How Change Agents Supported Sandy Relief in New York

You don’t need a reminder of how hurricane Sandy blasted New York and New Jersey with unmatched mayhem last week.

As many as 40,000 New Yorkers are now homeless and about half of these people lived in public housing. It’s during these moments that the free agents of change really shine!

Here are three that shone this past week:

Mark Horvath of Invisible People

Mark Horvath founded Invisible People, a powerfully networked organization dedicated to shining a light on the issue of homelessness in the United States.

Using the power of his network on Twitter, Mark was able to help organize people near New York to bring three generators to NYC Rescue Mission.

Obviously Mark didn’t do it alone. People in his network who were paying attention tapped their resources to coordinate the delivery of these 3 generators:

Later, Mark blasted out another Tweet to get food and meals to the homeless for Community Access. Others in his network, like Chris Brogan, retweeted Mark’s request:

In his HuffPost article detailing these events, Mark writes:

“Please know I only played a very small part in all this. I am simply the guy who happened to look at Twitter at just the right time and I just happen to have built a network of homeless service providers. The real heroes are Brad Reed and Alan Thornton, two men that gave their all to help others. Shaun King and Angela Baldwin also gave their all to make things happen for others.”

Chris Brogan and Jacqueline Carly

This past Sunday, I helped with a supply run from Boston to NYC that was initiated by Jacqueline Carly last Friday on Google Plus:

Chris Brogan (Jackie’s better half) tweeted her idea and then eventually wrote a blog post to amplify attention around Jackie’s supply run. He also shared his post on Google Plus, causing a fair amount of ripples:

People who follow Chris on Twitter and Google plus, and people who subscribe to his e-mail list (me) came forward with venue connections, volunteers, and three truckloads of supplies. On Monday at 3pm, everyone met in Cambridge to consolidate supplies, and send Jackie on her way.

And of course Chris followed up thanking people who helped:

Do You Know Who Your Free Agents Are?

Mark, Chris and Jackie are perfect examples of free agents who make direct impacts on causes without waiting for an organization. Your job is not to control or co-opt these agents but to support their efforts in every way you can. Or at least get out of the way.