By Jade Batstone, TIP Press
San Francisco, CA (May 3, 2011)—For some, philanthropy simply means pulling out a checkbook. Not For Sale (NFS), an international organization fighting human trafficking, aims to revamp the traditional donor model by converting a previously detached action into a long-term and engaging experience. Joining forces this week with Causes.com, the world’s largest online hub for philanthropy and activism, NFS will directly connect with a community of individuals who want to make a difference in the world. Harnessing the power of the social network, NFS aims to achieve the specific goal of raising $50,000 to create new futures for 50 survivors of human trafficking in Romania.
“We’ve always seen Causes as the carrier of our constituency,” says NFS Senior Director of Communications, Allison Trowbridge, citing the nearly 150,000 people who currently support NFS through the Causes website. Trowbridge affirms that the two like-minded organizations have communicated and shared camaraderie since they launched within months of each other in 2007.
Born at the intersection of social media and social good, this new partnership will allow NFS to engage with a broad base of activists to fight modern-day slavery. Working in collaboration, NFS and Causes have created a philanthropic platform that is easy and accessible for donors. Not a traditional fundraising project, this personalized experience allows philanthropists to witness the measurable power of their actions.
“NFS exemplifies the kind of donor experience that we want all of our nonprofit partners to offer their supporters,” says Causes Vice President Matt Mahan.
Mahan highlights NFS’ efforts to connect individuals directly to their work, allowing donors to share in the concrete progress made possible through their contributions. This unique brand of social activism, according to Mahan, comes at a time of growing cynicism around philanthropy: “you write a check and then never hear about what happened to your money.”
What distinguishes NFS as a leading nonprofit is its action-based focus.
“It’s not just about raising awareness,” says Allison Trowbridge, “we strive to equip individuals with the tools and resources needed to make a direct impact.”
Whether athlete or artist, student or church leader – NFS invites people of all interests and professions to contribute something to the global anti-trafficking movement.
For Causes users, this means donating their time or money to the Romania campaign, and receiving routine updates on the tangible impact their donations are making in the lives of trafficking victims.
“Donors can stay up to date on how their money is being spent and feel they have a personal stake in the lives of the victims,” says Trowbridge, describing the creation of an ongoing narrative between activists and NFS’ actions on the ground in places like Romania.
The country’s strategic geographic location – a crossroads between east and west – compounded with its porous borders after being admitted to the EU in 2007, make Romania an international hotspot for modern-day slavery. NFS’ operation sees victims as young as twelve years old trafficked to Romania from destinations as far-reaching as Honduras, Afghanistan, the Congo, and China. Last year alone, NFS’ Romania team intervened in nearly 140 trafficking cases, providing trafficking victims with shelter and aftercare services such as counseling, legal services, and educational and vocational training.
Causes users can take part in the re-integration process of these survivors through NFS’ new social media platform.
“We’re inviting a global community of givers to share in the triumphs we feel each day at the NFS headquarters when we see the impact of our efforts on the front lines,” says Trowbridge.
Causes will promote NFS’ work in Romania by sharing the project with their constituents who have already professed an interest in human rights and international development. These targeted individuals will then receive a message inviting them to contribute their time or money to the project. Those who accept will be sent a series of follow-up e-mails with updated information on the project and videos telling the stories of victims.
Trowbridge emphasizes that beyond the financial goals of the campaign ($50,000 for 50 trafficking victims) NFS’ partnership with Causes will have a ripple effect on how social movements operate.
“Our hope is that this is only the beginning,” says Trowbridge, “the first step of engagement for what will be a growing network of individuals mobilized to combat slavery on a global scale.”