By Kentaro Toyama, Humanosphere board member and Geek Heretic.
Imagine if with just one word, you could help make the world a better place – a place where news stories about the poor and disenfranchised get more attention than celebrity tweets or gridlocked politics.
Imagine if you could use your voice to help deliver life-sustaining grants and donations to a nonprofit news site – rescuing it from the daily race to raise operational funds. Here is one such organization. Look at the sad look on its logo face. Jeez. Does it even know it’s the holidays?
You have the power to help, with just a few words. Humanosphere is one of the few such news sites, having tragically lost its parents, KPLU and NPR, in 2013. It’s still too young to have a self-sustaining business model. It has no CFO, no development director, not even a coffee machine. It shares offices with its web services provider, who works at a heroically discounted rate.
Yet, Humanosphere charges on, hopeful, bright-eyed and embracing its independence. In fewer than two years, it has grown readership to more than 33,000 unique visitors per month. In topics related to aid and development, its reporting is frequently listed among the daily top hits on Google News. Humanosphere leads on the humanitarian news front, which is why it often captures exclusive interviews with leading luminaries in global development like World Bank President Jim Yong Kim or the gang at the Gates Foundation. And on top of it all, it has a three-year plan to become increasingly self-sustaining.
But what, you ask, can just one or two words from you do to help? Oh, so much more than you can imagine! With your help, Humanosphere will flourish and expand its coverage of foreign aid, global health and international development with even more depth and breadth.
All we ask – and we ask only if you find Humanosphere worthy of your support – is for you to write an e-mail introducing executive director and editor-in-chief, Tom Paulson (firstname.lastname@example.org), to a colleague who might have the means to sponsor Humanosphere. Tell them how you, like so many other readers, love Humanosphere for its unique, irreverent, daily coverage of the aid and development community. Your colleague could be a program officer hoping to increase awareness of issues in Central America, or of global slavery, or about the land grabs in Africa. It could be someone in charge of communications and media relations. It could be a human resources recruiter hoping to find an inexpensive way to identify candidates for that hard-to-fill position. Or, well, it could a deep-pocketed philanthropist who understands the value of public dialogue to affect positive change.
Just 365 words is all it takes. (Actually, it would probably take a lot less for an introduction e-mail, but that seemed a nice number.) That’s an amount you could easily save by leaving out the “Hello” or “Regards” from just one e-mail a day. One word a day – just 30 words per month – is all it takes to help Humanosphere thrive and attain its full potential. Please reach out to your keyboard and type an email today. And if you feel like helping directly, in addition to referring others, go here.
Kentaro Toyama is adjunct associate professor at University of Michigan’s School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. Toyama co-founded Microsoft Research India and is working on a book, due out next spring, entitled Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology.