Last year, I was absolutely delighted by the quality of the Social Good Summit organized by the United Nations and Mashable so I decided to join the movement again this year in crazy NYC. It broke the world record for creating the biggest global conversation and had more than 60,000 mentions on Twitter. The world’s most influential social thinkers were in the room and I was prouder than ever for our team to be part of the solution with Goodify.
As my plans changed for staying and transportation, I wasn’t able to make it to NYC on time for the first day. So, I got to watch it first row on the excellent livestream. To be honest, this event was designed to be enjoyed from anywhere in the world as most of the action happened on social media. Events 2.0. Top moments of the day:
-Kumi Naidoo (@kuminaidoo) “Don’t accept it when adults tell you you’re the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today.”
-Peter Gabriel, (@itspetergabriel) world famous artist and my long time idol came in as a surprise guest explained the power of connectivity. Among other things, he said that the internet “can’t be controlled, and that’s why it’s so powerful.”
-Forest Whitetaker (@ForestWhitetaker), Oscar-winning actor, humanist and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): “Love is the only commodity that grows as you share it, everything else is divided”
-Adora Svitak, (@adorasv) Author, Teacher, Speaker and Activist on how millenials will save the world: “It’s not just about millennials saving the world. It’s about that process saving us.”
Finally in NYC! I’m making my way through Lexington street, there are stands, food and merchants everywhere in the streets. I get into the old theater and in front of me, amazing speakers share thoughts to change the world again. The theme around the leadership role of the youth to make things happen is clearer than ever, as well as the importance to support women and democratize access to technology. Having a cellphone for example is said to be the number one tool to get people out of poverty. Some strong moments:
-Brooke Loughrin, (@USYouthObserver) US Youth Observer at United Nations says: “The youth has taken over already in the social good sphere”, emphasizing the importance of our role to make the world better. Among other stories, when living in India, she heard women telling her: “I’d love to go to school but I spend 4-5 hours searching for water” . Visibly, there is still a lot of work to do to create equal opportunities for women.
-Deborah Dugan, (@DebDugan) CEO of RED, first non-profit hitting one million followers on Twitter with supporters like Bono, Penelope Cruz, Gwen Stefani (see this video): “Now every company has to stand for something good because this generation demands it”.
-Nick Kristof (@NickKristof), a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Half the Sky” emphasized the importance to empower girls for our future: “There is no silver bullet to change the world, but educating girls is like silver buckshot.” Asi Burak (@aburak) also presented his game, “Half The Sky” and his non-profit Gamesforchange.org, for which he is Co-President. What best way to empower women than to educate them through games? Then Holly Gordon (@hollygordon), Executive Director of 10X10: “How a country treats its girls says much about whether or not it will prosper.” Finally, Angelique Kidjo (@AngeliqueKidjo), UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, singer and songwriter inspired us all: “Your brain is your greatest weapon. Connect it to your heart, and you can go anywhere.”
On that note, let’s use our brain to solve the world’s most serious problems and yes, let’s remember to always connect it to our heart and have fun!
As you may have guessed by now, our team at Invup has been working on something awesome this summer. No, not our tan, not even Dan! Many changes and adventures happened along the way to awesomeness: Our team came back to Montreal after being the first Canadian company to win MassChallenge $50,000 prize in Boston, we doubled our team size through a partnership (to be announced soon) and we officially changed our name to Goodify! We hope you love it like we do and that you embrace its meaning every day in your life. Very simply put, Goodify means “improving your world while having fun”. That’s what Goodifiers do, that’s why we are building a magic tool for you to increase your positive impact in the world.
What do you think of the new name?
(A flower, a tiger and a green bee volunteering at the non-profit “Room to Grow“)
Source: a place for art.
Source: a place for art.
A few weeks ago, Olivia and I had a great conversation with Chris Jarvis from Realized Worth who has great expertise in non-profit organizations and CSR. He shared with us issues that exist in managing volunteering and donation programs at companies. Here are several important points that Chris provided us that will assist us greatly in building a great platform.
- Even with all the tools, the biggest problem is getting the most up-to-date nonprofit data online. One organization says they have about 85,000 nonprofits and close to 600,000′s of opportunities, but most are not up-to-date. Some non-profits don’t even exist anymore. We can go through 100 opportunities before we find a legitimate one. One nonprofit put the same listing in 540 times. Chris gave us a great analogy: For the past five years, people put up posters for bake sales, garage sales and any kind of opportunities on every part of the walls, but they just never come down.
- Design does really matter, which is why people hate one particular organization’s tool because their design is awful. They have dozens of developers. “I don’t know who they hire them, but they cannot fix it. It’s a mess. I can tell you that every company that comes to us, tell us that they hate [it]. We’re trying to get rid of it,” said Chris. However, companies remain with this particular organization because the organization agrees to assume legal liabilities and vet nonprofit organizations to ensure they are meeting companies’ legal requirements to receive money.
- While management tools are about getting people to sign on and volunteer, but at the end of the day, companies are collecting data and sales. Data is more important than technology.
- One company is giving away a free volunteer management software, but is not offering support. Support is important.
- We can be huge for small and medium markets. They need a major increase in quality of program and so it’s a big move for them. They don’t want to be spending money on themselves when they want to give money away to charities. Many of them don’t have the budget for community involvement programs. Many don’t have a CSR manager full-time. They don’t have a strategy to implement. But if we offer them something that is affordable, easy to use and wouldn’t require a full-time person to use, it would be good. The real problem is distributing money, vetting, time consummation.
- Chris believes in game dynamics. Some management tools offer recognition options, and they work well.
- Social media can work, but it depends on the company if they want to use it. There should be a dashboard where we can see our progress with goals. Goals cannot be just money and hours. The goal needs to be translated into an impact. Chris gave an example: “I give 200 dollars to volunteer 14 hours to a company to match and 16 girls in Haiti get to go to school and it’s terribly motivating. If I don’t give money or hours, then these girls just don’t go to school. That’s what the tools need – to get people want to log in the hours and participate.”
We were honored to be part of the A Billion + Change event at the beautiful Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 27th, right near the White House. Pro bono (or skills-based service) is indeed huge and growing! The guests list was wonderful as well as the location. Some of the guests included Senator Mark Warner, Honorary Chairman of A Billion + Change, Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light, Joe Echevarria, CEO, of Deloitte LLP, Moderated by Jean Case, CEO of The Case Foundation. Many representatives of companies were there, including Toyota, PepsiCo and HP.
The goal of the event was to “shine the national spotlight on corporate engagement in skills-based volunteering, and [show] how the private sector can achieve high-impact, transformative social change through skills-based service.” Within the past year, they were able to get more than 200 companies to pledge an estimated $1.8 billion and nearly 12 million hours of time and talent to nonprofits. The value of pro-bono compared to traditional volunteering is 500 percent more!
During the event, we were impressed to learn that pro-bono work is actually part of the evaluation process at Deloitte and by a number of socially responsiblity initiatives at IBM.
Also, the Chairman of the marketing agency, GolinHarris, explained that they pioneered the CSR concept with their client McDonalds and the Ronald McDonald Foundation. The business case for pro-bono was clearly depicted – it increases employee engagement and improves skills and leadership of employees. It is part of the solution to the job crisis and to many of our most serious problems at companies.
Their goal for 2013 is to have 500 companies pledge their time and skills. Click here to take part of this amazing movement. Do it, now!
People having skills and knowledge in philanthropic initiatives are obviously in demand as Indiana University is launching the nation’s first School of Philanthropy. The school is already offering degrees in philanthropic studies for both undergraduates and graduates through the School of Liberal Arts. The students learn about non-profit management, human motivations of financial donors, creating programs that create social change and history of philanthropy.
While they may not have the resources to provide millions of dollars in donated time, small businesses can play an important role in pro boon work and corporate social responsibilities, especially since firms with less than 20 employees make up 89 percent of US employers. They can use their experiences in wearing multiple hats by helping nonprofits develop new strategies and organization design. Sometimes even a few hours of assistance in marketing, technology and operations can truly go in a long way. Read more about how small business can help nonprofit.
Social good is truly a viral and contagious activity. When one does something kind for another person, the person who received assistant will offer help to another person and the cycle repeats. Even if one person who doesn’t receive assistance, sees someone else taking a random act of kindness, that person will still often take action to help another. An article lists examples of how some random act of kindness can grow exponentially.
Microsoft has a very extensive corporate social responsibility program, as their report is 80 pages long and they have a wide range of commitments. Microsoft has a mission “To help people and businesses around the world realize their full potential.” The company has been working with partners to use their technology to solve a range of social issues. They work with public and private sectors to find ways technology can help solve some of the challenges in today’s society. They help strengthen local economies by supporting IT infrastructure, workforce development, innovation, research, and access to technology. They provide affordable and accessible technology for “those at the bottom and middle of the economic pyramid.”
Microsoft has been known for improving the quality of education around the world by using their skills to serve local needs. The company is helping overcome the global shortage of well-trained teachers and provide students the skills in critical science technology, technology, engineering, and math. In order to meet the needs, the company is using the internet to provide greater access to better education opportunities and providing technology tools for teachers to use in their curriculum. Microsoft set a gaol in 2003 to reach 250 million students and teachers in 115 countries or regions through Partners in Learning by 2013 and they are certainly on track to reach the goal. So far, since 2003, they have reached almost 2010 million students and teachers in 120 countries.
The company helps thousands of nonprofits obtain greater access to technologies to achieve their missions. In the past year, Microsoft donated more than $844 million in software to nonprofits in 113 countries and regions. Since 1998, the company has donated more than $3.9 billion in software. Microsoft offers many ways to train people to use the technology, which includes hosting more than 100 NCO Connection Days, holding webinars, and working with Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) to train 100 nonprofit leaders to manage information technology.
As the company saw the challenges of handling natural disasters, as workers lack in technology skills to find and keep employment and people struggle in dealing with communication, Microsoft has achieved their goal in developing and implementing cloud solutions to assist disaster response while also helping businesses recover more quickly. The cloud solutions has already been used in Japan’s natural disaster in 2011. As the company continues to meet the needs of disaster relief, they are also partnering with relief agencies and government and utilizing social media to bring in global donations and awareness.
Microsoft is taking an initiative to use gaming as a teaching tool. In the past year, the company launched Kinect for Xbox360. Teachers around the world are using Kinect to assist in stimulating students’ language literacy, numeracy development, and physical fitness. ”One school principal in South Africa observed that students focus so intensely on the games that they overcome their inhibitions and learn more easily.
These are just the glimpses of Microsoft’s amazing corporate social responsibility program. You can read more about their corporate social responsibility by clicking here.