10 Things You Can Do to End Online Segregation
Ending online segregation is about using online tools to leverage your social network and friends in order to advocate for social justice. Every person could help bring thousands of dollars of resources to at-risk communities with just a little effort toward ending online segregation. The following are some important ways you can help end online segregation:
- Blog on social justice issues. You can apply to be a social justice blogger on UrbanMinistry.org on the topic you feel most passionate about like Environmental Justice, Human Trafficking, etc. and gain exposure to the 1 million+ unique visitors on the site each year. You can also start your own independent blog on social justice topics using Blogger, Blogspot, Wordpress or Typepad.
- Use widgets for social justice in your blog and social networking profiles. ChristianVolunteering.org has widgets for blogs & website and applications for Facebook, so that every click that comes from your profile/blog on average translates into $5 of volunteering to serve the poor. To do this, you need to be registered on social networking sites like Facebook. Other popular applications on FaceBook are: Causes and Change.org. If you participate in a social networking "cause", really get involve and get your friends to give to avoid "slacktivism" which is a new term for when people join online causes but never actually do anything.
- Get your church or ministry website to include prominent links to social justice organizations. ChristianVolunteering.org makes it easy for churches to "embed" volunteer opportunities serving the poor into their church website (similar to how YouTube videos are embedded). See example at: http://www.bostonvineyard.org/getinvolved/neighborhoodreach/volunteer. Each click from your website, on average translates to $5 worth of volunteer time serving the poor.
- E-mail campaigns and causes to friends and E-mail lists. As you come across important social issues or causes, send a message to your church E-mail list, Facebook friends or post it to your profile. You can find current issues on Sojo.net and UrbanMinistry.org, or you can invite your friends to volunteer through ChristianVolunteering.org or to learn more. Help your church small group to learn more about social justice on UrbanMinistry.org using their online audio, video, books, Bible studies & articles including the Poverty 101 Video Series.
- Use your social network to fundraise for ministries serving the poor. We have just launched iSupport.urbanministry.org which enables individuals to raise money for ministries using social networking tools. Our goal is to get all of the 4,000+ ministries in our online directory to be registered, so that you can help raise money for them. Other tools that are helpful include the following FaceBook applications: Kiva, Changing the Present, Razoo Speed Granting and ChipIn. Another great way to lend your social network to serve the poor is to use LinkedIn, and "friend" both your resourced friends and those ministering to the poor. This lets these ministries know that you might have contacts in corporations and foundations that could provide them with grants.
- Advocate to Christian businesses to start corporate social responsibility initiatives that support ministries serving the poor. Corporations like Microsoft and Google give millions of dollars worth of grants each year, but there is no equivalent ethic of corporate social responsibility among many Christian companies. The most significant change to end online segregation would be for mainstream Christian online media companies to develop donate advertising to causing serving the poor like Google has. If there were grant programs comparable to Google's at Salem Communications, Christianity Today, Zondervan, Christian Broadcasting Network and Trinity Broadcasting Network, that could translate $1 million in donated online ads into $10 million of resources serving the poor.
- Get your company to give grants to ministries serving the poor. Research whether your company has a foundation or grant program, then find ministries in your area that fit their grant guidelines. You can contact these ministries, asking them to apply, and then you can call or write E-mail to your community relations department advocating for that organization. If your company does not have a history of many faith based organizations, advocate to your company to not discriminate against faith-based social service organizations. While Google gives grants to many organizations, they have repeatedly not given grants to Christian social service organizations even when those organizations were non-discriminatory. Our estimate is that 80% of corporations will fund Christian social service organizations as long as they do not discriminate on who they will serve. If you are in a corporation that represents the 20% of companies that do discriminate against Christian organizations, it is time for you to take a stand for your faith, meet with your corporate social responsibility office and get other Christians in your company to sign a petition advocating a change. How do you find out if your company discriminates? Look at their list of grantees. If you don't see any Christian organizations, then there is a good chance that they discriminate against Christian organizations because they make up close to 1/3 of the social services sector.
- Develop a Volunteer Campaign in your Church. Talk to your pastor about developing a campaign in your church to mobilize volunteers to serve the poor or advocate for social justice. There are five main options for that: ChristianVolunteering.org provides free resources for churches to launch a volunteer campaign or you can purchase toolkits to launch a campaign from World Vision's Faith In Action program, join Sojourner's Faith and Justice Network, join Evangelical's for Social Action's Word & Deed Network or join the Externally Focused Churches Network.
- Invite your Christian small group, friends and family to volunteer serving the poor. Just search for a local volunteer opportunity on ChristianVolunteering.org, and then send them an E-mail or FaceBook invite through the site asking them to join you in volunteering.
- Register as a virtual volunteer on ChristianVolunteering.org to work remotely donating your professional skills to ministries serving the poor using your technology, legal, accounting, writing or other professional skills. Ministries can then contact you to ask for you to help them remotely from your home.