On February 4th, we had our latest installment of the #SMRebelsHelp Tweet Chat. I am incredibly impressed with our young guest and the power of this awesome community to do social good.
(For those of you that don’t know, it is a weekly tweet chat that highlights and gives help and free exposure to startups, causes, charities and nonprofits. For more or to apply for #SMRebelsHelp click here.)
First, let me give you a rundown on the chat and the incredible response. Emma (@emmavermaak01) is an 11-year-old. Yes, I said an 11-year-old. She was a long time Girl Scout that decided to not only sell the crud out of Girl Scout Cookies, but also help our troops. Emma put together a site (with the help of her mom) to collect donations for Girl Scout cookies that would then be sent to troops around the world, via the Girl Scout organization.
This is where social good went extremely bad. The next day the Girl Scouts told Emma and her mother that they were not allowed to take donations online using PayPal. (Get the original story here: Social Media Fail – @GirlScouts Crush A Girl’s Social Good, Then Make It Worse!) This story was subsequently picked up by MSN, Forbes, CNET and many other blogs and news organizations, creating a firestorm of negative social media sentiment toward the cookie selling organization.
You’d think that the organization would have used the situation to help the troops, commend and help their now famous star scout to reach her goal, as well as create a plan to teach current skills to their ranks. So much for thinking.
Here comes the good again…
Often times good rises from the ashes, and this situation is no exception. Emma was so determined to do social good and touch our troops through cookies, she has moved from Girl Scout cookies to bigger and better, leaving the backward organization behind. According to Emma, she is completing her commitments with the Girl Scouts by working a booth that she signed up for, then she will be done with the Girl Scouts. When I spoke with Emma again, she said:
“I know people want to do good things, but they just didn’t get a chance. I have seen all these people coming forward that wanted to help and they have helped. I think that with all the bad stuff going on in the world, people shouldn’t stop someone from trying to do good.”
With that, Emma and her mom have created a new website that will enable Emma to pursue her goal of sending treats to our troops stationed abroad. The new site is called Treats2Troops.org, but replace Girl Scout Cookies with purchased Oreo cookies and coffee made possible through distributor connections from this story. What better cookie than Oreo, with their incredible social media understanding and presence, should replace Girl Scout cookies in this situation.
*Note – Though Oreo has not officially endorsed or helped with the campaign, they were so admired by us with their social presence that it was the selected brand that will be purchased for the troops.
What you should do right now!
1) Visit the Treats2Troops.org website and make a donation of any size.
2) Tweet or Post on Facebook this story and the Treats2Troops.org website, encouraging your connections to help.
I would like to commend Emma for not only her initiative and heart to make a difference through social media at such a young age, but her determination to see past negative reactions and push on. We need more 11-year-olds like her in this world. What a different place it would be if more of our youngsters were taught to care more about others, rather than the latest video game or Apple product. What a better world it would be if organizations that originally were created to prepare our youth for confidence, business and the real world, actually still did just that.
Go get em Emma!