November 29, 2012

Social Impact 100: Who’s really effecting change?

New giving platform helps donors direct their dollars to high-impact nonprofits

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

Guest post by Tamara Schweitzer
Social Impact Exchange

The giving season is upon us and it’s the time of year when many around the country are thinking about the greater social good and gearing up to make their charitable donations. With crowdfunding platforms and the opportunity to donate online through social media outlets, the act of giving to charities and discovering new causes has never been easier. But it’s not always easy to determine where those dollars can do the most good, or to truly know if those donations are having a real impact.

The Social Impact Exchange, a national membership association dedicated to building a capital marketplace to help scale high-impact social solutions, hopes to change that with the launch of the Social Impact 100 (S&I 100). The S&I 100 is the first-ever broad index of U.S. nonprofits working in the issue areas of education, youth, poverty and health that have evidence of results and are growing to serve more people in need. Continue reading

November 15, 2012

Savvi: A recurring revenue stream for nonprofits


Photo by Clifford J. Steele

Savvi’s new fundraising program resonates with nonprofits

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, social change advocates, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, educators, community organizations.

Guest post by Kiley Newbold
Savvi.com

There are plenty of people in the world who want to give.  That’s evident by the billions of dollars given to charities each year. But talk to any nonprofit and you’ll find the challenge is in how to engage supporters, get them to donate, and then the really tricky part – get them to keep donating again and again. What if nonprofits could create a residual and continuing stream of fundraising revenue? That’s the idea and question that brought a consumer shopping mobile app into the nonprofit fundraising world.

How Savvi works with nonprofits

The aim of Savvi is to provide consumers with a simplified approach to saving and access to ongoing offers from retail merchants

Savvi.com began almost two years ago as the brain-child of a partnership between Banyan Ventures and the nation’s largest merchant discount network – boasting over 320,000 participating merchants in more than 30,000 zip codes. Darin Gilson, managing partner of Banyan Ventures, suggested that this powerful merchant network wrapped in agile, mobile technology could be an incredible solution to the crazy world of deals and discounts. And with that, Savvi was born. From the beginning, the aim of Savvi was to provide consumers with a simplified approach to saving. We wanted to create something that empowered people to save on things they actually needed. We spent hours discussing the core principles behind Savvi. In short, we became very passionate about what we were building and the impact it could have.

It’s that internal passion that helped us connect so readily with our nonprofit friends. Listening to any nonprofit advocate is one of my favorite things. Most often, it is clearly evident that they believe in their cause so deeply that it courses through their veins. And their enthusiasm is easy to catch. That’s likely why there’s no shortage of worthwhile causes around the world — in general, people care and want to make a difference. But there is so much to do, and providing support usually costs money.

Recurring revenue for nonprofits

That’s often where that enthusiasm hits its first rough patch. There is always a glimmer of hope and perhaps a small hint of frustration in the eye of those nonprofit advocates when they begin to talk about what they wish they could do – if only they had more funds. Continue reading

October 30, 2012

How to recruit and manage volunteers

To get the most out of volunteers, start with plan

Target audience: Cause organizations, nonprofits, NGOs, volunteer centers, social enterprises.

Guest post by Susannah Vila

If you’ve completed some successful social actions, chances are you have an opportunity to bring some new people onto your campaign or into your program.

Begin recruiting volunteers, but remember how important it is to have a plan for managing them.

Assess your needs

1First, take some time to assess the needs of your organization and how you could use the help of volunteers. What type of support are you looking for?

Direct-service volunteers provide hands-on services such as general office support, serving as translators, helping with events and soliciting donations. Skilled pro-bono volunteers are individuals or company employees volunteering their professional skills like Web design, accounting and marketing. Continue reading

January 9, 2012

‘Giving 2.0′ chronicles changing face of charity


Image by Yodel Anecdotal on Flickr

JD LasicaThe world of charitable giving is undergoing its most radical transformation ever. As philanthropy has become democratized through the Internet and social media, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen offers a timely, clear-eyed and inspiring assessment of the charitable landscape in her new book “Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World” (Jossey-Bass).

Arrillaga-Andreessen brings an impressive set of credentials to the table: A philanthropist, educator and social innovator, she founded the SV2 Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, directs the Arrillaga Foundation and is president of the Marc and Laura Andreessen Foundation. (You’ll remember her husband, Mark, from his pioneering work as co-founder of Netscape.)

In “Giving 2.0” the author sets out a personal, accessible account of her involvement in philanthropy as she challenges traditional assumptions about who can be – and should be – a philanthropist. In several chapters, she chronicles her own personal odyssey in the philanthropic world (“instead of establishing an organization designed to make money, I wanted to create one to give it away”) and offers accounts of people charting their own course in this new realm.

Technology, she writes, has brought charitable giving to an astonishing new place: “Through technology you can raise your hand for a cause, and get other people to raise their hands with you. You can create a spark of social consciousness and watch it catch fire across national, or even global, communities.”

I was particularly glad to see her single out the work of Jolkona, a nonprofit that is at the forefront of this wave of one-to-one philanthropy. (See my interview with Jolkona founder Adnan Mahmud.) She also gives a shoutout to Catchafire, a startup that matches professionally skilled volunteers with nonprofits and social enterprises. (See my interview with Catchafire’s Jane Slusser.) Continue reading

January 5, 2012

Jolkona: Now we can all be philanthropists

During the holiday break, Socialbrite is updating and republishing some of our most popular posts. We noticed that Jolkona is prominently featured in Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s new book, “Giving 2.0.” Our regular publication schedule resumes Monday.

Imet Adnan Mahmud, co-founder and CEO of Jolkona, during Beth Kanter’s book signing party for “The Networked Nonprofit” at TechSoup Global — and was immediately impressed by his seriousness and dedication to helping great causes through one-to-one philanthropy.

Support a library in Tibet that needs $50 to buy books, and you’ll get the list of books purchased through your donation.

Jolkona is at the bleeding edge of this phenomenon, which will become an increasingly important part of charitable giving in the years ahead, as young people in particular want transparency, interaction and accountability when supporting a cause.

Adnan says Jolkona is the first nonprofit “to give tangible feedback on your donation.” Kiva, which pioneered the technique, provides entrepreneurs with loans. And while nonprofits like charity:water and Global Giving often give updates on projects, Jolkona is positioning itself as a technology platform that enables one-to-one philanthropy for nonprofits of any size.

Watch, download or embed our interview on Vimeo Continue reading

September 27, 2011

Techniques to add dazzle to your advocacy video

Matanya’s Hope tells stories of Kenyan schoolchildren through photos & video

Lauren MajorMultimedia storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool for your organization to attract funders, motivate volunteers and demonstrate the power of your message.

Our friends at Matanya’s Hope asked us to create a visual story for their nonprofit by seamlessly blending photos and video footage that they have captured over the past several years with original interviews, music and graphics we developed.

Founded in 2005 by Illinois native Michelle Stark, Matanya’s Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to educating children in Kenya. Last summer I accompanied Michelle to Matanya Primary School and saw the destitution these children and their families face: severe poverty, hunger, lack of clothing. And I realized why Michelle is dedicating her life to this cause.

For nonprofits and other organizations looking to capture their stories through powerful imagery, here are some simple tips for creating professional-looking video:

  • Use “b-roll” (stills & video)
  • Incorporate stock music
  • Use narration or background sounds
How to incorporate b-roll

By using B-roll – still photographs and short video clips referencing what the interviewees are talking about – you can make the video much more interesting than by solely using “talking heads” (straight interviews of people talking without any additional footage). As we are hearing Michelle talking about the children with “no shoes and torn and tattered clothing,” the still photographs visually reinforce what the interviewee is saying. B-roll also allows us to edit the interviews without a noticeable cut (“jump-cut”) in the action or picture on screen.

Use background music to add texture

Background music was also selected to set the mood of the video. Royalty-free music can be purchased online from a number of stock music websites for a modest charge. One of my favorites is Triple Scoop Music. There are also a slew of free sites offering rights-cleared music, generally using Creative Commons — see Socialbrite’s Free Music Directory. Continue reading