3 Ways Social Media is Helping the Gulf

Social networks and geolocation services have proven to be immensely useful tools in the service of non-profits and fundraising campaigns. We’ve compiled a list of three ways that social media is being used to raise funds and awareness for the people and environment affected by the Gulf oil spill, and each illustrates the power of community, marketing, and communication that social media is known for.


If you’re a foodie, you know Foodbuzz – reaching 10 million food lovers a month, it is the largest social network of its kind. It has over 2 million different food-related blog posts in its database and exclusive partnerships with more than 3,500 food bloggers of all culinary tastes.
Having spent his childhood fishing on the Gulf Coast, Ben Dehan, the founder of Foodbuzz, is currently running a fundraising event on the Foodbuzz network aimed at supporting the fishermen and their families affected by the oil spill. Foodbuzz runs a monthly program which sees 24 bloggers receive a $250 stipend from the network to host and blog about a food event. This month, they will ask those 24 select bloggers to host a Gulf-inspired meal or party, and donate the $250 to the Greater New Orleans Foundation, along with an additional $25 for up to 100 other bloggers who host Gulf-related events. This is a great campaign that highlights the cuisine and culture unique to the Gulf area, while raising money to help those affected at the same time.


Earthjustice is a non-profit environmental organization that focuses on environmental law “because the Earth needs a good lawyer”. It has a broad reach, covering all environmental and climate issues from the sea to the air, including fighting for humans’ right to live in a healthy environment.
The Earthjustice Gulf oil spill campaign has been getting a lot of press lately, largely due to its innovative use of Foursquare to raise money. In the San Francisco area, BART transit riders have been seeing dozens of campaign posters that cover a variety of causes, one of which is aimed at stopping unsafe oil drilling in an effort to prevent any future catastrophic spills. Each time a transit rider checks in at one of the ads, $10 is donated to that ad’s cause. As of July 12th, the ads have generated over 500 check-ins on Foursquare, translating to $5000 raised for environmental causes.


Crowdrise is a social network for independent fundraisers to come together and help each other reach their goals. We took an in-depth look into Crowdrise’s features and successes shortly after their launch back in May, and since then the network has grown.
Crowdrise has created a Gulf Coast Oil Spill Relief page that compiles all of the Crowdrise charities that are currently raising money for the Gulf. It gives some background information on the spill, and asks that visitors donate $10 – and spread the word to five friends to raise awareness and hopefully more funds as well. As of today, these charities have raised a combined $14,619 for the cause.

There are many other campaigns out there that are working to help the Gulf. We discussed Souther Comfort’s Facebook fundraising efforts and a thorough list of ways that social media users could track the spill before it was stemmed. Do you know any other ways that social media is being used to benefit the Gulf?