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How #tech4good is Helping People in Nepal

The Nepal earthquake was the deadliest earthquake to strike the region during our lifetimes. With a perspective of hope and optimism, we are looking for ways technology is being utilized to help in the recovery efforts. From the first moments of the quake to many weeks after, we’ve seen people mobilize on the ground, and online to help organizations, individuals, and communities recover.

From day one tech companies have been making a real difference. Facebook activated the  Safetycheck feature that helps people find out if their loved ones are safe. Facebook also stepped up to the fundraising raising plate. Over 750,000 people donated via Facebook, contributing over $15 million to support the International Medical Corps relief effort. Facebook donated an additional $2 million to local recovery efforts to help those in affected areas. Facebook did not act alone. Skype and WhatsApp also made call to the area free to place for days after the disaster.

More than $415 million is required for the 8 million+ people affected by the earthquake in Nepal. As of May 19th, there has been only 17% of required aid met.

To address these unmet needs, we asked “How might we support those who are committing to innovate, fundraise and help using #techforgood in Nepal?” It is in this spirit that we’ve created this resource guide.

Whether you want to get involved directly or understand how social media, crowdsourcing and technology are making a difference, we hope this is useful for you. Below is a collection of our favorite tools and efforts that are making a difference today.


  Learn to map!

For Nepal, map data is key to humanitarian missions. Opensource maps are giving critical information to groups on the ground. Read about the movement of thousands joining to map around the world. MapGive helps new volunteers learn to map and get involved in online tasks.
Start an account and learn here. And make sure to take a look at the Open Streetmap in action.

  Share data!

The Humanitarian Digital Exchange

Anyone can logon and share data sets about Nepal to keep the public and relief teams informed. Launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Humanitarian Digital Exchange is an open source platform where data comes to life.


Nepal 2015 Earthquakes

A picture is worth a thousand words. This picture, though, is likely worth alot more. Take a look at this to view the continued  tremors visualized. The number of lives impacted is simply heartbreaking.


Gift guides recommend giving cash over in-kind donations. So what kind of giver are you? We’ve seen a lot of momentum being built by crowdsourcing campaigns that aim to give directly to people and combat corrupt local officials that may misuse funds. NGOs and relief groups are also very helpful. They bring years of experience and are set up to release funds before you donate so they can respond quickly.


Give to  NGOS

UNOCHA’s Giving Guide

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has already released $15 million to kick-start immediate life-saving relief work in Nepal. CERF receives contributions year-around so that humanitarian partners can act quickly when and where crises strike.


UNICEF is on the ground working to reach 1.7 million children and their families with critical aid in Nepal.

And via twitter, you can see direct appeals, get information & start helping very quickly.

Join the  Crowdfunding

Looking to support untraditional disaster relief teams? Life IndieGoGoKetto.org, and #WeHelpNepal all have very successful crowdfunding campaigns to participate in and take note.

We’re also seeing individuals expand their reach by starting crowdfunding campaigns for large NGOs! By acting as ambassadors for the organizations, individuals are increasing the organizations’ impact. And it’s all based on telling personal stories that cause like minded people to take action.

Share Your Story

Let us know what you find inspiring. How are you making change? Have you seen anything noteworthy worth sharing? What ways are you using #techgood to make a difference?

AIDS Lifecycle

Last year, I rode my bike 545 miles in 1 week from SF to LA. With 2,500 other cyclists, we raised over $15 million to benefit the SF AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. This is what AIDS Lifecycle is. An amazing community of cyclists, activists, and caring people. All riding to make a real difference.

The picture below sums it up pretty well :

This year, to help raise even more money, we’re providing web services in exchange for donations. And it all goes to AIDS Lifecycle. The way this works is pretty easy. You need web help. We provide that help. Instead of paying us cash, you provide a tax deductible donation directly to the ride. Not sure what we do? Take a look at our wide range of services.

Interested? Just fill out the form below and let us know what you need help with.

And if you’re inspired and just wanna make a donation – well – you can do that too – here’s the link – http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/jakirides

And yes – there are limitations. We can’t build you a social network like Facebook or an ecommerce store that has Amazon.com like features in exchange for a donation. Unless that donation is really really big, of course. Then we’ll find a way 🙂

What Kind of CMS’s Do Museums Use?


First – I know my mom and other folks who are not as tech savvy as others will probably read this – so I’ll answer their question first – what’s a CMS? Well, CMS stands for Content Management System – basically – it’s software to help people manage their content for their websites. I imagine many people reading this will already know that though.

So – now that we’ve gotten that question out of the way…there are many (MANY) Content Management Systems out there. I’m wondering – what are the most popular systems currently on the market?

There are folks in the WordPress community that claim we power >16% of the web. We first heard this stat in 2011. We’re avid fans of both WordPress and Drupal – so we are wondering – is this really true? It turns out – yes – it’s pretty true.

But is this the case for arts organizations and nonprofits? We decided to do some research for ourselves. We took a random sampling of 500 museums and worked to find out what CMS they were using to power their home site.

Here’s what we’ve found so far

More than 10% (55) of the 508 sites we sampled are running WordPress, and 46 (just less than 10%) are running Drupal. All in all, over 20% of museum sites are running open source code. And it looks like WordPress is indeed the most popular open source CMS currently around. While I have not (yet) surveyed every museum and nonprofit out there, this is a good start and I guess is indicative of what we’re looking at.

Here’s a chart of our preliminary findings.


Some stats from WordPress

Why are we bothering with this research?

Well – for starters – we build websites. So, in some ways, it’s a little bit of market research.

Second – because we can 🙂 Who said research wasn’t fun? We’re curious and we want to know how organizations are managing all their incredible content.

Finally – it reinforces our belief that open source is the way to go (only a handful of folks are using Sharepoint, by Microsoft).

If you’d like to participate in this survey, add your data, or share how your organization is managing your web presence…well…there’s a survey for that 🙂

Take Our Survey!

Happy web making everyone!

Raising Money on Facebook

Either you’ve got a Facebook page (or you about to set one up). Either way, you’re probably wondering how to use that page to generate some cash. You’re not the only one. So the good folks at Nonprofit Webinars put together this great webinar on just that – how to use facebook to help your organization raise money. This particular webinar and series of slides was put together by the very fantastic Jeff Patrick, President & Founder of Common Knowledge.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/NPWebinars/status/30370329859723264″]

We’d love to hear from you – how do you plan to use facebook to help you raise money?

iPhone apps versus Mobile Website

For the past year, I’ve been working with clients who are itching for an iPhone app, but don’t yet have a dedicated mobile site. iPhone apps have great potential for engaging your current customers and building out your location based services. Before beginning development on an iPhone app, though, you need to ask “Should we focus on building out an iPhone app when we don’t yet have a mobile site built out? Do we have resources to do both at the same time?”

Why should you develop your mobile site before investing in an iPhone app?

Heather from DIOSA Communications addresses this questions in her latest article. Below are the 5 main points. For the full explanation, visit the original article.

1) Almost anyone with a mobile phone can access your mobile website whereas only iPhone users can access your iPhone App.

There are 4.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide (277 million in the United States) and just a small fraction of those are iPhone users.  

2) Mobile websites are easy to update whereas if you want to update an iPhone App, then the user has to download the Updates.

Essentially, updating an m.yoursite.com is a bit easier than updating your app and asking users to download the update.

3) As the smartphone market expands, are you then going to also launch multiple versions of your App?

Are you going to also create Apps for Palm, Blackberry, Android, etc.?

4) Social networking sites all have mobile websites and their traffic grows every single month.

(think m.twitter.com, m.facebook.com, m.youtube.com)

5) Text alert campaigns need mobile websites to be successful.

If you’re engaging customers via text messages, a mobile compatible site that loads quickly is absolutely essential

Related Links:

Four Reasons Why Nonprofits Need a Mobile Website
10 Nonprofit Mobile Websites
PhotoKast’s Guide on How to Build an iPhone App

Social Media Bootcamp | Resources

During SMartCamp (Social Media Art Camp), nonprofits, artists, arts organizations, bloggers, strategists, and a bunch of other really really interesting people gathered to talk about the intersection of Arts, Culture, and Technology.

As part of SMartCamp, we also ran a 4 hour Social Media Bootcamp. The workshop, which was limited to 20 participants (broken up into smaller groups of 5), allowed attendees to develop the foundations of a social media strategy, or workshop an existing social media strategy in a small group setting with one-on-one support from workshop leaders.

The workshop leaders included
Farra Trompeter
Maryann Devine
Damien Basile
and me, Jaki Levy.

Each facilitator gave a short 10 minute presentation, and then led a conversation within the small groups. All 4 presentations are included below (for even more SMartCamp presentations, go here).

Read more

Social Media Week NYC 2010

The first week of February is Social Media Week in NYC. Along with Little Big Pictures, we’ll be co-hosting this month’s #artstech event, which is exploring the creative overlap between social media and the arts.

Instead of the usual discussion of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, we wanted to take a look at some of the most inventive implementations of social media we’ve come across: social media art experiments. We’ll be taking a look at how artists are incorporating social media in their art-making practices. You want to talk about creative community engagement strategies? Look no further than this round-up.

The speakers:
Read more

Happy 3rd Birthday Gott Advertising!

Congratulations, Kevin!

Today marks the 3rd year of business for Gott Advertising.

Gott Advertising provided solid support and help on ISSUE Project Room‘s google grants. Kevin setup multiple adcampaigns, focused keywords, and monitored all results to heelp drive traffic to ISSUE Project Room’s site.

From their site:

We build, manage and optimize online advertising campaigns for non-profits, charities, and progressive organizations.

We improve and complement your current fundraising, list-building, and advocacy efforts, via online advertising, search, social media and multivariate testing.

Our web media experience includes advertising, marketing, strategic thinking, buying, selling, consulting, negotiating, analysis, optimization and much more.

We take pride in our ability to study and navigate the rough, rocky, ever-changing world of online advertising. We sail nimbly through: CPC, CPM, CPA, CPNM, ECPM, ROI, IOs, ASPs, SEM, SEO, SMO, emails, blogs, banners, open rates, conversion paths, landing pages, added value, underdelivery, optimization, reporting and trafficking.

Here’s to many more years!

Social Media and NonProfits

[via http://ow.ly/B5Qg]

1. You are an adult now — it’s okay to talk to strangers. Panel moderator Dr. Kyra Gaunt set the stage by reminding us to forget what we learned as kids. Social media — and in particular Twitter — is great for talking to strangers. You can learn new ideas and share resources with people around the world.

2. Take the walls down and embrace a ’social culture’. Allison reminded attendees that social media tools are just that. If you want to create change, your organization needs to shift how it thinks about social media–from a mindset of fear and control to one of listening and sharing. Several times she said we need to ‘tear down the walls’ and allow the lines to blur between what happens internally and externally. Having a social culture is about opening up and sharing; letting go of the content and giving more credit than you take.

3. The Internet is not an ATM. Success is about building relationships–not building numbers. For those people and orgs particularly interesting in raising money via social media, Deanna shared a helpful way to think about this: Just like you can’t walk into a bar, say how awesome you are and then ask someone for money… you can’t expect people to give you money, hand over fist, via Facebook and other social media sites. You have to build relationships and follow the tried and true practices of fundraising — the same ones that have been around since before the web — share your story, interest the potential donor by giving them something to do other than donating (cultivation), share more about your work and invite them to see your programs in action (stewardship), and then ask them to join you/invest/donate (solicitation).

4. Being everywhere is nice, being relevant is best. Andrew spoke about the huge access the Internet offers — citing stats from how the presidential candidates used social media in the 2008 election. Where radio, TV, and print are economies of scarcity, he said the Internet is an economy of abundance. Deanna asked a great question in response, “How do we move from abundance to being relevant? How do we make info relevant and interesting in people’s lives?” I think this is one of the most important questions to ask and consider right now.

5. Logos don’t talk, people do. Another hot question at this seminar and others on nonprofits + social media is about walking the line between your professional and personal brand, especially if you are the one tweeting, blogging, status-updating, commenting, texting, etc. for your organization. Allison made a great point in response to this topic and reiterated her earlier comments about taking down the walls and letting it blend. People want to talk to other people. “Social media is not a spectator sport—it’s a contact sport.” If you are not sure if social media is for you, start small and experiment.

Next seminar from Baruch College will focus on ‘going mobile’ on November 12, 2009. To watch footage from this event or find out more about the next one, check the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management.

Upcoming Talks + Events

On Sept 23rd, I’ll be joining Marc Kirschner, Sydney Skybetter and Tom Schreiber for a Keynote Lunch at the New York State Arts Summit

You can see my presentation here.

We’ll be talking about Arts + Social Media

(the video above was featured on TechPresident.com)

On Sept 29th, I’ll be joining Brian McCormick and many others to talk about Dance, New Media, and Blogging at Movement Research.

For those in NYC – Here are the critical details.
This should be an awesome panel (Brian is great)

Studies Project: Towards an Adjudication Model for Dance Criticism
Tuesday September 29, 2009 at 7pm.
Abrons Arts Center at 466 Grand Street.
Conceived of and moderated by Brian McCormick

Read about the event here

In addition to these speaking engagements, I’ll be leading a few workshops at The Field

I hope you’ll be able to join me at one or more of these exciting events!

Public Relations for the 21st Century
Fran Kirmser & Jaki Levy, Thursday, October 8, 6:30-9pm
$40/$25-Field Members

In a culture saturated with information, how can an artist continue to stand out from the pack? What are some new (and old) methods to help your work get noticed? Join us at The FAR Space to explore the intersection of traditional marketing streams with newer web-based media platforms. Hear examples of creative and effective marketing campaigns and best-practices for how to get the word out in the 21st century.

Co-presented with Harlem Arts Alliance

Growing Your Web Presence
Jaki Levy, Mondays, October 19, 26, November 2, 6:30-9pm
LOCATION: Harlem Arts Alliance
$120/$75-Field Members

This hands-on three-part workshop helps participants create their online presence. Learn how to set-up your own site and integrate free web platforms like Flickr, YouTube, & WordPress to build a cost-effective and dynamic communication center that reflects your creative work. We will begin to develop and implement individual plans and strategies for your current projects.

Harlem Arts Alliance
290 Malcolm X Blvd, 2nd Floor
Between 124th and 125th Streets in Manhattan
2/3/4/5/6/A/B/C/D to 125th Street

Co-presented with Harlem Arts Alliance

Advanced Internet Strategies
Jaki Levy, Mondays, November 16, 30, December 7, 6:30-9pm
$120/$75-Field Members

Take your existing online presence to a whole new level in this hands-on three-part workshop. Brainstorm innovative strategies in a group setting to harness new media platforms, incorporate social networks, blogs, and other free web services. We will discuss appropriate and relevant technologies and techniques to move your current work forward.

Rediscovering Community Resources to Sustain your Art

Tonight, I will be joining a group of Immigrant Artists in New York City to discuss how to make use of the vast resources available in NYC and beyond. I will focus on developing audiences online, and doing strategic outreach using multiple online channels such as email marketing, and increasingly popular social networks.

Join NYFA and BAC for a fun evening. Come meet artists, and learn about new resources….

Conversations: Rediscovering Community Resources to Sustain your Art

Presented by the New York Foundation for the Arts in collaboration with the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC)

New York City can seem overwhelmingly vast, divided, and impersonal to newcomers and longtime residents alike, and presents specific challenges to artists struggling to create, often in isolation.  To help newer New Yorker artists keep on creating,  NYFA’s Immigrant Artists Project (IAP) proposes a forum called Conversations for immigrant and culturally specific artists to exchange stories, expertise and support with their peers, building community and sharing resources to further enrich their artistic lives.  IAP is hopeful this will be the first of a series of forums hosted at NYFA in conjunction with organizations such as BAC.

Our inaugural Conversations forum will focus on recognizing and drawing on existing community-based resources in the current economic-political climate, with guests presentations by Cecilia Jurado and others to be announced.  Participants will share their experiences in persevering in their arts practice in spite of immediate financial burdens, lack of funding opportunities, and in finding alternative resources within their own communities.

Please come prepared to share your own stories!The evening will be devoted to networking, with refreshments served, following brief guest presentations. Feel free to bring promotional materials to share with our group.

This event will be hosted at the NYFA Offices:
New York Foundation for the Arts
20 Jay Street, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

On June 10 at 6-8 pm

Space is limited. To attend please RSVP at i.outreach@nyfa.org

This event is part of NYFA’s  Immigrant Artist Project (IAP). Through this project, NYFA seeks to expand the community of artists it serves by nurturing new connections among artists and organizations, and by fostering a supportive community of empowered artists with diverse educational, cultural, and creative backgrounds.

Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) strives to enrich the quality of life throughout Brooklyn by fostering, encouraging and promoting the arts through service and support to artists and arts organizations.  BAC Folk Arts works with Brooklyn-based folk and traditional artists and their communities to identify, document and present arts that express the boroughs’ diverse living heritage.

Upcoming Workshop: Strategies for Internet Outreach

Beginning this Tuesday, I will be leading a 3 week workshop at The Field. The workshop is focused on building a solid and meaningful internet presence, and is geared towards practicing Artists and Arts Organizations, looking to build new audiences and connect with their current base.

The workshop ranges from the very practical nuts + bolts to a broad strategy. In the past, I have given overviews and tutorials of various online platforms including Facebook, Email Marketing Software, Content Management Systems, and WordPress.

I know there are some readers + subscribers who’ve taken the workshop before – I’d love to hear from you!
If you’re reading and have any comments about the past workshops, please feel free to add them here.


  1. Join the facebook group for this workshop [click here]. If you don’t have a facebook account, you will need to set one up.
  2. Setup a Tumblr account
  3. Setup a Twitter account, if you don’t already have one
  4. Setup a WordPress Blog on your host (Read this post for help installing a wordpress blog on your host)
  5. Once you have a blog setup, please leave a comment below with a link to your blog

Finally – make sure you subscribe to this blog (sign up on the right hand side) for updates + tutorials

Using Facebook for marketing your Organization

I don’t usually do these “How to use xyz to do abc” kind of posts (or do I?). So while I might be able to write a post on “how to use facebook for marketing your organization,” I’ll spare you. There are many other places you can go for that

HOWEVER – I just saw a post on Danciti and wanted to respond directly.
Here’s the post : http://danciti.com/post/89689559/using-facebook-for-your-organization-well-show-you

The post said “Facebook isn’t a marketing panacea. We’ve never seen hard numbers that show it sells tickets or even holds people’s interest. Sure, it’s free and easy but maybe your limited time would be better spent elsewhere especially if you are over 25 and weren’t born holding a Macbook.”

I am writing to let you know that Danciti is right. You should not be using facebook to market your organization if you’re like 50 years old.

Another thing Danciti is right about – Facebook does not sell tickets.

People sell tickets. But smart people can use facebook to help them sell these tickets (and many other things).

Let me put it in simpler terms. This past season, I ran an online marketing campaign for DanceBrazil. In addition to putting together their site, producing a webcast, and inviting bloggers like Tonya Plank to see the show, I setup a facebook page for the company. I also ran ads on facebook for the company.

Without betraying any implicit confidentiality, I’ll say this. The company received approximately $20 for every $1 I spent on facebook. For example, this means that if we had a budget of $100, the company would have sold $2000 in tickets (via facebook). This, of course, is not as simple as I am breaking it down. I spent alot of time on facebook on behalf of the company. Alot. And by alot, I mean alot. I engaged people. I asked them questions. I listened to them. I reached out to people individually. I built a small audience for DanceBrazil on facebook. And THEN – once I had an engaged audience – I ran ads. On facebook. And we sold tickets. Lots of them. On facebook.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a 25 year old, but I was born holding a Macbook. Also, DanceBrazil is highly interesting to watch. If your product sucks, you’re going to have to spend more money to either make your product not suck, or marketing a sucky product. Either way, it helps to not have a sucky product.

For those interested in a full blown case study (without the words um, like, Macbook, and sucky) …stay tuned…..

Setting up Facebook Ads: Part 1

This past month, I setup a facebook ad campaign for a company. There are many who say that facebook ads do not work. For the purpose of this article, I will disagree with them. The goal for the campaign was to generate awareness about the company on facebook, and it worked.  I was able to target my ad according to age, demographics, interest, price, and schedule. I was also able to track the results of the ad in real time.  

For this test campaign, I budgeted $20/day. As I stated above, my main goals were simply to build awareness of the company, and drive traffic to their facebook page and promote their event on facebook. In a matter of days, the ad appeared on facebook over 300,000 times. 107 people clicked on the ad. In terms of clicks, this is wildly disproportionate to other ad networks like Google. Nonetheless, there was a small, but extremely relevant increase in participation.  Here’s a breakdown of stats


Impressions: 328,307 Clicks: 107 Click through rate: 0.03%     total spent: $64.01

I knew the benefit of setting up a campaign on facebook would be the targeting that facebook provides. For example, if I wanted to reach people who are interested in Aerosmith, The Who, and/or The Daily Show, I had the option of doing so. And my ad also appeared ALOT.

If you’re looking for impressions (awareness), facebook is a good platform. If you’re looking for direct conversions (leading to purchases), I would still consider it. However, I would strongly consider running a google adwords campaign at the same time to compare results.

For those interested in running a campaign, I’ve attached some visuals.

Below are a few screenshots of what the ad setup process looks like on facebook. 


If you’ve run a facebook ad, or are thinking of doing it, let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions. What are you looking to advertise? What are your expectations for setting up the ad? What do you want your audience to do?  What kind of results do you expect?

We’ve launched Daniel Gwirtzman’s site!

I’m happy to say we’ve officially launched Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company’s new site!

Actually, I’m quite impressed with the final product we put together for the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. With the help of great media all around, we were able to piece together a photo gallery, a video gallery, a new subscription system, and even an SMS delivery system for his audiences.

It’s really been great working with Daniel and his company. They really did a phenomenal job in gathering their assets, organizing their content, and creating compelling videos. Congratulations, Daniel! It’s exciting to know I’ll be able to continue to help you communicate your wonderful work!

If you like this, take a look at my other work.

[screenshots follow]


About Page | Features: Large Image on each page, drop-down navigation, links to video gallery, customizable sidebar navigation


Home Page | Features: Slide show, customizable footer area, drop-down navigation bar

While launching the site, I found this guide to be particularly useful:

I initially setup this wordpress site in a subdirectory ( /wordpress ) so that I could develop things without affecting their active site. After the wordpress site was all setup, I needed to make the switch. The article above did the trick for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – share your ideas and leave a comment!

National Arts Marketing Project Conference

This week is the National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

For those interested in how the new ways of the web are affecting the arts and beyond read on!

The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City published these two very interesting reports – well worth a read. These publications are being discussed at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

KC Collaborative Audience Development Exec Summary
June 20, 2008
This executive summary provides a brief overview of a three-phased audience development research project initiated by the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City and conducted by Surale Phillips between 2003 to 2008. The job of connecting with arts audiences is getting tougher in an increasingly competitive world. Adding to this challenge is the fact that arts organizations often work in isolation, unaware of research and replicable innovations from across town or from across the nation. This report offers guidance for finding new audiences and connecting with all audiences in meaningful ways.

KC Collaborative Audience Development Phase III
June 20, 2008
This report focuses on the many lessons learned by arts organizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area in a multi-year collaborative audience development project. As noted by Jerry Yoshitomi, the findings of Phase III of the project align with recent research in social psychology and marketing, as well as the Web 2.0, social marketing, self-curated world that is emerging. The recommendations and tools included in the full report take into consideration the changes in cultural communication methods and make use of new, more efficient ways of using technology to keep marketing costs down while increasing patron connection and response.

AYN Brand has also published this great web2.0 primer. Take a look through the presentation below: