Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Five Resources for Nonprofit Volunteer Programs

Nancy White tagged me to participate in an interesting meme.

"What five resources - online or otherwise - would you point people to, if you wanted to give them an entry into your field of expertise?"

One of the aspects of the nonprofit consulting that I do is to help nonprofits to set up volunteer programs. Here are five resources I would recommend to someone who wanted to become a Manager Volunteers for a nonprofit:

Cypbervpm list serv An international discussion group for volunteer managers.

Jayne Cravens * Coyote Communications and Jayne's Blog. If you have a question about nonprofit volunteer management, Jayne has probably covered it on her site or blog. She helped to set up the United Nations Online Volunteering Program.

Service Leade
r ServiceLeader.org is a project of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas at Austin. It has tons of information about volunteering. I particularly like its virtual volunteering section.

VolunteerMatch If you only have time to list your volunteer opportunities in one place, list them here. I guarantee you will get takers.

Campus Compact Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 950 college and university presidents - representing some 5 million students - dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education. It is a great starting point for information about service learning and to find out what colleges and universities in your area have service learning programs. I love placing college students in service learning positions. It is a win-win situation all around.

Service learning is different than just volunteering (where the student is giving something to the client) or interning (where the organization is in many ways giving something (experience, resume item) to the student. Service learning is really a partnership between the student, the organization and the professor.

Here is a definition from the Campus Compact site:

Service-learning is a teaching method which combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. Service-learning programs involve students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, and commitment to the community

I hope that is helpful and now I would like to tag three women bloggers with three very different careers:

Abby to list 5 resources for becoming a school garden educator.

Jory to list 5 resources for being a freelance writer.

And Nedra Weinreich to list 5 resources for becoming a social marketer.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

REALLY Hot Women

While surfing for some more BlogHers to add to the Nonprofit and NGO BlogHer blogroll, I came across the REAL hot 100: See How Hot Smart Can Be.

The REAL hot 100 is a list featuring young women from around the country who are breaking barriers, fighting stereotypes, and making a difference in their communities or the nation.

The REAL hot 100 will compile a list of young women who are REALLY hot, and publish it, in magazine format, timed to coincide with Maxim’s release next year. Anyone can nominate a young woman who is REALLY hot, and The REAL hot 100 selection committee will choose 100 women that best represent the intelligence, drive and diversity of young women in the U.S.

Here are a few profiles of REALLY hot women :

Rachel Burton, 31, Pittsboro, NC:
What makes her REALLY hot? Rachel can teach you how to make biodiesel, how to convert your car to run on straight vegetable oil, and how to fix your car too. Rachel is a mechanic, former union organizer, belly dancer, and was one of the co-founders of the Chapel Hill chapter of Food Not Bombs. She has also taught automotive technology, and sustainable building and agriculture and has traveled to agricultural conferences and led workshops on cob/bale building.

Yas(min) Ahmed, 25, Chicago, IL
What makes her REALLY hot? Yas is the Director of Sisters Empowering Sisters (the girls program of Girl’s Best Friend Foundation). Yas defines her role in Sisters Empowering Sisters (SES) as adult ally to the dozen Sisters (ages 14-18) who’ve joined the program to make feminist social change, as grantmakers and as youth leaders. One of the projects she helped create was an investigation of the impact of images of women in popular music videos on young women and young men. Their findings are captured in a video they made last year with Beyondmedia Education, Respect Me, Don’t Media Me

Anne Elizabeth Moore, 35, Chicago, IL
What makes her REALLY hot? Anne publishes the independent magazine Punk Planet and also wrote a book called Hey Kidz, Buy This Book: A Radical Primer on Corporate and Governmental Propaganda and Artistic Activism for Short People (Soft Skull Press, 2004) and another called Stop Reading This: A Manifesto for Radical Literacy (Seattle Research Institute, 2004).

I think we all know a REALLY hot woman we can nominate

One Way to Create a Podcast

A while ago I posted an entry about how to Start Your Basic Blog. I don't have as much experience with podcasting considering I just put my first one up this week, but I thought I would share how I did it for anyone who was interested in producing their own.

Because of my husband's work, I had access to professional sound equipment: A Marantz PMD 660 Solid State Digital Recorder, (another professional option is an M-audio recorder), a dynamic microphone, Electro-Voice 635A, and a cable to connect the microphone to the computer.

One of the podcasters at NetSquared, where I work, uses the Olympus DM-20 digital recorder, which isn't cheap, but is more affordable than the options above, and I think it comes with a microphone.

After I did the interview, I was able to connect the recorder to the computer via USB and download the interview (which I recorded as an MP3 at 44.1K) into my iTunes. I edited the interview in GarageBand and exported it back into my iTunes. I converted the file back into an mp3 in iTunes (Garageband exports it as an AIFF file into iTunes) and uploaded it to Gcast. I chose Gcast because you can easily embed your podcast into your blog or webpage. This seemed like the most accessible option. I know that many people don't know how to subscribe using RSS feeds and/or don't have an mp3 player.

Audacity is another free software option you can use to edit podcasts.

When I wrote a similar post to this one on on Blogher, a reader wisely commented:
That's an awful lot of audio transcoding going on (at the very least, MP3 to uncompressed for editing, back to MP3) which will introduce a loss of quality. Since you're using the PMD 660, why not record uncompressed (as WAV, for example) and edit that? Then there's less transcoding going on.

Remember, MP3 is lost compression - when you uncompress (for editing) you lose stuff.

The final step that I need to do is to register it with podcast directories like Yahoo, Podcast Alley and Podcast.net. Gcast automatically submits it to the iTunes Music store.

I hope that helps aspiring podcasters. If I can do it, you can too!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Green Emergency Shelter

My pops is on fire this week. Check out these cool emergency shelters being created by Cal-Earth. They're called Superadobes and they're made out of sandbags and barbed-wire, materials that would be available during a war.

Thanks for another great lead, Dad!

Social Capitalist Awards

Big thanks to my dad for sending me a New York Times article about social enterprise that mentions Fast Company's 2006 Social Capitalist Awards.

Here are the 25 winners (I was going to include links to all the orgs, but something is wonky with Blogger today and it was taking FOREVER to create the links. If you click on the Fast Company article, they have links to all the orgs.).

ACCION International
BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)
Citizen Schools
City Year
College Summit Inc.
First Book
Grameen Foundation USA
Heifer International
Housing Partnership Network
New Community Corp.
New Leaders for New Schools
Pioneer Human Services
Raising a Reader
Room to Read
Rubicon Programs Inc.
Teach for America
Transfair USA
Working Today--Freelancers Union

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Farm to School Programs

I was listening to the Bioneers podcast this weekend and particularly enjoyed a talk by Michael Shuman called Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities. He wrote a book by the same title. It was super interesting and I would definitely like to read the book.

One of the ideas he mentioned was farm to school programs that connect local farms with schools so that the students can have healthier meals. I had heard about this idea, but never realized that there was a National Farm to School Network. The Community Food Security Coalition and Foodroots.org also have a lot of good information about farm to school programs.

Seems like a win-win social entrepreneurship situation. Better food for young people and more business for local farms.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The First Big Vision Podcast

I am VERY excited to announce the launch of my new podcast, The Big Vision podcast.

My first interview is with an old friend, Alli Chagi-Starr. Alli is an arts activist who is presently the Cultural Arts Director for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights’ Reclaim the Future Program. Alli is also the co-founder of Art and Revolution, and founder of Art in Action, Dancers without Borders and the Radical Performance Fest.

Alli talks about her work at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Art in Action, the roads that have led her to being an arts activist, how to keep going when times are tough, and what everyone can do to be an activist.

Big thanks to Corey at the 501c3Cast for his inspiring programming, to Kenya Masala for letting me use his music at the beginning and end of the program, and of course, to my husband for showing me how to use all this crazy equipment and believing in my accidental techie skills.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What We Focus on Increases

I recently pulled out The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change by Diana Whitney & Amanda Trosten-Bloom. I also came across this nice little piece about appreciative inquiry online.

The one anecdote that has stayed with me from when I first read the book, is how well appreciative inquiry works with young people who are failing school. In one study they sited, a three-week long summer camp was created at Shaw High School in Cleveland. 31 students attended. They all had to have failed the proficiency exam three times, have teachers who believed that they would never go to college and they had to choose to participate in the program.

During the camp, the students interviewed teachers, administrators, parents and other people who were academically successful. They asked them about how they studied and learned, what college was like and what jobs were open to them with a college education. After they completed their interviews, the students made presentations to the other people in the program and taught each other about what they had learned.

Of the 31 students who participated, 28 passed the proficiency exam at the end of the program.

It seems so obvious that people would be motivated by a positive goal (what life could be like with a college degree) rather than by a negative goal (if you study, you won't be punished and you won't fail).

We are always trying to convince someone to do something whether it is at work, at home, with family or friends, big things or small things, and most of all we are often trying to motivate ourselves. So I guess the trick when motivating yourself, or someone else, is to focus on the positive results of the change, like, if you stop smoking you'll be able to go hiking for longer without feeling tired, your skin will look better, your teeth will be whiter and you'll be able to see your grandchildren grow up, rather than, if you stop smoking, you won't get cancer.

We need to hold an image of what the best possible future looks like, and spend our time, like the young people in the study, learning everything about the circumstances that caused it, so that we are inspired by the possibility of joy, rather than the avoidance of sorrow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sharing Nonprofit & NGO Tech Stories

I heart Net2

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm the Community Builder for NetSquared, a project of Tech Soup that is helping to bring the social web to nonprofits & NGOs by sharing stories and building tools.

One of the things we're doing is asking nonprofits and NGOs to share their success stories and challenges about their use (or difficulty using) emerging technology like blogs, podcasts, wikis, RSS feeds, aggregation, social bookmarking, social networking, tagging, content management and cell phones/SMS.

If you know a nonprofit or NGO that is using any of these technologies, or is struggling to use them, encourage them to share their stories on our Community Blog, Net2 in Action success gallery or Net2 Ask challenges forum by sending them one of these pre-fab invitations to participate.

Also, if you live in the Bay Area, Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart, and nonprofit blogger, Seth Mazow, from Interplast will be speaking at NetSquared's monthly meetup, Net Tuesday tonight, February 15th. Last month 80+ folks showed up so come on over and join the fun. It's at Varnish Art and Wine Bar @ 77 Natoma in SF from 6-8 PM. I'm usually at the front desk when you come in so say hi!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Photos for Social Change

Beth Kanter posted an incredible photo today on blogher and netsquared (click on one of them to see it) taken from the camera_rwanda blog. Camera_Rwanda is using photography to raise awareness and money to send Rwandan orphans to college. You must visit this blog and see the photos.

The photo above is from another beautiful photo blog called, Lives in Focus. They don't post often, but when they do, it is worth the wait. The photos are incredible. Right now they are documenting India's HIV positive population:

Using audio recorders, photographs and video, we plan to document the lives of families struggling to buy ARV drugs to keep a family member healthy; the challenges that stigmatized AIDS patients face in trying to earn enough money to buy the lifesaving treatment; activists desperately searching for new sources of inexpensive ARV drugs or lobbying the Indian government to grant compulsory licenses to continue producing cheap drugs.

Technorati tags:

Friday, February 10, 2006

St. Wanda’s Day is February 13th

I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day (yes, I know, I’m not a big fan of Christmas either). If you’re single and don’t have someone to celebrate with, you’re bummin’ and spending a fortune on the 6 season Sex in the City DVD. If you’re in a relationship, but not married, Valentine’s Day is like some kind of litmus test for how your relationship is going. How meaningful is the card? How romantic is the dinner? Will he/she say the L word, or M word? And if you’re married, it’s easy to say, “Oh, we don’t need to celebrate, every day is Valentine’s Day with you,” or “I’m busy that night, howabout we do Valentine’s next week?”

So, on February 13, 1995 I created St. Wanda’s Day. Basically, it’s a day to do a little something nice for yourself so that when Valentine’s rolls around, and its not the incredibly romantic, meaningful, love-filled day that we know it can’t be, but secretly hope it will be, we don’t feel so badly, ‘cause we had a kick-ass time the day before.

So do a little something special for yourself on the 13th, or send your pal who is having the pre-Valentine’s Day blues a St. Wanda’s Day card and have fun!

Technorati tags:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Do Good Film Company

While working on a post for blogher this morning, I came across information about a do good film company that I wanted to share. Nedra Kline Weinrich's social marketing blog, Spare Change, has all kinds of interesting links, including one to Participate.net, the complementary action campaign and community building site for the film company, Participant Productions. Participant Productions was started by former eBay President, Jeff Skoll, who also started the Skoll Foundation (The Skoll Foundation helped to produce that PBS series I love so much, The New Heroes). All of the films that Participant Productions produces have a social action campaign component. Check out some of the great films they've produced:

Good Night, and Good Luck
North Country

I have to admit that I'm a bit behind on my movies, but all of the above are on my "to see" list, and now that I know about the mission behind Participant Films I'm even more inclined to make sure I see as many as possible in the theater, rather than wait for DVD, to support them.

It looks like they've got some good ones coming down the pike, too. I'm particularly interested in seeing Fast Food Nation and Luna when they come out.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Soup for the Super Bowl

My parents aren't exactly what I would call sport enthusiasts, which is why I was surprised when they said that they were going to a Superbowl party. Turns out it is a benefit for the Food Depot, Northern New Mexico's food bank, called Souper Bowl XII . Some of the best restaurants in Santa Fe cook up their tastiest soups for a soup cook-off and competition. All of the proceeds from the event go to the Food Depot.


If you want to make soup on Super Bowl Sunday, here is one of my favorite soup recipes from a cookbook I use all the time, Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons by Nava Atlas.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Greens
6 Servings

2 T canola oil or soy margarine
1 c chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 c water
1.5 c red lentils, rinsed (I use brown lentils)
2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (I use yams)
1 t grated fresh ginger
2 t good quality curry powder or garam masala, more or less to taste
1/2 t ground coriander
1/4 t each cinnamon and nutmeg
1 6-oz. bunch Swiss chard, escarole or mustard greens
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Heat the oil or margarine in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the water, lentils, sweet potatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, until the lentils are mushy and the potatoes are done, about 20 to 25 minutes.

In the meantime, wash the greens, remove their thick mid-ribs, then slice them into narrow shreds about 2 inches long. Stir into the soup along with the lime juice. If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with a small amount of water.

Continue to simmer gently until the greens are just done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve at once, or let the soup stand for an hour or two, then heat through as needed.


When I was teaching young people for Streetside Stories, I worked in the classroom of this incredible teacher, Ms. Williams. Many of the public schools Streetside works in serve young people who are struggling academically, financially and behaviorally. When visiting these schools I would often notice that many of the staff had low expectations of the students, but not Ms. Williams, she always kept her expectations high. If a student was late for class or forgot their pencil, they were not allowed into class. You could hear her firmly and quietly telling the student at the door,

"Do you think when you get a job that they're going to let you keep that job if you're late or forget the things you need to bring to work? Come back tomorrow when you are on time and prepared."

I think she had been teaching for about 30 years. When I asked her how she had been teaching for so long without getting burned out she said,

"If an adult does me wrong, it takes me a long time to forgive them, but if a child misbehaves in my class or doesn't do well academically one day, I give them a clean slate the next day.

Children are like seeds. Some of them you'll see come up in the fall, some in the spring and some you'll never get to see come up at all. Your fulfillment has to come from planting them."

We planted a Ribes sanguineum in our front yard last May. I had just finished a Gardening with Native Plants class and was excited to plant some native plants in our garden, especially a Ribes sanguineum. I love hummingbirds and hummingbirds love Ribes sanguineum.

I took the photo in this blog post of a hummingbird in a Ribes sanguineum. See the whirr of wings towards the top?

Anyhow, we planted the Ribes and waited (they don't bloom until February or March). It grew, a little, and then started to get this brown stuff all over its leaves

I tried picking them off, but they just kept coming back brown.

A couple of months ago it looked so bad I told my friend Abby from Urban Sprouts that I thought it was dying and was going to pull it out.

"You haven't even had it for a year," she said, "Give it some time."

So I left it and then this week the most amazing thing happened, it started to bloom!

I'm so excited.

You just never know when or how the seeds you plant will grow.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Four Things

I've never played a blog game before, but Beth Kanter tagged me to play, so here it goes.

I don't know if I'm supposed to do this, but I changed the questions up for fun

4 Movies I Watch Over and Over
LA Story
Philadelphia Story
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Creature Comforts

4 TV Shows I Love
The Daily Show
Grey's Anatomy
Columbo reruns from the 70s (nothing later!)

4 Songs I Listen to Over and Over
An Ending by Brian Eno
Today Has Been Okay by Emiliana Torrini
La Cucaracha by Lila Downs
Contra la Corriente by Marc Anthony

4 Guilty Pleasure Blogs I Read
A Socialite's Life
Pink is the New Blog
Cupcakes Take the Cake
Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit

4 People Bloggers I'm Tagging
Vale of Evening Fog
The Giving Blog