Tech Tip: Shortcut to your Action Group

As a Connector, you’re invited to create an Action Group to help anyone take action on a particular issue or cause with you.

If you’ve created an Action Group or are gearing up to create one, you can keep track of it on Idealist via your personal menu:

action!!!! copy

Since Action Groups are for everyone, they can be found on Idealist.org and on the Connector Hub to make it easy for all the people in your community to participate—whether or not they’re Connectors.

Pro tip:

Want to invite your social networks to join your Idealist Action Group? Navigate to your Action Group, then scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll see a list of members.

members copy

Click a button to “Invite” folks to join or “Share” this page. Then, personalize your message and click “Share On Your Timeline.”

Socialmedia

That’s it!

Sara Jensen is a technical support representative at Idealist. Feel free to reach out to her if you need help or have questions: sara.jensen@idealist.org.

Tags: , ,



Don Draper hates Louder, but we love it

At Idealist, we love good ideas of all kinds, but especially those that turn commonly-accepted notions on their heads, get us to confront our beliefs, and (maybe) stir up a little trouble. To honor ideas brave and bold, and inspired by Sydney, Australia’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas, we welcome you to Idealist in Action’s Dangerous Ideas Week.

Traditional advertising channels aren’t always available to nonprofit organizations, even though their messages are important for people to hear. Mainstream media ads, TV commercials, billboards—these are all out of reach for most small- to mid-size and even many large nonprofits.

In recent years, social media has helped nonprofits immensely: they can now reach targeted audiences and engage constituents in meaningful conversations at much lower costs. But nonprofits still have to compete with for-profit businesses for the most precious of resources: the attention of an increasingly distracted public.

Enter Louder

Louder is a new service that puts more advertising power into the hands of regular people. Louder is just getting started, but it has the potential to substantially disrupt traditional advertising models, and, if skillfully leveraged by the nonprofit sector and individuals doing good work, it could make a huge impact in our efforts to reach new audiences.

louder-bea7e63c9b6ae9c8c8ed08c21453d161

Here’s how it works:

  • Anyone can create a Louder campaign, at no cost. Simply choose a url that you want to promote (or “amplify,” in Louder’s parlance).
  • If you like a campaign, you can hit the “make it louder” button and contribute money to get it in front of new faces. A $3 donation is enough to reach about 1,000 people on Facebook. 86.5% of the donations go directly to advertising costs.
  • Much like a Kickstarter campaign, Louder campaigns will work best if they have an existing community of champions to help spread the word.
  • And there you have it: citizen-funded advertisements getting the right content in front of new audiences!

Louder isn’t specifically limited to social impact campaigns, but looking at their list of recent additions, it seems it’s mostly being used in that way. This is great news for anyone frustrated by the number of ads promoting consumerism that come across our screens on any given day.

Now the rest of us can assert a little control, and help our favorite causes get more attention. An idea worth shouting about, no?

What do you think? Is Louder going to be the next big thing to disrupt an entire industry?

*****
Join Idealist on March 11 as we launch a new global movement for action and change!

Tags: , , , ,



Staff Spotlight: Meet Derek the Dev

Did you know Idealist builds and maintains our own website, and has since 1995? We asked Derek Hurley—a software engineer known for his calm demeanor, red headphones, highly-developed cupcake-eating technique, and masterful martial arts skills—to tell us about life as a “dev” in Idealist’s Portland, Oregon office.

DerekH

Q: So… We’re coworkers, but I’m not very techie. What would you say you do here?

A: I’m a software developer. Basically, I write code that goes very close to the browser—I work with the things you interact with on the website, like buttons and menus. I also work with our designers on layout and color decisions, and sometimes with data… But really all of it comes down to aspects of presentation and interactivity.

Q: Okay, I think I get that. How did you find your job at Idealist and what attracted you to us?

A: I had a classmate my senior year of college who worked at Idealist; he said it was great and suggested I come by the office one day to introduce myself. There was no job posting or anything, but I stopped by and the management team was interested in meeting me. The more staff members I met, the more it seemed like incredible people worked here. Often in this field you find smart people, but people who are funny and friendly and humble, too? And when I learned more about what Idealist is trying to accomplish, I became even more interested. I was hired to work part-time for the last three months I was in college, then started full-time right after.

Q: What does the word “idealist” mean to you?

A: To me, an idealist is someone who always looks on the bright side of life, forgive the Monty Python reference. Someone who thinks people are generally good or want to do good, but that things arise that keep them from doing so. An idealist thinks, ‘Of course everyone wants to live in a better world,’ but they also understand that there are a million different facets to that agenda.

Q: Idealist is all about turning good intentions into action. Can you tell us about a good intention you’ve acted on in your life outside of work?

A: A personal interest of mine is helping homeless youth connect with resources that can help them. I was a resident assistant in college and more than once had to deal with transients in our dorms and hallways. I learned that there’s a whole social class out there—especially in Portland—that I think represents a lot of wasted potential. But between places like Outside In, Sisters of the Road, Virginia Woof... there’s a lot of help out there if people know where to look.

For me, coming up with the right approach has been one stumbling block. I don’t want to come across as intrusive, or like I’m telling them to do something or advertising for a particular place. I just want to start a conversation and then give them something to take away, like a note with an address on the money I give them, or a meal voucher they can cash in. I’m also not looking to start another organization—there are already lots of people who are providing these services well. I just want to help bit by bit in the course of my day.

So far, the people I’ve talked with about this intention have been really supportive; the Idealist community in particular has given me suggestions I didn’t know about before. Now it’s up to me to keep taking that first step—during my walk to work to turn and face these kids and have a conversation. I find they’re usually just grateful for the fact that someone stopped to talk, which helps me stay in that mindset of not having weirdness about just going up to someone and conversing with them; just saying hi.

Do you have a question for Derek the Dev about technology at Idealist? Or maybe you’ve done something to improve the lives of homeless youth and want to share your advice? Send him a message on Idealist.

 

Tags: , , , ,



What can world-changers learn from software developers?

This is the final installment of a three-part series detailing lessons learned from the world of software development that can be applied to the social change work. Previously, we talked about identifying obstacles to action and using data to inspect and adapt. Today we’re talking about the importance of making small improvements along the way.

shutterstock_123477442

It often takes a series of smaller ideas to get to the big one you love. (Photo via ratch on Shutterstock.)

Have you ever been really excited about a new project, but you’re not sure how to start? Some people prefer to plan as much as possible from the very beginning, while others just want to dip their toes in with a small step. These two approaches are common in the software development world. The first approach is called “waterfall,” and the second is known as “iterative.”

Iterative development is at the heart of Agile software development strategies. Iterative methods assume that in a complex project, there will be too many variables (sometimes called “risks”) to account for up front.

Instead, the goal is to identify the smallest possible increment that will prove or disprove a hypothesis. And we build only that part!

Of course, we might have other ideas in mind, but we focus on building a small piece and then we collect feedback from people, see how it’s actually being used (which is sometimes different from how we expected), and figure out the best way to move forward.

Iterating in the social good space

Linda Kay Klein leads the Work on Purpose program at Echoing Green, a social impact accelerator which has awarded $31 million dollars in start-up funding to over 500 promising social entrepreneurs in 40 countries since its founding in 1987.

Work on Purpose is a perfect example of iterative program development. Linda says she was originally brought on to promote a book by the organization’s senior vice president, which illustrated one principle for finding your purpose through the stories of five of Echoing Green’s social entrepreneurship Fellows. She says at that time, Echoing Green had a hunch that it could become more than a book, but they weren’t sure where it would lead. It was unclear how her job would take shape, but both Linda and the organization were willing to take a risk.

Over the next two and a half years, Work on Purpose evolved under Linda’s leadership. Echoing Green’s staff identified nine more principles for finding your purpose, each of which are now illustrated via stories and taught through interactive activities. The stories and activities became a series of workshops, then an online learning platform, and eventually a curriculum on which faculty and staff of over 50 colleges, universities and nonprofits have been trained.

Linda and her colleagues evaluated each piece of the program at every step along the way via surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings. They even refined their evaluation methods as they went, drawing upon research in the fields of education, psychology, and organizational behavior to develop proxy measures that would enhance their evaluative methodologies. She credits this formative evaluation process for the fast growth of Work on Purpose from a book into a successful program.

Linda believes Echoing Green’s “evaluate early and often” technique is relatively common in the social entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs have a long history of evaluating buyers’ responses to products and changing them up as needed; social entrepreneurs do the same thing with social programs and products.

“Our Echoing Green social entrepreneurship Fellows are all in start-up phase,” Linda adds. “They haven’t had a long enough history for longitudinal research, so—like the Work on Purpose program did—they evaluate and make changes in real time. That’s what being scrappy is all about.”

She says that traditional nonprofits haven’t always done this, instead evaluating programs at the end of a long pilot phase, perhaps missing opportunities to make adjustments along the way.

Evaluate early, evaluate often

Here are some things to keep in mind for an iterative approach to program development:

  • Identify your MVP (Minimum Viable Product). This might not be applicable to every social good project, but it’s probably applicable to more than we realize. Your minimum viable product is the smallest deliverable possible that will prove or disprove a hypothesis. This means getting something in front of real people as soon as possible, like Echoing Green’s first round of workshops, and collecting feedback before iterating further. Be careful not to confuse this with “the least amount of work we can do.” It’s not small for the sake of small; it’s the minimum needed to isolate variables and learn as much as possible.

  • Evaluate against problem statements, not solutions. In software development, it’s tempting to evaluate success based on simple metrics like traffic and feature use. But every feature is attempting to solve a problem, and if people are using the feature but the problem isn’t solved, the feature has failed. Similarly, in the world of social good, projects must be evaluated on their impact, not their use. Echoing Green set goals not only about the number of schools who would adopt their curriculum, but also the impact the curriculum would have on participants.

  • Use proxy measures. Linda credits the TCC Group with helping to shape the way Echoing Green approached evaluation for its Work on Purpose program, specifically helping them identify trustworthy measures that would allow them to project longer-term effects than they were actually able to assess. As an example, research shows that people who feel more related to one another are more likely to work on one anothers’ behalf. With this research as a proxy measure, the Work on Purpose program can now assess participant’s long-term likelihood to work on behalf of others simply by measuring whether or not they felt more related to others after a workshop.


How have you used an “evaluate early and often” approach to iterate on your programs?

-

For another example of iteration in action, check out our post about Farmigo, a company that’s bringing the farmers market to you.

Tags: , , , , , ,



“Whoops! How did that get there?” Mistakes we’ve made at Idealist

If you’re a human being, chances are you make a mistake sometimes. And if you’re a celebrity or work for a website, your mistakes automatically get beamed straight to the public eye—d’oh!

Here at Idealist, we strive to make our website as clear, up to date, and mistake-free as possible, but of course we’re human too, and sometimes a little something falls through the cracks.

Take this pull quote I found while thumbing through one of our info centers the other day:

 Put

Whoops! I might not be Shakespeare, but I’m pretty sure that editor’s note was not supposed to take center stage here. I’ll take that down now.

-

Hey, nonprofit celebrities—before you call Bloopers with your own amusing gaffes, why not send them to us? Shoot an email to april@idealist.org and we’ll post the most mistakey of the mistaken.

Tags: , , , , ,



What can world-changers learn from software developers?

This is the second of a three-part series in which I’ll share some lessons drawn from the world of software development that can be applied to the social good sector. Today’s post is about using data to make better decisions. Read the first part about recognizing obstacles to action for what they are here

One of the defining features of Scrum (the software development methodology we use here at Idealist) is the regular opportunity for “retrospectives.” Once a week the team gathers to talk about what went well during the previous week, and what we want to change for the next week.

The key here is the short cycles—it allows us to experiment with semi-crazy ideas, because we’re only committing to them for a week. If they don’t work, we throw ‘em out the next week. It’s very low risk.

shutterstock_97680683

Photo via Nomad_Soul on Shutterstock.

An obvious benefit of this “inspect and adapt” habit is that it allows us to continuously improve our processes. A less obvious benefit is that it creates a culture of empiricism. Whenever we can, we bring real data to the retrospective.

We might start off with an instinct or a hypothesis like, “I wonder if we’d get more done if we aimed higher next week” (which is a valid question, not a foregone conclusion).

We can then test that hypothesis immediately and a week later gather to look at the results. We aimed higher—did we or didn’t we get more done?

Inspect, adapt, change the world

Nonprofits and other worldchangers use inspect and adapt processes as well, of course. The staff at Single Stop USA, for example, are working to end poverty. They keep students in school by helping them and their families navigate the world of public benefits, providing them with access to tax preparation support in addition to legal and financial counseling.

Since their founding in 2001, Single Stop has continued to work towards that goal with laser-like focus, but understands that their approach must be nimble enough to evolve based on empirical data.

Nate Falkner is the Vice President of Strategy and says that Single Stop USA makes better use of data than any organization he’s worked with. For example, they’ve used data to identify potential partners to help distribute their programs.

Early on, they looked at studies that showed that programs that gave community college students at risk of dropping out just two to three hundred dollars would often mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out.

A lightbulb went off, and the Single Stop team realized community colleges were ideal partners. Single Stop’s programs could serve as a dropout prevention strategy for the colleges (on average, Single Stop clients receive benefits and services worth over $1,000), while the colleges could provide Single Stop with access to a large number of potential clients and an infrastructure through which to expand.

Similarly, after gathering data that showed the words “tax preparation support” carries less stigma than “government benefits” (think politically charged terms like “food stamps” and “welfare”), Single Stop refined its messaging to potential clients. They focused their outreach message on the tax preparation parts of their program, drawing in clients who later became interested in their other resources.

Let out your inner data nerd

When it comes to developing an “inspect and adapt” process, we recommend keeping the following in mind:

1. Schedule time for reflecting on process, and treat it as sacred.
It can be tempting to skip the retrospective when other things seem more pressing, but we’ve found that treating it as sacred has kept us sharp.

2. Minimize the risks associated with innovating on process.
We limit our experiments to one week, which allows us to try out some pretty dramatic ideas. You’ll often hear someone say, “It’s only for a week, guys” during our retrospective sessions. This reduces anxiety for people who tend to be averse to big changes.

3. Adapt the process; don’t move the goalposts.
As Nate says, “Our mission is ending poverty, and that doesn’t change. We’re being smart and nimble about how we approach that discussion and how we approach stakeholders on their terms.”

How have you used “inspect and adapt” techniques to innovate on your internal processes?

Tags: , , , , , ,



Ask Ero: Answers for baffled and confused Idealists

In this series of blog posts, I’ll try to answer all your questions about anything and everything regardless of how ridiculously unqualified I am to answer them. Consider me sort of a tech-literate, bearded, Ann Landers or a work-safe Dan Savage.

Ero is Thoughtful Adjusted Cropped3Last time you heard from me, I’d invited all of you to ask me even the most random of questions. I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d get any questions at all. I did. Thank you, readers! Now, let’s see if I can actually answer them.

I recently got a degree in ‘service design’ from SCAD, and just moved up to NYC a couple weeks ago. I’m a highly motivated idealist, and I have a rare, yet amazingly valuable skill-set. But how do I find an awesome job doing awesome work for an awesome company if no one knows what my field is– and no one is posting jobs in it?
-Yosef

This is a tricky question. First of all, networking is going to be important, but you’ll have to go beyond ordinary networking. Don’t just go to parties and mingle and talk about how great you are: get involved everywhere you can and show up as a representative of your field. Get involved in your professional organization. Go to every relevant event you can. Participate, and get visible.

The nonprofit sector, which is often starved for resources, may be an especially tough sell for someone in a field like yours, which will seem to many like window-dressing or a luxury service. You’ll need to go to extra lengths to show why your work is important and how it helps organizations succeed in their mission. Telling people why your work is valuable to each organization will be your responsibility. Take it seriously. No one else will do this for you.

Build a nice-looking webpage (which I see you’ve done) advocating for your expertise, but also advocating for why your work matters. Write articles for publications explaining how valuable the field is. Look for opportunities to volunteer and/or do pro bono work for causes you believe in, and build a spectacular portfolio from the results.

Because no one knows about what you do, you have a rare opportunity to show people why it’s important, and to become the representative that everyone thinks of when they want someone to help with that field.

One reality is this: in the short term you might find yourself doing a job that isn’t exactly what you hoped, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use what you know. Your plan will be to use the deep knowledge and rare skills you possess, to build your future a little bit at a time. So look for jobs in related disciplines, and that encompass things that are like your field. You’ll bring different knowledge to your work than any other candidates, but that’s a good thing. Highlight that difference on your resume, on cover letters, and in your interview, so that you stand out. Then once you have the job, make your unique skills count.

I’m working with a bunch of college students who are serving as mentors to graduating high school seniors over the summer. Someone told me that I could give them all Google phone numbers, which could map onto their existing cell phones so that they wouldn’t be giving out their personal info to the students. How does this work?
-Lisa

Google Voice ought to be perfect for your purposes. It just takes a moment to set up a Google Voice account: you tell it what number you want it to ring, then pick a number from the available options, to have as your GV number. Setting this up takes only a couple minutes, and there’s a good support page.

Now, this basic setup won’t help with outgoing calls, only incoming. If you want to make outgoing calls, you’ll need a Smartphone with an app. Android phones are especially good for this, but iPhones can do it too. There’s also some built-in tracking if you’re in an org using Google Apps (which I heartily recommend for most nonprofits). You also can get voice mails in your email inbox, which is pretty neat.

What is the meaning of life?
-Brett

Finally, a question I’m qualified to answer! A question that has tormented deep thinkers through the ages! No problem. I’ve totally got this.

Seriously, for me there’s one simple answer: love. Not love as a noun, love as a verb. Active love: giving and being generous and trying to improve the world in some small way. Doing this means you’ve got no time for fear or discontent or angst. And there’s nothing more satisfying than giving back to the world around you. There are so many ways to give and serve, and that’s why we’re here.

It’s why Idealist.org was made, it’s why the nonprofit sector exists, and it’s why we work in it. This is always a work in progress, and having patience with one’s own imperfections is also a way to act with love. Be patient and give it a little bit each day, and you’ll be on the right track automatically.

That’s all for this installment. Have questions about anything I’ve said? Or about anything else (and I do mean anything)? Ask me.
-
Ask Ero anything (anything anything anything) at ero@idealist.org.

Tags: , , , , ,



Want to get more women in tech? Let Code Scouts guide you

Want to learn how to make websites, apps, and more but don’t know where to start? Code Scouts in Portland, Oregon can help. This post originally appeared on good.is, a global community of people who give a damn.

code-scouts-team

Founder Michelle Rowley and Kevin Turner, who recently joined Code Scouts full-time as their Chief Technology Officer. (Photo by Jason Grilicky.)

At the kickoff event for Code Scouts—a nonprofit providing support and resources to women learning to code—founder Michelle Rowley stands in front of a room of almost all women, welcoming both new and familiar faces in the Portland, Oregon tech community.

She confesses how, at first, she didn’t feel smart or empowered enough to become a software developer. And how it wasn’t until her developer ex-husband said he’d help her learn that she traded her geography and French degrees for hacking.

To get to this point—being one of the 18 percent of developers today that are women—Michelle had a few things in her favor: a father who didn’t think twice about teaching her computer skills when she asked him growing up, a partner who believed in her, and friends in the scene who encouraged her to attend conferences and meetups.

She had hands helping her; now she wants to do the same.

“I want to take the experience and privilege I’ve had and give it to people who haven’t. Just for fun,” she says. “And I think it would change things.”

It’s no secret that knowing how to code comes with all sorts of benefits: good pay, flexible hours, and esteem in the eyes of colleagues and peers. But it’s also an industry known for its competitiveness, locker room atmosphere, and lack of diversity.

That’s where Code Scouts comes in. Michelle, who has been helping lead the Portland Python User Group since 2008, came up with the idea last year as a way to bridge the gap between the people creating the internet (mostly men) and the people using it (mostly women). By creating a safe space for learners to play around with 1’s and 0’s, and, more importantly, be okay with messing up, Michelle hopes to spread the coding love, and wealth, to new faces.

“Code Scouts exists to pull more people out of the woodwork who are thinking about doing it but are scared to even approach the situation,” she says. ” It can be a scary jungle. We’re guides in Code Scouts. We’ll go in that jungle with you.”

Women have come to the monthly event with varying skill levels and backgrounds. Marta McCasland, for one, has been learning coding on and off on her own for the past year. She works as a loan processor at a credit union, and hopes the skills she’s learning at Code Scouts will help her better serve her customers. She also wants to develop a geolocation-based apartment finder app in her spare time.

To do this, her Code Scouts guide will lead her down a path of available resources like Treehouse and Codeacademy. Over the course of the afternoon they’ll work together to find the right starting point, form learning circles with others at her level, and hopefully, make long-lasting connections.

“It feels like I’m surrounded by people who might actually have the same questions I have, whereas in other groups it feels like, ‘Should I ask this? Is everyone going to be like, Why are you asking that?”” Marta says.

While the nonprofit’s formal mission is to get more women in the tech industry, Michelle is also addressing a deeper issue: newbie shaming. Cliques are common, and more often than not, she says, expertise becomes the marker of whether you’re in or out. “Dumb” questions are usually cause for ridicule.

It can be uninviting for outsiders. And not just women.

“Guys are coming out to me and saying they don’t feel welcome in that scene either,” she says.

Michelle allows some men to participate in Code Scouts, and there are some male mentors. The values listed in the code of conduct—respect, kindness, generosity, growth, community—make it clear that no jerks are allowed.

At the start of the event, Michelle makes it a habit to encourage everyone to embrace the mistakes they’re bound to make in the next four hours—as well as in the rest of their coding lives.

“Be willing to do it wrong a thousand times,” she says. “This is the space to be wrong and still feel good about it.”

_

Starting with San Francisco, Michelle’s ultimate goal is to have Code Scouts chapters in many, many other places. To learn more or get involved, follow them on Twitter or get in touch with Michelle: adventure@codescouts.org.

Read more from Idealist on good.is.

Tags: , , , , ,



Latest from Latin America: Teaching technology to youth in Colombia

andrea_coderise

Founder Andrea Cornejo.

Medellín, a Colombian city once known solely for its powerful drug cartel, isn’t letting its past interfere with a bright future. Last month, Medellín was named the world’s most innovative city by the nonprofit Urban Land Institute, launching its name into the global sphere.

The piece below on a Medellín entrepreneur was translated and edited from the original Spanish version on the blog of our Spanish site, Idealistas

Andrea Cornejo has a question: What role can technology play in reducing the levels of poverty and inequality in Latin America? Can we improve the economy of the region if more kids understand and are able to interact with technology to provide answers to the problems of their communities?

Her guess is yes—and she plans to demonstrate this through Coderise, a project that empowers young students from developing countries by teaching them to create web applications. After its pilot project, the first round will be held in Medellín in October this year.

But this is just one of the many initiatives launched by Andrea. This natural entrepreneur is certain that her mission in life is to reduce poverty. Today it’s called Coderise, but yesterday it was called Viña Vieja Project or Social Emprende, a website that seeks to aggregate social enterprises in Latin America.


She’s learned that in social innovation, failure does not exist. Here’s more about Andrea and her latest initiative:

What was it that led to the idea of creating Coderise? Where did you see a problem?
When you look at the most successful programmers out there, you realize that success does not depend on if you were born into a good family, but your curiosity and access to a computer.

When we talk about technology, any child could be the next person to change the world. You just need to have the tools of knowledge and inspiration to do so.

For example, in Coderise we are not only teaching students programming skills, but we are also teaching them how to learn. When students complete Coderise, they don’t leave as programmers because that was never the goal. The objective is to integrate the technology into the community and put the tools to create in their hands—so that they have the same opportunity as any other child in the world to make an impact.

What inspired you to take action?
In order to answer the question: “What is the potential of programming technologies in the economic development of our region?” you have to do more than read and write essays.

We have to find these young people and connect them with programming education and inspirational figures leading the technological revolution. And we have to start today.

This is why one day almost a year ago, we launched Coderise.

How do you feel working and devoting your time to a cause like this?
Coderise is breaking boundaries and trying something that has not been tried before. It is worth every effort.

I’m certain that soon Coderise can demonstrate how software development is a field where developing regions, such as Latin America, can catch up with advanced regions and may also reduce socio-economic inequality.

It’s been three months since our first pilot program ran. We can already see that many young people are determined to continue learning after the program and that many are already profiting financially.
-
Coderise will officially launch in October. For now, Andrea and her team are working on a fundraising campaign to guarantee the program will be completely free for participating kids.

To contribute or learn more about the initiative, visit coderise.org.

Tags: , , ,



Beyond nonprofit jobs: How one woman used Idealist to give away one million dollars

We know people mostly use our site to find nonprofit jobs. But did you know you could do so much more, like ask each other questions and maybe even find love? Here’s how one person used Idealist to connect with nonprofits who share the same vision.

Aleyda K. Meija had one million dollars to give away.

As Director for the first Caplow Children’s Prize, she was charged with finding people and organizations around the world working to prevent mortality for children under the age of five. She had no other constraints other than the issue of focus.

Money

(Photo via Images_of_Money on Flickr’s Creative Commons.)

So she turned to the Idealist community for help. After doing a keyword search, she found several organizations that fit what she was looking for.

“If you know what you want, the search is really powerful,” Aleyda says. “On the one hand, the Children’s Prize is offering something – one million dollars. On the other, there are people and organizations out there that are offering what we’re seeking, which are solutions to reduce child mortality around the world. It’s reciprocal, but to make the connection is critical.”

The organizations she contacted through Idealist responded in less than two days after she sent them a message, exceeding even Aleyda’s expectations.

“I was just curious. I didn’t think anything would come of it,” she says. “But I’ve talked to representatives of these organizations several times now. I’ve had these powerful conversations to the point where we decided to host a Google Hangout, and include a panel of these representatives in child health where they’re discussing the issues and aspects that are unique to their own organization.”

Since Aleyda reached out a couple of months ago, global nonprofits such as Brown Button FoundationSafe Mothers Safe BabiesMother Health International, and Floating Doctors are going to apply or have already applied to the Prize. More than that, they’ve shared knowledge with each other as part of this small community.

“In addition to saving children’s lives, the Children’s Prize is also about making these more direct and empowering connections between a donor and potential recipients,” she says. “To impact social change across great distances, the collaborative process is to a large extent technologically dependent these days.”

__
Want to connect with others on our site but are a little unsure? Feel free to reach out to Aleyda for tips on messaging, organizing Google hangouts, and more.

Used our site for more than finding a nonprofit job? Let celeste know: celeste@idealist.org.

Tags: , , , , ,