Service Nation, the campaign to expand support for national service, has launched a new community building tool and relationship with Facebook.
In preparation for September 11th, the National Day of Service and Remembrance, Service Nation has launched a new social networking site, MyNation to help connect the people who care about national service — future, current, and former corps members; program staff; and people who generally think national service is good policy and practice.
The new site allows you to:
- Introduce yourself to the community through your profile — explain your connection to the service community and what inspires you to be involved.
- Create, list, and register for events (for example, service projects that take place on Sept. 11th, or other days), track RSVPs, and communicate with attendees.
- Create a new group within MyNation — for example for your own service corps, or people in your town. (I just created one for national service fans in Oregon—but it’s not showing up in the search results yet.) Group members can message each other and also post to the group’s blog.
- Send and receive messages with others in the network.
- Search for other people in the network.
- Join email-writing campaigns that make it easy to contact your elected representatives in Washington, DC.
- Connect to Facebook and easily invite your friends from Facebook to connect with you at MyNation, too, widening the circle of the Service Nation movement. (Looks like you’re limited to invite four friends per day.)
The new site is part of implementing a half-million dollar grant from Facebook. Service Nation also has an active Facebook fan page with over 20,000 members.
According to the statement announcing the new site, and the grant from Facebook:
To kick-start the launch of MyNation and leverage the Facebook grant, ServiceNation is organizing a number of National Day of Service and Remembrance events in communities around the country on September 11. A commemoration concert co-hosted by partner MyGoodDeed will feature prominent entertainers, public officials, and members of the September 11 and service communities. Visit ServiceNation.org to find or organize service events in your community.
The current effort to increase the volunteerism and civic engagement through social networks may be perfect timing. According to a report issued last week America’s Civic Health Index of 2009, 72 percent of people in the United States reported cutting back on volunteering and other civic engagement activities during the past year, during the same period as the economic downturn. While the Corporation for National and Volunteer Service study, Volunteering in America, found in July that the total number of volunteers has increased slightly — and applications to AmeriCorps programs and Peace Corps have exploded — the amount of time people have to devote to episodic volunteerism may have decreased as other demands on time and finances have increased.
Tying volunteerism to social ties may make it easier for people to learn about opportunities to get involved. One aim of the new site’s creators is allow you to easily update your Facebook profile with your MyNation activity, for example, so friends on Facebook can conveniently learn about events you’re volunteering for.
The Peace Corps community may also be interested in Connected Peace Corps, the social network for future, current and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, friends and family members, and agency staff.
Have you joined the new networking site MyNation? What do you think?