Can Tech Tools Really Help Nonprofits? #nptech #changetheworld

17 Aug

As you know if you read or follow anything I do, technology for Social Good and Impact is my life’s passion.  Not for the technology itself per se, but because technology can help free up human time.  And people – those with human time – are awesome.  They are what keeps society going!  And if that human time can be spent on things only humans can do (this is the mission of my nonprofit, Free Tech for Nonprofits) – it creates more impact.  Things like comforting people or talking through challenging circumstances to see what the best path might be, or determining what resources are available to help with a trying time.

Technology is a tool and only a tool.  But its value is that it can also save wear-and-tear on already over-taxed nonprofit staff.  Technology can help sort documents, organize lists of donors and clients, create engagement with volunteers, reduce time and costs, and many other things.

If you want to learn more about how technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), can help your organization, please join my Wild Apricot national webinar, “8 Super Easy Tech Tools to Grow Your Membership and Motivate Your Volunteers,” on August 27, 2019, at 2pm EST.  (You can listen later if you can’t join in person.)

Some of the tools I will talk about are also highlighted in the GuideStar article here.  And you can also learn about other tools on Wild Apricot’s blogTechSoup is a great resource as well if you are exploring ideas.

All of the tools have one thing in common: they solve common challenges I have faced with my nonprofit clients – and at my own nonprofit, and working for a nonprofit – repeatedly during more than two decades in the space.  While you might feel like you are alone in having 100 things to do in a 90-thing day, rest assured that nonprofit professionals everywhere feel the same heavy weight.  We’re trying to change the world!  It’s hard.  But I hope at least, that together we can find simple, effective ways to ease the burden a bit, and be more effective and more efficient.  We can gain some time back, gain some sanity back, and keep fulfilling our dream of making the world a better place.  We can #ChangeTheWorld!

If you have technology tools you love, I would love to hear about them and share them.  Or if you are a technology provider and have free (a forever free version, not simply a free trial, please) technology, I welcome adding them to our resources.  Please leave your ideas in the comments.  Thank you!  And keep on changing the world!

My book has 500 ways to help #changetheworld including leveraging technology for Good, and many volunteering ideas for groups, individuals, and kids. If you have a group that would like copies to raise funds for an event, I give away a limited number per year of signed copies for free. Please contact me and we will see what we can do.  I appreciate you!

Please connect with me on Twitter @CharityIdeas, CharityIdeas on Pinterest, and Amy Neumann on LinkedIn.  Looking forward to talking with you!

Amy Neumann is a social good fanatic, striving world changer, and entrepreneur. Amy founded a start-up nonprofit called Free Tech for Nonprofits in 2017 and is CEO of the social enterprise consultancy Good Plus Tech, with a focus on emerging technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence for social impact. In 2018 Amy published a Simon and Schuster book,Simple Acts to Change the World: 500 Ways to Make a Difference,as a tribute to social good, social justice, and volunteering ideas gathered over two decades in the space.

 

Blockchain Positive Impact: Social Enterprise and Nonprofits

25 Apr

Trust, transparency, and decentralization are creating powerful new potential for equity, inclusion, and humanitarian applications and ideas

You’ve heard of it, and you may know a bit about it. Blockchain is a “distributed ledger” of timestamped transactions which aren’t owned or managed by any single centralized organization; and once a record is created, it can’t be altered. Like electricity or the internet, it isn’t necessary to have any deep technical knowledge of how it works to appreciate the ways it can positively impact our lives.

“Blockchain isn’t just another technology. Blockchain is the foundation for the second era of the internet – an internet of value, where anything of value, including money, our identities, cultural assets like music, and even a vote can be stored, managed, transacted, and moved in a secure, private way. Blockchain is poised to transform every industry and managerial function —redefining the way we make transactions, share ideas, and manage workflow.”

~ Blockchain Research Institute

By way of introduction, here is one of the most popular TED Talks to date on the subject of blockchain, by Don Tapscott. Don is co-author of the popular book on the same topic, “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World,” along with Alex Tapscott. The duo also founded the Blockchain Research Institute, and host the Blockchain Revolution Global Conference in Toronto, Canada (which I am attending and writing about April 24-25, 2019 – follow coverage on social media using #BRG2019).

Don Tapscott gives a compelling and digestible overview of blockchain at TED.

Below is an infographic showing how the blocks in a blockchain are created, verified, and added, where they are permanently recorded. It should be noted that while Bitcoin and blockchain technology were invented at the same time by the anonymous person or person(s) code-named Satoshi Nakamoto, and therefore Bitcoin was the first “use case” for blockchain technology, they are two different things. There are now many applications using blockchain technology that are not tied to Bitcoin at all. There are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies now, as well as “smart contracts” for multiple industry applications which self-execute via programming, and many use cases that are not tied to cryptocurrency.

 

Some key areas where blockchain appears to be having the most immediate positive social impact in the social enterprise, nonprofit, or NGO (non-governmental organizations) spaces are:

  • Democracy and Governance
  • Land Rights
  • Philanthropy, Aid, and Donors
  • Health
  • Agriculture
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Energy, Climate, and Environment
  • On the near horizon: Digital Identity, Education, Human Rights, and Water

The most immediately-effected social impact areas listed in the Stanford “Blockchain for Social Impact” report are listed in the chart above.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation created an in-depth report, “Blockchain for Social Impact: Moving Beyond the Hype,” that delves deep into the main areas where blockchain is creating positive impact now and can be downloaded here.

As progress is made in these and other social good areas, organizations are starting to keep track of success stories and creative newcomers. The comprehensive list created by BreakerMag, 73 Blockchain Social Good Organizations That Are Actually Doing Something,is one easily readable starting point if you want to learn about specific use cases for social good that already exist or are underway.

Stay tuned for additional articles throughout 2019 and beyond featuring interesting blockchain and artificial intelligence social good case studies, interviews, conference coverage, and trends here. You can also find real-time updates on social media (@CharityIdeas), using the hashtags #blockchain4good, #AI4good, and #changetheworld.

 

“Simple Acts to Change the World” Book

17 Jul

Amy Neumann is a social good fanatic who has been working professionally to help create positive change since 1994. After spending sixteen years in Los Angeles with companies like AT&T and Yahoo and working on national and international nonprofit projects, Amy returned to Cleveland.

She is involved with industrious organizations and individuals daily at Case Western Reserve University’s collaborative First Year Cleveland project to reduce infant mortality, where she leads marketing and communications.  An entrepreneur by nature, Amy also founded a startup nonprofit called Free Tech for Nonprofits in 2017 to help small nonprofits do more of their important work faster through smart technology and communication strategy.

Amy speaks often, at events like Dell’s Social Innovation Conference and ASU’s Sustainability Conference.  She is widely published, including as a contributor to Forbes, an author of PR News’ Crisis Management Guidebook, and a columnist for Huffington Post.  Because she can’t get enough of innovative world-changers, Amy also publishes under her social enterprise consultancy, Good Plus Tech, as well as her passion project, CharityIdeas.org.

Amy’s book “Simple Acts to Change the World” – part of the Simple Acts series from Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster – will be published on October 16, 2018, and is available for pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

18 Quotes About Entrepreneurship to Kick You Into Gear

18 Jul

So you want to be an Entrepreneur?  Or start a nonprofit?

No time like the present to start your own business or nonprofit!

Do you want to run your own business, and control your own destiny?

No time like the present! DO IT. Now.

(Huge gratitude to John Rampton, Tanya Prive  Jeff Haden and others for the inspiration!  Curating quotes is an art and a science. Thank you!)

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” – Chinese proverb

DO start now. Don’t wait. DO listen to your gut. Don’t listen to naysayers (of which there are many.) If other people could be entrepreneurs, why aren’t they already? Don’t let their doubts matter. DO let your passion direct you.

Cast fear aside, and while you’re at it, throw every comfortable reason to not do your own thing aside as well.

Take off right now!  If you crash-land, at least you tried!  (You probably won’t crash.)

Ignore the people who tell you, “You have a comfy job with benefits, why would you change that?” Or, “ You have it so good! Why would you risk that?” DO listen your intuition and that feeling that keeps telling you to “Go for it!”

When people say, “that’s just a dream,” or “that’s so unrealistic,” remember –

The last part of that sentence is, “ for me.”

When people say something is “unrealistic,” what they actually say is, “that’s unrealistic for me.”

When people call a dream impossible, they tell you, “that’s impossible, for me.”

Nothing is impossible, or unrealistic, unless you think it is. The majority of people feel it is, and that’s OK – more room for the dreamers. Having a typical job is perfect for many people, just not for you.

Now is the time to try! You’ll be glad you did 10 years from now…

So fling off the chains, smirk at the naysayers (in the nicest way,) and enjoy these quotes for people like you.

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” – Teddy Roosevelt

“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”  – Mark Twain

“One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.”  – Jeff Bezos

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”  – Winston Churchill

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

 “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”  – Lao Tzu

Let your passion guide you.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

“Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” – Howard Schultz

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

Do you have any quotes to add?  Let me know in the comments!

Does Being Good at “Sales” Matter at Nonprofits?

12 Mar

There’s a bit of a stigma around “sales.” Everyone can think of bad salespeople, the ones who try to get you to buy something you don’t need. Fair enough. That’s not what we’re referring to with “sales.”

Nonprofit development is about win-win.

Sales to me, simply equates to talking with people to learn about what they want to do, and figuring out whether there’s some way we can help them do it. Whether it’s through an introduction to someone, helping them find resources they didn’t know about, or something  else. If there’s a need that’s clearly defined, then there’s probably a solution somewhere. A great salesperson (or development person) connects those dots. That’s all. Win-win.

Nonprofit development helps match people with the perfect giving or volunteering opportunity.

Nonprofits are no different. Altruistic people with amazing aspirations want nonprofits to help them connect their time, talents and treasure with people that need it most. But they won’t always stumble upon what might work best on their own, day to day. So development is sales, helping them see where their best opportunity for impact lies. And sales – when done well professionally – is exactly that. Connecting people with opportunities they want. That’s all.

Sales isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s what makes nonprofits and corporations alike work. Every entrepreneur is a salesperson. Their first sale is to convince someone, at some time how they can make people’s lives better and easier. If they can’t, their company won’t go far.  How good they are at selling determines the height of their wave that creates impact.

Entrepreneurs create the waves that create progress.

And so without sales, there would be no companies. And no nonprofits. Every nonprofit founder has to be a pretty amazing salesperson to convince others to join in an effort that will most probably take a lot of time, talent and treasure — to be rewarded most often simply with smiles!

So if you’re in development, be thankful. It’s “sales” in the best sense. You are letting people know the best ways they can help solve problems, in the most efficient and effective ways possible. You are showing the wonderful donors, advocates and volunteers how and when they can do the best good. And that means a lot to them.

Nonprofit development professionals help introduce people to the ideal opportunities to help others.

Professional salespeople know that the only good “sale” is when you open a long-term relationship with someone based on a win-win scenario where you both learn and grow and solve problems. Development is no different. Helping people learn and decide the best way to help other people is probably one of the best roles out there.

So being an excellent salesperson is part and parcel of being a great development person.  It’s all about being as useful, helpful, and relevant as you can to the people you’re helping.  And development professionals will probably be the first to second that!

Seriously, nonprofit development is THE BEST!

 

What do you think?  Please let me know @CharityIdeas!

 

On #GivingTuesday 2015, YOU Can Help Make Sure There’s #NoKidHungry!

30 Nov

Source: On #GivingTuesday 2015, YOU Can Help Make Sure There’s #NoKidHungry!

Shifting Values for Teens: From “Everyone Has One (Device)” to “How Can I Help One (Person)”

13 Aug

This is a re-blog from my other site, Charity Ideas Blog.  

It’s hard.  Everyone has the latest phone, or TV, or tablet, or…?  Will having the latest and greatest device make you happy?  Perhaps. Or…

If you want another new iPhone, Galaxy x, MacBook, tablet, or whatever new device “everyone else has,” taking 1 minute to ask yourself these questions might just make you a better person.  And happier whether you upgrade, or not.

(If you answer more than 15 of these questions “Yes,” you probably do not need a new _____ (fill in the blank).)

  1. Do you have water available for your family without walking more than a mile?
  2. kids getting water
  3. Do you have electricity?
  4. Have you ever been to a doctor?
  5. Have you ever been to a dentist?
  6. Are you safe from dying from almost-eradicated diseases that kill children in countries without proper vaccines and treatments?
  7. Do you have a toothbrush?
  8. Do you have a toilet?
  9. Do you know how to read?
  10. girl reading
  11. Do you go to school?
  12. Do you have a safe place to sleep, with a roof?
  13. Do you have heat and/or fans or air conditioning or covering in extreme weather?
  14. Do you know where your next meal will come from?
  15. vegetables
  16. Do you have a parent/guardian/ loved one who takes care of you?
  17. Can you do basic math?
  18. Are you relatively sure you be alive a year from now?
  19. Do you feel confident that terrorists will not storm your house, your village, or your town in the next year?
  20. Do you feel safe going outside of your home?
  21. Do you feel safe speaking your mind, or telling people what you think?
  22. kids sharing
  23. Do you feel you can share your ideas online?
  24. Do you have friends/ people you care about, and who care about you?
  25. Can you imagine doing almost anything you want in the future/doing any job you want in the future?
  26. Are you free to tell people your opinions on religion or politics?
  27. Can you be friends with anyone you want?
  28. Can you love anyone you want?
  29. Do you feel safe expressing any opinions about the government, including ideas that aren’t supporting the government?
  30. Do you feel free?
  31. freedom

Most importantly, do you feel grateful?

So many other places in the world do not have nearly (or any) the advantages available here, now.

We have the honor of being safe, healthy, wealthy, wise, and kind (to various extents). Let’s try to appreciate it.

And while we’re being grateful, let’s also make it a mission to share by volunteering, and pay it forward by helping people around the world who have less.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Any mentions of organizations within are due to my knowledge of them and appreciation of them only.  No organizations were involved or had knowledge of my mentions, although I do support the organizations mentioned, amongst many others.

Love #Quotes? Here are 150+ Quotes on Kindness, Social Good

29 Mar

Do you love quotes as much as I do?  Yes?  Then hopefully you’ll enjoy my book, a free downloadable collection of 150+ inspiring quotes!

Uplifting_Quotes_on_Gratitude_and_Goodness_to_Show_Appreciation_-_Downloadable_by_Amy_Neumann__eBook__-_Lulu

Uplifting Quotes on Gratitude and Goodness to Show Appreciation – Downloadable

There are more than 150 quotes about kindness, gratitude, and social good.  (If you prefer a printed book, you can get that on Amazon here – makes a fun gift!)

Smile at a stranger

You can also click here to find 88 Social Good Quotes (all short enough to Tweet) to share.

88quotesimageofpdf (2)

Or if you love visual quotes, here are A Dozen Inspiring Quotes for 2015 that you can pin!

green trees pic HP

Thanks for being all about helping and social good!

Please connect with me on Twitter @CharityIdeas, on Pinterest as CharityIdeas, or on LinkedIn.

 

Good Plus Tech to Become 501(c)3 in 2015 (Yay #SocialGood!)

1 Jan

Each new year is the perfect time to appreciate with wonder, and be grateful for everything in life: all the fascinating ups and downs, the people, the love, the learning, the growing, the happiness, the challenges, the overcoming of challenges.  And each year, it’s a perfect time to also think about how to give back and help others who are discouraged to feel that same sense of wonder.

green trees pic HP

In 2015, Good Plus Tech is taking the plunge into the beautiful (and sometimes tumultuous) waters of being a nonprofit.  So that instead of pro-bono help as available, my goal of distributing technology that facilitates social good can be better-funded and have greater direction.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this crossroads – and it’s a lot of people.  So many of you have helped every step of the way. Most of all, thank you for always creating a positive, inspiring environment for everyone (including me) who loves social good and helping others.

sunset pic HP

As the world becomes smaller and the opportunity to crowdsource social good grows daily, the role of nonprofits changes as well.  As stewards of positive change through the love and help of countless people, nonprofits have an opportunity like never before.  No longer are nonprofits competing for the donations or attentions or volunteer hours of individuals.  Rather, we are all part of creating together vastly more awareness, more directed passion for missions, more sharing of volunteering opportunities, more donations from a larger number of people – small donations (or micro) or large.  Instead of competing for some slice of some pie, together we are all creating a much larger pie for everyone.  Delicious!

The future of social good is each one of us, and our networks for good.  And there’s no time like the present.

To an amazing 2015 and beyond, in partnership for good!

~ Amy

dandelions pic HP

Collaborating for Good Through Games: co.lab

12 Dec

There are a couple areas of social good that are becoming more and more intriguing these days: gamification and education. So when something launches that is a cross-section of the two, it’s exciting to share!

Recently such a new opportunity came up. I had the chance to talk with Zynga.org‘s executive director Ken Weber about a new joint venture between Zynga and New Schools Venture Fund: co.lab.

2013-10-15-colablogo1.png

The idea behind this incubator for startups involved with educational games is simple, yet ambitious. Zynga.org provides access to gaming best practices, Zynga staff, offices, tools and expertise, as well as playtests and feedback from both Zynga and schools (including students and educators). The startups provide their education technology products (apps and games), creative ideas, enthusiasm, and a burning desire to change the world for the better, just like the two supporting partners of the program.

2013-10-15-SFUSD_gamedesignnight1.jpg

Zynga employee Nick leads students from San Francisco’s Balboa High School through a game design workshop. Creating excitement for STEM learning is part of the idea behind many of Zynga’s initiatives. Photo courtesy of Zynga.org

This new program was started just this fall. The application process for co.lab’s second cohort will open in early November. If chosen, co.lab provides for-profit or non-profit startups using technology products to help improve academic or social outcomes PK-12 with help in several keys areas of developing more effective ed tech products. These include developing learning game apps (content), measurement and evaluation tools (M&E), educational platforms that distribute games and apps (distribution) and/or other educational services that are looking to learn from best practices in commercial gaming to improve distribution, retention and engagement (gamification).

First-round cohorts include Kidaptive, LocoMotiveLabs, Motion Math, Pluto Media, and Edmodo. co.lab is a venture philanthropy initiative; the primary aim of co.lab is philanthropic: to generate a social, not financial, return.

2013-10-22-Co.labopening.jpg
Ken Weber, Executive Director, Zynga.org; Mark Pincus, Founder of Zynga; Esteban Sosnik, Executive Director of co.lab; and Ted Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of NewSchools Venture Fund. Photo taken at the co.lab opening; courtesy of Zynga.org.

The idea is, as Weber explains, “to harness the power of all the good gamers out there and channel it into solving education and social problems in fun, engaging ways.”

To this end, innovative products, ideas or prototypes that demonstrate significant promise for producing transformative effects on teaching, learning and/or education in general receive preference. Each approved startup will house a team at Zynga’s offices, receive up to a $50,000 stipend and benefit from the the knowledge and talent of one of the world’s largest online gaming companies. Zynga is investing $1 million into the first year alone.

NewSchools Venture Fund provides co.lab with operational oversight and guidance, coordinates partnerships and playtesting with educators and schools and includes co.lab companies in activities with a larger network of of edtech entrepreneurs.

Volunteers from the game industry, including Zynga employees, are also a key part of co.lab’s approach to sharing best practices and advice on product development, marketing and distribution and other related topics.

2013-10-15-Communitygarden1.jpg

Like many companies, Zynga combines creative online social good opportunities with in-person community events to raise overall engagement, as well as to give back both globally and locally. Photo of employees building a community garden courtesy of Zynga.org.

Internally, Zynga see its involvement in co.lab as a win/win opportunity. Not only does it inspire their own employees, who also are heavily involved with “offline” volunteering like community projects, but it also draws awareness and excitement to a huge burgeoning field online: gamification for education and social good. Additionally, it creates excitement around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs and how STEM skills can be used for a wide range of interesting passions.

Passions that even — or especially — can change the world.

If you would like to be notified when the application for the next co.lab cohort is open, contact info@playcolab.org.

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