Nonprofit charity: water recently launched its innovative, annual September Campaign, seeking to raise $1.7 million in order to bring clean, safe water to nearly 26,000 people in Rwanda. Under the leadership of founder Scott Harrison, the organization is reinventing the nonprofit model by marketing itself like a tech company, guaranteeing 100 percent of donations to funding its water projects and taking full advantage of social media. For those and other reasons, it has become one of the hottest and most innovative nonprofits around.
As a grantmaker, you may be familiar with the usual measures of impact for a program that you have helped fund. But have you ever thought about measuring the impact of the publications that may be produced as a result of your program work? If you are interested in learning more about measuring the spread of published ideas, here are three suggestions:
In preparation for the conference, I scanned the event schedule a few times for the sessions most relevant to my involvement in the community foundation world. The conference has a breadth of participants, and technology is making it easier than ever to explore resources and connect with people who share an interest in civic engagement. To really dig in and get the most out of the experience, I decided to go all in on the various technology sessions the organizers had set up for this event. By now, most people have heard of that little thing called Facebook, but the richness of that communication method goes well beyond “liking” the Council on Foundations Facebook page.
As the current chair and webmaster for an affinity group, I decided to create a Flash-based website because I believed it would be more aesthetically pleasing than a site coded in regular HTML. I have been pleased with the results, but recently found out that Android’s new mobile operating system, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), would not support Flash. While I have been considering making changes to the site to make it friendly for non-Flash mobile devices for a while now, this new development finally gave me the motivation I needed to create an HTML5 mobile version of our site.
Two years ago, the Foundation Registry i3 was a lifesaver for me. I was working as a philanthropic advisor and was looking for an opportunity to lead a group of emerging philanthropists interested in education reform from talking about collaboration to taking action. The U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grants program seemed tailor-made for my crowd: a marketplace of ideas, evidence-based approaches, and five-to-one leverage. I informed several dozen high-net-worth donors about the i3 program and vetted the highest-rated applicants based on the quality of their project designs, evidence and evaluation, capacity, financial review, and need for a match. My clients pooled over $5 million in flexible new funds to provide matches for i3 projects working in sixteen states and D.C. and, along with other private funders, leveraged $145 million in public funds.
The prevalence of computers in modern society has led to a greater need for technology-based curricula and wired classrooms for students of all levels. Top online PhD programs are now available, but some primary schools don’t have a single computer. As a result, companies and organizations nationwide are providing under-funded classrooms with state-of-the-art, electronic educational implements. This philanthropic push has increased classroom performance and, in many cases, led to a higher rate of college attendance for children in these classrooms.
I recently attended a conference and between brochures, pamphlets, and folders, I amassed quite a bit of print material. Upon viewing the stack, I wondered: Why does information transfer require so much paper? For those who are interested in going green for their own events, here are four ideas to cut down on the paper trail:
I recently had the opportunity to connect with several young nonprofit professionals at a lunch meeting. After learning about issues several were facing that ended up complicating work with grantees, I immediately suggested several free technology tools that could streamline their current work.
With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development. Online access is a gateway to opportunities in education, workforce, and health, and other areas that increasingly depend on digital access and digital skills.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Center for Digital Information’s session on philanthropy and the digital public dialogue at theCouncil on Foundations Annual Conference in Los Angeles.