“It’s Just Better To Be a .ORG”
Interview with Jake Brewer, Chief Digital Officer
Energy Action Coalition
As part of .ORG's efforts to highlight best practices in social media for the .ORG Community, we're pleased to bring you this interview with Jake Brewer. Well known to the .ORG Community worldwide, Jake is a grassroots, clean energy advocate and strategic communications professional.
Perhaps best known for his work as Director of Partnerships for Idealist.org, this past summer Jake joined the Energy Action Coalition as Chief Digital Officer, and you will find his regular blogs at the Huffington Post. We were excited to hear Jake's perspectives on the meaning of being a .ORG, and his thoughts on social media tools.
When the .ORG blog caught up with Jake, he was fresh off the campaign trail where his grassroots efforts with Energy Action's national campaign powervote.org inspired nearly 350,000 young people to take an action pledge for climate policy. No long range campaign, this outreach was completed in eleven weeks.
Given his incredible track record of online activism, Jake clued us in on what social media tools have been most successful for him in generating visibility, awareness, and value for his causes.
Jake explains, "For our organization and for the community at large, the open source Drupal Community has been very valuable. The ability to first get a .ORG domain name through a partner like Name.com, and build a web presence using free open source tools without a lot of technical knowledge is invaluable. Another great source has been salesforcefoundation.org, backed by salesforce.com, which has been extremely supportive of the .ORG Community. Salesforce allows any nonprofit 10 free site licenses to use their CRM platform and knowledge base which includes a contact manager and the ability for email systems and donation management to be handled in a simple, streamlined, and effective way. They are a big partner with many nonprofit organizations, and when you add in the great work of the folks at Democracy in Action and the free platforms available from Google for Nonprofits, you're left with a suite of of options that are allowing the .ORG community to thrive online."
Jake indicates that from a tools perspective, YouTube for nonprofits has been great. Over a year ago, Jake worked closely with the team in getting more nonprofits to use the new YouTube program and has been thrilled to watch thrive under its new manager. It's also been a great asset to Jake with the PowerVote.org campaign. "It was very valuable to be able to share our message and do training with our student organizers in 200 locations around the country. Professional development is available now. You can quickly and cheaply upload video and get it out to people, and let people know it is there."
Twitter is another very valuable tool in our communications arsenal, and Wordpress - though more of a platform than a tool - is also a very important free service for our online strategy . All of our sites are working on free, open source software, so that our money – the money we raise – can go into programs.
While many of us struggle to keep up with one blog or website, Jake manages five – yes five! – sites. And these are not just "little" sites.
- Powershift07.org, now transitioned to powershift09.org,
- Itsgettinghotinhere.org and
Written entirely by contributors under age 30, Itsgettinghotinhere.org has been recognized by Technorati as one of the top five climate change blogs in the world. With all the campaigns Jake is actively involved in and with so many resources at his disposal, .ORG was curious to know why he has chosen .ORG addresses time and time again.
"The .ORG Registry is fighting for nonprofits and social good organization with groups like ICANN and making sure that our voice is heard. And that, of course is extremely valuable. But beyond that, I'd say it all starts with the people that are online in our space. The .ORG web address signifies something different to those who will visit your site. It signifies who you are, but especially as an organization or a cause or an issue; it represents that you are trying to make the world a better place. Having a .ORG web address as opposed to a .COM or a country signifier, lets people know that you are doing something that is about good. Particularly in nonprofits and campaign related organizations – that's something that we don't want there to be any questions about." Jake says, "In many ways it comes back to that identity and that brand that you are able to associate with. There is very much a community around the idea of a .ORG. People make that distinction about being a .ORG. There is a pride about the organizations and the employees in this community, and the collective efforts we're making to turn good ideas into effective and responsible reality so the world is a little bit better every day.
“It's just better to be a .ORG, and we feel it's valuable to be associated with that."
Better to be a .ORG. What more could we say?
What did you think about Jake's comments? Leave a comment and share. We want to hear from you!