Posts Tagged ‘Case Foundation’

Give to the Max Day Research: The Ultimate Case Study

Posted on: March 1st, 2012 by Geoff Livingston 2 Comments

For Love of Children Check Presentation
For Love of Children’s Andrea Messina and Tim Payne, a Give to the Max Day grand award winner and case study

Today, the Case Foundation in conjunction with the Razoo Foundation issued the research report, “How Giving Contests Can Strengthen Nonprofits and Communities: A case study of Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington.” I authored the report, and also served as the general manager for Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, which launched last November.

These contests are multichannel marketing and social media driven adventures that can be extremely exciting! Contests produce a ton of data, including hard numbers such as the number of donations, highest and lowest donation, etc. that can make the biggest stat geek and ROI analysts thrilled. They also produce fantastic survey data, case studies and media reports. The end result is an incredible jambalaya of data.



No More Gurus! 10 Great Online Keynotes

Posted on: January 10th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 32 Comments

Read this Quora post about “interesting speakers on social media.” It features some of the most well known voices touting each other. It was disappointing to see the same old same old, including the usual lack of recommended female speakers (8 out of 41), which is astounding given that more than half of social media communicators are women.

The “guru” circle consists of consultants and service providers who market to organizations that need social media and online communications services. One could argue a conflict of interest, but on top of it, many lack the inside experiences within major organizations and cultures. Insiders fight a much different battle getting their organizations to open up and become more networked than the ones faced by outside consultants.

What would happen if conference organizers automatically eliminated the talking head consultant gurus with their vested interest in looking good? Who would be left to discuss online media? Here’s a list of ten suggested speakers that would be great keynotes for conferences abut online media trends and developments (including social):

Amra Tamren, founder and CEO, Allvoices


Amra’s Allvoices is the largest global community offering local to global news and perspectives in one place. Launched in July of 2008, Allvoices is the fastest growing open media site with over 4.7M unique users per month and 300,000 citizen reporters from over 180 countries. Prior to Allvoices, Amra was a partner at Sevin Rosen Funds focusing on investment opportunities in the communications infrastructure and next-generation carriers. And having spoken with her on a panel in the past, she definitely has the chops.

Andrew Rasiej, founder, Personal Democracy Forum

Andrew Rasiej.jpeg

Andrew Rasiej is the Founder of Personal Democracy Forum , an annual conference and community website about the intersection of politics and technology. He is also the co-founder of techPresident, an award winning group blog that covers how the 2008 presidential candidates are using the web, and how content generated by voters is affecting the campaign. He has served as an advisor to Senators and Congressman and political candidates on the use of Information Technology for campaign and policy purposes since 1999. Having seen him speak privately and publicly on three occasions, he’s fantastic.

Andy Carvin, senior strategist, NPR


Before taking a digital (and social) lead at NPR, Andy Carvin was the founding editor and former coordinator of the Digital Divide Network, an online community of more than 10,000 Internet activists in over 140 countries working to bridge the digital divide. He is also an active blogger as well as a field correspondent to the vlog Rocketboom. Andy Carvin was one of the cofounders of the CrisisCommons movement, and is also a fantastic speaker.

Christopher Barger, director, social media, GM


Christopher Barger (image by C.C. Chapman) has been through a few wars, first with GM’s bankruptcy, the crawl back to the public marketplace, the launch of the Volt, etc. But beyond that before GM, he helped IBM make its way into the social media era with its well discussed blogging culture and other social initiatives. Barger is joining the ranks of social media authors, but one of the few authors who has done it from the inside the corporate walls. Twice.

Gina Bianchini, co-founder, Ning


Gina Bianchini founded one of the more successful social network properties on the web. Prior to Ning, Bianchini was co-founder and president of Harmonic Communications which was acquired by Dentsu. She has also held positions at CKS Group and Goldman Sachs & Co. A successful innovator and executive, Bianchini would be a fantastic speaker for any conference.

Jay Rosen, professor of journalism, NYU


You wanna talk media? There can be no more authoritative, brilliant speaker than Jay Rosen. Jay Rosen has been on the journalism faculty at New York University since 1986; from 1999 to 2005 he served as chair of the Department. He lives in New York City. Rosen is the author of PressThink, a weblog about journalism and its ordeals, which he introduced in September 2003. In June 2005, PressThink won the Reporters Without Borders 2005 Freedom Blog award for outstanding defense of free expression.

Michael Smith, vice president of social innovation, Case Foundation


Michael Smith (pictured at the right) touches many projects for the Case Foundation focusing on creating a better digital web for causes. Some of his work includes supporting the CEO on economic development efforts in the Palestinian West Bank and leading the Foundation’s efforts to tap “citizen-centered” approaches to civic engagement, including its new grant program, the Make It Your Own Awards™. Prior to joining the Case Foundation, he spent a decade helping build foundations and national initiatives aimed at bridging the “digital divide.” He is a stellar speaker in person.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Sandberg is second-in-command at Facebook and oversees the firm’s business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications. Prior to Facebook, Sheryl was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, where she built and managed the online sales channels for advertising and publishing and operations for consumer products worldwide. She was also instrumental in launching, Google’s philanthropic arm. Oh yeah, she’s a great speaker, too.

Sonal Shah, director of social innovation, White House

NRI newsmaker-Sonal Shah.jpeg

Sonal R. Shah is an American economist and public official. Since April 2009, she has been serving as the Director of the new Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the White House. Previously, Shah was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project and was the head of Global Development Initiatives, a philanthropic arm of Sonal is also a compelling and seasoned speaker.

Wendy Harman, social media director, American Red Cross


Wendy Harman has been on the front lines of online social innovation with the American Red Cross since late 2006. She has seen it all, from hurricanes to Haiti. Prior to joining the American Red Cross, she fell in love with intellectual property at law school and then worked for musicians’ rights at the Future of Music Coalition and Lawyers for the Arts. She was along for the ride when musicians were among the first to bypass traditional gatekeepers using social media tools, and she’s been trying to keep up and do good ever since.

Every single one of these speakers would add a little spice to the current roster of gurus, and bring fantastic new insights to the table that would jog the mind. Who would you add to the list?

Program Design – Matching Grants vs. Voting Platforms

Posted on: May 23rd, 2010 by Geoff Livingston 8 Comments


The discussion about entering contests as a strategic decision was one of the most interesting aspects of the analysis from the Case Foundation’s second America’s Giving Challenge (Full disclosure: Zoetica is performing this analysis). In particular, Students for a Free Tibet carefully vetted the contest opportunity using a series of guidelines to determine impact – positive and negative — on the 501c3. It should be noted that nonprofits see the increasing tax corporate funded contests have created on both the causes and their networks. This creates a programatic challenge for cause marketing design (image by jblyberg).

In essence, when considering how to interest customers and stakeholders, corporations need to invest more time into design. A crowdsourced voting platform may still have value, but now after several waves of contests, programs need to be designed so that more of a win-win occurs. A simple vote-a-thon for a purse is unlikely to create more than a marketing splash, and could invoke serious criticism.

One way to cricumnavigate this issue is to create a matching grants program that encourages more giving and/or activity. Matching grants provide incentive so that regardless of overall performance, votes and activity from consumers create reward. The customer or employee feels that their action mattered, the non-profit benefits, and the overall effect of the campaign is further engagement and loyalty.

Consider Intel’s Involved Program, a matching grant program seeking to motivate Intel employees globally to engage in outreach and volunteerism. In 2009, 38 percent of Intel employees donated 989,681 hours of service in 2009, and the Intel Foundation provided $6.8 million in matching grants to 4,500 schools and nonprofits.

Contests don’t necessarily need matching grants for them to achieve a win-win status. For example, the Sunlight Foundation’s recent Design for America contest wanted to inspire more visualization of open government data. Contest prizes were use to facilitate that, but arguably any design — win or lose — was an effort that helped achieve a theory of change towards better government. The contest did opt to judge by experts rather than voting.

Voting Contests

Voting contests without matching grants have additional weaknesses, too. If a contest is completely crowd driven, it risks becoming a popularity effort rewarding organizations for their ability to successfully galvanize their networks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the best organization for change will be selected. This has been the largest criticism of Pepsi Refresh to date.

Pepsi’s Bonin Bough has countered critics, “We’re betting on the American people (never a bad bet) to submit and vote on ideas that will really make a difference in their communities. That’s why we’re working with GOOD and Global Giving, and that’s why we’ve conducted extensive outreach with the nonprofit community: we want to make sure that the grants that Pepsi Refresh gives will go to ideas that can truly make a difference. ”

Vetting contest winners or even selecting nonprofits prior to contests allows a program to circumnavigate these criticims. However, in today’s modern era of social media selecting charities for the crowd requires a great deal of transparency. Chase found this out during its $5 million Community Giving Contest when it failed to publish a leaderboard, and reasons why several top vote-getters were not in the top 100. These charities were disqualified for undisclosed reasons.

Transparency into the decision making/vetting process is critical. The more open a cause marketing effort can be the better. When people invest a vote or a small donation or volunteer time, they feel they have invested and become a stakeholder in the contest. They want to see outcomes, and understand why they happened.

Further, the use of qualified third party experts can help with vetting charities, lend credibility, and circumnavigate criticism. It’s important to make their decisions open, too, and allow people to understand the criteria for selection in as public a manner as possible.

New Contests via Technology

New technology development is allowing for hybrid variations of contests. For example, the Humanity Calls/eBay tournament for environmental nonprofits, created a $50,000+ giving tournament with more than 30 of the 100 plus competitors walking aways as winners.

Another organization, X Prize works to create uniquely tailored contests to foster innovation and generate change to benefit humanity. Prize development typically takes 8-14 months for each potential competition, concluding with a final report with a plan of action for donors and category sponsors. The creative process includes a series of sessions between leading experts resulting in ideas that are presented to the X PRIZE Foundation Board of Trustees and potential purse sponsors.

Currently, the foundation is offering up millions of dollars in prize money for the first teams to sequence 100 genomes in 10 days (the $10 million Archon X Prize); to send a robot to the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit video, data and images back to Earth (the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize); and to produce green, production-ready cars capable of exceeding 100 miles per gallon or its energy equivalent (the $10 million Progressive Automotive X Prize).

It’s clear that contests will continue, whether that’s a matching grant program like Case’s America’s Giving Challenge to crowdsourced voting giving affairs and innovation drivers. The key for companies and their partners is executing on program design best practices to create the win-win. Those include going beyond marketing measurements to include transparency and smart reporting, clear benefits for a significant portion of participants (matching grants?), a measurable theory of change, as well as the use of subject matter experts.