easier and faster.

QR Codes, short for “Quick Response”, are these funky boxes (left) that when scanned link to more information online. [ I like using @daqri because of the number and types of links you can embed behind it.  It’s in private beta, and here’s their site, where you can request an invite:  daqri.com.]

This one shown is my personal QR Code, which I have on my business cards, sites, blogs, and pretty much everywhere.  If you download the free daqri app you can see the 8 links behind it (which can include PDFs, sites, maps, video, link to call directly, and more.)

These are brilliant to use for nonprofit events, where you can add directions and maps, info like an auction catalog, a way to purchase tickets and make donations via mobile like give.mobi, links to sites, direct click-to-call, and more in one spot.  You can upload videos of prior events and post pictures and videos of the event real-time.

Here are a couple great examples of using QR Codes:

What are your thoughts on QR Codes?

Twitter’s Claire Diaz-Ortiz @ClaireD: HOW TO Use Twitter for Good!

26 Sep

Twitter’s Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@ClaireD): HOW TO Use Twitter for Good!

“How can *I* use Twitter for Good?”

As a consultant to nonprofits and business about social media strategy, Twitter is without a doubt what garners the most curiosity and questions.  Having heard countless uplifting tales of how it can help people in disasters, break fundraising records, and create global awareness, people everywhere want to know: 

What’s the secret to Twitter?

 “Be a Force for Good.”
                    ~ Twitter’s operating principle

Claire Diaz-Ortiz, aka @ClaireD, Twitter’s Philanthropy & Social Good Expert.

Luckily, the day has arrived that Twitter’s own philanthropy and social good leader, Claire Diaz-Ortiz (pictured), has written the book on just that: the definitive How-To guide, “Twitter for Good”.  From co-founding a nonprofit for AIDS orphans (Hope Runs) in Kenya and using Twitter there in 2007, to helping the world’s largest nonprofits and socially responsible companies, Claire has seen amazing uses of Twitter and shares some best practices in her book.

Claire became impressed with Twitter impact for good while using it in 2007 in Kenya, running her nonprofit Hope Runs.

Having been inspired by Claire’s discussion of her T.W.E.E.T. model as panelists together at Dell’s Social Innovation Competition earlier this year, I asked her how we can all “Be a Force for Good.”

  • What do you consider most important for organizations who want to use Twitter for Good effectively?

“First, developing a strategy is the answer to ‘What am I doing on Twitter?’  I create the 5-Step framework called T.W.E.E.T. to help with that and for using Twitter:  Target, Write, Engage, Explore, Track.  It works because it’s simple.”

  • What are a few examples of nonprofits really leveraging the relationships from Twitter to impact awareness and fundraising or other key goals?

Pepsi Refresh showed what it means to pique the interest of the Twitter audience, and draw them to a site to learn more and take action.  Pepsi took $20 million, and later included another $1.3 million for the Gulf, and used Twitter to help local causes be broadcast across the nation and beyond to win grants to help their communities by voting.

Mark Horvath, well-known as @hardlynormal on Twitter and founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, is another brilliant example.  He travels the US and Canada interviewing our homeless friends on video and gives them a voice, a voice everyone can now hear because of the reach of Twitter.”

  • Twitter does numerous internal philanthropy projects, including your pro-bono Tweets for Good program.  Can you talk about that?

“Within our advertising platform, we offer pro-bono programs for non-profits already engaged on Twitter.  Promoted Tweets are a tool advertisers use to promote specific campaigns via Tweets on Twitter. The Promoted Tweets for Good programs is an application-based pro-bono program serving a number of non-profit organizations each year. We offer a second type of Promoted Tweets for Good ad hoc to organizations involved in disaster relief in times of crisis or civil unrest.”

        “People are basically good…When you give them a simple tool that helps them exhibit that behavior, they will prove it to you every day.”
                ~ Biz Stone

For more information on Claire’s book, and many more ideas, below is an informative trailer for “Twitter for Good”, which highlights additional tips and case studies.  More about programs mentioned can also be found at http://Hope140.org and http://Twitter4Good.com

The Video Trailer for the “Twitter for Good” book

I received an advance copy of “Twitter for Good” and found it incredibly helpful for both nonprofits and business, and for individuals too. ~ Amy  [Follow me on Twitter @CharityIdeas]


Claire's book, "Twitter for Good"

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