Cause Marketing: The Rebirth of Philanthropy

One of the clients I work with is the cause marketing agency Personality™ in Los Angeles. They’re all about bringing businesses and non-profits together so everybody wins. It’s Bono’s (Product) Red, where products like the iPod Nano on Converse sneakers donate a portion of the purchase to the Global Fund. It’s the percentage Target donates to the local school of your choice when you use your Target credit card. It’s a cool little concept and I’ve had fun blogging about it on the Personality™ site.

What I think is especially cool about it is that philanthropy is changing. It’s not about wining and dining old rich guys anymore. It’s about getting all sorts of people involved in helping good causes. It can happen through partnerships like (Product) Red, where your purchase suddenly has a greater purpose. It also happens through new forms of fundraising that go so far beyond pledge drives and door-to-door begging.

People want to change the world, but it no longer ends with a simple donation. We want more. We want to know how our money is spent, we want to see lives changed, and we want new ways to give (not always straight donations). People want to be more involved, and that’s a good thing for causes. And a good thing for businesses–I’d rather buy from a business with a conscience.

2006 Reading List

I’m a little late to the game this year with my 2006 reading list, mainly because it’s a woefully short list. It would have been even shorter if I didn’t read books to my daughter and manage at least a short-term return to good habits (exercise).

But there is a little one to look after now. You try reading books with a baby in the house. And I did write a book this year–that counts for something, right?

Enough excuses, on to the list…

Continue reading 2006 Reading List

ULBC Youth Group Reunion

Speaking of social networking, this week a few friends and I launched a virtual youth group reunion for my old youth group from Union Lake Baptist Church. We’re all spread across the country (Detroit, Chicago, St. Paul, Kansas City, Dallas, Portland, etc.) so a physical reunion seems unlikely. But at least getting together and reconnecting online seems worthwhile.

We launched MySpace, Facebook and Flickr groups (as well as a lame-o web page) and are in the process of getting the word out.

So far we have about 16 people joined up (13 on Facebook, 9 on MySpace, obviously plenty of overlap). I hate using multiple sites like this, but it does enable us to reach more of our former youth groupies. So at least social networking sites are good for something.

Networking the Social Networking

So I’ve been playing around with the social networking sites lately. A while ago I hopped on the MySpace bandwagon, which I didn’t get at the time (I got over the weird protocol and started to add some friends and see some vague usefulness in it, but it’s not my favorite thing on the web), and lately I’ve joined Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s interesting trying out a few different social networking sites and seeing the pros and cons.

Continue reading Networking the Social Networking

Freakonomics on Abortion

I recently finished reading a Christmas present, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, a book most folks probably read a while ago (but hey, I read a book and I have a 1-year-old, so cut me some slack). The book basically explores interesting questions that defy conventional wisdom (which isn’t as wise as you might think). Like why do crack dealers live with their mothers? And does a realtor selling your house really have your best interests at heart (a timely question for us)?

The most intriguing question was what prompted the sudden and dramatic drop in crime in the 1990s. Crime had been escalating at incredible rates and experts were predicting doom and gloom. And then suddenly it stopped and dropped considerably. A number of reasons were tossed around at the time, but Levitt and Dubner dismiss most of them and credit a single reason that was never mentioned in the media for the majority of the drop in crime. That reason? Abortion.

Continue reading Freakonomics on Abortion

Vote for the Best U2 Songs

OK, so I’m still playing around with Squidoo’s new Plexo thingy. This time around, let’s vote for our favorite U2 songs. It’s a much broader field than the Five Iron list and probably appeals to more folks. Plus this time around you can add your own suggestions. I threw in a handful to get started, but it’s far from all the best songs.


If you can’t see the list, check out my U2 lens to see it and vote.

What’s the Best Five Iron Frenzy Ever?

This is too much fun. Squidoo just added a voting/ranking functionality (I learned about it because CFCC/CMS is ranked among the top 59 smartest organizations online, currently at #5 (!?) in the voting). So let’s try it out, shall we? (click through to vote)


Update: Doesn’t look like their widget is working very well. If you can’t see the list above, you can go to my Five Iron lens to vote.

Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

Apparently the answer to the age old question is yes, and not just in Europe. While walking into church this morning some friends were walking out and I stopped briefly to say hi.

One of them commented that I looked a little whelmed.

And I suppose I am. Putting your house on the market is stressful. Trying to find a new house–while fun–is also stressful. Spending all day with a baby and then trying to work in the evenings is also stressful. It’s kind of a crazy time right now. While I’m not the kind of person to make New Year’s resolutions, I think I am actively on guard against having too much to do.

Continue reading Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

AIDS-Kicking Sneakers Over Wii

Well, no more delusions of playing my own Wii anytime soon. I opted for the Product (Red) AIDS-kicking sneakers instead. Which, while not as expensive as a Wii, leaves me far enough shy of being able to afford a Wii that I’ll have to wait until the next large pile of gift cash. And that’s probably OK. With our house on the market I don’t have time to play one, and it’s still not likely I could find one without lots of spare hunting time.

On a side note, my Converse purchase might lend some credibility to the charge that Product (Red) promotes consumerism. I didn’t actually need new shoes. I just thought they were cool and it supported a good cause and hey, I’ve got a large pile of Christmas cash burning a hole in my pocket. So now I’ve got swanky new kicks. That helped fight AIDS.