Keep Hope Alive

by vernsanders on January 20, 2012

I don’t ordinarily write about things like this, but I’m making an exception in this case. Thanks to my friend DJ Chuang, I have become aware of a new project called HopeMob. Subtitled “What Happens When Generous People Unite,” it is a project of well-known pastor/activist/fundraiser Shaun King, who, among other things has raised millions of dollars for relief work in Haiti. Since I can’t describe it better than they can, let me quote from their website:

HopeMob is exactly what it sounds like – a mob of people bringing hope.  Just as Flash Mobs dance and bring spontaneous joy and laughter, HopeMob will bring caring strangers together to create sudden, yet organized relief and hope all over the world!  We see a need and swarm it!

I’ve been watching/exploring their website for a week or so now, and I must say I am impressed by the credibility of the project, and the people in charge. This is a group of internet savvy people working to build a mechanism to address real problems at the grass roots level. Let me quote again:

1. We tell stories.  In spite of a social media boom, we believe that people with the most pressing needs all around the world, including the United States, are not having their stories told and we will find them and tell them to you.  Our world renowned team of filmmakers, photographers, storytellers, and social workers will find, verify, and document the most pressing needs in the world today and HopeMob will tell you ONE STORY at a time ranging from a mom with starving children in Somalia, to a college student needing a little help with tuition before she drops out, to a family with a disabled child in desperate need of safe transportation.  Our mission will be to find the stories nobody else is telling and blast them out to the world!  We’ve started this work already.

2. A highly interactive website in which only one compelling story at a time is told and our users will be given practical ways (not just financial) to provide immediate hope to the real people featured in that story.

3. We are building iPhone & Android apps that will allow you to view and share our stories and quickly provide hope to our featured causes even when you are on the go.

4. We are building a grassroots Twitter team (click here to join it) so that each story we tell is blasted out daily for the world to see.  We currently have a Twitter reach of 354,307 people and we hope to get it to over 1,000,000 before we launch in March and 10,000,000 by the end of 2012.

Yes, this is an organization asking for money. But that fundraising is being done through a process called Kickstarter. In this process, they have published a goal, and a deadline. No pledges will be collected unless they meet their goal by the deadline, which is February 17. As of this writing they are more than a third of the way to their goal. Even if you can’t donate, consider lending a twitter hand (see #4 above).

If you want to check them out yourself, click here.

Thanks for listening.

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