#thankful4home: Raising Awareness Around Homelessness | Beth's Blog

#thankful4home: Raising Awareness Around Homelessness



#thankful4home: A Lesson in Project Based Learning & Gratitude guest post by Lisa Colton

This fall and winter I’m working with a group of organizations in Chicago to raise awareness around homelessness, alongside screenings of the @Home documentary that features portraits of this issue through the eyes of activist Mark Horvath.  Through an impact-producing grant from the Polk Bros Foundation, we’re helping these local organizations raise awareness of their work and mature their online networks. The Boot Camp includes training, coaching, and project based learning.

An awareness campaign was the perfect opportunity for project-based learning for this group of organizations.   While their skills, networks and social media maturity ranged widely, everyone could participate and collaboration would be the rising tide that lifts all boats.  Both the cohort of Chicago-based organizations, and the field as a whole could benefit from raising awareness.

As we designed the campaign, we married up some key factors that would both influence its success, while helping the organizations understand why it’s beneficial for them.

  1. The Templeton Foundation recently published a study stating that those who are grateful on average give 20% more, and they feel more committed to their local communities.  A campaign to help people feel grateful would be a gain for these organizations and the cause.
  2. Thanksgiving would be an opportune focal point to build on, when people’s calendars and media in general encourage feeling thankful and grateful. The Tweetsgiving campaigns organized by Epic Change specifically inspired us.
  3. Further, with #GivingTuesday around the corner, we could leverage thankfulness into donations.
  4. Live screenings of the documentary in Chicago, and the public television broadcast premiere on WTTW-Chicago on December 17th add momentum to the awareness campaign, and awareness may drive people to watch the film, further educating them about the issues.

Thus, we launched the #thankful4home campaign, encouraging people to reflect on why they are thankful for their home, and to remember those in less secure situations — and to hopefully donate as well.  The cohort organizations in Chicago are learning firsthand what a hashtag is, how to use them intentionally, adding more value in the content they create, and how their posts invite supporters to take action.

You can participate too!  Why are you thankful for home? Warmth on cold nights?  Safety and security when you close the door behind you?  Being with family?  What does “home” mean to you?

Share your gratitude in Twitter or Facebook (or any other platform you wish), and tag it #thankful4home.   And invite others to reflect on their gratefulness this Thanksgiving week and holiday season.  Are you volunteering or donating this holiday season? Mention it and encourage others to do the same to help those who could use our support.

This project based learning opportunity is already paying dividends for the participating organizations, and we hope it will help to create a wave of gratitude and generosity this Thanksgiving season.  I’m #thankful4home.  Are you?  Come participate!

Lisa Colton is the Chief Learning Officer for See3 Communications and the Founder and President of Darim Online, and the “tour guide” for the Impact Producing Social Media Boot Camp for Homeless Organizations.

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