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The best regulation-approved finance software for charities | Charity Digital News, 10 sep 2019
How Do Nonprofit and For-Profit Hospitals Differ? It's Complicated | Nonprofit Quarterly, 10 sep 2019
Doing Business While Doing Good? Yes, It's Possible | Fortune, 10 sep 2019
Four Ways To Reimagine The Nonprofit | Forbes, 09 sep 2019
Volunteering with kids can help create a habit of giving | nwitimes.com, 09 sep 2019
On Philanthropy: In the eyes of business leaders, "social purpose" has replaced "shareholder capitalism" | The Denver Post, 08 sep 2019
A Better Way To Make Charitable Gifts | Forbes, 06 sep 2019
Giving the charitable sector the tools it needs to thrive | Policy Options, 05 sep 2019
'Design thinking' or how to promote innovation in social enterprises | BBVA, 05 sep 2019
Why the Rich Get Charitable Deductions and Everyone Else Can Suck Eggs | Nonprofit Quarterly, 04 sep 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2019
Technology innovations are often associated with taking up jobs from humans. Consider some experts predicting that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could take over 40% of jobs by 2035. But, there is a brighter side to it. The tasks that are taken away by AI are generally those that are repetitive and monotonous, requiring less human creativity. This would infact provide more opportunities for people to be innovative and creative, making their jobs more fulfilling. Charities too have to take advantage of AI to improve efficiencies and let their workforce focus on doing good better and impact lives. Rhodri Davies of Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the author of Public Good by Private Means' and an expert on philanthropy and technology for giving, says, 'There are plenty of new jobs that will be actually created in the wake of the AI revolution.' Here are some of the charity jobs that artificial intelligence and machine learning can enhance - (1) Fundraiser: Chatbots can support in fundraising tasks. Organizations are already making use of online platforms to do so effectively and reach out to far-flung donors. (2) Support Services Assistant: Charity chatbots can help in guiding people towards the general information they require. This will help human staff to focus on more complex and sensitive queries. (3) Translator: AI-driven language translation can assist charity workers to communicate effectively with populations they serve and have language barrier with. (4) Conservation Scientist: Data science and machine learning is used in sustainability studies. AI can be used by wildlife and conservation charities to understand patterns such as habitat loss, climate change, water use, poaching etc. This will help better understand human impact on natural world and plan ahead. (5) Medical Researcher: AI and robotics are used in diagnostics and patient care. AI-driven data analysis helps spot patterns in behvior, symptoms and treatment effects. Thus providing effective treatment. Read on...
Charity Digital News:
The charity jobs that could soon be enhanced by AI
Author: Chloe Green
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jun 2019
Technology is enabling charitable and philanthropic organizations to perform better in many ways - (1) Donations have just become a click away with expanded reach through online financial payment systems. Moreover, online transactions provide anonymity to donors who prefer it. (2) Crowdfunding has become a great tool to gather funds from all kind of donors, big or small, for the causes that one suppports. Crowdfunding websites are convenient to use and make it easy to reach out to prospective donors. (3) Technology has brought transparency and accountability. Donors are now more aware about how their contributions are utilized. Moreover, financial management tools provide charity organizations ways to efficiently and effectively track their funds. (4) Social media has proven to be effective to spread a charitable cause and seek support. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2019
According to the most recent 'State of the Nonprofit Cloud Report' by NTEN and Microsoft, cloud technology has become routine enough that many organizations have adopted new services during the past year or are considering adding new services. Three of four respondents indicated current use of cloud services for at least three purposes. The average number of services used is about six. Nonprofits are using cloud not just to store data, but in many other ways. Emily Dalton, VP of product management at Omatic Software, says, 'The thing that people are abuzz about is AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and how can we take all the data being generated and harness that into intelligence. It's applying more of the science of fundraising...There are patterns and insights that could be found in the data, pointing to a segment that's ripe for a major giving ask. Having your database and CRM system in the cloud, allows fundraisers to do some pretty incredible stuff. They have access to all their donor data in real time when going to a meeting or on a road trip. Instead of setting up a meeting with a donor, running a report and printing out a donor profile to bring along, fundraiser instead walks into a meeting with the most relevant data possible. They access it quicker and it's not duplicated because the cloud is faster.' Nathan Chappell, CFRE, SVP philanthropy at City of Hope, says, 'We send fundraisers to lunch with people we know have wealth...The data can help determine how best to deploy the workforce in the best way possible...We're very diligent about testing models...The starting point for any nonprofit, even a small one, is ensuring they're capturing all the data possible. The model will be only as good as the quality and consistency of data.' Rodney M. Grabowski, CFRE, VP for university advancement at the University of Buffalo, says, 'In reality, I've been using forms of AI throughout my entire career. Twenty years ago we were calling it data analytics, then machine learning, now it's AI.' Steve MacLaughlin, VP of data and analytics at Blackbaud, says, 'The technology is largely invisible. If your organization is taking online donations, then you're using the cloud. There's no way to take donations without using some cloud. For fundraising and donor management, a larger percentage of nonprofits are using the cloud than not...We're well past the tipping point. Now, it's going to be about what happens next, how does the cloud enable more effectiveness.' Eric Okimoto, COO at boodleAI, says, 'AI and cloud computing are buzz words. But at the end of the day, cloud computing is just the ability to rent capabilities rather than spend heavily on capital, people and security.' Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN, says, 'Fundraisers can benefit from the same elements of efficiency and access as program or communications staff...Let the robots do the work to tell you that someone just made a donation...instead of running a report to check. Nonprofits still must use the cloud in whatever way makes strategic sense for them...What's likely to become more of an issue this year and beyond is data access, security and privacy. It's going to happen anyhow but things like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and data breaches accelerate it...What nonprofits value about cloud tools is that staff can access data and systems to do their jobs from wherever, but security is important when they evaluate such tools. When we talk to nonprofits about security, it's usually an amorphous, shadowy fear. It's not a specific security concern...Often, it's probably safer to work with a cloud vendor or partner on security than for a nonprofit to try to maintain that security on its own.' Read on...
The NonProfit Times:
Cloud Is Raining Data, Flooding Fundraising With Information
Author: Mark Hrywna
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2018
Recent passing away of Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen (b.21 jan 1953 - d.15 oct 2018) brings to the forefront his contributions, not only to technology and entrepreneurship, but also to education, arts, culture etc as part of his philanthropy. After leaving Microsoft's management in 1983, his philanthropic activities focused on the city of Seattle (US), his hometown. He endowed a separate school for computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. His investments in Seattle's South Lake Union locality has recast the city as an increasingly popular destination for young technologists. Some of his cherished contributions to the city's scene and skyline include artistic and athletic monuments to which he devoted a substantial portion of his wealth. He commissioned Frank Gehry to design a pop-culture museum. He also developed a children's center at the Seattle Public Library, funded an off-campus studio for the beloved public-radio station KEXP, and established a military-history museum outside the city. He was an ardent advocate of environmental protection, computational bioscience, and space exploration, donating millions of dollars to regional nonprofits. He invested in sports and acquired Seattle Seahawks at the time the team was planning to leave the city. In his memoir, 'Idea Man' (2011), responding to criticism that his philanthropy lacked focus, he wrote, 'At times, I cast my net too widely. But my choice of ventures wasn't arbitrary.' In 2000, the chairman of the architecture department at the University of Washington likened him to a modern Medici (an influential banking and political family of Florence, Italy). His contributions to entrepreneurship and technology are public knowledge. He recounted in his memoir regarding the initial mission of his venture with Bill Gates was, 'A computer on every desk and in every home.' Mr. Gates recently wrote, 'Paul foresaw that computers would change the world.' He influenced the technological innovations like point-and-click computing, word processing, and multi-button mouse. Mr. Allen attributed his entrepreneurial ambition and imagination to a wide-ranging autodidacticism and a natural passion for art and literature. Even though a technologist and part of a cut-throat and highly competitive industry, he understood that the products he designed were complements to preexisting lives, all of them rich and varied. He wrote in his memoir, 'That's a core element of my management philosophy. Find the best people and give them room to operate, as long as they can accept my periodic high-intensity kibitzing.' Read on...
The New Yorker:
The Rare Humanism Behind Paul Allen's Technological Vision
Author: Eren Orbey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2018
The possibility of eco-friendly biodegradable paper-based batteries is now made a reality by the scientists at Binghampton University (SUNY), Prof. Seokheun 'Sean' Choi from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Prof. Omowunmi Sadik from the Chemistry Department. Their research titled 'Green Biobatteries: Hybrid Paper-Polymer Microbial Fuel Cells' was recently published in Advanced Sustainable Systems. Prof. Choi engineered the design of the paper-based battery, while Prof. Sadik was able to make the battery a self-sustaining biobattery. The biobattery uses a hybrid of paper and engineered polymers. The polymers - poly (amic) acid and poly (pyromellitic dianhydride-p-phenylenediamine) - were the key to giving the batteries biodegrading properties. Prof. Choi says, 'There's been a dramatic increase in electronic waste and this may be an excellent way to start reducing that. Our hybrid paper battery exhibited a much higher power-to-cost ratio than all previously reported paper-based microbial batteries. The polymer-paper structures are lightweight, low-cost and flexible. Power enhancement can be potentially achieved by simply folding or stacking the hybrid, flexible paper-polymer devices.' Read on...
SCIENTISTS CREATE BIODEGRADABLE, PAPER-BASED BIOBATTERIES
Author: Rachael Flores
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2018
Nonprofits have to take the cue from their for-profit counterparts for successful implementation of marketing and technology oriented strategy implementations. Content marketing is now a mature field both in B2B and B2C aspects of business. Best practices are available. Gloria Horsley, founder of Open to Hope Foundation, explains the value of effective content for nonprofit organizations to educate, inform and engage with donors, volunteers and those the nonprofits intend to support and help. She shares her mistakes in content marketing in nonprofit realm and the learning from these experiences - (1) Transferring Existing Print Content Online: Offline content is outward-facing and telling rather than sharing or interactive; Written for entire audience and not personalized for specific segments; Online content need to be written in a way to engage audience; Interactive for audience to share their opinions; Utilizes story telling and visual content. (2) Delivering Content That Lacks Educational Value: Merely information and facts are not always valuable content; Specific content that educate different audiences is more valuable; Produce content that answers specific questions; Educational content attracts more supporters, donors and volunteers. (3) Letting Volunteers Run With It: Giving too much control to volunteers for content development risks consistency and integrity; They may create content that is not fully compliant with regulations; Specific rules and guidelines for content must be laid out; Templates and formats must be shared with temporary workers and volunteers; Provide volunteers access to content management system where content is checked and approved before being published. (4) Failing To Focus On High-Quality Writing: Emotion-based writing may not always be the best quality writing; Long sentences, grammatical mistakes, passive voice use etc leads to content exhaustion where audience lose interest; Use online tools like WordPress and Grammarly for appropriate writing; Professional writing techniques need to be adopted. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2018
In a developing country like India low-income groups often lack access to proper healthcare. But, mobile technology can provide ways to enable these groups have knowledge and resources to drive preventative healthcare. Lead researchers, Aakash Ganju (co-founder of Avegen), Sumiti Saharan (Neuroscientist, Team Lead of Design & Research at Avegen), Alice Lin (Global Director of social innovation at Johnson & Johnson), Lily W. Lee (President of Almata, a division of Avegen), explain the research conducted by their team on the digital usage patterns of underserved groups in two urban areas of India, and iteratively tested user interface and content design. Researchers generated primary research insights from more than 250 new mothers and fathers living in low-income communities, and achieve understanding of the core barriers and digital needs of this population. Researchers suggest, 'Embedding health care into digital tools requires that providers overcome contextual barriers and undertake deliberate design processes. To succeed, providers must develop a nuanced understanding of the obstacles to consuming information digitally, as well as glean insights from technology, interface design, and behavioral science.' Following are some insights from the research - (1) Cost is no longer the biggest barrier: In the last year, a strong government regulatory authority has promoted competition and consumer benefits that have rapidly driven down both smartphone and data costs. (2) Infrastructure can overcome any remaining cost barriers: Only 5% of people living in less-connected and less-developed localities owned smartphones, compared to a significant 56% of individuals with similar incomes living in neighborhoods with good mobile network and infrastructure. (3) Digital experiences are not often built for low-income, urban populations: The most pervasive barrier to digital adoption in India today is a lack of knowledge about how to use digital interfaces. Language is also a barrier. India has an overall literacy rate of 74%. However, only about 10% of Indians can communicate in English - the language of the Internet. Local language content is scarce. There are gaping holes in the understanding of early-stage user requirements and pain points, from both the digital interface and content experience perspectives. (4) There is a lack of trust in health-related digital information: Low-income, underserved communities who have not been exposed to authentic digital content often have extreme distrust in digital information pertaining to health. Only 12% of families thought information from digital sources was reliable, compared to more than 90% finding information from doctors and mothers to be most, very, or somewhat reliable. According to researchers, to truly meet the needs of underserved consumers, providers must focus on the following areas - (1) High-quality content: To engage users on digital platforms, providers must use differentiated content that connects with a user's specific journey. The form, tone, and continuity of content matters. Video formats optimized for small, low-quality displays are most effective in driving engagement. When visual formats are not feasible, audio formats are the next best alternative. Understand the environments in which users consume health. Include local elements in the content, like referring to local clinics etc. (2) Behavior change: Engaging users is vital to directing changes in consumer health behavior. It's important to be deliberate about the design of the user journey. Offering incentives for content consumption, sharing, and specific health-related behaviors can help nudge users toward desired health-related behaviors. (3) Technology: Mobile apps need to be light and fast, have low memory and data requirements, and be able to run on slow and patchy networks. Display data consumption frequently, enhanced ability to view offline content and share content within community is important for engagement. (4) Design team structure: Multidisciplinary teams that bring together expertise in technology, design, business and sustainability, end-user thinking, and behavioral sciences tend to create the most effective designs. To design for the end user, providers must design with the end user, particularly for populations who are not digitally fluent. Teams should develop a thinking environment and processes that allow for hypothesis development, application design, testing, analytics, and retesting in rapid, parallel, iterative cycles. Read on...
Stanford Social Innovation Review:
Expanding Access to Health Care in India Through Strong Mobile Design
Authors: Aakash Ganju, Sumiti Saharan, Alice Lin Fabiano, Lily W. Lee
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2018
Food waste is a global concern and innovative solutions are needed to overcome it. Recent data from National Resources Defense Council found that the average American throws out 400 pounds of food a year, meaning that up to 40% of food grown on the farm bypasses the fork and ends up in a landfill. Globally, impact of food waste can be seen in terms of lost resources, wasted water (70% of fresh water is consumed in agriculture), increased levels of climate-change-producing gases, and diverted food that could contribute to alleviating hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - It is estimated that annually over 60 trillion gallons of water are used to grow food that is ultimately wasted; Roughly 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tons - gets lost or wasted, representing nearly US$1 trillion. The cost of producing, harvesting, transporting, and disposing of this food isn't just financial - food waste accounts for about 8% of global climate pollution, more than the nations of India or Russia. According to one report, food waste throughout the US accounts for more than 60 million tons of waste, which translates into US$ 160 billion of produce and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), represents over 21% of all waste in landfills. Adequate government policy alongwith solutions from for-profit and nonprofit sectors can successfully tackle this challenge. Sherri Welch, writing in Crain's Detroit, highlights two food-box subscription companies that sell produce and other food that retailers won't touch in the Detroit market. One is the Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest; the other is Toronto-based Flash Food. They are both for-profit companies. Denver's We Don't Waste is a nonprofit working on similar lines. Other nonprofits are working with hunger relief organizations and give their customers the option to buy a box of imperfect produce and donate it to a family in need. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, says, 'At this point, I think we are all working together to feed hungry neighbors, reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment.' Other solutions include processing food waste as bioenergy. In the Pacific Northwest, Impact Bioenergy develops and manufactures bioenergy products that allow communities and commercial food waste generators to lessen their environmental footprint and conserve local soil resources while also reducing their waste disposal and energy costs. Policy approaches can also play an important role to shift the amount of food entering the waste stream. A May 2017 paper published by Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic looks at the 2018 Farm Bill as a portal for changing the national conversation on food waste by integrating strategies and initiatives to support diversion efforts. Policy is a major focus on ReFed, one of the nation's leading nonprofits dedicated to addressing food waste. One of their initiatives in partnership with the Food Law and Policy Clinic is the US Food Waste Policy Finder, a tool that provides research on current food waste policy. Another promising approach is to incorporate the reuse of food that has been rejected by the conventional market into social enterprises. DC Central Kitchen is a job-training catering social enterprise that buys food seconds from farmers and uses that produce in the meals it serves to students in schools and catering event guests, even as the nonprofit also addresses the cycle of hunger. According to ReFed's 'Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20 Percent', an estimated 15000 permanent jobs could be created through policy initiatives alone. 'Wasted! The Story of Food Waste', a documentary produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, offer a glimpse of ways that nonprofits can expand their missions and collaborate with others to reduce food waste while improving the health and well-being of those in need. Read on...
For-Profit and Nonprofit Firms Devise Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Author: Derrick Rhayn
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2018
Artificial Intelligence is one of the fields that's getting most attention from technology companies. AI researchers specialize in neural networks, complex algorithms that learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. They are used in everything from digital assistants in smartphones to self-driving cars. Those with AI skills are in high demand. But, the salary data related to AI hires hasn't been in public domain. Now OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research organization, had made the salaries of their AI researchers public as their nonprofit setup requires them to do so. Top OpenAI researchers were paid as follows - Ilya Sutskever (more than US$ 1.9 million in 2016); Ian Goodfellow (more than US$ 800000 after getting hired in March 2016); Prof. Pieter Abbeel of University of California at Berkeley (US$ 425000 after joining in June 2016). OpenAI was founded by Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) and other well-known names in technology. Element AI, an independent lab in Canada, estimates that 22000 people worldwide have the skills needed to do serious AI research - about double from a year ago. Chris Nicholson, Founder & CEO of AI startup Skymind, says, 'There is a mountain of demand and a trickle of supply.' There is scarcity of AI talent. Governments and universities are also seeking AI researchers, even though they may not match the salaries paid by private enterprises. OpenAI too cannot compensate equivalent to private tech companies as stock options are major attraction there. But OpenAI shares its research with the world, considered a positive approach in responsibile tech development. Mr. Sutskever says, 'I turned down offers for multiple times the dollar amount I accepted at OpenAI. Others did the same.' He expects salaries at OpenAI to increase as the organization pursued its 'mission of ensuring powerful AI benefits all of humanity.' AI specialists with little or no industry experience can make between US$ 300000 and US$ 500000 a year in salary and stock. Wojciech Zaremba, a researcher who joined OpenAI after internships at Google and Facebook, says, 'The amount of money was borderline crazy.' He says that tech companies offered 2 or 3 times what he believed his real market value was. At a London AI lab now owned by Google, costs for 400 employees totaled US$ 138 million in 2016. Top researchers are paid higher. Mr. Nicholson says, 'When you hire a star, you are not just hiring a star. You are hiring everyone they attract. And you are paying for all the publicity they will attract.' Other top researchers at OpenAI included Greg Brockman and Andrej Karpathy. In a growing and competitive tech field like AI it becomes challenging for organizations to retain talent. Read on...
The New York Times:
A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit
Author: Cade Metz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2018
Considering the large number of competing nonprofits in a big town with their limited budgets, it's always challenging for them to reach out and attract donors and manage fundraising effectively. There are more than 2300 nonprofits operating in Philadelphia (USA). According to a research report 'The Financial Health of Philadelphia Area Nonprofits', funded by The Philadelphia Foundation, more than 40% of the nonprofits in the area are working at a loss, operate on margins of zero or less and fewer can be considered financially strong. With more than half the nonprofits operating on slim-to-none budget with limited support staff, fundraising is a challnging task. But Drexel University professor, Neville Vakharia, created an online tool, ImpactView Philadelphia, that uses publicly available data on nonprofit organizations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in combination with the most recent American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to present an easy-to-access snapshot of Philadelphia's nonprofit ecosystem. The tool intends to help nonprofits streamline their fundraising process. It makes information about nonprofit organizations, and the communities they're striving to help, more accessible to likeminded charities and the philanthropic organizations that seek to fund them. Prof. Neville says, 'Through the location intelligence visualizer, users can immediately find areas of need and potential collaborators. The data are automatically visualized and mapped on-screen, identifying, for example, pockets of high poverty with large populations of children as well as the nonprofit service providers in these areas. Making this data accessible for nonprofits will cut down on time spent seeking information and improve the ability to make data-informed decisions, while also helping with case making and grant applications.' Since the tool is open-source it can be easily replicated in other cities. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018
Charity requires commitment through time and money. But in the new world of technology there can be ways in which effortless charity has become a possibility. Here are few options that can be explored - (1) Amazon Smile: Buying through smile.amazon.com automatically contributes 0.5% of every eligible purchased made to a charity of choice. (2) Altruisto: A Chrome extension that works with over 1000 partner stores to make charitable donations from a portion of your purchases. Currently, the donations are distributed between three charities, Against Malaria Foundation, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and Give Directly. (3) Charity Miles: An app that converts activities into charitable donations. It logs miles, transforms them into money and donates to valuable causes. (4) CheckPoints: A rewards app that provides points when one engages in various activities like scanning barcodes, watching videos, taking surveys etc. The points collected can be redeemed and made into charitable donations. (5) Donate a Photo: A free app through which every photo submitted, limited to one per day, transforms into one dollar by Johnson & Johnson that can be donated to a cause or charity of your choice. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2017
Corporations and businesses are actively involving themselves in social and community development through corporate social responsibility (CSR), philanthropy, nonprofit partnerships, volunteering etc, to create social impact and a better world. Volunteering can play an important role in providing skills that help in building a solid foundation for a successful career. Ebony Frelix, SVP of philanthropy and engagement at Salesforce, says, 'Some of my most memorable character building experiences and important learning moments have come from volunteering. I really do feel that giving back deepens our connections, bringing companies, people and communities together.' During her early career at Salesforce she managed interns from a nonprofit and later on joined Salesforce.org to lead the company's volunteer programs in Americas. She adds, 'The role opened my eyes to the possibility that I could merge my passion for volunteering with my professional career.' Salesforce applies 1-1-1 model for CSR and philanthropic activities. Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce, at the time of founding of the company in 1999, set aside 1% of employee time for volunteering, 1% of equity for philanthropic donations, and 1% of products or services to give away to nonprofits. As a result of applying this model, Salesforce has given more than US$ 184 million in grants, 2.5 million hours of community service and provided product donations for more than 33000 nonprofits and higher education institutions. Business, technology and social impact are interconnected. Businesses realize that to do well, they have to participate in doing good. Consumers are now sensitive to ethical aspects of businesses and expect them to align with their values. Cone reports that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocates for an issue they care about and 76% refuse to purchase a company's products upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs. Ms. Frelix says, 'I'm excited about the intersection of the nonprofit and technology industries, and seeing innovative systems and products now accessible to nonprofits after traditionally only being available to large corporations.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2017
EDIT (The Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology), the 10 day event held in Toronto (Canada) showcased art, installations and projects, focused on innovation and design to build a sustainable future for the world. It included talks from David Suzuki, Ian Campeau (A Tribe Called Red), among others. Here are 5 selected ideas and innovations - (1) Prosperity For All: Curated by Canadian designer Bruce Mau, the main exhibit juxtaposed Paolo Pellegrin's photos of devastation throughout world, with people and inventions that are helping to combat issues such as famine, refugee crisis, smog and more. It highlighted Smog Free Project (Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde's smog free bike that works to purify the air around you while you ride), The Ocean Cleanup (Boyan Slat's creation that intend to remove 50% of the trash found in Great Pacific Garbage patch in just 5 years) and many more. (2) Art With Purpose: Dennis Kavelman, an artist and tech investor, collaborated with the Digital Futures team at OCAD University (Canada) to create a piece of work inspired by Andy Warhol. Expiry Dates works in two phases - It compiles answers from an online questionnaire, measuring your life expectancy against a myriad of points such as your fitness level, whether you smoke, if you're married and more. Then you sit for a self-portrait, which you attach to a QR Code with all your data. In a few minutes your heartbeat appears on the big screen, taken from a reading from your eye, and then your portrait appears along with your predicted date of expiry. Another piece of the installation, titled That's Not Very Many, uses a magnetized digital board to break down those days in months. (3) The New Housing: Living sustainably means looking at where we live and providing affordable housing for all. Exhibit included Mickey Mouse's Home of the Future that was a fully functional shipping container created by students at OCAD. The One House Many Nations home was created by grassroots organization Idle No More, that seeks to provide affordable housing based on traditional indigenous ideas, and consists of two modules that link together, one dubbed shelter and the other service, that can be pieced together based on the family or individual's needs as well as the landscape in which they live. (4) The Future Of Fashion: Fashion Takes Action's Design Forward award was given to a sustainable fashion label Peggy Sue Collection (founded by Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks), a line of eco-friendly cotton and denim. (5) Waste No More: Keeping in mind the concept of feeding many with minimal impact, Waterfarmers created an on-site aquaponics exhibit to show how fish waste can be used to fertilizer food. The idea is to utilize water that is housing fish to then fertilize plants, providing protein and vegetables in a sustainable manner. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2017
Data can be gold for those who can mine and transform it into a valuable form. Mastercard is giving a new meaning to it and evolving a concept of 'data philanthropy.' Shamina Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, explains the idea of data philanthropy and how data can be utilized for social good and social impact. She says, 'The initiative first came up through a partnership with DataKind in the United States. They were set up to galvanize data scientists from around the world and plug them into social impact work. And so a number of our Mastercard data scientists signed up to DataKind programs, and this gave us the opportunity to form a much more lasting and strategic partnership between the organizations. It opened a new conversation about data for good, what it could look like, and who was doing what in this space. It was also around this time that we had the United Nations opening up to data and data initiatives, and companies like Microsoft thinking about data for good.' Explaining some of the elements of data philanthropy Mastercard is focused on, she says, 'One is working with actual Mastercard data and trying to figure out if there are uses with anonymized and aggregated data that will not only respect the rules of the road around privacy, but can be used for research. We first opened our data for use by Harvard University, who approached us with a proposal to use the data to understand how economies grow, with a specific focus on tourism data and understanding how tourism dollars move in a country. Using Mastercard transaction data, we were able to provide new insights into this area...The other area of data philanthropy is around data analytics. What we have found is that many social impact organizations or NGOs do not need Mastercard data at all. Instead, they need to understand their own data, but often don't have the capacity or resources to help themselves. In those instances, we provide either a grant to hire a data scientist, fund an expert consultant, or provide our own data scientists to build their capacity and ability to learn. The inspiration for this element of data philanthropy came from our work with an organization called DoSomething...' Providing information on how Mastercard data scientists are internally looking for insights, she says, 'We started something called the charitable donations insight, and that is something that one of our colleagues is doing where she is using Mastercard data and drawing insights to help nonprofits understand charitable giving. We asked what a spending poll would look like for not-for-profits and social impact organizations, and insights is the first attempt at that...What she realized is that a lot of the not-for-profits have to raise their own funds, but there is not a lot of science behind potentially where and how they should be doing this. So she thought if she could unlock some of the data around the charitable contributions that we know of, she could offer insights to assist them. The other thing we did, which was very interesting, was we created a dataset that organizations could pull down if they want to, and mix it with your own data to self-regulate your own work.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 aug 2017
Rapid pace of innovation is the defining feature of the current era. According to the World Economic Forum, 'The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.' Financing industry now have innovative lending platforms, both for-profit and nonprofit, for small businesses. But there are concerns regarding many products as they may trap small businesses in a cycle of debt. Gina Harman, CEO (U.S. Network, Accion), explains the challenges that nonprofit lenders face due to rapid innovation happening in the industry and shares insights from the conversation between industry experts - Kate Mirkin (Salesforce.org, Salesforce's nonprofit social enterprise); Prashant Reddy (DemystData); Patrick Davis (CRF, Community Reinvestment Fund); Shaolee Sen (Accion). Myth 1 - The only barrier to scale is the absence of technology: Technology investments get wasted if there are no capable people to deploy it internally and manage the necessary changes in business processes. Challenges are even more when multiple organizations are involved in the project. Establishing and maintaining discipline is essential. Right technology with right data is required to maximize its utility. Myth 2 - For nonprofit organizations, passion to serve more people outweighs fear of change: Nonprofits must overcome lack of investment in talent, knowledge and resources required to drive technological innovation. Nonprofit organizations in business lending industry must consider change necessary to better serve their stakeholders. Collaborative approach to manage technological change must be adopted between the organization and the key stakeholders. Myth 3 - Only organizations with large technology budgets can innovate: Small investments in incremental improvements can add real value to organizations. Even effective data utilization can bring transformative changes at low cost. Within the social impact and mission-driven space, an approach with shared purpose and collective interests can help organizations collaborate and pool resources to implement and utilize costly technological innovations to provide value to the group. Read on...
3 Innovation Myths that Nonprofit Lenders Should Abandon
Author: Gina Harman
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2017
2017 'Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want', a study of 1003 online respondents commissioned by Campaign Monitor and conducted by Market Cube, finds that nonprofit email marketers are lagging behind peers, and the preferences of constituencies, in their ability to provide personalized, relevant messaging. 81% of consumers in the report want touches of personalization in emails they receive from nonprofits. In terms of relevancy of emails to supporters and potential supporters, nonprofits lag behind substantially with only 42% respondents stating that they regularly receive relevant emails. Andrea Wildt, chief marketing officer for Campaign Monitor, says, 'Email personalization can be based on either personal demographics or behavior - how an individual is interacting with an organization...personally relevant emails resonate better with recipients - building a trust that is sometimes hard to foster when recipients are bombarded with so many contacts from so many senders.' According to Ms. Wildt, 'Nonprofits struggle to provide personally relevant emails due to overall lack of ability to capture data and use that data to segment. Resources available to nonprofits are often far more modest than those of retailers.' Further complicating matters for nonprofits is the disparate ways various age groups interact with emailed material. Ms. Wildt suggests, 'Nonprofits must take a multi-pronged approach to marketing (using different tactics/strategies/technologies to target specific age groups)...They are just not quite as mature at leveraging some of the technology. There is so much noise that nonprofits really need help cutting through. The competition for donors' wallets is still fierce.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2017
Richard J. Weller, professor of landscape architecture at University of Pennsylvania, and team of academics have created an online project called 'Atlas for the End of the World', a collection of maps and graphics to help viewers see where and how urbanization is in conflict with biodiversity. According to Prof. Weller, 'We mapped that interface between urban growth and the world's most valuable diversity...That conflict is bloody, it's disastrous, it's happening all over the world.' The project is an answer to Ortelius's 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum' (Theatre of the World), printed in 1570 and thought to be the first modern atlas. Prof. Weller hopes that by 'mapping the intricacies of ecological conflict...architects, designers, and others can help create more ecologically sustainable relations between people and the planet.' Read on...
Data Activists Map the World's Ecological Conflict
Author: Cyndi Suarez
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jun 2017
Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a hardware competition for socially minded projects. The purpose is to create awareness that hardware engineers too play a role in social innovation. K. Keith Roe, President of ASME, says, 'Our research showed a tremendous lack of support for hardware innovators seeking to enter global markets and make a societal impact.' Paul Scott, ASME ISHOW Director, says, 'From South America to West Africa to Southeast Asia, there are many talented folks that are changing paradigms with their work.' Currently, ASME ISHOW is held in US, Kenya and India. This year's American competition will be held on 22 June 2017. According to ISHOW website (thisishardware.org), 10 American finalists alongwith their projects are - (1) Hahna Alexander (SmartBoots: Self-charging work boots that collect status and location data and provide workforces in hazardous environments with actionable insights); (2) Jonathan Cedar (BioLite HomeStove: An ultra-clean cookstove that reduces smoke emissions by 90% and biomass fuel consumption by 50% compared to traditional open fire cooking, while also co-generating electricity from the flame to charge mobile phones and lights); (3) Matthew Chun (RevX: A transfemoral rotator that restores dignity to low-income amputees by enabling them to sit cross legged, dress themselves, get back to work, and more); (4) Shivang Dave (QuickSee: PlenOptika developed the QuickSee to disrupt the barriers to eyeglass prescriptions for billions of people worldwide so that they can get the eyeglasses they need); (5) Alexandra Grigore (Simprints: With a novel fingerprinting system, Simprints aims to create a world where lack of identity is never the reason why anyone is denied basic services in healthcare, education and finance); (6) Mary McCulloch (Voz Box: Millions of people, right now, are nonverbal. Current devices are too expensive and uncustomizable. The Voz Box is an innovative speech generation device that has customizable sensors and is affordable); (7) Erica Schwarz (Kaleyedos Imaging Device (KID): A revolutionary infant retinal imager that will empower neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) worldwide to decrease the incidence of visual impairment and blindness due to infant retinal disease); (8) Kenji Tabery (VeggieNest: Smart home gardening systems, and aims to address the growing market need for access to organic, affordable, and nutritious produce that enable global consumers to be food secure); (9) Team Sixth Sense (Team Sixth Sense: We have designed a system of sensor to attach to lower-limb prosthetics that works with NeoSensory's current technology to provide realtime vibrotactile feedback); (10) Quang Truong (EV 8 Cooler: Evaptainers creates low-cost mobile refrigerators that run on water. These are perfect for low income families who live off grid or cannot afford a conventional refrigerator). Read on...
10 engineers will showcase hardware's role in social innovation
Author: Nia Dickens
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
As crowdfunding becomes a mainstream strategy for individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations, it becomes imperative to understand the industry trends that provide best fundraising results, and have potential to continue into the future. Christopher Moore, Marketing Mixologist at Floship, shares important trends shaping the industry and shows how to incorporate these ideas in crowdfunding campaigns - (1) Diverse Crowdfunding Platforms: Assess crowdfunding needs. Select the right platform to get specific target audience. Niche platforms are now available. (2) Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns: Many crowdfunding websites are specific to nonprofits. It's easier for nonprofits and charitable organizations to meet their fundraising goals through crowdfunding. The benefits include - Expanded social reach; High speed fundraising; Low-risk giving. (3) Fully Customizable Fundraising Experiences: Fundraising process is becoming more customizable. Campaigns could be specifically designed and promoted. Ways it is happening is - Brandable campaign pages; Fundraising model flexiblitiy; Variety of sharign options. (4) Crowdfunding Campaigns Paired with Events: Events add a real-world component to the online campaign. It boosts the fundraising potential. Following ideas can be used - Pick the perfect theme; Include a variety of fundraising activities; Simlify event registration. (5) Highly Visual Campaigns: To make an impact on online donors include videos, photos, graphics and to-the-point campaign story. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2017
According to the NASSCOM Foundation report, 'Catalysing Change Through CSR', about half of the IT and financial services companies (70) interviewed have spent more than 70% of their CSR in education and employable skills initiatives. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation, says, 'Education and employable skills are the key to most of India's social problems. An industry, which has grown solely by investing into knowledge and key skills, realises the difference a skilled knowledge society can make and therefore, a major chunk of the CSR funds has been dedicated to education and employable skills.' The report finds that companies are placing greater importance on monitoring outcomes by integrating technology. Among the roadblocks cited by most companies was identification, selection and due diligence on NGOs and the absence of robust tracking process. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2016
Conflicts and wars, apart from taking human lives, causing destruction and displacing ordinary people, also disturbs affected children's educational future and creates regional human resources imbalances. The ongoing Syrian Civil War has led to an estimated quarter-million young people getting deprived of college education. Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of UK and currently UN Special Envoy for Global Education, explains collaborative role of charities, philanthropists and nonprofit foundations to overcome educational deprivation of displaced students. He advocates the need of realizing the potential of social enterprises to fill the gaps in global education. He says, 'With 260 million children not in school worldwide, education needs more champions to match the enthusiasm of advocates in, say, the global-health and environmental movements. There is more room for innovation in education than in any other international-development sector, especially as digital technologies and the Internet become more accessible even in the world's poorest regions.' He shares how Catalyst Trust for Universal Education, an education focused social entperise founded by former New York University President John Sexton, is helping out in global education efforts. Catalyst Trust participates in PEER (Platform for Education in Emergencies Response) project intended to connect college-ready Syrian refugees with refugee-ready colleges. Explaining the future of PEER project, he comments, 'In time, PEER will serve as a conduit to higher education for displaced students worldwide, and it will cater to all education levels, by providing web-based information, points of contact, and much-needed counseling and support.' He advocates support to social startups like Catalyst Trust, that are working on various aspects of education globally. He encourages education reformers to learn from pioneering work of Sir Ronald Cohen on social-impact investing. He cites some specific pilot projects that individuals and organizations can support to make a difference in education - help refugee students in their education; human-rights education to determine how school curricula can best cultivate inter-faith understanding; help the two million students who are blind or visually impaired, and whose educational needs have long been neglected. With new technology, we can now leapfrog the 150-year-old braille system and instantly render text into audio recordings, making all types of learning materials accessible to the visually impaired. Mr. Brown concludes, 'For anyone who cares about education, our task is clear: to furnish millions of poor people, especially in the remotest parts of the world, with the innovations they need to transform and improve their lives through learning. As the Catalyst Trust intends to show, a little social enterprise goes a long way.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 aug 2016
Social media provides ease of connecting and sharing information with ones network and communities. Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising works towards bringing the supporters and their networks together for financial contributions. Social media can be an effective tool to reach donors and networks to fulfil nonprofit's fundraising goals. Following 8 strategies can be utilized to successfully implement social media into P2P fundraising campaign - (1) Optimize online components - Ensure that all fundraising pages are functional, user-friendly and mobile responsive; WHY: Strong online fundraising gives a positive signal to supporters. Social media is an extension of online fundraising. Having a strong online background is needed to support individual fundraisers that may lack technological expertise; WHAT: A clear, straightforward, and simple fundraising page. A platform that allows individual fundraisers to create their own giving pages. Active social media accounts. (2) Tell a cohesive, simple story - Telling a story about the recipients of your aid is the perfect way to engage with social media while reaching your donors; WHY: Compelling stories add value to your nonprofit. They connect people to people, generating an emotional response that can lead to action; WHAT: An individual or a community to focus your story. An interview with your chosen subject. An accompanying photo. A short, postable format. (3) Use a multimedia approach - Pictures, videos and sound, capture our attention. They offer the user a diverse, vivid experience, one that can connect supporters more directly to the cause; WHAT: High-quality content. A posting schedule. (4) Strategize for each platform - Nonprofits often post the same content to each site with little adjustment. For maximum effectiveness the approach should differ for each platform; WHY: Different social media platforms offer different opportunities for engagement, and likewise, different opportunities to reach your donors in meaningful ways; WHAT: Hashtags. Character-limit copy. The right language. Specific calls to action. (5) Post, share, tag, and like - Active social media presence gives positive signals. It also helps in tracking the online conversations regarding the campaign; WHY: Liking and sharing supporters' fundraising milestones and accomplishments shows supporters that you're engaged with their work and appreciate what they've done for your mission. Posting the campaign's success at regular intervals inspires individual fundraisers to keep working toward long-term goals; WHAT: A social media coordinator. Tracking tools. The rules of operation. (6) Set goals for your fundraisers - Set goals in a way inspires your supporters and anyone who stumbles upon your campaign; WHY: Clearly displayed goal will show the supporters the level of progress they have made and how much more is needed. Similarly, an individual goal establishes each individual fundraiser's role in the campaign. Setting clear goals is the only way for your supporters to meet your expectations; WHAT: Fundraising metrics. Fundraising thermometers. Integrate fundraising goals into user-friendly pages for clear communication at different stages. (7) Provide toolkits to supporters - Right materials and tools helps to keep message consistent and clear for supporters and their networks; WHY: Providing toolkits helps supporters create the most effective tasks. Provide templates to easily relay the message; WHAT: Suggested copy. Images. Suggested posting schedule. Background information. (8) Generate friendly competition - Needed to push the campaign reach its goal within time and even go beyond its goal; WHY: Competition inspires to work effectively with vigour. It's easy for family and friends to get caught up in the fun and donate more to see their own reach the goal and get on top; WHAT: Leaderboards. Badges. Recognition. Read on...
8 Social Media Strategies for Nonprofit Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Author: Abby Jarvis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2016
According to the latest report by PwC, 'Connecting the World: Ten Mechanisms for Global Inclusion', providing internet connectivity to the remaining 4.1 billion people and bringing them online would increase global economic output by US$ 6.7 trillion. It will lift 500 million people out of poverty over five years. The report says that affordability, rather than infrastructure and availability, is the main barrier to internet adoption in most areas. Therefore, the report suggests that improvement of existing technology or even simply installing existing technology in developing nations, will be sufficient to achieve the essential cost reduction. The report was prepared for Facebook, that itself advocates cost reduction through Internet.org project. Facebook's approach of limiting the low-cost access to a subsection of the web, giving access to select sites like Wikipedia and Facebook, termed as 'zero rating', has critics in 'net neutrality' advocates like Tim Berners-Lee, who says, 'I tend to say 'Just say no.' In the particular case of somebody who's offering...something which is branded internet, it's not internet, then you just say no.' On the other hand, Jonathan Tate of PwC argues, 'Facebook's approach is worth it in the long term. While zero rating provides access to a slimmer version of the internet than the full web, it's a crucial stepping stone to full access. The important thing here is to get things moving.' Efforts like Google's Project Loon and Facebook's Aquila, are geared to achieve total connectivity by creating 'disruptive technologies'. Read on...
Connecting everyone to internet 'would add $6.7tn to global economy'
Author: Alex Hern
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 may 2016
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the Web Foundation, is concerned about governments not providing open access to their data online. He says, 'The lack of free access to government data - or 'data poverty' - is contributing to widening inequality around the world...Inequality and poverty are about more than income. They are also about information.' Openly published data can help fight corruption and improve services for citizens. It can also be of value in understanding and fighting global warming and related issues like deforestation, floods, fall in crop yields etc. The study by the Web Foundation found that that more than half of the 92 countries it studies now have open data initiatives in place. Moreover, fewer than 10% of the datasets surveyed were open, and most of these are in the rich world, and almost non in African countries. Anne Jellema, CEO of the Web Foundation, says, 'Trying to use traditional data sources to tackle complex development challenges like climate change and hunger is like tunnelling through rock in the dark with a teaspoon. It takes ages and you may come out in the wrong place. Making development data open is vital for fast and accurate collaboration on the SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), and the urgency now is to move from promises to implementation.' Read on...
Sir Tim Berners-Lee - Data poverty is the next frontier of inequality
Author: Ben Rossi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2016
According to World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution has become the world's biggest environmental risk, linked to over 7 million deaths a year. A global team of scientists (Farid Touati, Claudio Legena, Alessio Galli, Damiano Crescini, Paolo Crescini, Adel Ben Mnaouer) from Canadian University Dubai, Qatar University, and the University of Brescia (Italy), have developed a technology, known as SENNO (Sensor Node), that enables high-efficiency air quality monitoring, to help promote a cleaner environment and reduce the health risks associated with poor atmospheric quality. The technology promises to make air quality monitoring cost-effective. The research paper, 'Environmentally Powered Multiparametric Wireless Sensor Node for Air Quality Diagnostic', was published in Sensors and Materials journal. Prof. Adel Ben Mnaouer of Canadian University Dubai (CUD), says, 'Sensor networks dedicated to atmospheric monitoring can provide an early warning of environmental hazards. However, remote systems need robust and reliable sensor nodes, which require high levels of power efficiency for autonomous, continuous and long-term use...Our technology harvests environmental energy...it optimises energy use by the sensory equipment, so as to function only for the time needed to achieve the operations of sensor warm-up, sampling, data processing and wireless data transmission, thereby creating an air quality monitoring system that measures pollutants in a sustainable and efficient way.' Read on...
The Gulf Today:
Dubai professor develops innovation to combat increasing air pollution
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jan 2016
Social entrepreneurship takes initiatives to solve world's complex social problems through creativity, innovation and passion. Education and healthcare are two areas that require huge amount of resources and efforts to improve quality and access. In a number of cases various government, non-government and private organizations have to pool their resources and efforts for better outcomes in education and healthcare. Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP Foundation (US-based Education Social Enterprise), and Jonathan Jackson, Co-founder and CEO of Dimagi (Technology and Healthcare Social Enterprise that operates globally), explain how their two organizations are finding common ground, pooling their expertise and resources, utilizing technology and collaborating to find solutions to uplift their communities. Through their experience the organizations have observed that education and healthcare are substantially connected to each other. They explain, 'Dimagi and KIPP learned that the same child struggling with poor health is often unable to access a good education. There's no single solution that will improve their quality of life, and we can't fully address one challenge at the expense of the other.' This prompted the organizations to invest in each other's areas of expertise. Dimagi is branching out into education, and KIPP is incorporating healthcare into its approach. Since their interactions and relationships with communities in which they operate are central to their work, therefore, their collaboration will play an important role in effective application of solutions. The collaborative and partnership model can be applied by social enterprises working in different areas to maximize their impact and save efforts and resources. Read on...
The Seventy Four:
Social Entrepreneurship - Connecting the Worlds of Education and Health Care
Authors: Richard Barth, Jonathan Jackson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2015
Nonprofits and charitable organizations need to evolve their processes, systems and strategies alongwith the technology-driven changes that are happening in businesses, governments and the world in general. Effective, efficient and timely fundraising and financing of projects is critical for the survival and success of nonprofits. According to the report 'The Business of Nonprofits: Amplify Your Fundraising Success With New Technologies and Proven Business Practices' by 121Giving.com, based on the survey of 450 nonprofit executives and program directors in the US that was conducted in July 2014, '54% of nonprofits raised less than 25% of an intended goal during their last online fundraiser. Additionally, more than 1/3rd of those surveyed describe their adoption of technology as "struggling" and 74% state that they collected less than US$ 5000 in valued goods from a donation drive.' The survey also found that fundraising, donor solicitation and financing of daily operations are challenges for many nonprofits. Moreover, the results of the survey indicate that most nonprofits still rely on traditional processes and outdated technologies that fail to deliver fundraising outcomes required to succeed in today's competitive digital-driven environment. Other main findings of the report are - 54% of nonprofits do not ask retailers for discounts on products; Only 2% of nonprofits raise money online to buy products in stores or online; 22% ask the community to donate products; 68% of nonprofits pursue grants to cover expenses for their programs; Only 7% of nonprofits use online crowdfunding tools to raise funds. Liz Deering, co-founder of 121Giving.com, says 'Nonprofits are wasting precious time, dollars and resources to raise funds and procure the products they need to run their operations.' The report points out that nonprofits are indeed making attempts to improve their operations through proven business practices (33% of nonprofit leaders upgraded hardware or software in 2014 to improve programs). The report also highlights the opportunities for nonprofits to reach their campaign goals through - Adopting latest business practices; Focusing on project-specific funding needs while seeking grants; Ask, negotiate and bargain like a business to obtain product discounts; Using data and analytics for measurement; Utilizing social media connected individuals and communities to publicize initiatives and programs; Investing in technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce labor intensity of core operations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2015
Value of data lies with how it can be utilized for better and improved decision-making and subsequent beneficial actions. Governments collect and hold substantial amount of valuable data on variety of parameters. Open data movement intends to give wider digital access to public data to increase government transparency, efficiency and accountability. A report by McKinsey Global Institute estimates global economic value of open data at US$ 3 trillion. Open Data Research Network, funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre and led by World Wide Web Foundation, is exploring the emerging impacts of open data in developing countries and how it can help address specific challenges. In Chennai (India) researchers found that existing municipal data on the urban poor is unreliable. Lack of data on the number and location of public toilets, hinder public sanitation investments to reach vulnerable communities. Local officials with the help of researchers significantly improved their procurement processes by creating and connecting different open databases. Another case study in India focused on the extractive energy sector, where no publicly available data has hindered regulatory enforcement in the production of coal, oil and natural gas. In Phillippines, researchers looked at how business, media, civil society and other groups benefit from national open data policy introduced in 2011 that required local governments to disclose financial and procurement related data on their websites. This project identified where local governments can be more accountable. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2015
According to the new research by Eduserv, 'Creating The Right Environment for Digital Transformation', most charities are aware of the importance of IT and digital transformation to improve the way they deliver services and engage with their volunteers. But there seems to be lack of clarity about how they will implement and accomplish this. Report observed three challenges that charity leaders are facing while driving digital transformation - (1) Strategy and Knowledge Gap: Many of those at the top of charities have yet to grasp that digital transformation is not about using technology or digital platforms to replicate existing activities but about fundamental transformation of the way charities go about doing their business. (2) Structure: Delivering on the needs of the digital-first charity requires different ways of organising and managing teams. Most charities are still relying on old structures and working relationships. IT and digital are failing to add value because they are seen as service providers and support functions rather than business partners. (3) Infrastructure: Charities are not only failing to put in place the right IT platforms but they are failing to invest in people with the right skills to support their digital future in their IT teams. To overcome these challenges, charities can do the following - (1) Embed digital capability at the top of organisation's leadership, so that digital is embedded at the heart of a charity's strategic thinking. (2) Build a digital-first culture throughout the charity. It is not realistic to expect digital and IT teams to drive change from the margins as support functions. Invest in IT and digital skills and tools. Read on...
Digital transformation - the pressing three priorities for charities
Authors: Chloe Green, John Simcock
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2015
In US charitable giving was about US$ 335 billion in 2013. Recently released '2014 Charitable Giving Report' by Blackbaud covers a sample size of US$ 16 billion in US-based giving. The report shows 2.1% increase in philanthropic giving in 2014 (Total Growth in US economy was 2.4%). The main highlight of the study was the rise in digital-based giving, which increased a total of 8.9% from the previous year. This points towards the digital future of fundraising. Moreover there is clear indication of use of digital strategies by smaller non-profits due to its lower costs as compared to traditional methods of fundraising like postal mail, phone calls etc. Todd Cohen, founder of Philanthropy North Carolina, provides insights on the importance of peer-to-peer fundraising in the digital age. Read on...
Fundraising Insights for Smaller and Mid-sized Nonprofits - From a Blackbaud Report
Author: Steve Boland
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 oct 2014
Wikipedia recently launched a project 'Wiki Zero' that advocates for free access to health and education materials in developing countries through mobile networks. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says that in developing economies lack of access to health and medical information results in large number of preventable deaths and cites the case of Ebola in Africa. He mentions that Wikipedia is currently the most viewed health resource online in the world. Wiki Zero has already been adopted by mobile service providers in China and India. Read on...
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales: 'Free Wiki could save thousands of lives'
Author: Oscar Williams-Grut
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 mar 2014
Access to timely and effective healthcare in developing countries, particularly in the remote and underpriviledged areas, is challenging with prevalence of smuggled and counterfeit drugs, the inefficient supply chains, insufficient resources and poor economic conditions. A panel of experts suggest ways to enhance global healthcare delivery: David Jamieson (Crown Agents, USA) - Multi-sector partnerships bring together unique qualities and boost project's capacities. Tamsin Chislett (Living Goods, Uganda) - Make logistics technology easy to use for consumers and healthcare workers. Andreas Seiter (World Bank, USA) - Create new drug payment systems that ensure against corruption. Simon Berry (ColaLife, Zambia) - Partnerships with governments should run down to the community level. Rose Reis (Center for Health Market Innovations, USA) - Emerging pharmacy chains lead to better, cheaper drugs; Don't overlook informal healthcare providers. Mandy Sugrue (mHealth Alliance, USA) - Work at the community level. George Jagoe (Medicines for Malaria Venture, Switzerland) - New technologies should be adapted to fit broader needs. Read on...
Healthcare logistics - delivering medicines to where they're needed most
Author: Anna Scott
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2014
Social media can be an effective tool to engage and involve audience towards the causes of NGOs and nonprofits. But there is more to it then just creating a profile and posting updates at any of the available social media platforms. One of the most important component is understanding the target audience and to focus all social strategy on them. Moreover social media can provide an opportunity to expand the existing user base that is developed by the website and other marketing channels. Article provides three step guide to better understand the audience - (1) Determine a Social Media Target Audience (2) Find Out How the Target Audience Uses Social Media (3) Do Some Internal Digging. Read on...
Non-Profits and Social Media: 3 Steps to Defining Your Audience
Author: Tulani Elisa
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 dec 2013
Healthy population is the essential component of development. In regions where substantial populations are residing in rural and remote areas, the challenge is to provide them with timely access of healthcare services and medicines. There are lessons that can be derived from retail supply chain management and processes to deliver medicines and health products effectively and efficiently. According to a report by CIHL (Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics) at the University of Arkansas, some of the best practices of retail supply chain that can be adopted by healthcare industry are - collaborative planning, forecasting & replenishment; scanning technology; education & training; centralized purchasing & supply; supply chain services reorganization; regular cycle counting and stock rotation; performance management; actual usage inventory management; e-commerce; data standardization. Read on...
Getting medicines to the poor - Solving the logistics challenge
Author: Eliza Anyangwe
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 nov 2013
Raspberry Pi, the cheapest computer in the market but without screen or keyboard, is finding success and diverse usage that wasn't anticipated by its creators. It was designed basically as an educational tool for children to learn computer programming. But with its versatility and customization ability, it has found multiple uses - Powering a small humanoid robot that can tell weather, manage diary and make coffee; The Instant Wild system with Pi cameras for recording animal behavior; Powering warehouse doors etc. Moreover Eben Upton, executive director of Raspberry Pi Foundation, and his team is focusing on developing software that will make the computer more accessible to children and for enhanced computer programming learning experience. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 nov 2013
Technology is used in education to facilitate and enhance learning and to equip students with 21st century skills. It is also used to expand education to reach remote, disadvantaged and underprivileged areas of the world. The experiment and efforts are underway in Kenyan schools where e-readers and tablets are being used to provide children with engaging digital content. The project named 'eLimu' was initiated by two Kenyan women, Nivi Mukherjee and Marie Githinji, and utilizes local content and curriculum with a focus on Kenyan youth. The education system in Africa is mired with multiple problems and UNESCO estimates 38% illiteracy ratings among adults and only an average 8-9 years spent in school. To overcome these issues a bigger strategy is required to educate and empower the African population and improve regional economies. Other technological efforts and projects in African education are - Worldreader; Read and Prosper; eKitabu. Read on...
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