#NGOs + Gov. + Businesses = #Collaborative; #2030NOW #SocialGood Summit

 

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[photo by Mashable]

The theme of this year’s Social Good Summit (SGS) is:

Big Ideas + New Media = Innovative Solutions; #2030NOW.

Why #2030NOW and not #2013? SGS is calling for long-term thinking about ways that new media and technology can be used to solve the world’s leading challenges. The idea is that long-term thinking will lead to long-term solutions that have a positive impact on future generations and ultimately make the world a better place.

SGS is organized by some of the worlds leading organizations in international affairs, philanthropy, technology, and social good: the United Nations Foundation, 92Y, Mashable, Ericsson, UNDP, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This event is not only an opportunity to unite people that are passionate about the digital social space, technology, and sharing information; SGS turns global leaders into global listeners, and it encourages important dialogue that we as a global community can take and translate into action.

578503_10151745210219457_2029167989_n[photo by Public Interest Registry]

The SGS is taking place at 92Y in NYC during UN week; however, +SocialGood and the United Nations Development Programme have worked to spread the SGS to over 120 countries through Meetups and Livestreams, where people all over the world have been able to tune into the one of the largest and most vital conversations happening on Earth.

The map below shows the distribution of Meetups that have taken place internationally in conjunction with the SGS:

social-good-summit-meetups[photo by Mashable]

The past three days have (without a doubt) been extremely rich in content, covering global issues, discussing existing and emerging technology that could be used to transform the condition of today’s world for the better by 2030. Here are a few soundbytes:

  • We need to think higher, feel deeper, and make sure that those who are not connected gain access to new ideas, technology and opportunities.
  • “It is a hope that someday 7 year old girls will say, “Mama, I hear people used to be poor in Africa. What was that like?” – Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary-General & Executive Director of UN Women
  • “The cost of inaction is starting to outweigh the cost of action.” – Paul Polman, Unilever
  • “Think about how to engage the unengaged by telling them real stories that make them want to change their own behavior.” – Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children
  • All human beings have equal and inherent value; we are a global community.
  • “It’s not enough to connect. We have to connect on behalf of change for everyone.” – Melinda Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Change thoughts in order to change feelings; change feelings in order to change behavior.
  • Impact investing; use your entrepreneurial spirit to address social challenges.
  • “You shouldn’t be able to report about Syria without reporting how we can help Syria.” – David Darg, RYOT
  • Volunteering allows people to contribute their own talents to a given cause or mission.
  • Strangulation of regulation; we need to tailor policies to actually fit the needs of people. We can’t provide a solution if we don’t know the root of the problem.
  • “Without peace, there’s no development. Without development, there’s no peace.” – Jan Eliasson, Deputy Security General of the United Nations
  • If we define the future today, we declare our responsibility to take action toward making that future a reality.

The speakers and panels at this year’s SGS have been incredibly insightful and inspirational. Of all the sessions that have taken place thus far, one topic of discussion seemingly continued to surface and it really resonated with Public Interest Registry and our own initiatives. A number of speakers over the past 3 days have expressed the notion of global collaboration between governments, businesses, civil society, the independent sector, research, and science. With the SGS’s theme in mind, the frequented call to action has been to develop a platform that would allow each of these sectors to interact, communicate, and work with one another toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Collaboration. Collaboration! #Collaboration

While sitting in the audience, our team is beaming inside and out because we have been working on a digital platform that is directly in line with what these passionate people are envisioning in a 2030 world. Public Interest Registry – the longstanding operator of the .ORG domain name extension – will soon be launching a dual initiative to empower global Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) by connecting them to governments, businesses and potential partnerships in a single online space.

The first dynamic of our initiative is to launch 2 new domain extensions: .NGO and .ONG (the translated equivalent of NGO in Romance languages). These domain names will be “closed”, meaning that in order to obtain them, you will have to be validated as an NGO/ONG; they will only be available exclusively to these organizations in the effort to highlight credibility and maximize brand recognition.

The second dynamic of Public Interest Registry’s initiative is to build an online NGO directory that essentially functions as a “Facebook for NGOs.” When organizations register their .NGO/.ONG domain names, they are automatically entered into the directory and gain access to communication with government and business contacts. Our goal is to bridge the gap between sectors, prompt discussions and partnerships that will ultimately help NGOs become more sustainable, and encourage collaboration as a means to a well-defined 2030 (and beyond) world.

Here’s an infographic that explains how it works:

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This is Public Interest Registry’s first year of attendance to the SGS, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to engage in conversations about utilizing new media and technology to make the world a better place for all. That is truthfully a huge part of our mission and the purpose behind the .ORG and .NGO/.ONG domain extensions. It is our hope that .ORG continues to be an online space where people share their reason, their cause, or their crazy idea with the rest of the world; and that .NGO/.ONG effectively unite the independent sector with governments and businesses so that together, they can work toward #2030NOW.

Reflection on UBM’s Business4Better

Last week, UBM held its 4th annual Business4Better event in London. This two-day conference is part of the company’s Community Engagement Series, which was founded in Brazil in 2009 and now also takes place in India and the United States. Business4Better “brings together not-for-profits, social enterprises, business leaders and corporate responsibility professionals to share, learn and connect.”

Thuy LeDinh of Public Interest Registry had the opportunity to attend B4B for the first time and witness how UBM has made this event, along with the rest of the Community Engagement Series, part of its personal commitment to operate as a responsible and sustainable business in its longterm effort to bring the voluntary and business sectors together.

There has been a growing trend for businesses to exercise their corporate social responsibility (CSR) through foundations, events, campaigns, specialty programs, and projects for various causes. What is inspiring about UBM is that they have truly begun facilitating their business based on the idea of improving society. UBM understands that the interconnectivity between sectors is vital for success in a future society.

For decades, we have recognized three main sectors: business, government, and independent. In the standard model the third sector has essentially been perceived and labeled as a third wheel because its consituents (not-for-profits, NGOs, NPOs, etc.) have not clearly defined a universal name to use, and do not have the same resources that businesses and governments have access to. The overarching problem with this model is that the three sectors rarely – if ever – seem to work together cohesively, simultaneously.

LeDinh reflects on a story that Lord Michael Hastings, KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship, shared in London:

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story building collaped in Bangladesh. This building, the Rana Plaza, contained apartments, a bank, a variety of other shops, and garment factories for some of the world’s largest apparel companies, such as H&M, Primark, and Walmart. Despite concerns and evacuation requests that Bangladeshi NGOs had voiced to employers about cracks in the building, workers were prompted to show up the next day. That very next morning, the building collapsed, trapping 3,122 workers inside. After 17 long days of digging through rubble, the death toll reached 1,127 people, and approximately 2,500 people rescued from the building alive were injured. Given that the majority of these workers were women that were single parents and/or sole providers for their families, the entire village of people was disrupted, and effectively destroyed.

After this horrific tragedy, some of the questions we are left asking are:

  • How do we prevent tragedies such as this from happening again?
  • What dialogue needs to happen? Between who?
  • Who will be held responsible for making sure that brands and businesses who set up international factories implement proper safety precautions and pass factory inspections?
  • How do we promote ethical working environments, and ultimately ethical consumerism?

In the case of the Bangladeshi factory collapse, it would have been advantageous for dialogue to occur between advocates on behalf of the workers, businesses, and government officials – to regulate safety measures before allowing people to work in the building. Communication must work both ways; if businesses and governments work together with the independent sector, they will likely have more effective and efficient results.

Like UBM, Public Interest Registry strongly believes in a new paradigm where businesses increase their interaction with government and members of the independent sector in order to develop strong relationships that will improve society. We feel that to make this happen, there is a need to go beyond a digital impact and aim to create interpersonal connections via civil partnerships.

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[Image taken from the World Economic Forum’s Report: The Future Role of Civil Society]

UBM is taking the first step toward trying to unite all three sectors; we would like to see this trend become a way of life across the globe.

Public Interest Registry will be offering .NGO, a new and exclusive domain extension representing “Non-governmental organization”, as a part of this initiative – to give NGOs around the world the opportunity to find and communicate with one another, with donors, and with potential business partners. The ultimate goal is to help NGOs build capacity and become sustainable while working towards improving society.

The .NGO domain is expected to launch in 2015. Its counterpart, .ONG – the acronym for .NGO used in Romance languages – will also become available to the public by Public Interest Registry at that time. To learn more information and submit an expression of interest for these domains, visit www.ngotld.org.

Litterati: Crowdsource-Cleaning the Planet

Jeff Kirschner came up with the idea for the “Litterati” movement after his young daughter spotted a piece of litter floating in a river near his home in Northern California. “Daddy, that doesn’t go there,” she said.

Feeling the need to create a movement to stop the world’s littering habit, Jeff came up with the idea to take a picture of litter he found and post the photo to Instagram, using the hashtag #Litterati. He began encouraging people across the world to share pictures on Instagram of litter they found before disposing of the trash. Using the #Litterati hashtag, picking up trash became a social – and oftentimes artistic – activity.

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A @Litterati Instagram photo

It was not hard to find others eager to help rid their communities of mindless litter. With “Litterati” quickly growing, Jeff started to organize tagged #Litterati photos from all over the world into a “Digital Landfill” on http://www.Litterati.org.

Using Instagram’s geo-tagging and time-stamp features, Jeff could also track where and at what time the pieces of litter were found. He built a map on Litterati.org showing all of the locations across the world in which participants are finding and picking up litter, using the #Litterati hashtag. In addition to the litter map, the Litterati website also presents statistics of litter data for public viewing. Currently, 13,059 pieces of trash have been picked up around the world by Litterati participants – and that number is quickly growing.

Jeff has big plans for how he uses all of this Litterati data:

“I believe Litterati is in a position to create a level of environmental awareness that touches millions of lives,” he writes in an email. “Litterati will be able to work with local government, helping city officials understand more about where trash is emerging, and which brands are the most commonly littered.  We’ll collaborate with brands to help them better understand the lifecycle of their product packaging, so that they can move towards earth-friendly designs. Whether it’s a young child, a government official, or high-powered executive, our goal is to inspire people to take ownership of the [litter] problem.”

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One of Litterati’s maps of litter collection

Public Interest Registry chose to spotlight Litterati.org because we love the way Jeff is using his dotORG to help solve our world-wide littering problem. Litterati’s core values of integrity, collaboration, and simplicity resonate with our own, and we fully support Jeff’s use of the Internet to reach other people across the world interested in cleaning up the Earth.

Imagine the impact we could make if every single person in the world disposed of just one piece of litter. In Jeff’s words, “Global collaboration is paramount towards reaching a litter-free world. Individually, we can make a difference. Together, we can make an impact.”

Visit www.litterati.org to view Litterati’s impact so far. Use the hashtag #Litterati on Instagram to join the Litterati movement! You can also follow @Litterati on Instagram and Twitter.

Back to the Future, Making an Impact on the Way.

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Today marks the 28th anniversary of Back to the Future’s theatrical release in 1985. For nearly two decades, the critically acclaimed, science-fiction comedy film has delighted audiences with its memorable cast, musical score, iconic references, and of course, the DeLorean time machine.  Ronald Reagan even quoted the movie in his State of the Union Address when he said, “Roads…where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. The legacy of BTTF will surely live on for generations to come.

Today is not only a day to celebrate Back to the Future’s release and cultural impact, but it is also an opportunity to highlight the notable efforts of a foundation that was created by Marty McFly’s real-life counterpart, Michael J. Fox.

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Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Although this news was not made public for another 7 years, he has since committed himself to Parkinson’s research through his organization, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he founded in 2000. In its campaign to pinpoint the cause of Parkinson’s and uncover a cure within our lifetime, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has become the leading Parkinson’s fundraiser in the US, putting over $140M into research (The Guardian).

According to the foundation’s core values, the team is 100% patient-focused, comprised of risk-takers and problem-solvers that won’t stop until a cure is found – one that will improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s today. Fox is correct when he says: “The cures we want aren’t going to fall from the sky. We have to get ladders and climb up and get them.”

With Fox, there was a story beyond a DeLorean time machine that needed to be told. After getting a better understanding of the core values of his foundation and how they are impacting lives every day, it truly makes us happy at Public Interest Registry to see the Michael J. Fox Foundation carrying out its cause and mission on the .ORG platform.

As the longstanding operator of .ORG, it makes us proud to see individuals, groups, companies and organizations working towards improving the lives of people through this online space. It is also comforting to learn that the values of .ORGs like the Michael J. Fox Foundation are directly in sync with our own values — to build a true sense of community, ensure trust and credibility, and to help make the world a better place – both online and off.

Marty McFly would be proud to see the impact that his real-life counterpart and the Michael J. Fox foundation is making an impact on the way back to the future.

Taking Rachel’s Challenge.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

These words were written by 17 year old Rachel Joy Scott shortly before her life was taken during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Investigations following the shooting revealed that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the gunmen, were often isolated from the rest of their peers. They had each kept journals in which they wrote about their interactions with other students and expressed their disdain. Both of the shooters were publicly classified as gifted children that had allegedly been victims of bullying for four years. This in turn has focused more attention on the link between bullying and school violence.

Did you know:

  • An estimated 1.6 million children in grades six through 10 in the United States are bullied at least once a week. — Human Rights Education Center of Utah
  • Six out of 10 American teenagers witness bullying in school once a day. — National Education Association
  •  A reported 160,000 (15% of all) students don’t show up for school each day out of fear of being bullied while at school — (Fried & Fried, 2003).
  • Every seven minutes, a child on an elementary playground is bullied (Pepler, Craig, & Roberts, 1998).

In memory of Rachel and her compassion for people, her family started Rachel’s Challenge; a series of student-empowering programs and strategies that were created based on Rachel’s writings and artwork, and whose ongoing mission is:

“to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”

The core component of Rachel’s Challenge is a school assembly that tells the story of Rachel Scott to inspire change among students (in elementary, middle and high schools) to treat others with respect. The results and feedback from this initiative have truly been remarkable. According to the Rachel’s Challenge research:

  • It was found in Texas that there were 90% fewer disciplinary referrals in elementary schools within the state in just a few months after any Rachel’s Challenge program was initiated.
  • A High School in Illinois experienced 84% fewer out-of-school suspensions after having initiated a Rachel’s Challenge program.
  • 78% more students indicated they would intervene in a bullying incident after seeing Rachel’s Challenge.
  •  In a recent 24 month period, Rachel’s Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated they had changed their mind about taking their own life after Rachel’s Challenge made their school a better and more caring place.

We can all learn from Rachel and her chain reaction theory, which has become one of the most recognized anti-bullying initiatives. The key takeaways are:

  • Take Off Your Labels… Be Who You Really Are
  • Appropriate Affection
  • Our Words Have the Power…to Hurt or Heal
  • You are Not Alone…We Have Shared Experiences
  • Today is YOUR Chain Reaction Moment

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This week, Public Interest Registry has chosen to highlight the work of Rachel’s Challenge because this organization has successfully used their dotORG as an amazing platform to carry out their cause and mission and to help improve the lives of others. Rachel’s story is also one that anyone can relate to, and we want to be a part of the chain reaction that she has started. To date, Rachel’s message has touched more than 19 million people. Every single one of these people will help continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities.

 

If you would like to donate to Rachel’s Challenge, please click here.

 

Public Interest Registry’s (NGO) InterAction

This week, Public Interest Registry exhibited at InterAction’s annual forum held in Washington, DC to promote .ORG and two new domain extensions that we intend to launch by mid-2014 — .NGO and .ONG (the .NGO equivalent for Spanish, Italian, French and other Romance languages). To say the very least, we were extremely pleased with the turnout of the conference.

InterAction is a wonderful organization (in its 29th year) that encourages individuals from public, private, and NGO sectors to engage, learn, and build together; to address shared challenges related to human rights, philanthropy, relief, education, and health; to develop solutions that will improve quality of life for people of the globe; and to work toward making Earth more sustainable.

There were a few things that really stuck out to us at this particular conference:

  • Practically everyone who attended and/or exhibited at InterAction were already affiliated with organizations that use a .ORG website to promote themselves online. Those who have a .ORG address told us that they purposely chose this domain extension to let people know that they are part of a trusted, nonprofit community, and it’s a place to tell their stories and promote their cause(s). They like being a part of the .ORG family 🙂
  • Many of these same individuals did in fact identify themselves as part of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). So, when they saw our .NGO/.ONG banner, the concept of NGO as a domain extension instantly clicked and they wanted it…badly! One comment that we received was, “Why hasn’t someone come up with this sooner?!”
  • We were reminded that NGOs need a lot support at a grassroots level. We highly value our engagement with this group to better understand what they need from their local perspective. .
  • One tool that stood out for us at this conference was the NGO Aid Map, which allows you to explore and learn about NGO projects taking place all around the world, to find new NGO partners, and to download and analyze open data associated with international aid and InterAction’s members. We think that this well serve as a great reference tool for the community.

Not surprisingly, there was one common question that many of the attendees had: Do we have to switch from .ORG to .NGO? The answer to this is NO! In fact, we encourage (validated) NGOs to have both domain names active for a couple of reasons:

  • Maintain brand equity. Since your organization has already invested in building a brand under .ORG, there is no reason to eliminate this extremely valuable equity. Your supporters already recognize you as a .ORG, and we believe that there is great value to maintain and continue this trusted recognition.
  • Increase brand equity. Because .NGO/.ONG is a validated domain; it would be advantageous to use this extension to show the world that your organization is a validated NGO.
  • In addition, by having a .NGO/.ONG domain address, you can enter yourself into Public Interest Registry’s online directory of NGOs. You will be part of an online portal — think of this as a community hub for NGOs — that not only allows NGOs to find one another (by name, region, cause) and communicate about important issues, but it will also allow you to be more easily found by donors and volunteers. We truly hope to see that the fruition of our labor with this online space turns into elevated awareness of NGOs and their important work throughout the world.

We are still several months away from launching .NGO and .ONG; however, now is the time for NGOs to really start paying attention to what is happening on the Internet. The future is a digital world and we believe .NGO/.ONG will play a big part in this community.

If you or someone you know is affiliated with an NGO, please encourage them to visit http://www.ngotld.org for more information about .NGO/.ONG and, equally important, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for their own domain(s).

A big thank you to InterAction for allowing Public Interest Registry to exhibit at their event, and also to the volunteers that helped make the conference such a great experience. We cannot wait to launch our new domains in 2014.

Sincerely,

The Public Interest Registry Team