Old friends and new iPhone apps

April 4th, 2010 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

VolunteerMatch Our friends at Volunteer Match whom we have discussed here have recently taken the next step in connecting with a new market of interested volunteers by being available in their palm of their hand. Smart phones, in particular the iPhone, allow for new custom software to be created and made available to a sea of cell phone users.

The free iPhone application for Volunteer Match can be downloaded here and allows iPhone users to connect and volunteer with causes/nonprofits that share their passions.

And Volunteer Match is not the only one.


Another old friend that we discussed in a previous blog post is kiva who helps micro-finance entrepreneurs around the developing world.

This micro-finance system “alerts” interested donors of when new opportunities to micro-finance are available, and these “alerts” are now available on the iPhone. The application can be downloaded here.

The moral of the story is: stay connected, stay in touch, and interact with your donors/volunteers. Smart phones offer a free platform for engagement, don’t pass up the opportunity.

Your Mission Statement “Solution” ^with integrity

March 12th, 2010 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

Anyone who has started a nonprofit, a company, or simply put together a club after school has struggled with “what to say?” to describe it.

I want to make it short and to the point, I don’t want to offend anyone, I want to sound intelligent, I don’t want to be vague but I don’t want to paint myself into a corner. The back-and-forth examples are endless but what is always the same is the result. A confused mash-up of words conveying our point… or at least what we think is our point.

After reading an article by Dan Heath at Fast Company, I must agree that the point we end up making may not be the point we were looking for when we started.

Since the video he has made does wonders for describing his point, I have inserted it below. However, the two points he makes to remember are:

1) Use concrete language. Say what you want, don’t sugar coat it, and don’t pull out the thesaurus for every word choice.

2) Talk about the “why”. To quote Dan, “…most mission statements are really long on statement and really short on mission…” What you are doing is great to know; however, why you are doing it is even better.

Ken ya Dream?

March 2nd, 2010 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

Ken ya Dream is the vision of students at Cupertino High School. They have raised money throughout their years in high school to help a school in Kenya expand their facility. The money they would normally raise to cover the cost of their senior prom was instead put toward their goal…to raise $100,000.

For that, I tip my hat. The beauty and selflessness expressed by these students is calming to say the least. No good deed goes unnoticed? Right?

Well, it looks like it’s getting some attention. Dell held a competition for high schools to win a $100,000 superprom. The students at Cupertino High saw this as more than an opportunity to have the prom of dreams, but rather as way to meet their goal.

Beyond Words for Haiti

February 18th, 2010 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

Words for Haiti found a new friend and her name is Dawn. She was in Haiti during the earthquake and generously made time to share her story with us and now you.

The idea behind Words for Haiti is to spread hope and encouragement to those who are suffering. However, in doing so, we also stumble upon new ways of helping; beyond words and even beyond monetary donations. Aid takes many forms and if during these hard times a monetary donation is not a possibility, maybe you can donate the old crutches you’ve had in the attic for 10 years, the three pairs of shoes you never wear, or any number of things we forget we have.

During the interview, she said something that struck me. It’s just a band-aid, what good can one band-aid do? One band-aid is near worthless; however, to someone who needs a band-aid to ward off infection it’s worth the world.

Click the video below to go to YouTube where you can add a comment or video response. Spread hope, spread encouragement, share this with a friend, and go Beyond Words for Haiti.

This was made possible through the work of let’s dabble and GiveForward.

Words for Haiti

January 27th, 2010 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

The earthquake that shook the people, the city, and the very life in Haiti has ended it’s terrible fury, but the out-pouring of support needs to continue. We have all sent aid and kept them in our thoughts and hearts, but if we share our thoughts, prayers, and hopes maybe we can make a stronger difference yet.

let’s dabble with the help of GiveForward went out to share the thoughts and hopes of Chicago with the people in Haiti. The web video below is the result.

Visit the YouTube page and add a comment or a video response, add your Words for Haiti, share your thoughts and hopes, and together we can tell them that they are not alone, the world is with them, and that the outpouring of help is far from over.

Online video and the art of storytelling

January 22nd, 2010 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

In an article by merc strategy group the art of storytelling and its new found friend, online video, are discussed. This discussion sheds light on the sheer numbers behind online video as provided by comScore’s August 2009 Video Matrix report.

The statistics for 2009 include:

- The month of August seeing 161 million viewers watching 157 videos each.
- Over 80% of the internet audience watching online video
- 10 billion videos watched on YouTube by 120.5 million viewers
- The average video was 3.7 minutes
- The average viewer watched almost 10 hours online in August alone

So what do these numbers mean? The fact that a change in how people are exposing themselves to information has occurred. The days of TV commercials owning the advertisement arena are coming to an end. It is the same content being provided during the same activity (watching video), but the delivery system is no longer cost prohibitive.

The cost of producing and distributing a TV commercial has left small businesses and nonprofits out of the playing field for years. However, the situation with online distribution is very very different. The cost to produce the video is now simply knowing how. The reason that the barrier for entry is now the “know-how” is due to the fact that the computer you are using to view this blogpost is able to produce an internet quality video.

As stated by the merc strategy group, “…it doesn’t take expensive cameras, lighting equipment and a makeup artist to produce great video content. All it takes is a Flip cam, or an iPhone camera… and good content.”

You have the technology, you have the content, all you need is to know how to make it happen. At let’s dabble, we are more than happy to show you how.

The Social Philanthropists Foundation

December 28th, 2009 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

An interesting organization focused on bridging the gap between charitable organizations / events and people willing to support them but disenchanted by the status quo is The Social Philanthropists Foundation. That is to say, the idea of “high-brow” events aimed toward “established contributors” doesn’t attract young, new supporters.

The goals of the spf are:

- to connect the public with non-profits in their community

- to partner with NPO’s and help them connect their fundraising and service activities with the interests of socially active people

- to immediately address the needs of NPO’s in a variety of ways

Now rather than continuing on about the organization, why not have them describe it themselves. Web video to the rescue!

Looking for a few more fundraising ideas?

December 13th, 2009 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

With the Christmas season upon us, the friendly people at AusBusiness Review listed a few great fundraising ideas, so what better way to thank “John D” who wrote this article than to blog about his ideas.

1) Selling items door-to-door. The key thing to remember here is that the items you sell will be connected to your organization so choose wisely.

2) Auctions. This is very effective, especially when you can get the community involved. If you reserve an area in a public venue, then it will be easier to get donated items from nearby establishments; everyone loves to be connected to a good cause.

3) Bake sales. A very effective tool for using eager volunteers. Have them donate a baked good; it’s cheap, done in the comfort of their own home, and shows how all the baked goods contributors are willing to help your organization.

4) Twitter. Although social media can make some of us curl up into a ball and hide in the closet, the truth is that it can engage supporters if properly done. The key with social media venues that require “updates” is how often to update and with what content. Don’t tweet just for the fun of it (unless it’s your personal account of course), supporters who want to receive updates about your organization are looking for specific information. Do a brief survey of supporters you know and determine what information they are looking for, no need to reinvent the wheel, just ask them what they’d like to know and provide it. You can also survey them as to how often they’d like to be updated… daily, weekly, bi-weekly?

5) Organization parties, sponsored events, etc. Having supported a few nonprofit parties myself, the easiest way to make it attractive is to find a local bar/grille and work-out a drink special, appetizer special, or combination of the two. Last time I checked, people love deals and restaurants love exposure to new patrons. It’s a win-win.

Good luck and happy fundraising!

Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust Marathon

November 20th, 2009 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

Edward Norton is a wonderful actor, I enjoy his films, and I recently stumbled upon a story about a charity run he is doing. This alone is great, but the use of web video is also interesting.

Edward Norton has recently been training to raise money for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust by running. During training for this marathon, his running partner was attacked by africanized honeybee’s. These bee’s stung him dozens of times. Although the story alone is engaging, what is even better is a brief web video sharing the experience and bringing us all that much closer to the event, itself.

The story grabs your attention, but the beauty of it is in the ending. Brief web video does not only share stories, but can demonstrate the simplicity of a good deed. Whether that be helping a stranger being attacked by bee’s or, subsequently, thanking those who helped you.

Social Media: Fad or Revolution

November 9th, 2009 by Anthony Bernas | Permalink

So in stumbling upon a blog post discussing the video below, I have to agree with the opening comment about getting “chills”.

The post discusses the infancy of social media and some of the common ideas revolving around it: self-proclaimed experts or consultants, is it a fad, and the notion of twitter or facebook-aholics; we all know one.

However, the “chills” that I mentioned did not come from merely reading about social media, but rather from this video compilation. Enjoy.