November 30, 2011 09:00 ET Launches New Membership-Based Platform; Will Speak to Teens Using Text

To Celebrate Launch, Releases Study Tying Social Change to College Admissions

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 30, 2011) -, one of the largest U.S. organizations that helps teens take action on causes they care about, launches a new membership model today. The goal of membership is to build an army of doers 5 million strong by 2015. will communicate with its members primarily through text messaging, as 90% of teens have a cell phone by age 15 and the open rate for text messages is nearly 100%. Membership not only gives teens the chance to make a real impact on social change, but also receive cash grants and prizes for school and cause projects, swag teens actually want (like movie tickets), and access to invite-only opportunities like the chance to meet a celebrity. Any young person 25 and under can join by texting "JOIN" to 38383 or joining online at
(Normal text usage rates may apply.)

"While the message is primarily the same, the medium has definitely changed," says Nancy Lublin, CEO and chief old person. "With 72% of teens texting and 54% of them doing it on a daily basis, we want to beef up our SMS skills. Teens want things done their way, and we respect that. And, OMG, we just love text lingo!"

In addition, the organization is releasing data from their third annual Community Service and College Admissions Survey, officially sponsored by Chase, which is the only scientific report addressing how community service impacts the college admissions process. This year, the survey reports admission officers indicate long-term commitment to a cause or organization is very important.

Conducted in collaboration with Fastweb, the trusted scholarship and financial aid resource, the survey interviewed admissions officers from 32 of the top 50 colleges and universities listed in US News & World Report to identify the most important elements of a strong application. Some findings include:

  • "Good citizenship" is instrumental, a skill developed in service activities (76% of officers reported leadership plays a critical role in admissions decisions)
  • Specific language can be more effective: words like "passion" and "initiative," should be used instead of "required" and "brief"
  • Applicants should indicate their community service in the specific area of the application and elaborate in the essay
  • Community service ranked number four in importance of factors considered for admission -- above reference letters, interviews and legacy

"Community service is increasingly a strong force in the admissions process," says Kathryn Knight, Fastweb expert on college admissions and financial aid. "Teens throughout the country should approach all volunteer activities with thoughtful consideration. provides a new opportunity for teens to become part of an organization that is on the cutting edge of communicating with teens and imparts them with the means to act on social issues effectively."

The full Community Service and College Admissions Survey is published by and can be downloaded here.

"This launch is the biggest organizational change for since 2003," says Lublin. "By 2015, we'll have an army of social change agents 5 million strong who are being activated largely through mobile. Imagine the impact 5 million members will have on crisis relief and our most pressing social issues." has joined forces with media partners Alloy Media + Marketing, Fastweb, and ChaCha for the membership launch.

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