Maybe you’ve noticed. There’s something special going on at Mashable: The Summer of Social Good initiative. The uber technology and social media blog has created a charitable fund to benefit The Humane Society, LIVESTRONG, Oxfam America and WWF from June 1st until August 28th, 2009. And while raising monies directly for these organizations, the media site has done more, already highlighting more than hundred voices and organizations in the social good movement.
Mashable Second in Command and COO Adam Hirsch took some time out of his busy schedule to interview with the Buzz Bin. Hirsch shed some light on this unusual and very special initiative.
GL: Why did Mashable host the Summer of Social Good initiative?
AH: Mashable has always supported charitable movements in social media. Personally, I was very inspired by our CEO and Founder, Pete Cashmore’s birthday wish to donate money to Charity:Water. I felt there had to be a way to use Mashable’s social media influence directly to raise charitable contributions and awareness.
In February of 2009, after witnessing the Twestival growth, the idea for the Summer of Social Good was finalized and I began working on the many components and partners that you see today. We are also working on an educational event on August 28th, 2009 that will take place in New York City. Our sponsors, Zappos and Mailchimp are covering the costs of the campaign and the event, so all donations and ticket sales go to the charitable fund.
GL: How does this differentiate you from other top tier social media/tech blogs?
AH: The Mashable team is a positive and enthusiastic group that feels strongly about using our social media influence to make a difference. I believe this attitude carries over in our editorial voice, operations and initiatives. Combined with strong editorial and resource content, forward and positive thinking, we have been able to emerge and separate ourselves from other blogs.
GL: What has your reader response been?
AH: The response has been fantastic overall. We are constantly receiving positive comments, notes and emails. The Summer of Social Good is not just a straight charitable campaign, it’s also an educational platform.
Every week, we are launching a new week-long engagement to interact and share some great stories, fun projects, and rewarding opportunities. Our audience is diverse and we aim to try and include everyone this summer in one way or another. Throughout the campaign our readers have been extremely helpful.
This is officially the first charitable campaign created and run by Mashable. We are certainly not experts in this field and we are trying to put our best foot forward, but sometimes we make mistakes. Many readers have come to me personally to offer advice and help to improve the campaign and create a better experience for our readers and the charities involved.
GL: Tell us about the wrap-up event in New York on August 28. What do you hope it will do?
AH: Our wrap-up event at the 92nd Street Y in New York on August 28th will be both educational and celebratory. We plan to bring together industry leaders, representatives from a number of charities and organizations involved in the social media space, and members of our diverse audience for a day of learning and networking that we hope will lead to future collaborations and partnerships in the social media for good space.
Additionally, since 100% of ticket sales will be donated to our fund equally benefiting LIVESTRONG, The Humane Society, WWF, and Oxfam America, we hope to be able to add a large contribution to our ongoing online efforts.
GL: Midway through your effort, you’ve launched the #findthegood hashtag with the series. What’s your goal there?
AH: #FindingTheGood was the theme for one of our week-long series that just concluded. The idea and goal behind it was to share, by using our influence, the other charitable projects out there that fit the theme of “Social Media for Social Good”.
Each day we shared a story about our charities involved (The Humane Society, LiveSTRONG, Oxfam America and WWF), and in addition we shared stories about other organizations’ and individuals’ initiatives and programs as well. However, this wasn’t just about Mashable’s coverage, it was about getting our communities involved and having them to share their “finds” as well. Although the “official” #FindingTheGood week has ended, we hope that this theme/concept and hashtag will live on.
GL: What will Mashable do in this space after the summer ends?
AH: We’ve always been great proponents of charitable organizations and projects using social media. This will not change. Through emails, comments and contacts, The Summer of Social Good has made us more aware of a huge spectrum of projects and organizations out there that previously were not on our radar. With the new audience and relationships in this space, we plan to become more involved.
GL: What has been the big takeaway from this initiative from your perspective?
AH: Thus far we’ve had two major takeaways: The first is that our community rocks! The second is that there is still a lot to learn and improve upon and I’m excited to do that.
About Adam Hirsch
Adam Hirsch, Chief Operations Officer, joined Mashable in Fall of 2007 as Community and Marketing Manager. Adam oversees Mashable’s business development, including marketing, partnerships, advertising and sponsorships, and events. His initiatives include the Open Web Awards and Summer of Social Good, as well as event series such as the Summer Mash Tour of 2008 and the 92YTribeca NextUp NYC educational series.
As Pete Cashmore’s “2nd in Command," Adam is always on the hunt for partnerships and opportunities to improve Mashable and connect with its dedicated readership. Adam is a New York City native and a graduate of Cornell University.