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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Whole Foods Market Bellies Up to the Mobile Fundraising Bar

Whole Foods Market Boise just launched a cause marketing campaign to benefit the Idaho Food Bank. Called “Feed Four More,” the initiative seeks to raise funds in small-increments to buy meals for families of four. Five dollars buys breakfast for a family of four, and $10 buys lunch or dinner for four more.

Social Good Network developed the online fundraising campaign, which currently runs on the Whole Foods Market Boise Facebook page.  This is the first time a Whole Foods store has deployed online fundraising accessible by mobile phone, as well as by PC, laptop, and tablet. (You can also donate in-store.)

Brand marketing firm Oliver Russell created a video for the project called “Bellies.”  You can view the video and donate here.

When you donate, you’ll not only fill the bellies of a family that’s struggling against hunger, you’ll also get a delicious surprise coupon from Whole Foods as reward for your goodness.

So go ahead. Be good. Share a little of yourself.  Get more than you give.  And fill a belly today.

-- Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do-Gooder: James Finck, CEO, YMCA of Austin

James Finck is a quintessential Y guy.  After stints with YMCAs in Hawaii and California, he moved to Texas to lead the YMCA of Austin.

He's fairly progressive within the YMCA movement, as well as for senior executives generally, in his embrace of social media.  James is taking the Y cause story to social media because, as you'll read in the interview, "It's the way to connect."

The YMCA of Austin has seen some impressive growth – to what do you attribute this? 

We have more than doubled our membership in the last 5 years, which I believe speaks to the gaps in public services as well as peoples’ yearning for community.

Why don’t more people see the YMCA as a cause – a movement for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility? 

Perhaps because we have never positioned ourselves as such. We have served communities at their level, in the ways they specifically need. We are now intentionally working on a coordinated voice to highlight the work the Y does and the tremendous impact it has on communities across the country. Keep an eye peeled for some great new messaging coming down the pike!

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about the YMCA of Austin? 

That we’ve been supporting this community since 1953 and serving more than 64,000 members and 50,000 program participants annually. We are so much more than a swim and gym!

What’s the Number 1 issue facing nonprofits in the country today? 

The easy answer is the perennial issue…funding. However, as organizations we also need to strive for more and greater collaborations, so that we maximize our skills and impact.

For a CEO, you’re a fairly active guy on social media. Why do you invest your time with social media? 

I’m only just beginning!

I choose to invest my time with social media because it is THE medium. In order to connect with people inside and outside the walls of the Y, it is essential. It is also imperative to connect with younger generations and move them toward increased community engagement and philanthropy – whether that be with the Y or other nonprofits.

What’s your favorite social media platform? 

Twitter is my friend. I enjoy the immediacy of the connection and interaction with others.

Time to test your tweeting: In 140 characters or less, why should people support the Y cause? 

The Y is able to keep Austin healthy with the financial support of people like you. Donate today & help move our cause forward! #SoMuchMore

What are you reading right now? 

Recently finished a brilliant book by Richard Louv titled “Last Child in the Woods,”which speaks to the nature-deficit of today’s youth. Not only is it a must-read, we need to take action.

Listening to?

Loving the variety and eclecticism of the new KDRP community radio.


Anything playing at the Violet Crown (an Austin movie theater).

Who inspires you? 

My daughters, first and foremost. And daily, I am inspired by my committed, hard-working staff.

Favorite color? 


Rock, paper, or scissors?

Rock. Solid. Strong. Enduring. Like the Y!

Who are you following online? 

Doug Ulman is one of my favs. Love his mix of work and family. I’m following a lot of my Y colleagues from around the country. But I most enjoy following local partners such as Sustainable Food Center, St. David’s Foundation, and Austin Parks and Rec. Keeping the pulse of my community.

Who is the most progressive nonprofit or business leader you know?

That’s a softball, right?! There are so very many progressive, innovative leaders just here in Austin. Haley Rushing, Ronda Rutledge, and Dr. Aliya Hussaini are a few of the many that I admire.

What’s one question you’d like to ask yourself – and answer? 

Q: Where will the YMCA of Austin be in 10 years? A: We will have successfully cultivated the partnerships & collaborations leading to the creation of a sustainable and essential bridge between wellness and medicine. New, innovative systems of wellness will be established which will fundamentally and systemically change the wellness landscape for generations.

How should people connect with you on social media? 

The best way would be Twitter. Unless I’m swimming, I’m never far away from my phone.

Any secret you’d like to share? 

Then it’s not a secret :)

 From the business side though, the big secret is twofold:

1. We are a nonprofit.

2. The Y offers financial assistance. We don’t turn away anyone for the inability to pay.

-- Interview by Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder

Monday, September 9, 2013

Y Combinator Announces Program for Nonprofits

Mentors help entrepreneurs build their startups at Y Combinator.

Are you a new, agile, entrepreneurial – nonprofit?

If so, check this out – Y Combinator has a place for you.

Y Combinator is an accelerator for entrepreneurial startup businesses – Wired magazine calls it “the most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs." Here's where things get interesting, do-gooders:  Y Combinator just announced it is going to accept nonprofits into its 2014 Winter Class.

As with for-profit startups, you’ll move to Silicon Valley for 3 months to participate in this program to jump start your nonprofit.  You'll benefit from intensive mentoring, receive a significant donation, plus you'll have the opportunity to pitch your nonprofit to a room of wealthy and, hopefully, charitably-minded investors at Demo Day.

So how fast an entrepreneurial are you? Application deadline is October 21. You can begin the application process here.

-- Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Love is a Drug. Turns Out, So is the Act of Giving.

This cute little guy would love for you to make a donation so he can flood your brain with pleasure.

In the mid-‘70s, Roxy Music crafted a hit song about love’s addictive power, “Love is the Drug.” If you read a new book by Elizabeth Svoboda, you might very well say that today's adapted song title could be, "Donating is a Drug."

In “What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness,” Svoboda conveys the scientific case that human beings are hard-wired to be generous, thanks, in part, to a drug-like chemical that's released when we donate or give.

In a Wall Street Journal excerpt from her book, Svoboda covers the science in support of a generosity gene that's baked into us. She details studies using fMRI scans showing that the act of donating to a worthy cause lights up the mid-brain region – the same region that controls cravings for food, sex, and monetary rewards – hey, looks like donating just got its sexy back.

Donating also stimulates parts of the brain that process unexpected rewards, such as the nucleus accumbens, which flood the donor with the pleasure chemical dopamine – a legal, altruistic high available to any of us.

“While we often tend to think of altruism as a kind of sophisticated moral capacity we use to squelch our urges to dominate others, this new evidence suggests that giving is actually inherently rewarding: The brain churns out a pleasurable response when we engage in it,” she says.

So, say we, go ahead and catch a little buzz by giving of yourself – your time, your talent, and your treasure. Make a donation – it’s total dope.

And for a little extra fun and a blast from the past, here's a video of Roxy Music singing “Love is the Drug.”

-- Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

3 Social Media Tips for Nonprofit Board Members

Hey board member – you’re doing the good work by attending monthly meetings, serving on committees, and fundraising for your favorite cause. Right on!

Another easy and time-efficient way to help your cause is to activate your social networks -- you can benefit your nonprofit by using your online wallop and influence to tell the cause story and aid online fundraising.

Here are three quick tips to get you started:

1. Make certain you’re connected with your nonprofit on social media, as well as with fellow board members and staff. Like ‘em on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter, or pin ‘em on Pinterest. Next, invite your friends and contacts to connect with your cause and make certain your position as a board member is listed on your various social media profiles.

2. Once a week (or more, if you’re so inclined), spend 10-15 minutes checking out the social media posts of your nonprofit – then share their content across your networks. This is the most powerful way to amplify the message of your cause.

3. Create your own cause content. A brief post, anecdote, or inspiration will do – doesn’t take much. Grab an image off your nonprofit’s Facebook page or website and include that in the post as well. Or turn that iPhone around and make a quick testimonial video professing your love for your nonprofit’s good works. It’s easy. And it works.

-- Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SGN fights "Pre-Registration Disorder" for Tour de Fat

In character:  "Doctor" Jimmy Hallyburton urges riders to fight "Pre-Registration Disorder."

We just built a new “events” feature into the Better Donate Button™ that we’re piloting for New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat in partnership with Boise Bicycle Project (BBP).

Here’s the problem, which really isn’t a problem, but rather a big opportunity in costume: Tour de Fat kicks off with a bicycle parade the morning of the day’s festivities. Riders, many in outlandish costumes, are asked to register for the parade the day of the event – which also serves as a fundraiser with suggested donations for local cycling groups like BBP.

Last year, 6,000 people rode in the parade that kicks off the Tour de Fat event in Boise, but only 1,000 registered. Why? Well surmise that a celebratory and crowded, volunteer-staffed, early-morning parade start with thousands of revelers just isn’t optimal for orderly registration and thus donations to a great cause.

Time to pedal a solution: We adapted the Better Donate Button™ to become a video-fueled app that allows people to conveniently register online in advance for the parade. The video educates people on how proceeds from the event are reinvested in the community. (Check out BBP’s and Retroscope Media's humorous take on “Pre-Registration Disorder.”) And, yes – this innovative tool makes it very easy to donate online as part of the registration process.

The registration app goes beyond the borders of BBP’s website and social media; our technology enables it to spread throughout the online community via installs on the Facebook pages and websites of businesses that support the event – more places and occasions to reach people, expanding awareness of the parade, BBP’s mission, and the fantastic social impact New Belgium Brewing creates via Tour de Fat. Now how Fat is that?

Our goal is to increase registration conversion and donations, and to reach more participants – it’s on August 17th in Boise’s Anne Morrison Park. So don’t miss out, register right now.

Have fun at the parade and let us know what you think about the registration app.

-- Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kriss Kirchhoff, Our New Advisor, Likes a Deep Experience

What makes the perfect advisor for a startup? How about a taste for adventure and a desire for a deep experience, which Kriss Kirchhoff certainly has -- but we'll get to that in a minute.

Kriss has been our mentor and supporter and we’re happy that he’s agreed to be an official advisor to us at Social Good Network.

Kriss is an experienced angel investor. In addition, he serves as a member of the board of directors or advisor for several companies in Idaho, California, and Oregon.

He also actively volunteers his time, serving as president of the Boise Angel Alliance and as a member of the executive committee of the Idaho Technology Council board.

During his career, Kriss was president of ACCO Brands, a NYSE-traded public company, and a vice president and general manager for the Hewlett Packard Company.  At HP, he ran businesses ranging in size from $700 million to more than $1 billion in revenue. Kriss has significant experience in M&A, multiple markets, business models, and business functions.

Of course what really makes Kriss such a great advisor is his penchant for adventure – right in synch with the day-to-day world of a startup. Kriss is a scuba instructor and enjoys diving in exotic international locations at every opportunity. Earlier this year it was Raja Ampat, which is off the northern tip of the island of New Guinea and the Indonesian State of West Papua. It took Kriss three days to get there via Boise, San Francisco, Korea, Singapore, Jakarta, Makassar, Sorong, and then a 4-hour boat ride over the open ocean in a small wooden boat.

Great to have you along for our adventure, Kriss.

-- Russ Stoddard, Chief Do-Gooder