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Philanthropy

Can Mike Bloomberg Really Take on the NRA?

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has a lot of money and he’s very passionate about gun control.

This is nothing new.

His advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety is, however–and this week the group launched its first campaign:

It’s a powerful PSA, though the fact that comments on the YouTube clip have been disabled hints at the considerable communications challenges ahead.

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Mediabistro Course

Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsStarting April 22, this in-person workshop will teach you the specific ways to incorporate storytelling into your personal and professional life. Students will examine the role of storytelling in business and put their newfound skills into practice with a series of improvisation, writing, and presentation exercises designed to help them uncover personal stories. Register now! 

‘Miracle Machine’ That Turns Water into Wine Isn’t Real: Actually Elaborate Stunt for Nonprofit

Wine To Water | MiracleIf you were one of the many thousands who were super stoked about the Miracle Machine that can turn water into fine wine in just a few days, we hate to burst your bubble, but that feat will have to be left to the big guy upstairs after all — the machine was a hoax, but before you get too upset, you were fooled for a really good cause (and you can still get some wine out of the deal).

A video released a few weeks ago featured an elaborate story and presentation of the Miracle Machine, which would supposedly allow you to make high quality wine at home in just three days. The video went viral and has been viewed more than 200,000 times. All this attention has created the perfect environment for the people behind the video–the nonprofit Wine to Water–to release their punch line: the gadget doesn’t exist, but there’s a major world issue that does.

“While we can’t turn water into wine,” admits the big-reveal video (below), “we can turn wine into water.” For ten years, Wine to Water has been using wine-related events like tastings and wine sales as fundraisers to help get clean drinking water to people who need it most. To date, the organization has provided clean water and sanitation to over 250,000 people in 17 countries. Read more

Aussie Charity Really Does Want You to Knit Sweaters for Penguins

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Don’t lose faith, Internet skeptics: today’s adorably viral story is real.

There really is an Australian charity called The Penguin Foundation, created to help protect our favorite flightless birds. They really do need to raise funds. And they really do want you to send them sweaters knitted for penguins as long as you pay the considerable shipping fees. They provided the picture in this post, in fact.

Still not sure? The Oregonian has a helpful true/false guide.

  • Some wildlife groups do actually use sweaters to protect penguins who’ve been exposed to oil spills
  • Yes, there was another, eerily similar viral story in 2011. In that case, the charity got too many sweaters!
  • TPF does offer a “penguin jumper” pattern for knitters (in PDF form!)
  • However, the group will almost certainly not use your sweaters on real penguins. They will, in most cases, dress the toys the group sells to raise money or find use in “educational programs”

Got it? And in case you’re not a knitter, you could always just adopt a penguin.

This has been today’s lesson in playing off an old, too-crazy-to-be-true viral story to create your own viral story. And raise money in the process.

STUDY: Even the Most Successful Charities Struggle to Raise Money Online

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You’d think that most non-profit organizations would have great mobile-friendly tools to help supporters donate as quickly and easily as possible—but according to a study performed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that’s not the case. The key point:

“The groups take too long to ask for money, and they make it too hard to give online.”

That sentence flips the main problem faced by e-commerce marketing on its head—and there’s more.

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Mark Zuckerberg Is the World’s Most Generous Man

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That’s according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which just released its list of the 50 biggest givers in the world over the past year. This ranking does include a couple of qualifiers: Zuck’s donation came in the form of Facebook stock, and the $992 billion listed only went to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which is a very local organization.

Still, that’s quite a bit of theoretical money, and the listing solidifies Zuckerberg’s reputation as an all-around good guy (while mentioning his work with Startup: Education).

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U2 to Unveil New Song During Super Bowl Spot, Offer Free Downloads to Benefit (RED)

a812d18636ceff861a80c8920a9dedc6Come Super Bowl Sunday, you may be buying many things–beer, chips, a box of ever-elusive Velveeta, or even David Beckham’s underwear–but U2 and AIDS charity (RED) are hoping you’ll also choose Sunday as the day to download the band’s new song, “Invisible” (for free!).

During a commercial break in the big game, the song will premiere in an edited version of its music video, after which, “Invisible” will be available for free download on iTunes for a 24-hour-period. Every time the song is downloaded during those 24 hours, Bank of America will make a $1 donation to (RED)–up to a total of $2 million. All the funds will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The promotion is the launch of a new partnership between the banking giant and (RED), which, since it was founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 with the aim of engaging businesses in the fight against AIDS, has teamed up with big-name brands like Apple, Starbucks and The Gap to raise more than $240 million for the Global Fund. Read more

#PRWin: ‘Layaway Santa’ Rings Up $20K for Walmart Shoppers

secret-santa-walmartAttention Walmart Shoppers: Your favorite discount store hasn’t had a slew of great news lately. In fact, you could fill one of its 18-wheeler trucks full of the bad PR they’ve collected recently.

From a food drive for its destitute hourly employees to deciding those hourly workers need to work on Thanksgiving, a lovely hashtag #WalMartFights and a disabled wrestler being banned from Walmart for life, all Walmart stories seem to suck out loud this time of the year.

The store that can’t seem to win during the holidays needed a little Christmas magic from the jolly old fat man to make positive headlines.

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Macklemore Makes Sense as the Spokesperson for the ACLU. Until He Doesn’t.

The ACLU wants you to become a member. And what better way to build that following than to get a famous spokesperson? And when you’re looking for a spokesperson, you want someone who is recognizable and is actually into the thing they’re talking up.

So it seemed to follow a logical train of thought when the ACLU decided to go with Macklemore as the face of their ACLU membership card. His songs have addressed equality for the gay community. He’s hip. All the youths recognize him. He’s sensitive but kind of goofy, as evidenced by his MTV Awards custom cape and his funny handling of crying babies while accepting a prize at the YouTube Awards.

But even things that follow logic can still end up being a bit of a train wreck.

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Amy Poehler Explains Why Charity Work Is So Awesome

The coolest fact we learned this week: working to support a cause isn’t just “good for your ego”—it also “makes your ass smaller.”

At least that’s what Amy Poehler told the audience at Variety‘s 5th annual Power of Women event earlier this month when explaining why she loves working with the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. SPOILER: there will be tears.

Our favorite Upright Citizens Brigade alumnus salutes the ”beautiful, bossy, right-amount-of-crazy” ladies in the audience after explaining that she devotes herself to charity work because she wants ”…to be around people who dream…and do things.

If you’re not at least slightly moved by this speech then we don’t really know what to tell you.

Poehler also held an “Emmy losers party” with Donald “Jon Hamm” Draper last month to benefit the WWO. Those interested in the group might want to check out November’s 9th annual gala hosted by Seth Meyers, who will be the fourth best “Weekend Update” host in the room if Poehler,  Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon show up. (There’s a reason he won’t be hosting the Golden Globes for the next two years.)

Non-Profit Startup’s ‘I Killed a Man’ Clip Goes Viral

In case you haven’t seen the taped confession of a real-life drunk driver who killed a man, here it is. It’s gone viral over the past few days.

Unlike Werner Herzog‘s recent texting and driving film, this clip is not a PSA but rather a prime example of content marketing via website/startup/”social movement” Because I Said I Would.

Matthew Cordle really did kill a man while driving drunk, and he really was indicted today. His attorneys downplay the concept of the video as a defense strategy, but they also told the press that that a severe sentence “would send the wrong message to people trying to take responsibility for a crime.”

Interesting. So what is Because I Said I Would?

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