Frequent Flier Miles Given To Charity

This post is about how donating frequent flyer miles to charity keeps on giving back.

I was talking to my friend Molly on Facebook and I learned about something that inspired me and I wanted to share in it in the spirit of the new year and thinking differently. I posted about donating all the soaps I had gotten via my travels this past year to Chrysalis as part of my new year’s resolutions. They help put people back to work. If you are wondering how to give back or searching for New’s Resolutions– perhaps this blog post will inspire you and give you some new ideas….

Molly does amazing work in the world, but that takes money and there’s not always all the money required to do good work. She is the founder of Women With Drive:

Molly was able to attend the Business Innovation Factory (BIF7) conference in September, where she was able to connect with Willow Creek Ministries in Chicago. Their congregation of 20K has a cars ministry that helped Women With Drive to streamline their model of processing/intake of vehicles in order to provide not only cars to their applicants, and also revenue to fund the operations. Molly would have NEVER had a chance to meet with Willow Creek –at such high-level without the access to the conference. HERE’S THE POINT: Miles she used to get to the conference were donated by an executive of The HON Company in Muscatine

Molly also attended the NextGen:Charity Conference in New York City. There she was able to facilitate a roundtable with some amazing women, among them Tiffany Dufu, the VP of The White House Project. She was also able to talk with Craig Newmark

English: Photo of Craig Newmark.

Image via Wikipedia

about honing their “elevator pitch” and attracting funders (Craigslist and Craigconnects). Attending this conference she was able to talk to people that she probably would not have had the chance to and make the difference she makes in people’s lives.

HERE’S THE POINT: the miles for that trip were donated from two sources, Lou Imbriano, author of Winning the Customer and CEO of TrinityOne (@LouImbriano) and a board member of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine. The board member is the mother of her first and best childhood friend. (Leah died of a brain aneurysm NOV2010 and her mother donated Leah’s miles gained through her extensive travel for Sylvan Learning Centers). Even in death, her childhood friend helped her reach her goals.

HERE’S THE POINT, both trips would not have been impossible for me without the donation of miles. Their budget simply could not accommodate it.

So business travelers, if you are wondering what to do this New Years… What resolutions or donations you can make, then give this post some thought. And then take some action. Reach out to Molly — You’ll be glad you made a difference!

Molly M. Cantrell-Kraig
Founder, Women With Drive Foundation
129 W. Second Street
Muscatine, IA 52761
follow us on twitter! @WWDr1ve
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The Reason for Direct, Authentic and Genuine Communication in Social Networks: The Rogue Beer Tweet Ends in Donations

First I want to thank everyone who has been nudging me to write. Second, I want to thank Charlene Li, for writing Open Leadership. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link.

Open Leadership By Charlene Li

In Charlene’s Introduction she talks about the hiring of Wendy Harman in 2006 at the Red Cross as the organization’s first social media manager. She was hired because people were saying not so nice things about the Red Cross‘s response to Katrina and she was supposed to “make it stop.”

A manager might have done that. Managers manage tasks. They are given a job and they figure out how to get “that” task done. Leaders on the other hand, do something different. Leaders create followership. They create energy. They create opportunity where there wasn’t one before. In Charlene’s book, she quotes Wendy who said to her boss, “We have a huge opportunity here. There are people who want to help the Red Cross and who are online every day.”

Instead of just making the bad chatter stop, Wendy saw a huge opportunity to engage the large number of people who were saying very positive things about the Red Cross and who wanted to be involved and provide help with disaster relief. As a leader, Wendy knew that the best way to make her point was to show vs tell, and she created a 4″ binder full of examples of the benefits of social media that she circulated around the organization. And Wendy gathered the most relevant mentions from an average 400 comments everyday and sent them via email to the top leadership. And she went on to accomplish many outstanding things at the American Red Cross. The point is that Wendy is quite a leader.

Wendy Harman: Social Media Manager at The American Red Cross

We knew that then and we knew that most recently with the “beer” tweet. A Red Cross employee accidentally sent a tweet out about beer from the Red Cross Twitter account, rather than from her personal account. Something like… “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head‘s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”

What Would You Have Done? If you are a CEO or a CIO or a CTO  or a CMO and you are reading this… What action would you have taken? Here’s where the true test of leadership shows  whether you have a real understanding of social media or not. Wendy Harman responded in the most direct, authentic, genuine and human way a person could. She responded with humor. Wendy said, We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.

And guess what the reaction was? If you have been following the story you already know the answer.  Because of Wendy’s ability to handle this situation, the incident has inspired a slew of Web donations. Not only that, but both the brewer (@dogfish) and the social media tool (@Hootsuite) the Red Cross employee was using when she sent the rogue tweet –both also jumped in to drive donors to the charity.

The Red Cross blog read, While we’re a 130-year-old humanitarian organization, we’re also made of up human beings. Thanks for not only “getting” that but for turning our faux pas into something good.

What’s the message for leaders? Wendy could have pretended there was a machine malfunction. No one would have believed it. But she could have. She could have laid blame on her employee and admonished her. Made her wrong. She could have fired her. But she didn’t. She could have sent out a press release, all scrubbed and polished, with a lot of words, but not saying much, but she didn’t.

Instead Wendy was direct, authentic and genuine. She just tweeted the truth. That we are real people. That real people do real things. And we work long hours and we deal with a lot here and please forgive us when we sometimes do those real human things in public.  How can you not forgive that? We’ve all done that, been there — been human.

My point of view? There’s something different happening in business and government today. It’s not the same old, same old. It requires something different of each and every one of us. Some of us may not be ready for this. Some may not think its really happening. Some may rejoice that it’s finally here.

A Must Read: Cluetrain Manifesto

What is happening is that the voice, the voice of real, live human beings is finally being heard. In the words of the Cluetrain Manifesto, “Most corporations or governments only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies… Learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations or institutions convince us they are human — with lip service about “listening to customers or citizens.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.”

Want to learn first hand how the American Red Cross does it? You can do that on Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011 at UCLA  That’s a conference co-created and lead by @BeverlyMacy.

And you’ll also find more details on the Red Cross and the Haiti mobile donations in Beverly Macy’s book, The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing… over $35M dollars were donated!!

Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing by @BeverlyMacy

Here’s the link to the conference. Come on down.

What are you waiting for? A rogue tweet?


Here’s a shout out to Beverly, Wendy and Charlene who, as leaders, have given us shining examples of direct, authentic and genuine communication at its best. Thank you ladies! YOU ROCK!

Learn. Share. Grow. @drnatalie

And thanks to the coverage and insights on other sites: