Stories from Smaller Nonprofits: Testicular Cancer Society


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 

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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Wello WaterWheel


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


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Thanks to Taylor's Tale for the use of the Magical Stars. 

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative


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 

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


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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Citizen Effect


Stars Tis the season to be jolly. Even though there might be a few less presents this year, the holidays are still filled with joy for most of us. However, for many others .. not so much. As the days of December move closer to the end of 2010, the nonprofit world reaches out to ask for your help with the wish that a last minute tax deduction will result in a few more donations.  

As a way to give back, Diva Marketing is once again highlighting smaller nonprofits. Through out December lesser known charities will be telling their stories .. in their special way. Perhaps you'll find a new cause that tugs on your heart and inspires you to donate, volunteer or pass along a link to your network. Thanks to Taylor's Tale for the use of the wishing on a star logo.

CarolynButcher_citizen effect The story of Citizen Effect is told by Citizen Philanthropist Carolyn Butcher who shares her personal experiences about how her life has been touched through her volunteer efforts. Special thanks to Andi Narvaez for her help coordinating this post. 

In 2006, Dan Morrison returned from a trip to India and brought together friends and family to raise funds to build a much-needed water well in Dungra Village. In 2008, Dan started Citizen Effect with the idea that everyone can make a real impact in the world.

Its mission is to connect passionate citizens with communities in need and give them the tools and support they need to take charge of their giving and improve thousands of lives, one project at a time.

I’m a life coach and yoga enthusiast in Washington, DC. Over the last two years, I’ve helped raise more than $14,000 from friends, family and the DC yoga community to build a childcare center and well in Dungra Village, India and fund a foster home in Cloetesville, South Africa. 

I have been with Citizen Effect since it was founded. For my first project, I donated $1,000 of my earnings from teaching a six-month life coaching workshop. For my second project, I sponsored birthday and holiday campaigns to raise $2,000 with friends and family. And for my third project, I became a community organizer for a 30-day yoga challenge in Washington, DC that brought together businesses, local contributors, and sponsors to raise $11,500 for a foster home for children in South Africa through the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program.

Though my job keeps me busy, I’m committed to Citizen Effect because it makes it easy for me to connect with the communities that need my help and to reconnect with my passion to serve others. I never thought of myself as a fundraiser. But founder Dan Morrison once asked me, “What do you love to do?” I thought of my workshops and yoga and realized that all I needed to do was wrap a fundraiser around them.

 Social Media Does Social Good 

Citizen Effect uses social media to…

1. Help Citizen Philanthropists bring friends, co-workers and family together to build local communities that help a global community in need. Citizen Philanthropists don’t just click a “donate” button; they become leaders.

 2. Connect Citizen Philanthropists with the communities they are giving to by sending them project updates and sharing news of their progress. Citizen Philanthropists don’t just get a tax form; they get to see the direct impact their efforts are having on the world’s issues.

3. Share stories from partners and their communities to inspire new Citizen Philanthropists to step up to find solutions for critical problems affecting less fortunate regions in the world. Citizen Philanthropists don’t just give $50 to charity; they support scalable development that helps communities flourish.

4. Citizen Effect’s Holiday Harvest

This season, forget the iTunes gift card and participate in a more meaningful gift experience. Choose a holiday card from the region of the world you want to support, personalize it with a message, and Snapfish will send the card to your friend or loved one so you can tell them you made a gift in their name to solve the hunger crisis.

Social media has helped Citizen Effect achieve its mission and change the face of philanthropy, which looks more like us every day.

Logo_citizen_effect-260x75  Learn More About Citizen Effect

Website Facebook Twitter YouTube

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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: RE Children's Project


Stars In the spirit of the season, during the month of December, Diva Marketing opens its virtual doors to tell the stories of smaller nonprofits.Through out the month you'll learn about organizations you may not have heard of .. but each one will will touch your heart. 

This series is inspired by Laura King Edwards who launched Taylor's Tale, on behalf and in honor of her little sister, to raise awareness for Batten disease.  As Laura says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream." Through these posts perhaps we'll create a little magic that will help people get closer to their dream.

The Story of RE Children's Project told Rob Petersen, Rob peteresen of Barnraisers, an online social media solutions company. 

The energy and drive of non-profits founders can rub off on you the instant you’re with them. Seth Wohlberg, Founder of the RE Children’s Project, a 501 (c) (3) dedicated to finding a cure for a rare disease, Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, fills that role and then some.

Children's project founders Rasmussen’s Encephalitis is a rare, chronic inflammatory disease that affects one hemisphere of the brain.  It causes frequent, uncontrollable and severe seizures, loss of motor skills and speech, and paralysis on one side of the body.  Rasmussen’s Encephalitis almost always impacts children. It affects Seth’s daughter, Grace.

Photo: Grace with her mom and dad.  

The only known “cure” is a radical brain surgery called a Hemispherectomy in which the affected half of the brain is removed with the hope the brain will re-wire itself and allow the individual to lead a more normal life.  Seth has another idea for a “cure.” Let’s find a real one. 

Rasmussen’s Encephalitis has changed Seth’s life as you might imagine.  By day, he is a partner in a boutique investment bank in NYC.  When that day ends, he begins another job as Founder of RE Children’s Project, his second career.  He is the most driven, hard-working and inspiring person I know.

I donate my time using social media to help spread the word and encourage donations.  If you know Seth, you know he has a very good chance at success.  You also know he writes a great blog and has a blogger’s perseverance.   His organization and situation lends itself to the perfect marriage of social media and grass roots outreach.

Social Media Does Social Good

Here are 3 ways social media did social good for Rasmussen’s Encephalitis through the RE Children’s Project.

1. AUTHORITY AND SEARCH:  RE Children’s comes up high on the first page of Google in a search for Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.  It is in the company of the most advanced scientific and medical research.   If you request Google Alerts for information on the disease, every week it’ll include the RE Children’s blog.  This happens because social media drove search engine optimization.

2. COMMUNITY: Less than 500 people worldwide are diagnosed each year with Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.  Now, many of the affected families all over the globe are part of a community built through RE Children’s social media strategy and networks.  Social media also keeps Seth and his community in touch with Cris Hall, Founder of the Hemispherectomy Foundation, a non-profit that serves the hemisphrectomy community, as well as several other organizations devoted to rare disease and epilepsy research. 

3. WORKING TOGETHER: Seth has put not only a great deal of time into his quest for a cure, but in one short year he has sponsored a first of kinds research conference this past October in which he brought together over 50 global experts across research disciplines to Deer Valley, Utah.  The purpose of the conference was to define a research agenda for the disease. 

He has elevated the global discourse and interest in the disease and is continuing this momentum with another conference in February and a major fundraiser in Connecticut.  Readership to his blog and social networks builds and spikes with each event as social media and grass roots efforts work together to generate higher awareness…and social good. 

Social media works because 1 person tells 5 people who tell 15 people and so on.  During this holiday season, I am asking you to spread the word and do 3 things so the RE Children’s Project sustains its mission to find a cure for Rasmussen’s Encephalitis:

1) Send the web address to 5 friends who have not heard about the effort

2) Read the RE Summary and Facts in the Must Read tab (link 10)

3) Please consider a donation of $10 or $20 through the RE Children’s web site “donate” tab. 

After all, it’s called social media for a reason. 

Logo re children's project  Learn More About RE Children's Project

Website Twitter  Facebook YouTube 

 Special wishes to Grace for a wonderful holiday. Thanks for inspiring so many people.

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For Haiti - One By One By One


Today Max and took a walk in the rain. Max hates to get wet and while I might like to fantasy about dancing in the rain with Gene Kelly, being out doors in a cold winter rain with winds blowing is not my ideal of fun. But we were safe. I knew we were going back to a warm house where I could relax by the fire with a hot cup of tea or even a snifter of brandy and Max, of course, could chew on a doggy treat. 

There are millions of people today in a small island in the Caribbean who are not safe. The people of Haiti will not be safe for many weeks or more likely many, many months.   

Diva Marketing is a wee voice within the billions of web pages on the Internet; however, I couldn't let the opportunity of using the space on this site go by without an acknowledgment, of what my friend Geoff Livingston says, goes beyond the damage of a hurricane to the devastation of poverty.

Miracles  If there is anything social media has taught me .. it is to believe in the miracles that people can make one-by-one-by-one. Just in case you wandered in and needed one more bit of encouragement to help here are a few sites that provide information.

Red Cross & Text HAITI 90999 for a $10 contributio(& the cost of your text message)

Center for International Disaster Information(CIDI)

14 Resources To Volunteer for Haiti

60+ Charities To Donate For Haiti

Explain Haiti To You Children NYT - 5 Ways To Teach About Haiti 

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: East Lake Foundation


Stars2009 holidays are winding down. Social networks from Facebook, Flickr to Twitter helped us share memories  with family and friends. But for some people holiday memories were not so merry or jolly. In the spirit of the season, to give back, Diva Marketing  is showcasing the stories of smaller nonprofits throughout December. 

It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

East Lake Foundation

The tale of the Miracle of East Lake begins with, Tom Cousins an Atlanta real estate icon who had a "crazy" vision that golf could rebuild an inner city community. The story is told by Mary Dugenske, Director of Marketing and Communications for East Lake Foundation.

East Lake Foundation kids Everyone deserves a chance to succeed – which is why the East Lake Foundation provides tools for Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a brighter future for themselves and their families."

Just 15 years ago - East Lake was a blighted, crime-ridden area, home to one of the nation’s most troubled housing projects. Only 5% of students met state math standards, and the employment rate (not unemployment rate) was just 14%.

Three key building blocks -  Working with residents, the East Lake Foundation brought hope to this historic community, relying on three key ingredients:

•Quality Education: East Lake kids now enter a cradle-to-college pipeline that includes an early education program that’s become a statewide model and Atlanta’s first charter school. Students learn, excel and graduate – in fact, 97% are the first in their families to attend college!

•Affordable Housing: Families now have access to safe housing choices, plus classes, events and support groups that help them build knowledge, skills and lasting financial strength.

•Community Connections: Neighbors connect and learn from each other – for example, through The First Tee of East Lake, a dynamic program that teaches both golf and life skills while opening the doors to colleges, scholarships and jobs for hundreds of children.

Toward a brighter future -  As East Lake families begin to break the cycle of poverty, East Lake is becoming a community of choice. Violent crime is down 95%, while school test scores and property values have surged. Today’s economic challenges hit working families particularly hard — but thanks to donors and volunteers, the East Lake Foundation can continue to provide tools that build brighter tomorrows. Just $10 a week provides a child with after-school tutoring, educational support and enrichment activities that foster lasting academic success.

Social Media Strategy

Expanding the conversation - Like many small nonprofits, the Foundation has long relied on “social” events (especially volunteer opportunities) to connect donors, partners and neighbors. We’re excited about the opportunities that social media offers to connect with our supporters and broaden our outreach.

Right now, we’re focused on listening and learning about what others are saying about our cause, as well as helping supporters and volunteers tell our story via their blogs and tweets. In 2010, we look forward to expanding the conversation ourselves via our own presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media channels!

More About Eastlake Foundation

Donation Page


Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Isipho


StarsYes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. ~ Francis Pharculles, The Sun

There are people who play Santa year long. Many bring their talents and hearts to the important work they perform for nonprofit causes. Throughout December Diva Marketing will highlight stories from smaller nonprofits that light the way for causes but rarely pull mentions in the main stream media. 

It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The Isipho Story

Miranda Lynch The story is told by Miranda Lynch who is the 15-year old co-founder and vice president of Isipho. Miranda's story is as much a part of the fabric of Isipho as the children she is passionate about helping.

My name is Miranda Lynch. I co-founded Isipho in December 2009 so I could do everything possible to improve the lives of the children in Nzinga, South Africa after visiting there in August 2008 while on vacation to celebrate my 14th birthday with my dad.

When we first got to Nzinga, all I wanted was to turn around and leave right away.  I had never experienced such hardship or poverty. It was really overwhelming.

But I didn’t have time to be overwhelmed, because the second I got out of the car, a girl my age handed me a saw and pointed to some wood. I understood that she wanted me to cut the wood; something I had no idea how to do, but was embarrassed to admit that, so I just started sawing. As the evening evolved, I realized that the wood I was sawing was the wood we needed to make a fire to cook our dinner. Just making and then cleaning up after dinner was such hard work and took so long that by the time we finished, I was exhausted and went straight to bed. I guess it’s good I was too exhausted to leave!

The next day my life was changed forever, because I met Amahle, the beautiful, smart, precocious two-year-old daughter of our host. Amahle doesn’t have the same opportunities in life that I do -  the opportunity to receive a quality education, the opportunity to have three healthy meals per day, and the opportunity to earn a living and support herself once she’s an adult. Amahle became my little shadow, and I came to love her like a little sister.

When we left Nzinga, I kept thinking about Amahle, and was determined to do all I could to change the inequality in her life; to do everything possible to give Amahle and every other child in Nzinga the opportunities that I believe every person deserves.

  • I know I’m just one American teenager, but I knew I had to at least try, and that I couldn’t just leave and never look back. When my mom and dad saw my passion for this, they agreed to help me help Nzinga overcome their biggest obstacles to a better life.

The municipality where Nzinga is located has identified severe and chronic malnutrition and illiteracy as two of the biggest contributors to the poverty in Nzinga. It seemed so simple to me that if they could grow their own fresh vegetables and had the proper resources to be able to receive an education, their lives would vastly improve. So we decided to start a non-profit to focus exclusively on this small village and to make a difference one child, one family, one food garden, and one classroom at a time.

I decided to name the nonprofit Isipho, which is the Zulu word for “gift,” and the nickname that Amahle gave to me because she couldn’t say “Miranda.” Our Isipho, or our gift, is to help the people of Nzinga create a better, self-sustaining community. 

We do not give them more hand-outs that just extend the cycle of dependence. We give them the tools they need to feed and educate themselves within five years without any outside assistance. Specifically, we provide them with fencing, gardening tools, seeds and gardening training so that they can learn how to garden for themselves, and be able to protect their gardens from grazing animals.They do all the rest. 

We also provide books, school supplies, educational toys and teacher training so that the kids in the village are all going to school and are learning when they get there. Before we started Isipho, only 44% of the villagers had ever attended any school at all, and only seven percent had ever graduated from high school. Our goal is to get 100% of the children in the village enrolled in school, and to increase graduation rates so that their poverty begins to improve.

In our first year we raised almost $20,000, and on just that limited amount of money we’ve been able to send:

~23 villagers through a 3 day sustenance gardening training program with the regional agriculture college.
~Provide fencing, tools and starter seeds for more than 500 square yards of community vegetable gardens
~Provide fencing, tools and starter seeds for 40 smaller, individual family garden

~Deliver over $3,000 worth of books, mathematics tools (calculators, protractors, etc.), and other needed school supplies.
~Encourage development of a local committee that will oversee and lead the programs going forward so that the villagers have ownership and ultimate responsibility for long-term success. More than half of the committee is comprised of women.

Isipho is run by me, my mom and my dad, so far on a 100% volunteer basis.

I’m founder and Vice President of the Board of Directors. I spend most of my time working on public relations and fundraising, and I’m also busy making a short film about Nzinga, using video footage that I shot this past August when we were in Nzinga building vegetable gardens and working in the schools.

My dad, Tom, is President of the Board.  He does marketing and fundraising, and is always spreading the word about Isipho.

My mom, Sheri, is Executive Director of Isipho. She handles all the day-to-day operations.

The three of us work together to plan all of the programs. We’re also putting together a really great Board of Directors right now.

It’s been really interesting to work together with my family like this. We’re a business, so we have weekly meetings, as well as quarterly planning sessions and an annual planning retreat. I’ve learned a LOT about what it takes to run a business, like how to do strategic planning, how to organize fundraisers, what it takes to do even a simple program, and a lot about business etiquette. Most of that I’ve learned by making mistakes and embarrassing myself. But that’s OK – that’s one of the nice things about learning all this stuff as a teenager – people are quick to forgive my mistakes!

Social Media Strategy

Social media is important for us, but also very natural. My dad has worked in digital marketing for a long time, and I’m 15, so I’m on it all the time. We have a limited budget, so social is a great way to spread the story and get people involved. It has been great for us, and also a lot of fun.

It also is a lot of work though, because you have to stay active. Sometimes we’ll find that too much time has passed before we’ve interacted, and other times we’ll find we’re all on our individual Facebook pages saying the same thing.

  • Sometimes being consistent and coordinated is not as easy as it would seem.

 Isipho logo
More About Isipho

Web site
Facebook page
Donation link

For the greater good sites from Miranda:: Idealist Gold Star

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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: St. Vincent and Sarah Fischer Center


Stars In midst of the chaos of shopping, gift wrapping and cookie baking I invite you to join me on Diva Marketing for a quiet moment to learn about the work of some smaller nonprofits. Throughout December I'll be highlighting stories from nonprofits that light the way for causes that may not be on the front page of the New York Times. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center Story

Suzanne conti for svsf Story is told by Suzanne Conti who has been involved with the St. Vincent and Sarah Foster Center for many years. 

At one time the St. Vincent and Sarah  Foster Center was a foster home for children with volunteers providing Easter Baskets and Birthday toys.  Through the Center's studies they believed their efforts would be more fruitful if the children stayed with their parents as long as they taught the parents how to provide and parent for a successful family life. 

Tutoring of all forms is on-going and the results are wonderful, but the needs for these young Detroit families are greater than ever.  Sr. Judith would be so grateful to any assistance given to help these children and parents, whether it be crayons for the kids after school programs or warm coats and boots.

Providing education and skill development opportunities for at risk children and families in Detroit which have been devasted with the highest unemployment (38%) and highest levels of high school drop out rates (28%).  This charity is going to the heart of the problem- working to strengthen the family unit to become nurturing productive sources for children.

Svsf center photo of girls The odds say many of the children served in the Brightmoor and surrounding communities of Detroit will end up dropping out of school and going on to lives of poverty. Children's Learning Experience helps children beat those odds. Individual and small group academic support and encouragement a positive, nurturing environment that fosters a love of learning. Strict participation standards that include a high degree of parental involvement. The goal of the Children's Learning Experience is to ensure children are performing at or above grade level, and that goal is being met.

Many in the area are living in poverty, unable to support their families. Lack of education is a major component of the generational poverty that plagues this area. The Adult Learning Experience addresses this. The Adult Learning Experience has been designed around the concept of First Steps and Next Steps. In this program we recognize that getting a high school diploma or completing a GED is the crucial first step and the foundation for self-sufficiency. To help our students take that first step, we provide tutoring in math and language.

But a GED is no longer enough to give adults the ability to support themselves and their families. It is an important first step, but only a first step. That's why the Adult Learning Experience program goes further. Building on the confidence that comes with reaching a hard-won goal, we work with our graduates on Next Steps. Whether that Next Step is enrolling in college, attending a vocational school or getting into an apprenticeship program, we support program participants as they take measured, lasting steps toward self-sufficiency.


The values of founders St. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, continue to guide the expression of the Center's mission.


Honesty, integrity and openness in all of our words and actions


Working together in service to others


Advocating for those with no voice


Being creative in everything we do


Showing respect for those we serve and everyone we contact on their behalf

Service Quality


The agency traces its beginnings to 1844 when the Daughters of Charity first arrived on the streets of Detroit with only $8.50 in their pockets, with the intentions of opening a school. Within two years, they responded to community need by establishing the St. Vincent Orphan Asylum and a hospital. In 1869, the sisters opened a program to provide for the needs of unwed and/or deserted mothers and their children.

It is this spirit that began the Daughter’s 150 years of service to those in need in Southeastern Michigan. They had no idea that they would be responsible for founding the first hospital in Detroit, Providence Hospital in 1945, the first private psychiatric hospital in Michigan, three schools, an orphanage, and a home for unwed mothers and children in just over two decades.

In 1928, a fire destroyed a summer home located in Farmington Hills that housed children from the old St. Vincent Orphan Asylum in Detroit. Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. and Sarah Fisher of the Fisher Body Family read the news accounts of the fire. Because of their extreme gratitude to the Daughters of Charity and Providence Hospital for saving the life of their fifth son, Thomas Fisher, Charles Fisher took action by donating more than $700,000 to build a new structure at the corner of 12 Mile and Inkster Roads.

The formal opening took place one year after the date of the fire on November 25, 1929. The home reflected contemporary thinking in the institutional care of children. The Center’s Farmington Hills campus remained open as a residential facility for foster children until October 2005. In 2006, the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center brought 150 years of family and child experience to the Brightmoor area and the surrounding community. The statistics for the area are daunting: A 40% poverty rate for children; a nearly 30% drop out rate; and unemployment levels that hover around 36%. Children are at risk, and families are failing under the crushing weight of poverty.

Svsf logo More About St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center

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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Lendego


Stars In the spirit of the season, to give back, Diva Marketing  is showcasing the stories of smaller nonprofits throughout December. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies.

The Lendego Story

Lendego Dennis_and_Julie_2008 Story is told by the founder Dennis Hodges who explains how he came up with his unique concept where people can directly help others. As Dennis learned some times fate steps in and changes your dream for the better.

Lendego is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Ga. that helps meet the needs of others by connecting them with individuals wishing to give. Lendego empowers its donors to choose the individuals, families, groups or organization they want to help.

  • Powered by givers, Lendego positively impacts the lives of real people with real needs. With Lendego’s peer to peer giving platform, funds can be directed to specific individuals, families, groups or organizations in need.

I came up with the idea for Lendego, a nonprofit peer-to-peer lending organization, where individuals hoping to start a business could post their ideas and stories. Those interested could lend money to the individuals and then be repaid at a later date. Hence, the name Lendego. I created my business model, built the website and was ready to launch Lendego when the 2009 flood happened in Atlanta.

Watching the floods and hearing about all the victims so close to home had a very profound impact on me. The incident made me think about all of the individuals who were affected by the tragedies of life on a daily basis and how it was often extremely difficult, if not impossible for those individuals to receive financial help in their time of need.

In October of 2009, I converted my online lending platform to an online giving platform and Lendego, a nonprofit dedicated to peer-to-peer giving was born. Individuals or families struggling with difficult circumstances can contact Lendego for assistance. Recipients can post a need themselves or be submitted by a “sponsor” -- family members, a friend, church, employer or another nonprofit that is working to help meet the individual's need.

After the need is verified by Lendego staff, their story is posted at Lendego; where givers can browse all the needs and select those for which they wish to help. Givers can give the amount they choose to each recipient. Once the need is met, Lendego disburses the funds directly to the family or individual in need. 

Social Media Strategy

Lendego’s grass roots campaign is conducted via Facebook, Twitter and traditional public relations. Right now the organization is working on the Faces of Lendego, each month a different story will be told to the public making them the Face of Lendego. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of Lendego and to change the attitudes and perceptions behind peer-to-peer giving.

Lendego logo More About Lendego



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