One of the best things

about being connected to other people in social media is when you get the chance to help them out. And when you get the chance to help them help other people, there is really nothing like it.

So I’m very glad to help my friends at CustomScoop (I’m a former, not current client) spread the word about something very, very good they are doing. After all, they helped me spread the word about the Blue Key campaign. It’s the least I can do in return.

Effective this past Monday, CustomScoop announced that, for one year, it will offer free media monitoring services to the first 100 local chapters of the Red Cross or other bona fide disaster relief organizations. There is no catch here. All you have to do is to sign up.

As my friend Chip Griffin put it on the CustomScoop blog (and thank you, Jen Zingsheim for alerting me to this):

Disasters create enormous demands for information for responders. Media coverage, offers of help, press releases, government statements and even helpful blog posts all cascade in, but can be overlooked when managing a crisis.  CustomScoop captures critical information and arranges it in a way so disaster responders can focus on the most important information they need – and can do so 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We know that in the whole scheme of things, this contribution is but a small part of the overall effort needed to help those suffering from tornadoes, flooding, tsunamis, and other disasters. Nevertheless, we want to do our own unique part in attempting to make a difference.

It is important to note that these free accounts are not limited to specific geographic areas. We know that the next disaster may take place tomorrow in a location nobody would predict. By making the CustomScoop service available at no cost to the local communicators who must act quickly in the midst of a crisis, we hope to make their jobs just a little bit easier.

You’re probably wondering what a “local” disaster relief organization is.

When I asked, Chip said, “We want to help groups that can’t afford media monitoring services on their own. But we’re not applying a specific size/geography test. Our goal is to be inclusive; mostly we just want to make sure it’s a legitimate group that is providing direct actual help to people in need from disasters.”

I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, if I were you. If you are a communicator working for a disaster relief organization, I suggest you hotfoot it pronto to the sign-up page. Being a former customer of CustomScoop, I can tell you that their service is excellent.

Disasters are bad enough. Having to do your job without the right tools during one is even worse. Take CustomScoop up on its offer. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Image: Meagan via Flickr, CC 2.0