(Ed. Note: This is the first of six stories about innovative ways to give back during this holiday season. Check back tomorrow and the rest of the week for the next installments.)
What it is: The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to protecting ecologically important areas. The organization’s social media strategy is simple: find where people spend time online and engage them in those places. "Nobody wants another password, network or profile," says Jonathon Colman, social media strategist for the Conservancy. One example of how the Conservancy is building an online audience is the Facebook application (Lil) Green Patch. Users grow a virtual garden and send plants to one another. Based on the number of plants received by members of the community, sponsors contribute money to save the rainforests in Costa Rica — every ten plants received translate into one square foot of rainforest for The Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre program. So far, the application ranks amongst the top five most popular applications on Facebook — it currently has about 6.3 million users — and has saved over 70 million square feet of rainforest.
What you can do: Get on Facebook, install the application, and with a few clicks of your mouse you're on your way to preserving the foliage in Costa Rica.Add your own suggestions for innovative ways to give in the comments below.