Instant philanthropy

At the junction of the first generation who can actually end poverty and the last generation who can really combat climate change, pragmatism is sidelined for social media empowerment.

Periscope, twitter, Snapchat are among today’s tools, which eliminate bemoaning late night kitchen table conversations and waiting for government changes, yielding discernable differences with donations.

Ryan Bell (@ryan_a_bell), founder of @PeriscopeSummit, said via e-mail, “I’m working with Special Olympics now. In two days we’ve raised 2K. It’s an immediate ability to show vision.”

Viewed as a moral dilemma to do nothing and condemn other people, perhaps to extinction, social media hands the outcome to individuals willing to make cash and time investments beyond vegan burgers and solar panels.

New causes surface, established ones expand to Instagram, while Periscope feeds the do-it-yourself(ie) individuals. Social media is open, participatory and peer-driven power. The philanthropic approach to this new power is to channel rather than bank.

Chris Strub (@ChrisStrub) volunteered with 60 youth organizations during his 2015 travels to 50 states in 100 days, incorporating Periscope, Blab, Meercat, twitter, facebook and Snapchat along the way.

“What you see when you’re out in the field is a broad range in the audience. Working with the youth organizations I saw mostly teens to 20 year olds. The goal was to spread the word about the work and volunteer needs of the organizations; to open eyes to the vast opportunities. One of my favorites is Opportunity Village in Las Vegas (@OppVillageLV).”

Organizations with small staff benefit greatly from the conversations via social media, according to Strub.

“If you don’t have staff large enough to task one person solely with managing facebook or twitter account ownership, it’s flexible to allow a few people to rotate into the role and get good at it. … These channels give a smaller organization a voice to attract volunteers and become more widely known to Millennials, who are looking to make social change not just do good works.”

Sherri O’Connor (@ca_sherri), social media director for Periscope Summit, concurs, social media isn’t purely for resume building, though you may have to search a bit to find philanthropic ‘scopes aka Periscope broadcasts.

“Young people aren’t doing this just for show. Derek Cowan, (@EntrepreneurOAJ) a young Irishman, is building houses in Nepal. He brings living in Nepal into people’s livingrooms. He uses Periscope to gain funds though his account. He also purchases items in the market and offers them during online auctions.”

The increase in conversations about giving, how best to give more dollars … it’s all for the better and not fractalization of funds, Strub adds.

“Whether it’s a big organization with many outlets or an up and coming group, volunteers often learn about the groups through social media. They choose the group that means the most to them and they volunteer once and they are hooked. These become long-term passions.”

Many are stronger than one; and the reach of one has become longer.