avatar Web Wednesday – June 6, 2012

Posted on Jun 06, 2012 by in Web Design, Web Wednesdays

Web Wednesdays – each Wednesday we will feature a website that we’ve come across while in our process of searching for inspiration, the latest trends, or learning about anything and everything we can get our hands on that interests us.

Wishbone

This week I am introducing a new non-profit program, called Wishbone. Wishbone targets lower- class students attending schools in high-need communities. The non-profit sends at-risk high school students to after school programs to help get through high school, and academically prepare them for college. Their are 8 different categories of interest that Wishbone looks for in students: Athletics, Leadership, Fine Arts, Environmental, Liberal Arts, Design, Science & Technology and Music. The students who are chosen for the project are recommended by their teachers. After surveying what the students interests are , the non-profit helps choose the program for the student to attend. Their website serves as a fundraising platform to help provide the money needed for the student to attend the program, asking patrons for $25 per donation.

The home page also serves as a nifty, interactive infographic, that visually shows how modern and ground-breaking their program could be. The site also wants to note the importance of the success stories of the first students drafted into the project, so others can see how the students have benefited from this project. These days, with the number of students skipping college altogether, its refreshing to see a program that makes school interesting again. A great thought from the site to leave you with is that Wishbone “helps them (the students) realize why succeeding in high school was relevant to pursuing their passions.”

avatar Web Wednesday – May 30, 2012

Posted on May 30, 2012 by in News, Web Wednesdays

Web Wednesdays – each Wednesday we will feature a website that we’ve come across while in our process of searching for inspiration, the latest trends, or learning about anything and everything we can get our hands on that interests us.

Develop Springfield

Nearly one year ago today, the City of Springfield was hit by a deadly tornado, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. To honor those whose lives were devastated by the days events, we wanted to call attention to the amazing effort that the city has put forth in rebuilding. Most specifically, DevelopSpringfield, which has had a large part in helping to form the necessary steps to begin this long road to recovery.

DevelopSpringfield was formed in 2008 as a nonprofit, to help revitalize the City of Springfield with services that target economic and community redevelopment. This past March they announced their partnership with the Springfield Redevelopment Authority to rebuild all sections of the City affected by the disaster, and we can already see the changes taking place.

Now we may be a little biased, since we designed their website and all ;), but the site offers great opportunities for one to get involved and make donations towards rebuilding and revitalizing their communities. If interested, they have also made all of their redevelopment plans available to the public in the form of their”Rebuild Springfield” Master Plan, which is available for download on their website.

avatar Web Wednesday – March 28, 2012

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 by in Web Design, Web Wednesdays

Web Wednesdays – each Wednesday we will feature a website that we’ve come across while in our process of searching for inspiration, the latest trends, or learning about anything and everything we can get our hands on that interests us.

Sweat for a Cause

This week I have a fun little website, which will be interesting to see where it progresses. Let me introduce you to Sweat for a Cause, a new social network that uses your physical capabilities as a tool to provide funds for non-profit groups.

Based out of Brookline, MA, Sweat for a Cause allows users to raise money for their favorite non-profits by participating in online fitness challenges. Each user creates a profile page that shows your current fitness challenge and who you are fundraising for. It will also show past challenges that you’ve participated in and whether or not you’ve met the end goal. Now these challenges can be pretty simple or extensive depending on how fit you are, so you can choose a challenge that suits your physical capabilities. Participation does involve a $5 donation to the benefiting cause, but hey it’s for a good cause. Once the challenge is selected and the donation is made, its time to work out. Each challenge last’s a week, so make sure you stay on top of it and update your progress on the groups leader board. Invite your friends and see who can make it out on top.

So if you’re looking to give back to the world in some small way, this is the way to go. Keep in mind that Sweat for a Cause is currently in BETA, so you do have to request an invitation to join the site.

avatar Tips for Non-Profit Online Communities

Posted on Feb 13, 2010 by in News, Social Media, Web Design

From Mashable, view original post

So much conversation about social networking revolves around Twitter and Facebook, but in actuality these networks are just the tip of the iceberg. From general networks like Wiser Earth and Care2, to cause specific networks like PickensPlan and the Sierra Club’s Activist Network, there’s a hotbed of social activity occurring in private communities. Non-profit oriented networks use a wide variety of social tools to foster community, including their own white label communities.

Non-profits use white label platforms like Ning to connect with their communities. Ning serves 1.6 million networks (see Mashable’s Six Ways to Use Ning post). “What we’re seeing organizations and non-profits use Ning for is to develop a deeper layer of conversation and engagement with their supporters and advocates,” said Ning’s Morgan Seal. “Their memberships are those that are looking for a more contextual social experience around the things they care about most.”

Here are five tips for non-profits considering their own white label community.

1. The Cause is the Purpose

TuDiabetes

The cause is the purpose of the network. Don’t build a network for your organization’s website. The mission of the site needs to revolve around the general common bond a non-profit has with its stakeholder community.

“I feel we may be successful because we deeply believe in the importance of community and what it does to people touched by diabetes,” said Manny Hernandez, president of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, which runs the 13,000 person TuDiabetes network. “We have seen so many people come back to us and say: ‘I have had diabetes for X many years. I felt so alone. I never knew there were SO many people who felt exactly like me.’”

2. Listen

NetRoots

Listening to your community remains a core social media principle. When considering building a cause or organization-specific network, listening can be critical in driving community requirements for function and content.

“I think it’s imperative to have a good ‘listening and monitoring’ plan in place to see what their stakeholders are doing online in public spaces — basically to figure out what their audience’s capacity is for collaboration and collective action online in general,” said Maddie Grant, Chief Social Media Strategist for Social Fish. “They should then be able to figure out whether that activity could translate to engagement in their own community site.”

3. Choose a Platform that Serves Your Community’s Needs

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Some networks enable privacy; others integration with larger networks. Still others offer great information sharing via wikis. When considering the many white label community options avalaible, try to understand what your community’s needs are before setting up shop.

“Our community had a unique need for a secure and private space where Iraq and Afghanistan veterans could connect with one another, share stories, offer support, and know that the people they’re interacting with share many of the same life experiences,” said Chrissy Stevens, Communications Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “We spent months assessing our options for starting a white-label social network, and Ning was the only platform that offered the right combination of privacy controls, quality user experience, easy administration and customization, and ongoing support.”

4. Offer Great Value to Your Network

Care2

The classic community mistake is to use a network to drive information out into the public as opposed to creating a compelling experience for members. Sometimes that means getting out of the way. Providing value includes a dynamic environment where members interact and drive conversation, participate in activity they can’t find on general social networks, and receive acknowledgment.

“A social network needs to deliver value. I don’t think that you should be sending the members links to your research and reports 5 times a day,” said Holly Ross, Executive Director, NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network. “A theater company may be able to serve its patrons by providing a social space for the patrons to discuss play writing, set design, and/or the latest shows from the company.  A health organization may serve its clients by giving them a space to talk to and support one another privately.”

5. Use the General Networks as Beachheads

GovLoop

It’s smart to include Twitter and Facebook functionality in your general strategy. In many ways, there’s a larger conversation occurring and the general networks can serve as beachheads to bring people back to your network. Conversely, integrating Twitter and Facebook allows for people within your network to talk about your activities in the larger context.

“Even though we run our own niche social network, we are heavily engaged on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn,” said Steve Ressler, founder of GovLoop. “Plus, we speak a lot at in-person events where lots of government folks attend.  This draws a lot of our membership and engagement.”

“They are in a way their own communities, but we are OK with the fact that not all conversations that start through our Twitter account or our FaceBook page end up on TuDiabetes or EsTuDiabetes,” said TuDiabetes’ Manny Hernandez. “Put another way, people will have conversations where it’s most convenient to them and groups creating online communities need to be mindful of this.”