How a Facebook Event Transformed an (Environmental) Organization

October 15, 2009

Source: Community Organizer 2.0


This is an in-depth analysis about how one organization (Sviva Israel) used Facebook Events for their " Eco Lights Campaign" to tie online and offline organizing, and how it transformed the organization in the process. Sviva Israel utilizes community organizing techniques and social media to stimulate real world action and create environmental awareness. This is one group that has mastered the art of the Facebook Event.


Sviva Israel began as the dream of Carmi Wisemon, a veteran environmental activist, and his wife Tamar, a journalist and marketing director. They wanted to connect Jewish environmental education with youth, educators, and their families to lower environmental impact. Soon after establishing their nonprofit, they created the Facebook Group Israel, Judaism, and the Environment. Sviva Israel’s first big social media activity was a Facebook Event in December 2007 that quickly became known as “Eco Lights.”


Eco Lights is an online Facebook Event that combines the real-world activity of picking up trash with online lessons relating Judaism to the environment. During the campaign, participants pledge to pick up daily the number of pieces of trash that corresponds to the numbered day of Hannukah. For example, on the fourth day of Hannukah, Eco Lights participants would pick up four pieces of trash. Additionally during Hannukah, Eco Lights participants receive a daily newsletter with writings by worldwide Jewish leaders connecting Judaism and environmental awareness, which are also updated daily on the Event page.


During the first Eco Lights Event 116 event participants confirmed “yes,” and 50 said “maybe”. After the event, they asked everyone to join the Facebook Group, and sign up for their newsletter.


In 2008, participation grew 855% (at a minimum). The event also created worldwide awareness of Sviva Israel, and the beginning of the organization’s real growth.


In 2009, Sviva predicts a growth of 150% for Eco Lights. They plan to develop a robust web page for the campaign, use twitter vigorously, tie in Flickr, and tap into sponsorships and more partners. They also want to create additional live, localized on-site events tied into the global online campaign.

Updated: Oct. 21, 2009