Operation: Kid Equip Uses Social Media to Network for Supporters

Michigan-Based Charity Takes “Who You Know” Adage to Heart by Using Second Life and Causes on Facebook to Create Awareness of Organization’s Mission.

Royal Oak, MI, November 16, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Operation: Kid Equip <http://www.operationkidequip.org>, a grassroots nonprofit program, is realizing the benefits of utilizing social media to expand the organization’s support network and increase donor base. The initial electronic development focus for Operation: Kid Equip, whose mission is to serve the educational needs of children by providing free school supply kits to students from low-income families, has been Second Lifeâ and Causes, built on the Facebook® platform. The nonprofit initiated a presence within Second Life in March 2008 and recently became part of Causes.

"Internet-based social marketing allow Operation: Kid Equip to reach out to a global audience to promote our mission, bring awareness to or organization’s needs and those we help, while acquiring new supporters we might not normally be able to reach by leveraging these very cost-effective methods," stated Menachem Kniespeck, Operation: Kid Equip Co-Founder. “We were very successful with our efforts in Second Life and hope to carry that same success into other social media.”

Mike McFall, Operation: Kid Equip Co-Founder observed that social media marketing has enabled the organization to extend its reach well beyond Michigan and stated, "This exciting interactive approach has allowed us to partner with other groups and organizations we would not have normally discovered or made meaningful connections. We have also connected with teachers in other states who have expressed need for school supply kits, seeking assistance from Operation: Kid Equip."

Operation: Kid Equip is actively seeking to increase its reach even further using the Causes application on Facebook. For example, the organization has set a goal of growing to 12,500 Cause members, which is one member for every child they hope to serve over the next 5 years. The organization has also recently started a ‘friend-raiser’ contest on their Facebook Cause page. Interested parties are encouraged to add Operation: Kid Equip to their Causes profile on Facebook (<http://apps.facebook.com/causes/123224>). Prospective supporters may also join the Operation: Kid Equip group in Second Life by visiting the Chesed simulator (sim) location or searching for the ‘Friends of OKE Group’. Outside of these two mediums, Internet users can sign up for the nonprofit’s e-newsletter through their website; participate in local fundraising events; or, contact Kniespeck or McFall regarding participation opportunities for businesses, groups and schools.

Kniespeck explained the desire for increased momentum behind the nonprofit’s social media initiative, "In terms of fundraising, we are able to reach into financial resources we cannot within the communities we serve. The economies are fluctuating here in Michigan and across many parts of the United States. By harnessing the broad base of the Internet, we hope to bring some kind of balance to what our current local economy is experiencing."

Second Life is an online, Internet-based virtual world with over 15 million members worldwide. The platform allows subscribers to create virtual locations, providing communities for interaction and to share common interests.

The Causes Application on the Facebook Platform was created by Project Agape, which was co-founded by Sean Parker and Joe Green. Parker is also managing partner at The Founders Fund and previously co-founded Napster, Plaxo, and Facebook. Green possesses a grassroots background obtained through work on city, state and presidential political campaigns.

For more information, please contact Menachem Kniespeck or Mike McFall, visit the Operation: Kid Equip website, link to us through the Causes network on Facebook, or join the Operation: Kid Equip social network in-world through Second Life.

Operation: Kid Equip website: http://www.operationkidequip.org

OKE in Second Life: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chesed/104/120/30

Operation: Kid Equip Causes on Facebook page: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/123224

The mission of Operation: Kid Equip is to serve the educational needs of children by providing free school supply kits to students from low-income families. Envisioned by its founders in late 2007, Operation: Kid Equip is a Michigan-based program of Congressional District Programs, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity. Operation Kid Equip, P.O. Box 364, Royal Oak, Michigan 48068-0364, (800) 948-3169

Second Life® and Linden Lab® are trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. Operation: Kid Equip is not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the social media organizations listed in this release.

Operation: Kid Equip
Menachem Kniespeck