Tag Archives: Nonprofit

Social good takeaways from SXSWi

20 Mar

After an unbelievelable amount of time either a) driving b) churning out digital content while our brains were half-sleeping or c) driving, the SXSWAngels made it to Austin in one piece, ready to take on SXSWi. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, read my blog post HERE to get you up to speed with what I’ve done with my life these past two weeks.

For those unfamiliar with SXSWi, it’s the mackdaddy of all digital conferences. The girls and I could “get our geek on” and it was the norm. Yes, a teammate even tweeted about breathing the same air as the founders of mint.com and somehow walked out of the Austin Convention Center without being arrested for creeping.

After loads of time dedicated to sorting through all the different discussions offered during the five days of geekdom, I naturally gravitated to social good topics. From a panel on the Pepsi Refresh Project to a keynote with Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes, one prevalent trend during the course of the week was for-profit organizations’ innovation in the social good world. Blake made a case for incorporating strong social awareness and cause-related business practices into a for-profit endeavor (and apparently is the perfect case study with Toms). Essentially, giving is easier if it’s already incorporated into your business model. Amen.

Other interesting takeaways from the weekend:

  • During a panel on being a free agent in the nonprofit world, Mark of InvisiblePeople.tv pointed out some agencies suffer from executive director disease, which is a breeding ground of micromanagement and control from fear of letting the brand get in the hands of free agents (aka outside help). At the end of the day, look to work toward the cause, not for the people running the show.
  • On the topic of good business, Blake spoke about the enriching environment TOMS Shoes invests in. This includes working with genuinely good and passionate people and giving back as a team. This also is my dream job situation (so hire me?)
  • While sitting in on a panel on a social hackathon for donorschoose.org, the group of for-profits businesspeople took two days to focus their energies on applying business practices to a need in the nonprofit world. I haven’t completely absorbed it yet, but they produced a free e-book from their hours locked up for the greater good and want other NPOs and social good orgs to put the digital practices to good use.
  • I’m sure many of you have either applied for or fell victim to the constant badgering for votes from a grantee hopeful in the Pepsi Refresh Project. The project continues to evolve, including the expansion to European countries and alterations to the application process and second chances. Two grantees were also on the panel, providing a decent inside look to the work put in on a nonprofit’s end (check out Selfless Tees – a grant recipient preparing to launch – if you want to see a project funded on Pespi’s dime).
  • A final awesome note: TOMS Shoes unveiled that the business is evolving from a shoe company to a one-for-one company. There’s a need for more than shoes in the communities being helped, so the company is expanding their line. I’m OBSESSED with one-for-one and socially-conscious consumerism, so I’m stoked to see what is unveiled on June 7. Speculation is behind a blue button-up polo, but I’m stuck on the idea of a backpack or satchel of sorts. Think about it – how many people in undeserved areas need to transport basic supplies for miles without any means of carrying? What do you think TOMS will unveil or what would you hope to see another organization provide in the one-for-one sphere?

While scouring the online world, I found some very in-depth notes from other panel attendees I thought were worth sharing. This includes the notes on “A Global Conversation: Free Agents & Nonprofits in a Networked World” (hashtag: #netnon) by @askdebra and tweets curated and translated from the same panel, the full video from the Pepsi Refresh Project panel and some graphic whiteboards and videos from the inside of the social hackathon (aka #goodengine).

#reusetues – newspapers

8 Feb

In a world where Kindles and iPads are trumping the way people flip through the daily paper (negate the fact the everyday man has been seeking out news online for years), newspapers tend to be their own form of endangered species in some households.

For those who still feel refreshed after skimming through a Sunday paper, get a little extra mileage out of those quick-to-be-recycled goodies.


  • Most animal shelters and rescues could use the non-circular pages to line kennels of pets looking for homes.
  • Call up the local elementary school or day care to see if they could use a stack of newspapers for any art projects. Nothing screams childhood more than gluey paper mache.
  • If you’re going out of town, chances are you’re NOT going to be reading each section when you get home. Most major publications will allow you to donate the print editions to local schools while you’re out of town via their Newspapers in Education program.
  • Don’t use the coupons in your Sunday paper? Help out a military family by donating the manufacturer’s coupons (valid or expired for up to six months).


  • Keep kids busy with this hefty list of newspaper crafts … build everything from a purse to a bow.
  • Is it cold outside? Start a fire by rolling the paper tight and light to use as a starter log.
  • Wrapping paper is so 1990. One of the dozens of ways to wrap a gift without the waste is using the daily paper (bonus points if you use the right section to compliment the gift – i.e. food section for cookware, news & views for a current events best seller, etc.)
  • Moving? Keep your belongings in place by packing with crumpled newspaper.
  • If you decide singing in the rain and jumping in puddles is for you, you can put wads of newspaper in your wet shoes to dry & deodorize them in no time.
  • For dozens of more great ideas, check out this fantastic reader-submitted list of newspaper reuse ideas by the Dayton Daily News.