Stories From Smaller NonProfits: ISDD (Innovative Solutions for Disadvantaged and Disability)

12/16/2013

StarsThis is the 5th year of Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series. 

During December we invite nonprofits into Diva to tell their stories in their own very special way. It's our hope that you might find a new NPO that touches your heart. Heart holiday  

In between shopping, wrapping and checking your list twice, we invite you to take a breath and enjoy a few from the heart stories

At the center of this season's inspiration for joy, is of course, the children. It's our pleasure the first story is from an organization, ISDD, whose mission is to improvie the the lives/health of children living in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage.

ISDD (Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability) focuses on practical projects that serve to improve the lives of children who are vulnerable to adverse health and developmental disabilities as a result of living in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage.

Leslie Rubin _ ISSPOur story teller is founder Leslie Rubin.

Doctor Rubin is a developmental pediatrician who is originally from South Africa where he learned about how health disparities in children were related to social injustice and has found the opportunity to make a difference for children in Atlanta and around the world.

The ISDD (Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability) Story

I have been working with children with developmental disabilities for many years and I have stared a number of programs over the years. The one that stands out for me is the Cerebral Palsy clinic that I started with colleagues at the Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital in Downtown Atlanta in 1998.

In 2002, with some funds from a family foundation, we did a survey of the 261 children we had seen in the clinic. As we expected they had a number of physical, medical and surgical complications but what struck us was the social context. We found that many of the children had been born prematurely to mothers who had smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol or taken drugs during pregnancy and that about half of the children were living with a single mother, about 30-40% with grandparents or in foster care, only a small percentage were living in 2 parent households.

This finding completely changed my view of children with developmental disabilities. I realized that developmental disabilities could be the result of social economic, educational, psychological and environmental factors and that the disabilities further aggravated the situation. Thus, I realized that these children then became caught up in what I termed the cycle of disadvantage and disability.

I then determined that I wanted to see what difference I could make in breaking that cycle and helping children lead more fulfilling and successful lives to become functioning and contributing members of society. Shortly thereafter, with the help of some friends, we formed the Institute for the Study of Disadvantage and Disability.

Our very first program was, in fact, called Break the Cycle of Disadvantage and Disability, which invited students from different disciplines in different universities to develop projects to Break the Cycle.

Break the cycle students and faciltiy

Break the Cycle Students and Faculty

Our second project was to provide support for the grandparents who were caring for their grandchildren with disabilities – Project GRANDD. 

Grandd Grandparents monthly meeting

Project GRANDD Grandparents Monthly Meeting 

The 3rd program was developed to provide health care for children whose mothers had problems with substance abuse and had been homeless – Healthcare Without Walls – a Medical Home for Homeless Children.

Now, in December 2013, we have had more than 80 students from around the country through our Break the Cycle Program along with 5 international journal supplements and a series of 4 books; we have served more than 100 grandparents with more than 200 grandchildren between then in our Project GRANDD and about 150 mothers with their children through our Healthcare without Walls – a Medical Home for Homeless Children.

Project Grandd Family Zoo OutingProject GRANDD Family Zoo Outing

We have recently changed our name to Innovative Solutions for Disadvantaged and Disability to better reflect what we do, and we look forward to continuing to develop programs that will help our society’s most vulnerable children have the opportunity to become successful and lead health fulfilling lives. 

More From ISDD

Isdd logo

Facebook  ISSD Website

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: VolunteenNation

12/31/2012

StarsTraditionally, December has been Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series.

It's a time when people who work in smaller nonprofts are welcome to tell their stories. It's a way of giving back through shining a light on lesser known organizations through the voices of the those who are passionate about their cause.

It's a hope that perhaps before the year ends you'll reach into the your heart for one last 2012 donation. Or as 2013 begins find a new organization to support.

This year life got in the way of life. As The Fates would have it, just as I was feeling sad that I didn't have a nonprofit to share with you, once again social media came to the rescue. This time it was a LinkedIn connect request from a young women .. Simon Bernstein.

Skipping around her profile and then her web presence I knew the story of VolunTEEN Nation would be the perfect way to close the year. I am humbled and honored to introduce you to Simon and her story.

The VolunTEEN Nation Story

Volunteening_Simone Bernstein_1 diva marketingThe story is told by Simone Bernstein who is a junior at St. Bonaventure University. After three years of success with her local organization, Simone and her brother launched VolunTEEN Nation in March 2012.

She has spoken at numerous conferences throughout the nation, has a column at the Huffington Post, was honored in 2010 as a L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth, and was recently listed on the 2012 Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurship list.

An Inspiration to Volunteer

Engaging youth in volunteer service heals divisions within communities. As an avid volunteer in both my hometown and college community, with a passion for engaging youth in volunteer service, I took the initiative to launch a national website for youth to easily find and connect with volunteer opportunities and resources at volunTEENnation.org. Utilizing social media tools to promote the website over 8,500 youth have found volunteer opportunities through the website, organized volunteer events, and our annual volunteer fairs.

My initial spark to volunteer in my community was ignited when my dad was deployed in the military. My siblings and I were overwhelmed with the support our family received and the outpouring of volunteers: bringing meals, helping my mom with childcare and daily errands.I wanted to volunteer, too.

I was fortunate through word-of-mouth to find youth volunteer opportunities. During high school, I took the initiative to create a regional website stlouisvolunteen.com out of my own frustration and difficulty in finding volunteer opportunities for youth on-line. Due to safety, security and liability issues and concerns, many non-profit organizations and agencies limit the minimum age for an on-site volunteer to 18. I wanted to make it easier for area youth to find volunteer opportunities. Volunteering_2diva marketing

Interest in our regional website from schools, non-profit agencies and students around the nation drove my brother and I to create a national tool or resource for youth interested in volunteering.

Note It's A Family Affair! Photo of Simon's sister Sophie, brother/co-founder Jake, their Dad who is a captain in the Navy and Simon.

Meeting with local and national government officials, I advocate for service learning in our nation’s schools. The challenge facing our nation’s school’s is the crisis of high school dropouts due to lack of support both in the school and home. Engaging youth in service learning provides a valuable link back to the community with a strong connection to the classroom.

I organized and created the first St Louis Youth and Family Volunteer Fair. The Fair is now an annual event hosted at The St Louis Magic House, Children’s Museum with over 35 family-friendly non-profit organizations recruiting student and families to volunteer.

Wanting to engage more youth, I organize flexible volunteer projects for youth. I coordinated a September 11, 2011 tenth anniversary volunteer service project to engage youth and families “Serve to Remember” park clean-up. Combining sports and youth, my brother and I recruited 25 youth volunteers to instruct tennis lessons at “Aces for All” a weekly tennis clinic for youth on the autism spectrum “Soccer for All” and “B-ball for All”. I also helped start Making Music Matters, a successful organization where teens volunteer to teach music lessons in the inner-city schools.

My goal is to inspire others to find ways for all youth improve their communities.

  • It is well within the reach of any student to get involved and make a difference. 

Ideally, I would like to create an international volunteer site and combine my passion for volunteer service and my medical training to advocate for quality maternal.

More From VolunTeenNation

Volunteen Nation Logo
Blog Facebook Twitter 

Read more Diva Marketing Stories From Small NonProfits

Interview With Author Sybil F. Stershic -- Share of Mind, Share of Heart

09/07/2012

Sybil Stershic_3It is with great pleasure that I have the honor of introducing our Diva Marketing community to a dear friend, Sybil Stershic.

Sybil's second book, Share of Mind, Share of Heart, explores the world of nonprofit marketing. The book takes a different slant from other books about NPOs; it focuses on the impact that employees and volunteers have on brand perception.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Sybil, Right from the start of Share of Mind, Share of Heart it’s clear that this is a book that you believe in and that comes from your heart. The Forward sets the direction that nonprofit marketing holds an additional element that may not be as prominent in other industries.  It’s often based on a personal and passionate commitment.

How do you walk the fine line of believing passionately in a cause while maintaining business objectivity?

Sybil Stershic: It can be a challenge, Toby. Passion for the mission is what attracts nonprofit employees, volunteers, donors and other supporters. It helps connect them and keep them engaged with the work of a nonprofit.

But passion for the mission without a bigger picture perspective can be dangerous – it can lead to burnout and a condition known as “mission creep” that dilutes organizational focus. Effective oversight by nonprofit leadership, via the executive staff and board of directors, is needed to maintain a dual focus on both the mission and the organization’s viability. While a strong mission helps drive financial support – i.e., “no mission, no money” – these leaders understand the reverse is also true – “no money, no mission.”

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Your book is full of practical, creative ideas that at first glance seem so simple; however, we know too well that implementation can be a challenge. 

Would you talk to us about what you refer to as “After The First Day” (P 59)? After the initial orientation and excitement about the organization has waned how can we help remind staff and volunteers of the mission and goals and keep them on track?

Sybil Stershic: New staff and volunteers get a lot of attention when they first join the organization. Even in smaller organizations that don’t have formal orientation or on-boarding programs, there’s still an effort to “imprint” the new person with the organization’s mission, values, and goals.

After a while the newbies blend in with other staff and volunteers. If the collective group is not kept informed on an ongoing basis as to what’s happening in the nonprofit and how it’s responding, the people within the organization tend to hunker down and lose sight of the big picture. Job descriptions become outdated; members of the board turn over, yet the staff doesn’t know who the new board members; the strategic plan is updated, but not shared with staff and volunteers; etc.

  • In the absence of ongoing communication, people start to disengage.

What’s amazing, Toby, is that the remedy to this isn’t all that difficult. It involves being intentional in proactively communicating with staff and volunteers. For example, the Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (Whom you introduced me to, thank you! My pleasure Sybil. Bloggy disclaimer: JF&CS is a client.), holds an all-staff meeting the day after each  monthly board of directors’ meeting to share board meeting results along with updates on grants and special events. JF&CS also recognizes and shares volunteer accomplishments in its monthly e-newsletter.

Another great example is the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute that starts staff meetings and board meetings by reading aloud its mission statement to keep everyone focused. These two examples illustrate that keeping the people who help fulfill the mission “in the know” doesn’t require a Herculean effort –  it’s basic communication and engagement via staff meetings, volunteer meetings, internal newsletters, training, staff/volunteer recognition, and special events, as needed.

Diva Marketing/Toby: “So the degree to which you capture and keep consumers’ share of mind and heart is directly influenced by their interactions with your staff and volunteers.” (P 33) I really like this statement ... a lot.

Since Diva Marketing is focused on social media I’m wondering how much of a nonprofit’s online engagement in social networks, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. influences share of mind and heart?

Sybil Stershic: The degree to which a nonprofit uses social networks depends on the organization – its culture, mission, key audiences, etc. That said, social media is a wonderful way to grow share of mind and heart with mission-inspired content.

Sharing stories and pictures of how people benefit from the mission (while not breaching confidentiality) Max reading Sybil's share of mind share of heart … volunteers or donors sharing their experiences supporting the mission (also reinforcing the ways people can get involved) …  staff members offering a behind-the-scenes perspective of a special event … these stories help bring the mission to life. A nonprofit can also write blog posts and share links to content that educates people about its mission and programs.

While social media advocates say “content is king,” I’d go even further to say “careful content is critical” in that nonprofits need to consider sensitivity in how they present any and all messages that reflect on their mission and brand. A negative impression can easily go viral.

Toby/Diva Marketing:
  What are your thoughts about involving staff, who are not in the marketing department, and also volunteers in participating in social media/networks? Let’s take these two ways.  The first is as one of the “voices” of the nonprofit.

Sybil Stershic: I know this seems like an oxymoron, but any “voice” speaking on behalf of a nonprofit needs to be authentic to be credible, yet carefully managed to ensure the wrong message isn’t put out there. That’s why social media guidelines and training need to be part of both Human Resources and Marketing policies.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The second ... how would you encourage nonprofits to interact with consumers in the digital world?

Sybil Stershic:  The answer to this depends on the organization and its target audiences’ access to and use of social media.

For example, I know a health-related nonprofit that combines both high-tech and low-tech approaches in building share of mind and heart. To broaden its outreach efforts, the marketing director produced a brief educational video as part of an “ambassador portfolio” that also contains a list of frequently asked questions and updated brochures for use by board and staff members. Employee reps show the video when meeting with outside groups or hosting on-site facility tours.

Marketing is also in the process of updating the website to be more engaging. Yet because many of its older board members do not use email, this nonprofit communicates with its board primarily by phone and regular mail.

Toby/Diva Marketing: You’ve worked with many different types of nonprofits, and you’ve also worked with for profits. For me your book provides a roadmap that can be easily modified and used by both.  One challenge that both nonprofit and for profits face is opening lines of communication across the organization .. or “de-siloing.” What suggestions can you give us to help that critical process?

Sybil Stershic: The best way to start is to ask employees for their ideas on what works in bridging these silos. They can also help identify which departments or divisions are already doing with well with inter-organizational communications; these areas can serve as role models.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Sybil, as is the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews, you have the last word. What would you tell our community, especially those marketers working in the nonprofit world?

Sybil Stershic: Recognize your marketing team includes everyone who works in your organization, regardless of the department or function they are assigned. So you need to effectively engage the minds and hearts of the people behind the mission (your employees and volunteers who impact your brand) as well as the people in front of the mission (your consumers and the public).

Thanks, Toby!

Continue the conversation with Sybil!

Quality Services Marketing - website and blog | Share of Mind Share of Heart |Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Emplpyee Customer Care |Twitter @Sybilqsm

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE)

01/01/2012

StarsSome how it seems fitting that the last in Diva Marketing's 2011 Shining A Light on smaller nonprofits series should highlight an organization that helps courageous women find hope at the start of a new chapter in their lives. Somehow it seems fitting that this NPO goes by the name of AWE. 

Awe molly corbett
Molly Corbett
 is our story teller for this special post.

She is the founder and executive director of Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE). Molly has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years.  She started as a community organizer and has worked with various social service and social justice organizations. Prior to AWE she was the Director of Programs and Grants at the Ventura County Community Foundation prior to moving to Baltimore.  For the past ten years Molly has worked as a consultant to social justice organizations in the Baltimore area.

Molly Corbett - Most of us are very familiar with the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph. Mary was pregnant, they were far from home and no one would take them in. Well, last year I lived through a modern day Christmas story.

It was the week between Christmas and New Years, I received a call from the former board member of an organization that I was currently working with that serves people seeking asylum in the United States. She answered the Help Line at United Way and had received a call from a small nonprofit that was inquiring about homeless shelters.

A young, very pregnant, Afghani woman had appeared on their doorstep and they had no place for her to stay.  The former board member said she had called several other nonprofits and they were closed for the week or working with a very small staff and were unable to help her. 

She told me that Amina* had just arrived in the United States. She was forced to flee Afghanistan because she was a pregnant, unmarried woman and her life was in danger. We both knew that Amina would be re-traumatized by going to a shelter and that she was most likely very fearful of men. I said I would call the Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore, a small women’s religious community, which I had been working with for many years. 

Awe_little girl and women hand
The Sisters agreed to take Amina and give her shelter. Little did we know that six days later she would give birth to a beautiful baby boy. Amina and her son continue to live with the Sisters.

What I realized when I saw the connection between Amina and the Sisters was that what many asylee (A non-citizen of a country who has been granted asylum in that country.) women need is a sense of community – a family.  Mary had Joseph with her and now I saw how important it was for Amina to have a new family with her. 

Women and men who come here seeking asylum are here legally but do not receive any government benefits until their asylum has been decided. They are not even eligible for a work permit until at least 180 days after their first asylum hearing. The asylum process for most people takes 2 years. During this time they are vulnerable, lonely and destitute. They flee their homeland with little more than the clothes off their back. They were nurses, teachers, business women and community activists back home – now they have nothing. 

The Asylee Women Enterprise helps find safe and nurturing housing, provides a community of women to help them on their long journey to freedom here in the United States. They fled because they were persecuted back home for their religion, gender, ethnicity, political beliefs or sexual orientation. For Amina and for the thousands of other women like her, she did not come for a better life – she came to save her life.

My personal experience with Amina helped me to vision the possibility for AWE. We now house four women; there are 13 women currently on the waiting list for housing. In addition, we have 10-15 other women who join us regularly for a sense of community and family.

Social Media Lessons and Challenges

Since we are a new organization we are careful in planning our web presence and social media strategy.  We hope to use social media to educate and engage others.  Utilizing Facebook, VolunteerSpot and the website will allow me to maximize my time in spreading the word about Asylee women and AWE and attract others to our organization.

Backstory from Toby: When Molly and and I were planning this post I asked for a couple of photos. She was hesitant to show the women's faces. Not that it would necessarily intrude on Awe_hands holding handsprivacy, but that it might put the women in danger. We decided that photos of "hands" might be the way to go. 

Somehow it seems especially fitting that a photo of "hands holding hands" end our special holiday series that brought some wonderful smaller nonprofits to your attention.

Our hope is that one NPO may have touched your heart and that led to you opening your purse (or wallet) to help make other's 2012 travels just a little gentler.

AWE logo
More From Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE)

Website

Facebook

VolunteerSpot

Read More Smaller Nonprofits Stories

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Baltimore Child Abuse Center

12/28/2011

StarsWe continue our special December series that shines a spotlight on nonprofit organizations that are often in the shadows. Today's nonprofit pulls back the curtains and exposes horrific abuse to children. Shedding light on the secrets begins the healing. 

In 1987, Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC) opened as a non profit in response to growing awareness that sexually abused children not only suffered from the abuse they endured, but they were also being re-victimized by the lengthy and often repetitive investigative process intended to help them. Last year, BCAC saw more than 850 children and their families.  

Jennifer Noparstak, Director of Development - Each child who comes to BCAC decorates a butterfly that hangs in the center. There are too many butterflies. BCAC is committed to ending child sexual abuse in Maryland. It can be done if we, as adults, learn more about this crime of secrecy and take responsibility for protecting our children.

The story teller for this story is Jacquelynn Kuhn.

Jacquelyn is deeply dedicated to improving the lives of children, volunteering with both the Baltimore Child Abuse Center and with Art with a Heart (AWAH), a nonprofit agency that focuses on teaching art to underserved communities in the Baltimore area. She has served as the Assistant Director for the Center for Ethics, Service and Professionalism at Michigan's Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and has worked for the American Cancer Society. She has received many awards including the 2009 Appreciation Award from the Oakland County Bar Association's 15th Annual.

Jacquelynn KuhnMs. Kuhn is committed to telling her story of child sexual abuse and healing whenever and wherever she is invited to share it.  She does this to spread hope to victims and survivors and to help to prevent this crime from happening to more children.

Note: We are honored to have Jacquelynn help us understand the world of abuse through her own story. Please take note that Jacquelynn does not sugar coat her tale. 

My name is Jacquelynn Kuhn, and I am an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. 

My abuse began when I was 5 years old. Just like a typical case of sexual abuse, my abuser was someone my family knew and trusted. He was 16 years old, and lived next door to my family. There were a lot of kids in our neighborhood, and we all played together.

My abuser would take me up to the tree house in the yard behind my house and molest me while all of my friends played below us. No one else knew what was happening, and I never told. Abusers are masters of manipulation, and he used many different tactics to keep me silent.

He threatened me. He told me if I told anyone or stopped letting him abuse me, he would bring my older brother or younger sister up to the tree house and do worse things to them.

He made me feel ashamed. He told me if I didn't like what was happening, I would not keep coming outside to play with him and my other friends.

He convinced me that I'd be the one to get in trouble. When I finally got brave and threatened him that I would tell my father and that he would go to jail for the bad things he was doing to me, he laughed and told me that I was doing the same bad things, and I would be the one to go to jail because my father would be angry with me that I hadn't told him earlier.

When you're 5 years old and experiencing something so vile, and heinous, and shameful, it's not easy to tell anyone about it. That's why the work Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC) does is so important.

I've trained with BCAC to give Prevention Workshops. After attending a few and sharing my story, I've seen what a difference prevention education makes. Getting this information in front of parents and educators is crucial for the safety and protection of our children against abusers who relentlessly look for new victims.

I was never taught about my body in school, not at such a young age. And we never talked about our bodies in my family, unless it was to make us feel ashamed so that we didn't do anything "wrong" or "bad" with our bodies.

HelpUsKeepKidsSafe
If I had been given the correct vocabulary-the proper anatomical names for my body parts-and if I had been told over and over again that I am in control of my body and no one should be touching me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable or confused, I would have had the knowledge in the beginning stages of my abuse to know it was wrong and that it wasn't my fault. And I would have been empowered to tell someone, instead of feeling powerless to tell anyone.

My abuse ended when I was 7 years old, and only because my father was transferred to a new location. I didn't tell my family about my abuse until just recently, after I was well into my 30's and after I went through a very painful divorce from a man who also abused me. And even then, I was still afraid to tell my family about my abuse.

That's how powerful the shame and guilt can be for a victim who doesn't get help through treatment and community support. Without reporting their abuse and receiving acceptance, support, and empowerment from a caring community that surrounds them, victims end up with lives much like mine, where they continue to be abused in different relationships and even abuse themselves.

That's why I designed the butterfly mosaic mural in BCAC's family waiting room. It's there to symbolize the hope for healing in every victim and survivor of child sexual abuse. Butterflies

As a survivor, to be able to see myself in the reflective mirrors of one of those butterflies and know that I am on a path of healing, self-expression, and beauty is a powerful thing.

Many people in the community banded together to work on the mosaic, putting broken pieces of tile that symbolize the broken pieces of my life-and the lives of all sexual abuse victims-together in a way that makes sense and creates a beautiful picture from something that happened that didn't make any sense and was extremely ugly.

Knowing that a community of such caring individuals expressed concern for the healing of victims and survivors in such a tangible, loving way has taught me just how valuable I am.

The epidemic of child sexual abuse in our nation and in this world seems very overwhelming at times, but it's just as Helen Keller once said:  "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do."

I will continue to promote BCAC and its incredible work so that I can help spread hope to victims and survivors and work to prevent this crime from happening to more children, and I hope others will read this and be inspired to do the same. We each have a voice that can be used to speak out against child sexual abuse to help victims and survivors heal.

 None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something.

 Social Media Lessons and Challenges

BCAC uses its Facebook and Twitter pages as a means to build an online community to raise awareness of the issue of child sexual abuse and the resources it offers at the center.

One of the goals is to make the Facebook page a platform for discussion on the issue and to inspire others to open up and speak their mind.  We post content on our pages to engage our followers and to encourage open conversation.  By engaging our followers we are able to expand our social reach on these networks and further raise awareness to a broader base.

Through our social media efforts we also would like to convert more of our followers into donors.  We have multiple platforms online and directly through Facebook for accepting donations, and are currently working on ways to further encourage our supporters to make charitable donations to BCAC.  As a non-profit, we thrive because of our supporters and ultimately our programs and services are not possible without their support.  Donations can be made online.

Logo baltimore child abuse center

More From Baltimore Child Abuse Center

Website  Facebook Twitter

 Read More Smaller Nonprofit Stories

Volunteers Help Keep Nonprofits' Lights On

12/27/2011

VolunteersDecember is Shine A Light on Smaller Nonprofits month on Diva Marketing. I hope you're enjoying the stories and perhaps learning about an organization or two that might not have been on your radar. 

Nonprofits depend on many resources from funding sources to kind donors. However, one of the most important is volunteers

  • Our lives are to be used and thus to be lived as fully as possible, and truly it seems that we are never so alive as when we concern ourselves with other people. – Harry Chapin

MSN Business On Main: News On Main highlights an interesting organization, Catchafire, which pairs volunteers with nonprofits in need of their specific talents. Catchafire charges nonprofits an annual fee and is free to volunteers.

As we've seen in many of our Diva Marketing Shine A Light on Smaller Nonprofits, NPOs are incorporating social media as part of their communication strategy. However, there is another way that social media can be utilize .. as part of a volunteer initative. Who better to help pass the word about an NPO's programs and mission but through the people who are passionate about the cause to the extend that they are giving of their time .. its volunteers. 

One of the best examples I've seen is from Taylor's Tale: Project E-Warenss.  All the ways that volunteers, and people who just want to help speard the word, are consolidated in an eBook. By the way, Taylor's Tale was the inspiration for Diva Marketing's Shine A Light on Smaller Nonprofits holiday series. Here's their story told by its founder, Laura King Edwards.

In this time of giving, let's make this a two way street .. something for you and something that will help nonprofits.

 MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Nonprofit Tip Contest ~ Win $100!

Share 1 idea on how a nonprofit can incorporate social media + volunteers to expand awareness of the NPO

When it comes to social good marketing Geoff Livingston gets it from the heart. Award winning author, Geogg Livingston_Give To Max Day strategiest, photographer and proud dad Geoff understands the unique needs of nonprofits and is devoting his talents to helping "mindful companies and nonprofits."

Geoff has graciously agreed to be our Guest Judge for this special contest.  Connect with Geoff on his blog, Twitter -@GeofflivingFacebookFlickr,  LinkedIn, Google+.

Rules of MSN The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Main Post. If you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing you cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing.

4. Contest ends midnight Saturday January 7, 2011.

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

That's it .. now it's your turn! Wouldn't $100 extra be nice to help with those holiday bills?

Drum beat please .. winner is .. Greer. Congrats!

" Give thanks! Thank your volunteers, donors, staff members, other organizations, etc. Non-profits can't do it alone and thanking people in a public way, such as through social media, is a huge compliment to those who have donated their time, money and energy to your cause."

Here's what are uber cool guest judge, Geoff Livingston had to say about why he chose Greer's tip.

OK, so here it is, I am going with Greer's comment. Here's why: 

  • "Thanking volunteers is a critical act of recognition that fosters long term health in a nonprofit. Peer recognition is pretty much the only thing these people get for thanks in exchange for providing time and expertise.  Social media is the ideal way to do this in a very public way.  Consider that these people are a 501(c)3's lifeblood, providing critical human resources for cash strapped organizations.  
  • But it goes further. Volunteers do more than provide bandwidth, they also serve as word of mouth ambassadors and their households donate twice as much as the average  Americans. Social recognition allows them to wear their honors publicly (similar to a badge) by retweeting, Likes, +1s and reshares creating more word of mouth, more good will and more donation."  

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Stories from Smaller Nonprofits: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel

12/13/2011

StarsAt this holiday season we are encouraged to look beyond face value to the heart of the people who may touch our lives .. directly or indirectly. "Looks" of nonprofits may also be deceiving at first glance.

For the first time we are opening Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series to a couple of special programs offered by larger nonprofits. These initiatives often have unique budgets and dedicated staff .. much the same as smaller nonprofits. 

John Pollock _Public Justice CenterThis story is told by John Pollock who manages this unique program. As Jennifer Pelton, Director of Development, proudly told me, "John brings strong leadership -- and helpful tools -- to the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC.)"

John Pollock - This Coalition seeks to address a severe justice gap in this country. People who can afford private counsel will hire a lawyer when something critically important to them – such as their home or the custody of their children – is at stake. Too many people do not have that choice. In what is a surprise to many, the right to a lawyer (in civil cases) is not guaranteed. 

Private counsel is unaffordable and civil legal services (or other “free”) counsel meets only 20 percent of the need. Further compounding the problem, all too often,indigent litigants  face an opponent who does have a lawyer. This justice gap especially hurts families of color, families headed by women, children and the elderly.

In 2004, attorneys and advocates from around the nation created the NCCRC to expand recognition and implementation of a right to counsel in civil cases. The Coalition is led by the Public Justice Center, a legal advocacy organization based in Maryland. As the coordinator, I oversee services to coalition participants by providing advice, information, testimony and other support. I also managed a vast amount of information through a newly created wiki and bibliography.

Judge Annette Marie Rizzo talks about civil rights to counsel in foreclosure cases. 

One of the major problems faced by the Coalition was its lack of an easy way to share its massive research and case-related resources with all 200+ participants in an organized fashion, particularly given the wide levels of familiarity with technology within the Coalition.

Additionally, because of the lack of organization and the fact that few knew the full extent of documents in existence, key resources would go unutilized and reinvention of the wheel (with respect to repeating existing research) was not uncommon.

Social Media Lessons and Challenges

The Coalition chose a product called PBWorks which was obtained at a very steep discount thanks to the generosity of the PBWorks company. I established the wiki and stored the documents in an organized system, then used web-conferencing software to train coalition participants on how to access and navigate the wiki.

In addition to ensuring that Coalition participants could remain aware of all of the Coalition's resources, the wiki  has solved other problems as well.  In the past, when documents to be shared were emailed, Coalition participants that joined the Coalition later on would not have access to such documents without combing through the email archives.  

Now, both new and old participants need only visit the wiki to see a complete picture of the Coalition's resources.  Also, the wiki provides a weekly summary to all Coalition participants about all documents on the wiki that have changed, thus allowing them to know if Coalition staff upload newer versions of memos, case briefs, or other important documents.  Finally, the wiki provides one centralized location for the entire memory store of the Coalition.  For all of these reasons, the wiki has empowered advocates in the various states to benefit from the collective wisdom and work of the Coalition.

Public Justice Center logo
More From Public Justice Center

Facebook Twitter Website  Civil Right to Counsel

Read More Small Nonprofit Stories

Stories from Smaller Nonprofits: Testicular Cancer Society

12/07/2011

StarsWelcome to Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series. Seems we have a tradition going on. This is the third year that Diva Marketing has given the virtual stage to smaller nonprofits to tell their story .. their way. It's our way of giving back by honoring the people and the organizations who make a difference in the lives of so many others.

It is my special wish, through your kindness in passing along the posts to your networks, together we can give the present of increased awareness, a new volunteer and a extra donation or two. 

Throughout December you'll be meeting some amazing people and NPOs. 

The Testicular Cancer Society Story

Mike Craycraft Testicular Cancer SocietyStory told by Mike Craycraft who is a survivor and founder of the Testicular Cancer Society. He also has helped treat hospitalized patients for over 16 years as a clinical pharmacist.

The Testicular Cancer Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to raise awareness about the most common form of cancer in men ages 15-35. We are dedicated to increasing awareness and education about testicular cancer and providing support to fighters, survivors and caregivers.

A little over five years ago I received a membership into a group that I never asked to join but I would now never trade for anything in the world. I was given a membership into the world of young adult cancer. Being young and feeling completely healthy, minus a small lump on my left testicle, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

I had spent the previous 7 months knowing that I had a lump, but not going to the doctor or telling a soul about it. Instead, I made peace with the fact that I was going to die young from cancer and went about enjoying what little time I “thought” I had left.

As a healthcare professional and now a cancer survivor, I felt I had the unique ability to help make the world of testicular cancer and young cancer in general a better place than it was when I joined it. I wanted to make sure that other guys didn’t make the same mistakes I did when I was diagnosed and delay going to the doctor.

During my ordeal, I also realized there weren’t many resources out there about testicular cancer and it took a long time to find the resources that were available. From the moment you tell your doctor about a lump, to having surgery and then facing decisions about further treatments it can be just a few days, so I wanted to make sure other guys had those resources quickly. Walk to remember Testicular Cancer Society

  • With the Testicular Cancer Society we focus on being the hub of a wheel that brings all the spokes together.

On our web site young men have access to a lot more than just information about the disease. We point them in the right directions to find one-on-one support, survivor forums, information on fertility issues,
tools for fundraising as well as their individual treatment options and access to expert physicians in the field.

Social Media

Early detection is key. With early detection, testicular cancer survival rates are close to 100%. Our message needs to reach young men all across the country so we use social media because of its reach and cost effectiveness.

However, our challenge remains getting the people we reach to become engaged in our cause. While our followers might be listening to the message they aren’t active in promoting it. Even when we do get social interactions we find that many times it is the same handful of people interacting and our message is not expanding past this small group.

Not just expanding the reach of our message, but making those reached engage is going to be our challenge in the upcoming year.

TCS needs your help to set a Guinness World Record™  ..  collecting the largest donation of sports Ball Call For Kidsballs in 24-hours! Decemeber 9th at 5p - December 10 5p, 2011. The balls will be given to the Marines Toys For Tots. Details are on the TCS site.

Logo Testicular Cancer Society (626x935)

More From Testicular Cancer Society

Wesbite Twitter TCS Facebook  Mike's Facebook YouTube Blog 

Read more small nonprofit stories.

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Wello WaterWheel

12/31/2010

Stars As 2010, wraps up, so does Diva Marketing's Stories From Smaller Nonprofit Series. This was the second year we had the privilege of providing opportunities for lesser known not for profits to tell their stories .. in their own way. In keeping with Diva Marketing's focus to help people understand how to better use social media, each nonprofit also kindly shared their social media experiences and lessons learned. 

A popular line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner sets the stage for our last story. Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink. An invention, that is as as simple but as brilliant as the wheel, is about to help people in rural poverty areas bring water to their homes. Not only will the Wello WaterWheel make life easier but it's impact will change culture. Powerful. 

The Story of Wello WaterWheel is told by Seanwood1 Sean Wood. Sean is the founder of Freeworld Media in Atlanta. Freeworld is a social media boutique with an advanced perspective on how consumer marketing connects with science and art for measurable social business results."

You’ve probably seen pictures of women carrying 5 gallon buckets of water on their heads from distant water sources back to their homes.  This image is an everyday reality for people around the world that live in developing areas of Africa, India and other regions where water is hard to find. 

Access to clean water is one of the biggest global issues of the 21st century and moving water from the closest water source can take up much of the day. When women and children carry water buckets on their heads, it often leads to serious neck and spinal injuries

I met Cynthia Koenig, founder of Wello, a couple of years ago after she had worked in rural South Africa on water issues like access, sanitation and transportation.  When she returned to the US, Cynthia created the international non-profit group called the Wello WaterWheel to improve water transportation. (Photo of Cynthia Koenig)Cynthia Koenig

This simple barrel-like device helps people in developing countries transport 20 gallons of water at a time.  Because the Wello shortens the amount of time needed to transport water, it allows more time for education, which has a positive impact on the lives people, their families and their communities. 

After the Wello pilot program launched this summer in the Indian state of Rajasthan, a local 45-year old woman said ..

  • "There's a lot of daily work I have to do and with extra time [that the WaterWheel would provide], I could have more cattle because I'd have time to take care of them. This would increase my income. Also, with more time and increased livestock, young girls can go to school."

 As a social business, Freeworld Media donates 10% of our resources to support global causes as part of our social responsibility.  We created and executed digital marketing initiatives for Wello that raised funds and promoted the project around the world.  Most recently, it was featured at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative.

Social Media Does Social Good

Wello Wheel
 2010 has been an active year for strategic planning, rebranding, creating manufacturing and distribution networks, and working on a sustainable business model. 

Wello completed a rebranding in September… and thanks to social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, the transition was seamless. We were able to keep the public abreast of the changes taking place with the venture, and as a result, most people have responded to our new look with "great new name" instead of "what's Wello?”

 

This was a huge advantage, since it enabled our small team to stay focused on day-to-day operations and on laying the groundwork for our 2011 pilot in India.” Cynthia Koenig

 The social media plan for 2011 includes streamlining social media to produce more consistent content through blogs, video networks and encourage conversations on Facebook and Twitter. The Wello WaterWheel can make a tremendous impact in the developing world and to help offset production costs, Wello seeks corporate sponsors and private donors.  

Wello logo

 

Learn more about the Wello WaterWheel Website Twitter Facebook YouTube

 

Read more small nonprofit stories. 
Thanks to Taylor's Tale for the use of the Magical Stars. 

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

12/28/2010

Stars This December the winds blew colder than usual and for many their winter wonderland turned life into a world of isolation. For nonprofits, who depend on the kindness of strangers, this year especially, with the challenges of the economy it seemed to feel as thought they were fighting the battle for their cause alone.

During this month Diva Marketing is shining the light on a few smaller nonprofits. It is our hope that stories you read will inspire you to help in ways that fit with your life .. be it a donation, an hour of volunteer time, a Facebook status update or an extra tweet.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is as unique and personal as its name. Alzheimer's can impact the lives of its victims and their families in much the same way as the winter blizzards can wrap you in isolation and fear. However, through the works created by Ami Simms and a group of gifted quilters there is hope and warmth.

The story of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is told by it's founder Ami Simms.

I am a quilter. I founded Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative in the midst of my mother's 7-year struggle with Alzheimer's disease because I had to do something. I don't know how to cure disease, but I do know how
Mom&Ami to quilt.  I have a voice in the quilting community and I thought this was the time to open my mouth. Photo of Ami and her Mom. 

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative disease that destroys brain cells. With cell death come memory loss and cognitive decline. Alzheimer's isn't forgetting where you went on vacation in 1997, it’s the gradual loss of every memory you ever had, every skill you ever learned, and every relationship you ever held dear. You lose yourself, bit by bit. So far, there are no survivors.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) is a grassroots, Internet-based effort to raise awareness and fund research through art. We sponsor a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope. Fifty-three small format art quilts explore the disease from a variety of perspectives. They are shown with 182 "Name Quilts," each a 6-inch by 7-foot quilted panel of names of people who have/had Alzheimer's or a related dementia. There are more than 10,000 names in all, written by family members and friends.

The AAQI sells and auctions donated quilts, more than 6,100 so far. The Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project offers a way for quilters to grieve the loss of a loved one with needle and thread. Those who can't thread a needle can open their wallets to honor their efforts and fund research. (See our Quilts For Sale page.) 

Since 2006, our all-volunteer charity has raised nearly $500,000 for Alzheimer's research, one quilt at a time. The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative auctions small quilts the first 10 days of every month. Please visit us to see the quilts in the January auction and to participate in the online auction. AGI _ umbrella of hope  

Social Media Does Social Good

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative does not maintain a traditional "donor list" of names and street addresses. Instead, we rely on virtual "word of mouth."

1. Every donated quilt gets its own web page that includes a photograph of the quilt, information about the quilt, and a place for a dedication if the artist wishes. Donors are encouraged to email, blog, facebook, and tweet when their quilt is up for auction or available on our web site to purchase. We facebook and tweet the number of every quilt sold.

2. All news about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is disseminated via email, facebook, and/or RSS feed to our AAQIUpdate blog. Donations are accepted through our website and through 3,000-member facebook causes page. We are listed and reviewed in GreatNonprofits.com 

3. Supporters help us by placing our logo (linked back to our home page) on their blogs and web pages. 

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative auctions small quilts the first 10 days of every month. Please visit us to see the quilts in the January auction and to participate in the online auction.  

AQI Logo Learn More About Alzeheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Blog  Facebook Twitter Website Auction

 

Read more smaller nonprofit stories.