March 26, 2013

Get your organization on board with mobile

firefox-app-on-android-device
Photo by Johan Larsson (Creative Commons)

A Mobile 101 with tips on integrating mobile technology into your nonprofit or library

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, librarians, mobile operators, educators, journalists, general public.

Guest post by Kevin Lo
TechSoup Global

kevinloWith an expanding range of new devices available, the landscape of mobile computing can be confusing. Smartphones now offer us new, powerful ways to connect with and engage with our communities.

Here’s a look at the new breed of smartphones and what to consider when using them at your nonprofit or library. Continue reading

November 26, 2012

Instagram launches Web profile pages

Interact with Instagram directly from the Web

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

John HaydonDid you know that Instagram profiles on the Web are now live? Until now, all interactions on Instagram (purchased by Facebook earlier this year) took place entirely on smartphones. Here’s my profile pageif you’d like to see what they look like.

Sweet and simple, right? I like that profiles are only for the purpose of viewing, commenting on, and liking photos. But snapping, creating and sharing photos is still mobile-only as if to preserve the simplicity and pureness of the experience. Continue reading

March 9, 2012

Two mobile resources in words and pictures

Mobile World Congress. Photo: Ken Banks

Outtakes from Mobile World Congress & a community engagement event

kiwanjaLast week saw me start out at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and finish up at an event focusing on the use of text messaging in the nonprofit sector in London.

It was a busy week but two new resources were the end result.

Pictures. If you didn’t make it to Mobile World Congress then here’s a Flickr set of 111 free-to-use photos to give you a flavour of the event. Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest mobile exhibition and conference and features CEOs and representatives from mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from around the world. Continue reading

December 5, 2011

Building mobile applications for social good

kiwanjaIf you were thinking of designing or building a website, you’d be in luck. If you were thinking of writing a suite of financial management tools, you’d be in luck. If you were even thinking of creating the next big video game, you’d be in luck. Visit any good bookstore and the selection of self-help books and “how-to” guides leave you spoiled for choice.

Unlike the plethora of self-help guides on the more established topics, if you were looking to do something with mobile phones, you’d likely have mixed results. There are plenty of books available extolling the virtues of Java, Python, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, C++, Symbian, Android and just about any other development environment or platform out there. Combine that with the growing field of mobile UI (user interface) design and you’d think that pretty much everything was covered. But there is one thing missing, although you’d probably only notice if you’re one of a growing number of developers turning their attention to the developing world.

I’m talking about a guide on “Building Mobile Applications for Social Good.” Although just a start, this article – written for The Testing Planet – in part aims to fill that gap. At conferences and seminars I often talk about our experiences developing FrontlineSMS, and the thinking and field work behind it, but until now much of this wasn’t particularly well captured in written form in a single place. Continue reading

June 22, 2011

6 ideas to help nonprofits get started on Foursquare


A heat map of Foursquare members worldwide.

Use check-ins & shout-outs to raise awareness among its 10 million members

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, brands, start-ups, Web publishers, educators.

Guest post by Wilneida Negrón
LawHelp.org

WilneidaHere are six ideas to get your organization started on Foursquare, the geolocation social network that announced Monday it has surpassed 10 million members.

Make your nonprofit a venue on Foursquare

1Make your organization a “venue” on Foursquare so that when people are in your area, a notification about your organization will show up. You can take advantage of this feature by adding advocacy action alerts that will show up when others view your organization to alert people to any advocacy needed or even to recruit volunteers, etc.

Also encourage your staff to start individual Foursquare accounts so that they can promote their activities. For example, if you have an outreach or community education component to your work, your outreach staff could check in at venues where they are holding a workshop, attending a task force or participating in any other community meetings or events.

Bring awareness to resources in your community

2Use the “tips” feature on Foursquare to bring awareness about resources available in your community. Have your staff create individual Foursquare accounts and have them leave tips about locations in the community that could be helpful to your client population. You can also encourage local community leaders to leave tips as well. Your staff can also include facts about your organization, hours of operation, nearest subway or bus stop.

Promote and enhance the donation experience

3Consider this idea to enhance the donor giving experience and support local businesses. Talk to local stores and businesses and see if they will make a tax-deductible donation to your organization if a number of people come to their store. For example, talk to your local coffee shop and see if they will make a donation to your organization if 50 people will check into their shop within a period of time.

You can promote this arrangement in your other social networks accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. and let people know that if they check in at this store, the shop will make a donation to your organization. This is a win‐win situation for all: You can promote your organization and raise funds, local businesses also get promotion and business, and customers feel involved and glad they made a direct contribution.

Community education and public awareness

4Many organizations have been using Foursquare to educate the public and bring awareness to issues affecting the community. For example, the National Wildlife Foundation developed a campaign where every time someone checked into an outdoor space like a park or natural landmark, they would receive NWF sponsored tips of the wildlife they should look for, or views to not miss. The idea is to make visiting outdoor spaces interesting and informative and increase awareness, while at the same time increasing awareness of NWF. Continue reading

January 7, 2011

Social mobile meets Facebook

kiwanjaAnyone who reads the Kiwanja.net blog, or who follows our work with FrontlineSMS, will know there are two main themes that run throughout our work.

First, how do we lower the barriers to entry for NGOs looking to deploy mobile technology in their work? And second, how do we help share information about what mobile means in the developing world to the widest possible audience, i.e. one outside traditional development or technology circles?

A good example of the second theme is our recently launched Mobile Message series running on the National Geographic website. We’re also targeting non-mobile-for-development and non-ICT4D conferences and contributing chapters to books and giving interviews to magazines, which take the message to a new audience. The latest was a piece on mobile innovation for an in-flight magazine for travellers on flights to Africa.

One of our early initiatives was the creation of The Social Mobile Group way back in November 2006. It was the first Facebook group of its kind to focus on the social application of mobiles and mobile technology, and it remains the largest group dedicated to the subject on Facebook today. Continue reading