Entries Tagged as 'Nonprofit'

CauseWorld Helps Nonprofits Through Social Networking

Ran across a nice little mobile app called CauseWorld. Very cool, since the idea is that large corporations have to donate money towards causes help with philanthropic needs (and write it off on their corporate taxes) and this allows people to shift the money towards causes that they believe in.

It’s somewhat like Foursquare, which is why it’s fun since you basically have to go into stores along the way whenever you have your phone with you, and check in at the store. You only get 10 karma per store, and one check-in per day per store. The beauty of it is that for every 10 karma you collect, you can basically use that to donate towards certain types of good things in the world. Perhaps it’s providing books for learning, or clean water, or even planting a tree, but you get to decide where your karma goes.

Best of all? It costs nothing. Basically just a little fun while you’re out. And it helps allocate the corporate funds towards something you care about. It’s almost like you getting to say what you want to say as a shareholder of a company. And we all know that unless you’re a large stakes player in the stock, most shareholders don’t get to do anything with their little piece of the pie.

In my opinion, this has probably been one of the more fascinating apps that I’ve been able to get a hold of on my Droid. It comes on both Android and iPhone and I’m sure more mobile apps to come. Hopefully there will be a lot more badges, charities, and corporate sponsors in the future since this is just one of those experiments that allow everyone to help change the world a little bit at a time.

Time Warner Cable Financials Say Otherwise to “Money Crunch By Non-Tiered Pricing”

twc Time Warner Cable’s financial records for the beginning of 2009 seem to indicate that while they “claimed” bandwidth costs were soaring due to the top 10% of users, they added more subscribers with increased profits and a decrease in the cost.

And yet they still wish to “educate consumers” on how they’re the ones that are the victims in this whole mess of metered bandwidth. Hate to say it, but my money is on the data given by Consumers Union, whom is the publisher to Consumer Reports, a well known publication that does breakdowns for the consumer of products and the parent of The Consumerist:

If we may, we would like to offer TWC a little bit of advice: Stop trying to put one over on your broadband customers. There’s no amount of “consumer education” that can change the fact that TWC is making a whole lot of money selling broadband service — without metered pricing.

Oops. Looks like their own financial reports were their own undoing. What I don’t understand from all of this is why the senior management keeps pushing forward with this after all of the negative publicity. Personally, I would just let the entire thing die quietly and perhaps try it in the future (at least that would seem like the smart business decision). Adding fuel to the fire just lets the entire mess burn longer and shines the spotlight on your big boo-boo. Call me crazy, but in my opinion it’s not exactly the most brilliant of strategies.

Why nonprofits need for-profit business mentality

Sitting on many nonprofit type boards and running my own nonprofit, I’ve changed some ways of thinking in the past six months.
You see, anyone that has been paying attention to the financial sector, and world markets would understand that the economy seems to have taken a turn here in the States. It’s hard for anyone not to see that actually with gas prices running sky high (technically that’s another story altogether, but we’ll visit that sometime else).
So what happens to nonprofits? The ones like my own do not carry salary for its staff and thus are purely volunteer based and non-fund driven. There really isn’t anything that you must do since we do this because we wish to do it. But there is another type of nonprofit. Those that actually work in the sector and is their livelihood. What about them?
Well, first we need to understand how most nonprofits operate. For the most part, nonprofits are either supporter driven, or foundation money driven, or a combination of the two. Unfortunately, if your nonprofit serves a pretty distinct niche, then either or both of those sources of funding can dry up very quickly when times are tough. And believe me, the whole grant writing, and asking money from foundations thing is a weary act.
That’s why nonprofits need to quit thinking in the old school fashion of holding out the hand and asking for money, and instead start thinking like businesses structures. Yes, the budget is tight, but think of grant funding as your VC or seed capital. Once it’s gone, you can definitely go back for a second or third round, but the idea is to use it to drive a recurring business, not one that is a one pop wonder.
Think about it. If you had grant money that was used purely for a project by project basis, then you would have to operate like my own nonprofit (pure volunteer). But if you could create recurring business from the initial funding? Then not only are you creating a recurring income, but you’re also abiding by your mission. This also frees up foundation money that you would have been going back for, so that the foundations can give to some other charitable organization. Let’s be frank, there are more charitable organizations out there than actual money givers.
There are a lot of reasons why operating like an actual business can pull a nonprofit through the hard times. Heck, most of these nonprofits already have a Board and instead of a CEO, you have an Executive Director. But either way, most of the planning and actual management team is already in place. There just needs to be a change in the school of thought.
Believe me, when times are good, it’s not such a bad thing to just ask for the green. But when times are tough? It’s more prudent to batter down the hatches and hold out until the storm is over. And nonprofits usually are one of those ships that are thrown wildly in the storm.
Photo Credit: (dbking)

Why are nonprofit meetings at the most inconvenient times?

I have one really big annoyance when it comes to nonprofits and community work.
All meetings seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. They expect community leaders to come together usually for times more than an hour, not including commute time, and usually schedule the meetings around mid-morning, or mid-afternoon.
And that really annoys the hell out of me.
Why? Because I like to stay involved. No, I don’t like to go to meetings that don’t accomplish anything. In fact, if you have me go to one, and it doesn’t accomplish anything, I refuse to go to another. There’s precious time in the day for this guy, and I got a lot better things to do. But in reality, my job, and I’d imagine that most jobs don’t let you just prance out whenever to “take a meeting”.
Who the heck has time to take off between nine and eleven? That’s the entire morning. So basically, community efforts force me to take vacation for half the day. And that just sucks. Believe you me, if it goes nowhere, they’ll regret losing this outside-the-box thinker.

Migrating to Google Apps for nonprofits



Recently, I shifted my nonprofit’s Internet presence to . And I can definitely say that I’m impressed. I had beta tested Apps back when it first came out, but it really came down to laziness for not actually integrating it into my nonprofit.
Well, it didn’t take terribly long to do so. Now I have integrated email, calendar for event planning and meetings, and Gtalk and website building if I ever wanted it. It even allows you to incorporate Google Docs so that the groups can share documents back and forth. Currently, I’m only using the email and calendar since it’s a lot more stable than my current server, and it’s plenty for a nonprofit that doesn’t have much resources. Definitely worthwhile shift for any small organization looking for some online presence.
One little caveat… if you don’t have your 501c3 (which I do not since we’re umbrella protected by our fiscal sponsor), then you have to settle for the Standard edition. Doesn’t bother me any, but it might bug some people not being able to migrate their old mail. You are also limited to twenty five users, and 2G space for email.
On the flip side, it’s not only encrypted (SSL) but you can customize the start pages, assign controls to certain users, have multiple different plugins to your start page, use your logo within the email, and much much more. It’s a fabulous service provided by Google and definitely one that I would recommend all small organizations to take full advantage of if they have not already. You can’t beat free, and if you use Gmail already for your personal email, there should be no scares at all since all of the technology is the same. Google Docs takes care of most of your Office suite needs, and all you need is Internet access. In fact, if you have Google Gears installed, you might be able to get away with some offline access too.

Another year of NC Children’s Hospitals not in Child’s Play

With Child’s Play raising close to a million this year and almost at a close, one has to wonder where the heck North Carolina Children’s hospitals are and why they aren’t participating.
It’s funny since last year, I spent a whole lot of time making many different phone calls and emails with Brenner’s staff trying to get them to just “sign up”. I mean, it’s for the kids. Gamers support them. What’s the harm? But did they sign up? No.
This year, I sent a few e-mails, but nothing again. Go figure when you look at the Child’s Play map and there is a big fat “zero” hospitals in the Carolinas that are participating. You have to wonder if they truly care when there are people out there trying to get in touch with the kids at those hospitals. Maybe next year, but I doubt it.

Dreamhost offers nonprofit free hosting

Dreamhost is offering their Strictly Business plan for free to any nonprofits registered in the United States. This is one single strictly business plan and is available as long as you fax them your nonprofit status (ie. you must have 501c3 status). Here’s how to do so.
ForeverGeek < Dreamhost

synerG Web Site Design Competition

Due to my involvement in Action Greensboro and synerG, here is the repost of the design announcement at the request of Sue. Contest ends: December 31st, 2006.

Hoping that others in Greensboro will re-announce this post nationally in our world-famous blogs, TechTriad and Action Greensboro are announcing a Web Design Contest for synerG, the young professionals arm of Action Greensboro.
Starting date: today
Ending date: December 31, 2006
The challenge: The site needs to be fresh and attractive to young professionals and cannot be completely Flash-driven because the site requires constant updating. All entries must be capable of compatibility with Contribute (we’ll do the integration but the design should reflect that goal).
THE RULES:

  1. Deliverables: HTML and valid CSS for a home page and secondary page for the site. We need to meet ADA, WC3 and CSS rules. Send 4 files (2 HTML pages and 2 CSS stylesheets) plus supporting placeholder graphics in a .zip or .sit file.
  2. The Winnings: $500 from TechTriad (the contest’s sponsor) and linkage to the synerG site, if it’s appropriate, from the synerg site. (”If it’s appropriate” means synerG will link to your site if yours is a Web design or business site. They prefer not to link to sites that are not businesslike and we can talk about that more.) Winnings may be taxable. This contest void in any state where it’s not legal.
  3. What Else You Receive: All the PR we can muster. Participation in any news or interviews if possible to schedule.
  4. The Fine Print: Once you submit your entry, it becomes the property of Action Greensboro and TechTriad, who will complete the site development.
  5. Who Can Enter?: Anyone. You do not have to be a professional Web developer and you do not have to live/work in Greensboro. Preference is given to the best design. Period.

FILE DELIVERY: Name the home page index.html and the secondary page template.html with corresponding CSS style sheets appropriately named. Zip them (.sit files OK). Email them here.
Questions? Contact TechTriad via email or comments right here.

Advancing Greensboro’s Growing Culture of Creativity & Innovation. Not.

Disclaimer: This post is a summary of my opinions on the participation. If you don’t like it, here’s the definition of opinion.
I was invited as a young leader to this conference hosted today from 1:30 – 5:00PM at the Bryan Park Enrichment Center. The title was: Advancing Greensboro’s Growing Culture of Creativity & Innovation. It was sponsored by both UNCG and the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation.
As most know, I actually work outside of government, community work and the rest of it. So unlike many that were looking to skip out on work due to some conference, I was looking to get something done if it didn’t interfere with my job. But I thought it would be a worthwhile discussion on what was wrong with the community and a way to get everyone in the same room to talk about progressing forward. Those that know me, knew that I was about to raise hell about “doing” instead of “talking about doing”. Boy was I in for a treat.

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Red Hat drops Fedora Foundation

No more Fedora Foundation. RedHat pulls the plug on creating the 501c3 foundation and is going with a Fedora Project Board instead. This will include five employees, four Fedora community members and one lead person to veto all decisions. The same governance model is something that OpenSUSE now uses and has been successful in that model, whereas the other would have been similar to the Ubuntu Foundation and how it functioned.
Slashdot < ArsTechnica < Fedora