Digitaria draws volunteers aiding Ugandan children

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Digitaria has created a Web site for Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for children in civil war-torn Uganda.

The site at www.invisiblechildren.com targets the millennial generation through rich media and calls to volunteer and donate. Though weekly contributions through the site total $8,000, it promotes donations of time more than money.

"Digitaria has helped us identify ways to engage this demographic by leveraging rich media to visually inspire young visitors, ultimately helping us to gain awareness by inspiring the next generation of individuals to take action," said Jason Russell, president of Invisible Children, San Diego.

The digital marketing and technology company began working with Invisible Children pro bono after viewing "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," filmed in Uganda by the organization's founders. Based on the initial design of the site, Digitaria is now the Web service provider for the nonprofit. Harnessing online video, the media-driven site aims to affect the 571,000 daily viewers just as the film affected Digitaria.

While many nonprofit sites evoke pity for their cause, Invisible Children promotes a sense of excitement surrounding its mission. Volunteers embark on a one-year service trip to aid the organization's employment efforts in Uganda.

More locally, volunteers participate in events like the Global Night Commute in which people in 100 cities worldwide slept outside to reflect the conditions in which Ugandan children sleep nightly. These events as well as others are documented on the site in video.

To further appeal to the millennial generation, Invisible Children and Digitaria do not include advertising on the site. Instead, they rely on contributions from supporters. The group has received donations ranging from a few cents from children selling lemonade to $10,000 corporate donations.

Invisible Children has a steady work force of 100 people, mostly volunteers. It has established a volunteer center in Uganda, has put 500 children through school and employs 15 mentors in Uganda. The group is working with Digitaria to establish a Web-based pen pal system between U.S. and Ugandan students.

"Invisible Children has inspired us on so many levels, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing organization," said Daniel Khabie, CEO of Digitaria, San Diego.

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