Berlin, Berlin…

I’ve been in Berlin for the past two days for the Global Online Giving Marketplaces annual meet-up. I’d been invited to come and talk about ‘all things digital’, focused mainly on my work with G20Voice, Global Cool and WCAFI, as well as suggesting ways to interact better with a younger digital generation.

Last night I met some of them at the Betterplace loft, which is ‘hosting’ the session this year. I chatted to some of the founders, and was really impressed with how technically switched on they were. They told me how they act almost like a ‘dating site’ for donators and charities. Anyone can join the network, submit a request for money or support and wait to see who responds. Other people can go to their profile to verify that the user is kosher, and provide a ‘recommendation of trust’. Fantastic. The team is also coming to the UK soon to talk to ‘some people’ about how to gather up people’s unused loyalty card points, and turn them into something valuable for those in need. It could work really well, I never use mine.

This morning for the main panel session I used Prezi for the first time, which went very well (after some initial issues with photos becoming very pixelated, and a few WiFi hitches at the location).

I talked about ways in which the digital space alleviated philanthropy (easier to get involved, you can see where your money is going, there’s an opportunity for people to get involved that have never been able to and it closes gaps between ‘politics’ and ‘public’). Then outlined a few trends, inspired by Adam Kleinberg’s megatrends piece on iMedia Connection (mass collaboration, globalisation, a sense of urgency to fix the planet’s problems, the ‘now’ mentality and a mistrust in corporations). I also covered how I think marketplaces (or anyone for that matter) can reach out to a ‘new digital generation’ (its not ‘where’, it’s ‘who’, give people the tools to do it themselves and set your content free).

Finally, I rounded off with a quick overview of how blogging has changed the coverage of large political summits (before nothing was in real-time, everything was broadcast one-way, languages were restricted to the countries accredited to send journalists and coverage was generally very policy heavy). I also referenced that I didn’t think seasonal campaigns worked well when trying to build a relationship with a blogger, and that there’s a need for a single contact to manage most projects (or a community manager perhaps).

On the panel with me was Daniel Grotzinger from controversial ‘become a homeless person’ game, who sparked a lively debate about the ethics of his company. At first, he was just trying to build a games company, but it has steadily become more about making people aware of their actions. It drew attention to the issue, and now both the company and its users donate money to relevant charities.

Reinier Evers, the founder of was also very interesting, talking about ‘Generation G’ – or generation giving. He spoke at length about the concept of ‘status’ being so front of mind when people donate, which I think is actually something marketplaces need to capitalise.

All in all, it’s been a really insightful day. Berlin is beautiful and cosmopolitan (it was snowing when I landed), but maybe next time I’ll have more of a chance to look around!

One response to “Berlin, Berlin…”

  1. todd lucier

    Nice post Vikki. I think the key issue is that technology is making giving much more accessible to many more people. We don’t have to wait for a flyer to arrive in the mail, or a knock at the door, there are people in our online communities doing great things and we want to be involved helping those in our community who request assistance.

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