I grew up in a small beach town on the South Jersey Shore where I spent summers swimming and building sand castles. A deep appreciation for the ocean and beach is in my DNA. My father (photographed above) was a life guard, swimmer, and one of the first to take up surfing in the early 1960’s on our beach. So, I always had a fondness for surfing.
During my first week as Visiting Scholar at the Packard Foundation, I had an opportunity to hear a presentation by the good folks at Surfrider Foundation about their online/offline activism. We used their story and the way they work in the first chapter of the book, The Networked Nonprofit, to introduce people to the concept.
I was honored to read Surfrider’s CEO, Jim Moriarty’s blog post about the book and why being a networked nonprofit is important:
The reason all nonprofits should invest heavily in social media (and building/nurturing all forms of networks) is very, very simple… to amplify their impact.
Networks aren’t about technology any more than books are about paper. People can get caught up on the “hows” of networks and end up missing the larger point–the “why.”
At Surfrider this is simple–we know that we can ratchet up the impact of our mission of coastal protection if we can increase the number of participants IN that mission. In 2004 I’d guess we had 40,000 people connected to that mission. Today, that number is about 8x greater than that with more than 300,000.
Networks enable more people to connect AND connect in ways that are more personally aligned with their interests. For example, we’re currently looking for a dozen or so stunning photographs for a website rebuild. We can easily throw that ask out to the network and give the people that love photographing coastlines the chance to connect in a personal way by plugging in their talents.
Surfrider is a global network of surfers who want to protect the world’s beaches and oceans. Their use of social media to support and leverage their network is filled with great examples of best practices. They recently launched an Iphone app called “Trash-Tetris.” The goal is the same as in regular Tetris, except you play with trash. It is a virtual beach clean up game. It’s on itunes here (free).
Thank you Jim, Victoria, Chad and all the surfer dudes – you’ve made my day!