‘We Can End This’ hits Mashable today, SXSW Interactive next week

South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive's official cause officially kicked off this morning with a website launch and frontpage promotion on Mashable.com. We Can End This, an effort to end hunger in America, is challenging people to take immediate action with a digital can drive on its website and participation in it's Cause Lab at SXSW.

South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive‘s official cause officially kicked off this morning with a website launch and frontpage promotion on Mashable.com. We Can End This, an effort to end hunger in America, is challenging people to take immediate action with a digital can drive on its website and participation in it’s Cause Lab at SXSW.

After 15 days, the top 10 states with the most digital cans of food will each win a truck-load of real food, an act of charity that carries over from an effort at last year’s SXSW, Pledge to End Hunger. This year’s cause, however, differs in scope – it’s focus on the problem of hunger effecting all in U.S. versus only its effect on children – and length. Last year, the cause was only promoted the weeks before and during SXSW, while this year, it will be a year-long effort.

Here’s the full line up of the cause, from CauseShift.com:

Launch (March -April) Digital Can Drive – On March 4, we will kick off a 15-day Digital Can Drive that rewards people to commit to take action: Give, Share, and Volunteer. Every person who commits to take action will be able donate a digital can of food to the state of his or her choice. On March 18, the Top 10 States with the most digital cans of food will each win a semi-truckload of real food.

Cause Lab – From March 15–April 15, we are inviting disrupters and innovators to lend their talents to solve three main challenges facing our movement:

  1. How do we design the hunger-free community?
  2. How do we humanize hunger using data?
  3. How do we accelerate local action?

The Cause Lab will launch on Monday, March 15, during an in-person event as part of the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Follow along and participate online that day and up until April 15 thru the link on www.wecanendthis.com/sxsw. Using the money we raise thru the Digital Can Drive, we will choose the best ideas to implement in partnership with our charity partners.

Hunger Shift solutions series – We are inviting forward thinking business, government, and civic innovators to share their thoughts and ideas on how we can end hunger in America. We will ask them to offer specific solutions to specific issues and challenges. This three-part e-book series will be released over the course of 2010 free of charge.

Delivery (April-August): Working with Feeding America, Share Our Strength, and our corporate partners, we will deliver ten semi-truckloads of food donated by Tyson Foods over a five-month period. Each time, we will showcase hunger agencies efforts in the staee, illustrate the challenges and dynamics in these communities, and deliver enough food to provide 150,000 meals. In total, we will deliver 1.5 million meals during one of the times of greatest need – the summer months.

In addition to it being neat to see SXSW take a lead for events embracing cause marketing, Omaha has something to be very proud of in the mix, as well. Scott Henderson, an Omaha native and 1995 graduate of University of Nebraska–Lincoln, is the lead organizer of the effort. Teaming up with SXSW Event Director Hugh Forrest and his staff, Scott’s been working on this project for past nine months. He currently lives in Indianapolis, but later this year he’ll be moving to Boston to establish his own cause marketing firm, CauseShift.

Check out my conversation with Scott below in which we discuss We Can End This in-depth and touch on his thoughts around effective cause marketing, his Nebraska heritage, and his top recommendation for SXSW. And if you’re fortunate enough to make the trip to Austin next week, be sure to strike up a conversation with Scott when you see him. He’s promised us he’ll be attending The Silicon Prairie Party on Sunday, March 14, or you can follow his every move on Twitter at twitter.com/scottyhendo to track him down.

To view my interview with Scott in it’s entirety (16:35), visit viddler.com/explore/siliconprairie/videos/320.

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