Category Archives: Cool Stuff

I’m Lovin’ the (Survey)Monkey!


Looks like hard work pays off!

Last night – errr, early this morning (around 3am) – I received an email from one of the top Survey Monkey Marketers asking if I’d like them to feature me, my idea for SoGo (which has since changed – new post needed on that), and my survey on their company blog!  I’m putting together some final edits of the pitch and my goals with SoGo and sending them over.

I’ll update everyone as soon as it’s posted.  This is an exciting time!


Road Trippin’: From Boston to Austin and Back


As of Friday of last week, I will be taking part in an amazing trip called Revolution Road. With SXSW as our halfway point, we will be hitting major cities on the way down to Austin, TX and en-route back to Boston.  In each city, we will help initiate social change movements, specific to what each city needs.

If you or someone you know live in one of the cities we’ll be visiting, please reach out to me! I’d love to chat about what’s needed in your city, and how we can help.

Here’s the map of our trip…

If you can’t read the cities on this minuscule map, we’ll be visiting:

Down to SXSW

New York : Launch Party!

Philadelphia

Washington D.C.

Raleigh, N.C.

Charlotte, N.C.

Atlanta

Mobile, AL

New Orleans

Houston

Austin: For the entire SXSW conference

Back on the Road

Dallas

Little Rock

Memphis

Nashville

Louisville

Indianapolis

Chicago

Detroit

Cleveland

Pittsburgh

Boston: Welcome Home Party!

 


Ooh La La. My “Exclusive Invitation” for the Verizon iPhone


Look at this! Just got my shiny “Exclusive Invitation” for the Verizon iPhone 4. Should I use it? Some people say not to. Actually, a lot of people say I shouldn’t and that it’s better to hold off. Read the (discouraging) articles here, here and here.

Are you going to buy the iPhone 4 now, or hold off until the iPhone 5 expected this summer?


(Four)Square for Nonprofits. It’s Not the School Yard Game.


I’ve been an avid Foursquare user for over a year now.  I’ll admit, I didn’t really get into the application until I was running the Marketing strategy for a company, but even since leaving, I’ve been hooked.  Not only is Foursquare addicting, but it’s very useful for brands and businesses.If you remember from Monday’s post, one of the investors in Foursquare has also started another venture of his own, Square.

Although Foursquare is a pretty well-known app for a lot of the “tech geeks” out there (or those living in larger cities), I’ve run into a lot of people – especially back home in CT – who don’t know what Foursquare is.  So, here goes…

Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. Foursquare guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues. Merchants and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences. ~ Foursquare.com

What’s the Point? Why Would You Ever Want to Use Foursquare?

You might be asking “why would my nonprofit event want to use Foursquare?”  For starters, it’s a great way to attract new supporters – whether through your social media sites or actual advocates.  When someone checks-in to a venue, they have the choice to promote that check-in on their Facebook and/or Twitter page.  Most people will opt-in to this choice, thus spreading your good name and getting their friends/followers interested.  Great – now you’re spreading your brand even further!

So, how can your nonprofit best use Foursquare?  To start off, you need to create a page. You have two options in doing this:

  1. Venue Owners: If you want people to be checking into your actual office space, click “Venue Owners“.  That is, companies like Starbucks, Sports Authority, and the Museum of Modern Art have created venues.  This can help you attract new supporters by offering rewards for checking into your office, attending an event, etc.  Think t-shirts and bracelets or – on a larger scale – iPhones, iPads, jewelry.
  2. Brands: Most nonprofits create a “Brand” account, which might be a better route.  This is for organizations not tied to a specific location.  For example, NOH8 CampaignLIVESTRONG, NWF, NAACPHistory Channel, Bravo, and Zagat, have all created brand pages.  If you choose to create a Brand page, Foursquare lets you create a customized page and badges.

I’ve Created a Page. What Now?!

Now that you’ve created your own page, there’s so much you can do!  If you’ve set your nonprofit up as a venue, make sure you create an incentive for people to come visit.  This would work best if you’re a homeless shelter, advocacy group who hosts events at your office, and any organization that typically has volunteers come work.  Also make sure you can offer an incentive for people to come back.  Make sure your supporters know that the Mayor of your venue will receive a free “x”.  As Foursquare explains, there are various types of specials: Mayor Special, Frequency Special, Count Special, etc.  Obviously, the better the prize, the more enticed people are to come, check-in and volunteer.

On the flip side, if you set your organization up as a brand, you should push your team to create a custom page and badge.  People foam at the mouth for a new badge (trust me, I’m one of them).  I promise you, they’re much more likely to come follow your brand and accomplish the tasks on your “To-Do” list if there is an incentive like a shiny, good-looking, new badge.

Tips: Help Your Supporters Become Insiders

This brings me to my next point: Tips.  Since you’re an advocacy group, you obviously have an area of expertise.  Tips allow you to spread the knowledge to your Foursquare followers.  For example, The History Channel used Tips to leave historical factoids around the country in advance of its America: The Story of Us miniseries.  Make sure that the tips you leave are relevant, interesting, and provide information that only an insider would know (ex: buy a (RED) Starbucks product to donate 3% to Project RED or other secret details).

Other than creating a Foursquare account, here’s one piece of advice: as with your other social media platforms, promote your Foursquare page – whether it’s a brand or venue – through your other social media sites.  Get it up on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account – everywhere!

Can I Have an Example, Please?

Imagine you’re running a homeless shelter.  Foursquare is a great way to get new volunteers and online supporters!  Offer incentives to repeat volunteers, create tips about nearby grocery stores who donate food to your shelter, create a venue for an upcoming advocacy event.  There are so many ways to get the most out of Foursquare!

Get Out There!

Not sure why I made this a separate section…

Anyways.  That’s enough chatting.  What are you waiting for?! Make an awesome Foursquare page and get that thing rocking!

For more information, you can check out the following Mashable articles:


Square + Potential Donors = Easy Money


Jack Dorsey – founder of Twitter – has recently launched a fun little application for the iPhone and iPad called Square.  Jack also invested in Foursquare.  I guess he’s really into geometry.

Square is an application for your iPhone that let’s you accept credit card payments from your friends.  Here’s how they pitch it on their site:

Square is a revolutionary service that enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere. Square offers an easy to use, free credit card reader that plugs into a phone or iPad. It’s simple to sign up. There is no extra equipment, complicated contracts, monthly fees or merchant account required.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how nonprofits can make the most out of this and thought of few scenarios:

  1. Development Directors: A Development Director is at a networking event with potential donors.  He (or she) is working the crowd, and hits it off with someone who wants to make a considerable donation.  Now, we all know that it’s best to get a check ASAP, but who carries a checkbook around?  Not me.  Development Director can now whip out his iPhone, insert the card swiper (or enter the credit card number), and voila.  The donation has been made.  This guarantees that the donation is made as soon as possible, and neither party will forget to follow up after the party.
  2. Big City Advocates: If you live in a big city, chances are you’ve seen people advocating for major causes like clean water, healthcare, poverty etc.  They typically wear those weird smocks and have clipboards.  Square can make their lives easier, so people can’t say they forgot a check at home.  Now, charities can equip their street advocates with an iPhone and Square adapter.  Easy!
  3. Conferences: Attending conferences can be easy!  You signed up last minute for your organization’s conference and haven’t paid (or you’re doing on-site registration).  Pay the fee easily with Square!

What do you all think of using Square for your nonprofit? Can you think of other ways to use this great tool?  Leave some ideas in the comments section below!

 


SwipeGood: Change for Charities


No, it’s not Swipe.ly. It’s SwipeGood.  SwipeGood is the next application in a list of up-and-coming apps that help those of us who spend a little bit too much money and, if you’re like me, you hate carrying change in your pockets (unless it’s quarters).  Come on.  Admit it. You get annoyed when you buy something for $5.36.

Swipe.ly helps you “turn purchases into conversations”.  Essentially, it helps you recommend certain purchase experiences to your friends and discover new places/products from the help of those you know and trust.  As you might imagine, SwipeGood is a bit different…

…SwipeGood allows you to donate the change from your transactions to charity.  It’s quite a simple process.  You can create an account via Facebook Connect, and all you have to do is enter your bank information (don’t worry, it’s a secure network), and start spending! SwipeGood rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and donates the change to the charity of your choice every month.  To avoid too many credit card fees, they take the change every 30 days. As their site states, people are rounding up to about $20/month, and SwipeGood takes 5% of each monthly donation which, as they say, is well below the 15-20% that most charities are paying for direct marketing and other fundraising methods.

Similar to Rec.fm (which you might remember from last week’s post), you are still limited to donating the money to specific organizations. Charity:Water is currently the featured nonprofit on SwipeGood, but here are the others you can donate your spare change to:

Instead of spending your money without a cause in mind, sign up for SwipeGood before you finish up your holiday shopping. At least you can rest assured you’re giving back this season without much work!

Want to connect to the folks at SwipeGood? Find them on Facebook and Twitter.


Awesome Ideas: Living Philanthropic


As usual, I was recently surfing the internet for something new and innovative to distract me from my work (ha, work).  As I was clicking through link after link I stumbled upon a very intriguing site, Living Philanthropic…and no, I wasn’t using Stumble Upon.

If you check out the website – which is actually hosted by Tumblr – it’s a very neat idea.  Carlo, the mind behind Living Philanthropic, decided to donate a certain amount of money to 365 charities in 365 days.  For those of you who can’t do the math, that’s 1 charity per day, for an entire year (yes, weekends included).  So far Carlo has donated a total of $2,653 and has raised $3,551.

A couple of weeks ago I reached out to Carlo and suggested he look into Active Minds – the nation’s only organization that utilizes the college student’s voice to advocate for mental health.  Not thinking I’d really ever hear a response from Carlo, I was very surprised when one of the staffers from the Active Minds national office e-mailed me the following:

“Also, who is this Living Philanthropic Carlos character who posted about us and crowdrise? Interesting idea, 365 charities in 365 days…” ~  I won’t publish your name

To be honest, I had to think a bit before I realized what she was talking about. Carlos? Crowdrise? Huh?  Then it finally dawned on me what she was referring to and had to laugh a bit.  He had actually taken my advice and donated $10 towards Active Minds and wrote up a great profile about the organization as well.  Not only that, he gave me a shout-out (I guess I’m famous now).

Carlo has highlighted and donated to organizations like The South African Education and Environment Project, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the National Associate for Downs Syndrome.  He doesn’t discriminate against any cause, and has paved the way for his followers, showing them groups they have probably never heard of.  To be very honest, I haven’t heard of 99% of them!

He has brought people together for a common cause: social good.  Hopefully his supporters will replicate Carlo’s actions and donate to various organizations – whether it’s following in Carlo’s footsteps and giving money to a group he donated to, or a completely different organization. He is teaching us the importance of giving, and how far $10 can go.

Oh, and one thing before I bid farewell – let’s all congratulate Carlo for being the “Featured Person” on Crowdrise!  Thank him by helping him build a school in Mexico – give a dollar or two!!

You can also connect with Carlo by:

FacebookTwitter | Crowdrise


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