Build. Community Is Easy, Saving the World Is Hard

A session at SXSW Interactive 2012

Friday 9th March, 2012

5:00pm to 6:00pm (CST)

Passion for social issues has been an American ideal from the start. For hundreds of years, foundations and nonprofit organizations have been forming groups to provide support, comfort, and solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Dialogue and subsequent action happens when dedicated people rally together in communities - live or virtual - to impact health issues, advance social causes, and make the world a better place.

With the ever-changing landscape of new digital community-building platforms, these socially responsible groups are taking advantage of new technologies to reach and engage their audiences. The panel will uncover the organizational strategies of community building, maintaining engagement over time, and uniting a group of people who may have never met face-to-face. From helping people quit tobacco to establishing support groups for rare diseases and supporting healthy lifestyles, each organization approaches community engagement in a unique way. Come hear the successes and set backs of community building that strive to bring social issues to the forefront and address them in modern ways.

About the speakers

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Kesah Schmitt

Project Mgr/Functional Consultant, Beaconfire Consulting

Kesah is a web consultant at Beaconfire, a consulting firm that helps nonprofits design and build their Web sites and online marketing programs. There she provides functional and technical expertise and manages a variety of projects including full lifecycle site builds and redesigns, software assessments/selections, and online marketing initiatives. She has worked with clients such as the American Diabetes Association, the American Legacy Foundation, and Ocean Conservancy. Prior to Beaconfire, Kesah worked in web development at Soundpath Conferencing and has provided consulting services for both Save the Children and Office Desktop. Kesah has helped several nonprofits assess and build their online communities, both in regards to evaluating and selecting a technology platform and building and growing an online presence. She has worked with multiple community platforms and has a superior understanding of how Internet technology can transform a nonprofit.

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Mark Himmelsbach

SVP, Director of Digital Strategy North America, BBDO

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Colin Wallis

Dir of Advancement, LIVESTRONG

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Dave Dobbins

COO, Legacy

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Scott Orn

Co-founder, Ben's Friends


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34 attendees

  • Lucas Smolic
  • barrett michael
  • Rebecca Sherrill
  • Bill DeRouchey
  • Brett Sinn
  • carolyn hassan
  • chloe gottlieb
  • colinwallis
  • Eric Asche
  • Mark Himmelsbach
  • Janice Suter
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Jean-Paul Horn
  • Jeb Ory
  • jeremydaly
  • Joëlle Eid
  • Kesah
  • Leslie Turley
  • lsoules
  • Margit Detweiler
  • Mark Leta
  • Carmen A. Medina
  • Penny Evans
  • Ross Gebhart
  • Sarita Bhatt
  • Scott Orn
  • Shawn Cheng
  • Oscar Llarena
  • Jordan Hirsch
  • Garrett Tillman
  • erich taubert
  • Tom Limongello
  • Nataliya Yakushev
  • Nick Vlku

13 trackers

  • Aimee Woodall
  • Andrea Genevieve
  • angus wolf
  • Christopher Allen
  • Corey Messom
  • Edmund Cape
  • Jeremy Caudle
  • Mandy Shunk
  • Mercedes Gray
  • Steve Myers
  • Jason Lewis
  • Rosemary O'Neill
  • Susan Raybuck

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Time 5:00pm6:00pm CST

Date Fri 9th March 2012


Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

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