#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.

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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.

#TaliasLegacy

This week we wanted to recognize and honor the story of a 13-year-old girl who devoted her short time on this earth to supporting children and families who live with cancer, while battling cancer herself.

Talia Joy Castellano was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This is the most common form of cancer found in childhood and infancy. A short time later she found out that she also had Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow which causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years old. Battling two cancers at once is almost unheard of.

Following the diagnosis, Talia started spending more time with Tammy DeLaRosa, a cancer survivor and close family friend. DeLaRosa shared in an interview, “I have drawers and cabinets and stuff full of makeup, and she just started going through them and pulling them out, and then she asked me if I would put makeup on her and so I did.

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Talia began experimenting with makeup after losing her hair to chemotherapy treatments. She created her own tutorials and posted them to YouTube. One of her videos earned more than 8 million views, and her channel (GMA News) gained more than 750,000 followers. “I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig,” she says in one of her videos, “It’s just amazing.” What seemed even more amazing was Talia’s positive attitude despite the circumstances, truly evoking her middle name, Joy.

The YouTube make up guru had mentioned in a video once that she dreamt of meeting Ellen Degeneres. The TV host caught wind of this and turned Talia’s dream into reality when she invited Talia to appear on “The Ellen Show” in September 2012.  She said, “I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you’re going through, how do you stay so positive?” she asked.

Referring to Ellen’s character Dory in Finding Nemo, Talia responded, “When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’

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Ellen, a Cover Girl representative herself, made Talia an honorary Cover Girl and presented her with her own portrait. The makeup brand was awed by Talia’s story and also awarded her a makeup table and $20,000.

Of all the positive messages that Talia video-blogged online, the one that resonates with the Public Interest Registry team most is the idea of leaving impactful footprints on the world and being a part of something bigger. This little giant certainly did that.
Talia’s favorite charity was the Base Camp Childeren’s Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit #dotORG that serves 200 families that are fighting cancer daily. With her footprint in mind, Talia launched a fundraising campaign called “Bring Hope Home” to raise $125,000 so that the local charity in Orlando, FL would be able to buy an office condo to create a permanent home for their programs.

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Talia wanted to leave her legacy at the BASE Camp office by creating Talia’s room — “a destination where girls can come when they’re feeling down, a place where they can come to get pretty…filled with make-up, nail polish, pretty dresses, jewelry and shoes!” (BaseCamp)

Please help BASE Camp fulfill Talia’s Legacy with your donation.

Last week, on July 16th, Talia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer, but she continues to win over all of our hearts. Just a few days before she passed, Talia posted her 74-item bucket list to her official Facebook fan page. This list included to-do’s like “leave my handprint in wet cement,” “send a message in a bottle,” “help a newbie with cancer,” and “jump in a pool of jello.”

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Talia’s supporters are now honoring her life by completing all of the items on her list and sending in photos to with the hashtag #TaliasBucketList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We would like to send our deepest condolences to Talia’s family and friends. Thank you for helping this bright young girl share her light and energy with the rest of the world. Her legacy will continue to live on.

Leveraging Celebrities to Enhance Your Cause Marketing

In cause campaign efforts, celebrity involvement can help catalyze momentum to reach and engage your audience when it is approached and strategized correctly. What does it really mean to find the right celebrity for your cause and collaborate together to create an authentic partnership? What is the best way to navigate the triangular dynamic between brand, cause, and celebrity? Nancy Gofus, the COO of Public Interest Registry, had the opportunity to explore this topic with a fantastic panel of experts at this year’s Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago on May 29, 2013:

Connie Fontaine, Director, Marketing Communications, Ford of Canada
Nancy Gofus, COO, Public Interest Registry
Joel Goldman, Director of Entertainment Industry Relations, Malaria No More
René Jones, Founding Director, United Talent Agency Foundation

The leading message of this panel was that in order for cause campaigns to be effective, stories need to be told; more importantly, they need to be authentic. Additionally, the ultimate goal for brands, nonprofits and celebrities is a win-win-win situation. In order to be successful, nonprofits and charities that are organizing cause campaigns need to identify an advocate that would not only be able to relate to and support their mission, but that would also be appealing to their audience.

There is a big difference between booking talent for a commercial cause marketing spot versus a public service announcement.  For a commercial cause marketing spot, you need to find an advocate that is truly connected to the cause, who would be more willing to donate their time to show their support. Alternatively, talent agencies will be looking to collect heavy lump sums of money to book their clients, especially when the spot ad is for a large commercial brand.

From the brand perspective, you’ll want the talent to be proud to be affiliated with your company. Again, the relationship needs to grow organically and the story that you seek to tell needs to be authentic. When this relationship is met with a cause campaign, the dynamic becomes incredibly powerful and the potential to move audiences to demonstrate social good increases.

If you are either a brand or celebrity, or are working on a cause campaign, check out the video clip from the forum above. There are some great takeaways!

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.

 

South by (South) Reflections

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SXSW 2013 has officially come to a close. Participants from the festival are still recuperating from the travel edured, 6th Street, and of course their participation in panels, shows, and exhibits; Austinites are happy to see everyone vacate until next year despite the level of weird(ness) captured in Austin over the past 2 weeks.

The Public Interest Registry was fortunate enough to participate in this year’s Interactive Trade Show for the very first time. Although our 22-person company seemed like a tadpole in a vast sea, we felt right at home amongst the other entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and tech geeks that congregated in this one place to share products, developments and forward-thinking visions.

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Our main goals at SXSW were:

  • To let people know who the Public Interest Registry is,
  • Showcase our first .ORG film, Digital Citizen,
  • Collect and curate new .ORG stories from SXSW attendees, and
  • To promote the .NGO domain extension that is expected to launch by 2014.

After having time to reflect on everything that happened last week, we realized that we did everything we hoped to and more. The Public Interest Registry (although a behind-the-scenes persona) prides itself as the operator of the .ORG database, serving the public interest and empowering online communities.

At SXSW, we were able to speak face to face with people who have experienced all sorts of trials and tribulations, which in turn has inspired them to put forth their efforts into specific causes in hopes of attaining a positive outcome for generations to come. This was an experience for us in itself because the stories behind each ORG was/is personal, and the people behind them are extremely passionate about being a part of something bigger and making a difference in other peoples’ lives. This resonates with us, the Public Interest Registry, to our core. We are here to understand your humble beginnings, and to offer a voice to your cause with three simple letters to the right of the dot: ORG.

We did in fact demonstrate that the .ORG platform has successfully connected communities of people through our short film, the Digital Citizen. While this documentary specifically highlights Wikipedia, Craigslist, Occupy Wallstreet, and SXSW4Japan, we explained that .ORGs are a powerful means to serve the public interest — through activism, fundraising and donations, civil rights, sports and recreation, health, religion, politics, and beyond. In turn, we asked those who visited our booth to share their own .ORG websites with us so that we could collect more stories for our next .ORG film.

To give you an idea of what we discovered, here are a few brief examples:

  • www.ecaware.org – Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association (ECAA)
    We met a young (twenty-something) man named Chris who survived turlock esophageal cancer as a teenager. Since his experience of overcoming terrifying odds, he has devoted himself to supporting the research and care for other esophageal cancer patients.
  • www.illegalart.org – Illegal Art (Rest assured, nothing about the art is actually illegal!)
    Another young man named Otis shared his artwork with us. He explained that each project carries a central theme; no artwork is complete until the public has contributed to its message. Otis actually gave us a live example at the Interactive Trade Show to preview:

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“From the refrigerator to the computer screen, from the purse to the bedroom door, to-do lists, commands, reminders, mantras and more have graced these tiny 3×3 inch squares all over the globe.”

  • www.oneflaginspace.org
    The mission is to send astronauts to outer space and promote the use of the “Blue Marble” aka the Earth as a symbol of world unity in space exploration. In 1972, the blue marble became the first complete picture of Earth taken from space by humans; thus, a universal message for the benefit of humanity as a whole, as opposed to independent nations across the globe, would in itself be another milestone in space exploration.

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  • www.growyourbase.org – Grow Your Base (Supported by Salsa)
    This is an online platform that specifically teaches nonprofits how to leverage online channels for their mission(s) — using email, social media and mobile applications to maximize outreach and support.

…These were only 4 of the 150+ .ORGs and stories that we learned about at SXSW. We cannot wait to see what else we find! If you or someone that you know has a .ORG story, please share it with us because we want to help your story be heard.

Also, if you are affiliated with a nonprofit, you may qualify for a .NGO domain extension. The Public Interest Registry anticipates launching this new domain by 2014, and there will be a validation process, which will be the main difference between .NGO and .ORG. For more information, and to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for your own .NGO domain, please visit http://www.ngotld.org

Sincerely,

The Public Interest Registry Team

Until next time, Austin…

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The Digital Citizen

As technology and the Internet advances, is it shaping us or are we shaping it? Last year .ORG created a short film, the Digital Citizen, which explored the concept of human interactions in a digital age. What we found was that the .ORG domain extension consistently serves as a platform that empowers the community — for a cause, through activism, perseverance, and the desire to engage in social good.

This year at SXSW 2013, Public Interest Registry has had the privilege to participate in the Interactive Trade Show for the very first time. We have been showcasing the Digital Citizen at our booth to help the public understand our true mission: to serve the public interest. Coincidently, one of the storytellers from our film (Leigh Durst) just happened to walk by our booth (#737) and see herself on the screen, so we were able to snap a picture and thank her for sharing her story with the world!

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(From left to right, Thuy LeDinh, Leigh Durst, Megan Soffer, and Anand Vora)

Leigh’s story was/is pretty special, and actually hits home with the SXSW festival. In 2011, she took action with other Interactive participants and created http://www.sxsw4japan.org after they witnessed the tsunami and catastrophic damage happening in Japan while they sat in the exhibitor halls at the Austin Convention Center. Leigh and her peers were determined to help all of those affected; by creating a fundraiser through their site they were able to raise over $125K for the cause in just a matter of 4 days. Simply amazing.

In addition to sharing the Digital Citizen, Public Interest Registry has been collecting a list of all of the .ORGs that are in attendance at SXSW this year because we want to know what their stories are and how their purpose(s) have been fulfilled thus far. Following the conference, we will reflect on each of these stories to create a second .ORG short…hopefully to submit for the film festival at SXSW 2014! To participate or view the terms and conditions of our contest here.

Again, we want to acknowledge everyone who contributed to the making of the Digital Citizen, as well as those who came by our booth at SXSW to share their own .ORG stories with us. Additionally, a big thank you to all of those who actively strive to do social good and support worldly causes. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and we appreciate you.

Sincerely,

The Public Interest Registry Team

Share Your .ORG Story, Help Direct Our Next Film!

Are you affiliated with an organization or cause? Do you use the .ORG domain extension in a creative or interesting way? If you answered yes to both of these questions, we want to help you share your .ORG story!

Public Interest Registry is now accepting (short) film submissions from individuals, teams, foundations, and organizations that have put forth effort towards a cause using a .ORG domain to gain support and make some traction within their community. In addition to video clips, we are open to alternative artistic forms of story telling. We are particularly interested to see how your .ORG has created connections between you, the people you work with, and your supporters; how has the experience has affected you and everyone involved, and what you have learned as an active member of society? This is an opportunity to have FUN, be CREATIVE, and show us why your cause and efforts deserve recognition!

To learn more about the submission contest, please view the terms and conditions by clicking on the image below:

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Please send all submissions to http://www.whyichose.org/story