Last night I read Mitch Joel's post entitled "Keynote for a Cause," amplifying an idea originated by Joseph Jaffe. They're both auctioning off a keynote presentation with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Red Cross Haiti Relief. I was excited when I saw this because it's a really smart and innovative way for them to use their notoreity and knowledge to provide tangible help.
That got me thinking about what I could do. While I don't command tens of thousands of dollars for a keynote like those guys, I have presented at a number of social media conferences where people have paid tens or even hundreds of dollars.
I've already promised in a comment on Mitch's blog to organize a B2B-focused social media workshop for a company in the Triangle area of North Carolina that contributes. I still need to work out the details but the tentative plan is for a half-day onsite workshop to go to the highest bidder, with a reserve of $1000.
I contacted a few local social media luminaries last night around midnight and I've already gotten support and buy-in from Wayne Sutton, Jeff Cohen, Brian McDonald and Mur Lafferty. So I'm pretty confident we'll be able to put together a practical and valuable workshop. Once we've worked out the details I'll post again and get the bidding started.
So, what can you do?
What area of your expertise would someone be willing to pay for? Maybe you're not a keynote speaker, but if you're reading this blog it's safe to assume you're more knowledgeable and interested in social media than most of your friends or colleagues.
How about the next time one of your friends emails you to ask about Facebook privacy settings, write back and tell them you'll answer if they make a $10 donation to Haiti relief. The next time a colleague stops by your desk to ask why they should care about Twitter, hit 'em up for a donation. Put up a sign in the break room offering to do a LinkedIn lunch and learn session, admission: one donation.
If you have other ideas, please leave them in the comments. If you do something, let me know, too. Your ideas and actions will inspire others.
You don't have to be an expert; you just need to share what you know. It's a quick and easy way not only to raise awareness but to turn your knowledge into help for people who truly need it.