August 2008 Posts

Knowledge and the $64,000 question

The traditional philanthropic model revolves around money…Money is important, but it’s not everything… When I talk to friends and colleagues in the nonprofit sector, what I hear again and again is a desire for knowledge.There are a lot of reasons why nonprofit executives are hungry for knowledge. They work on particularly stubborn problems…This knowledge transfer is already happening, but not effectively. Face-to-face conferences are expensive and often logistically impossible…like all personal networks, they don’t scale efficiently…

That is from a nice post by Michael Idinopulos over at SocialText. I really like how he highlights the importance of knowledge as an equal partner of money in the equation. He goes on to say:

The absence of a strong market mechanism and regulating institutions allow bad management practices to endure.

The interesting thing about markets is that they involve transactions – someone provides something to someone else for something in return. It doesn’t have to be money – it can be status, a favor, or just a good feeling. But without this “something in return,” markets don’t function well.

Michael goes on to say:

It’s not hard to imagine a better way. I’m envisioning an online knowledge networking tool for nonprofits…

How can we make such an online knowledge tool into a well-functioning market so that it gets widely used? That is the $64,000 question.

Music You Like and Posters You Design!

One day during a recent visit to San Francisco, I boarded BART unaware that I was about to cross the water into Oakland, or that I’d find such great things on the other side. While the scenery didn’t quite compare to what I consider one of the most beautiful, charismatic cities I’ve ever visited, I was pleasantly surprised to find a hidden gem right near Lake Merrit on 22nd St – the Pandora offices.

I thought GlobalGiving’s office was fun with its Wii in the conference room and gong in the middle of our desks, but when I walked into a meeting room that doubles as a sound studio, where employees were playing ping-pong and Mario Kart, I knew Pandora was on an entirely different level.

Behind the laid back game-playing exterior is a very successful platform soaring in popularity. It’s an exciting time at Pandora, where having one of the most popular free apps on the iPhone has only added to the online radio’s millions of registered users. And true to Pandora’s down-to-earth mentality, it remains committed to giving back to the music community. For the second year in a row, Pandora is holding a poster contest. From October through December, Pandora will give one of three winning designs to donors who give $10 or more to designated music-related GlobalGiving projects through Pandora’s philanthropy project.

Time is running out to enter your poster designs – submissions end this month so that voting and printing can happen in time for October. Last year, Pandora gave away thousands of the posters below, and this year is hoping to give away thousands more. For full details on the second annual Pandora poster contest, click here.

Happy Designing!

Pandora 2007 Poster Winner 1 Pandora 2007 Poster Winner 2 Pandora 2007 Poster Winner 3

Happy Birthday,!

One of my favorite aspects of working at GlobalGiving is the universality of its appeal. I’ve been able to work with partners ranging from printing companies to retail clothing manufacturers, and have seen all find ways to fit GlobalGiving’s projects into their unique models and needs.

One such interesting relationship I’ve become familiar with since arriving at GlobalGiving has been with, an international online artist community that aims to provide a place for any artist to exhibit and explain his or her works. Although new to me, deviantART is not new to many – they have more than 7 million members, more than 62 million submissions (everything from photography, to digital art, to traditional art, to literature, to Flash, to filmmaking), and the many millions of viewers that come along with such a widespread and impressive operation.

And is growing up. This Thursday, August 7, 2008, is celebrating its 8th birthday! In order to further its goal of creating positive social change by educating, inspiring and empowering humanity through art, deviantART is giving 10% of total prints sales from its store on Thursday (from midnight to midnight PST) to a GlobalGiving project supporting an art school for AIDS orphans in Uganda.

On behalf of the GlobalGiving team, I’d like to wish deviantART a very Happy Birthday – and many more!