Here is How A Nonprofit Uses Transparency to Empower Its Supporters

Charity Water is a non-profit founded in September 2006, with mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in the developing nations.

In 2012 alone, Charity: Water raised $33 million with 100% of proceeds to fund water projects. By then, the total fund raised reach $93 million, funded 8,208 projects, and giving 3,223,000 people access to clean water. This kind of track record is very impressive, considering that they get to this milestone in less than 10 years!

When you think that there is more than 1.4 million nonprofits out there competing for resources, how could Charity Water get to a league of its own in a very short time?

For one, Charity Water runs the organization like a startup: innovative, efficient, and continue to reinvent. They embrace the power of technology and social media and use it to inspire and empower its supporters – from the get go.

What’s more?

Here is how transparency have empowered their supporters:

#1: It’s business Model is 100% donations go to projects

Any donors would love to see how their donations made a difference. So for a young organization that decided early on to embrace a business model where 100% of public donations goes directly to fund its water projects, transparency has to be at the core of their operational DNA.

By showing impact of supporters’ donations and sharing this information online, they gained the trust from people, especially those who may not be familiar with the organization and its mission at first.

Transparency breaks down barriers between an organization and its supporters to create openness that never before exist. 

Continue reading “Here is How A Nonprofit Uses Transparency to Empower Its Supporters”

How a One-Person Nonprofit Brings the Face and Voice of Homelessness to Mainstream

IP is a one-person nonprofit organization with mission to bring the voice and face of homelessness, founded in 2008 by Mark Horvath, who is a former homeless himself.

So how can a one-person nonprofit outfit fight homelessness and make a dent?

In this post, you’ll discover the three ways this nonprofit work the social media to communicate its message.

#1. Leverage the use of social media tools

Use social media because it’s free,” says Mark Horvath in one of the Invisible video clips. Since the launched of his organization, Mark Horvath and his Invisible People have leveraged the use of social media tools to bring stories of homelessness to the mainstream. The communication method works two-ways: with mainstream and with(in) the homeless community itself.

As a communication tool, social media is used to reach out multiple layers of stakeholders, including those who are homeless because they are also online. He says that if you are looking for a homeless person, Facebook is a good place to start.

A large portion of IP’s stories are video interviews with homeless individuals which then posted on its YouTube video-blog (vlog). In addition to YouTube, where videos originated (the hub), links from video clips are shared through their Facebook, Twitter, blog, and Google+ channels (spokes). If on YouTube channel you get to hear interviews, on its Flickr and Instagram accounts you get to see pictures of those interviewed.

So technically one (same) content can be seen multiple times via a variety of social networking sites because each site has different audience, followers, culture, and demographics.

Continue reading “How a One-Person Nonprofit Brings the Face and Voice of Homelessness to Mainstream”

Why The World’s Wildlife Conservation Network Use Blog to Connect with the World

Wildlife Direct

Wildlife Direct is an Internet, Kenya-based US registered conservation charity, founded in 2005 by African conservationist, Dr. Richard Leakey.

It was founded with the goal to connect directly those who care about wildlife with those who work in the frontlines through ‘blogging’ portal, where conservationists can use their blogging platform (hosted on their site) to blog stories on wildlife conditions in remote areas of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Using blogs enable individual donors, supporters from around the world to participate and communicate directly with the bloggers working on conservation projects they are funding and build trust.

Wildlife Direct has grown from hosting a modest twenty blogs in 2006 – to becoming the largest online community of African wildlife conservationists.  I started doing research for the original piece of this post in early 2012, then it hosted approximately 80 blogs on its platform. Today, WD hosts over 100 blogs (although some are currently non-active) written by conservationists working remotely from Africa – East, Central and West Africa – and as far away as Asia and South America. Furthermore, on site blogs are interlinked to a point where readers can click to search other blogs of interest based on region or species.

Even though, Wildlife Direct has integrated the use of blogging with social media tools – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube – blogging is still the area where they shine. It is still the preferred story-telling tool use by the majority of conservationists working from the frontlines.

The blogging platform allows bloggers to customize content that tell stories about endangered species projects they are preserving using a combination of text, video clips and pictures. Their stories give donors the assurance for transparency, accountability, and work progress – so that they can continue funding those conservation missions, programs, etc.

Continue reading “Why The World’s Wildlife Conservation Network Use Blog to Connect with the World”

The Long Tail of a Tweet

  1. birds talking
    I went to interview Danielle Brigida (@starfocus), the Social Media Manager over at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), a few weeks ago. Danielle and I go way back. We hadn’t really see each other for years up until that meeting. But we connected via Twitter. So after the meeting, we continued conversing – online. Found out later that she’s retweeted (RT) my tweet.

    This is how the tweet started spinning.
  2. Share
    RT @ecotwist How #Content Is Shared: Close Friends, Not ‘Influencers’ #mktg #strategy
    Wed, Mar 14 2012 23:00:40
  3. 11 days in hiatus

    The first time around the tweet was short-lived. Nothing is shaking until two tweeps picked up on it later, after it had been off-air for 11 days. The date: March 25.
  4. Share
    How #Content Is Shared: Close Friends, Not ‘Influencers’ via @adage @ecotwist @starfocus
    Sun, Mar 25 2012 11:31:04
  5. The tweet from Sean Gardner to his followers (he’s got some 300k followers) extends its presence on the space. (Sean and I hadn’t cross-path online till this time).
  6. Share
    How #Content Is Shared: Close Friends, Not ‘Influencers’ /via @adage @ecotwist @starfocus
    Sun, Mar 25 2012 11:24:49
  7. Expiration date, extended

    From that point, the tweet got RT’d three times, according to Hootsuite’s data. This was very unusual. In my metrics, my tweets don’t really get much RT’d. If they get once or twice show time, that is consider good.
  8. Share
    How Content Is Shared: Close Friends, Not ‘Influencers’ via @adage @ecotwist @starfocus @2morrowknight
    Sun, Mar 25 2012 14:38:35
  9. RT again. Another influencer, Ann Tran (@AnnTran_) with 290k followers, picked it up.
  10. Share
    How #Content Is Shared: Close Friends, Not ‘Influencers’ via @adage @ecotwist @starfocus @2MorrowKnight
    Mon, Mar 26 2012 12:05:35
  11. RT. RT. And more RTs. From here, it’s sort of taking off. The lineup of tweeps, who help to give more life to the content, include: @Paul_Brinkman, @Qforma_Jenn, @ifficiency, @DJFrankieee, @FlowerBlossoms, and tweeps from as far as Singapore @saintinc, India @DrSampyRoy and Spain @loretobgude. Thank you all!


    In between the movement of tweets in the space, conversation that takes place ‘inside’ Sean Gardner’s community morphed into a networking.
    Meet @2morrowknight aka Sean Gardner.
  12. Share
    @ecotwist YW! Because you’re here in DC, check out @Cheryl_Aguilar @alexpriest @AnnTran_ @MomsofAmerica @ergeekgoddess @Gracenote #TheyRock!
    Mon, Mar 26 2012 22:26:37
  13. Share
    @2morrowknight TY for the #Into Sean! Nice to meet you @ecotwist @cheryl_aguilar @alexpriest cc: @AnnTran_ @ergeekgoddess @gracenote
    Mon, Mar 26 2012 22:47:01
  14. Share
    #DC Rocks! @ergeekgoddess @2morrowknight @ecotwist @cheryl_aguilar @AnnTran_ @gracenote @MomsofAmerica
    Mon, Mar 26 2012 22:58:33
  15. Share
    @2morrowknight @ecotwist @cheryl_aguilar @alexpriest @anntran_ @momsofamerica @gracenote if that’s not a #PowerTweetUp-I don’t know what is!
    Mon, Mar 26 2012 22:29:50

    Calling for a DC tweetup!

    Now someone is calling for a meetup.
  16. Share
    Calling for a DC tweetup! Who’s #in ? @nicolascpa @2morrowknight @ecotwist @cheryl_aguilar @AnnTran_ @gracenote @MomsofAmerica
    Mon, Mar 26 2012 23:26:24
  17. Everyone is in for a tweetup. Up next: in person meetup. First we’re connected online. Then we’ll have the chance to meet in person. How cool is that?
    What you see here is just a snapshot of the long tail process, that bring us back to the gist of the story (we) retweeted.

    “Our data show that online sharing, even at viral scale, takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers. While influential people may be able to reach a wide audience, their impact is short-lived. Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinarily people sharing with their friends.”

    This tweet is a proof to the study above. You’ll never know who’s going to spread your content around the web – the next time around. In this world that knows no borders, we are all connected.

Help Kopernik Get More Innovative Technologies to People in Need

Guest post by: Cindy Nawilis

Chase Community Giving is giving away $3 million in grants to 100 small, local charities and Kopernik – an NGO in the Social Good Startup, that distributes technologies like solar lamps and clean, efficient cookstoves to poor last mile communities – needs your help to win.

All you need to do is vote via Facebook.

Voting is easy, just follow these steps:

1. Go to and “Like” the Chase Community Giving App on the top left of your page.

2. Click the green “Vote and share” button for your vote to count towards Kopernik.

3. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

The voting window lasts only until November 22, and Kopernik needs you to take action to make a difference.

So what are you waiting for, go ahead and vote!

Cindy Nawilis

Cindy Nawilis is Project Officer of Kopernik, an on-line marketplace of innovative, life-changing technologies designed for the developing world. Check out what they do and the technologies they offer at

Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group

Second in the series of Startups for Good Challenge

Em{Power} Energy Group, was one of the eight finalists to Startups for Good Challenge, hosted by the good guys of Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation.

In this interview I talked with Ryan Integlia and Nasir Uddin, who are Executive Director and Vice President of the organization, respectively. We talked about the business they are in and challenges facing such organization.

Em[Power] Energy is in the business of helping landfill communities, people who are living close or near landfills – around the world.

Their mission is to “revitalize waste scavenging communities throughout the world using a modular and scalable cooperative development based on renewable resources.” In layman’s term, they will help these communities to improve their living conditions by converting organic waste and waste water into electricity, compost and have them take charge of the business – once all said and done.

Unless you come from developing world, you probably not accustomed to see people living near, at or very close to the big dumpster. We don’t see them around here anymore. But, in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, Indonesia, India – they are coexist – with today’s modern world.

Continue reading “Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group”

9 Benefits Provided by Forests


Thailand is not the only country in the world losing forestsDeforestation is also happening in our backyard. The real estate booming back in the day is to blame.

According to a recent map released by World Resources Institute, the top 10 Counties Losing Forest to Development in the US South. These counties “converted approximately123,000 acres of forest to development over 5 years.”

The 10 counties that are mostly located in the South, are prone to drought and putting forest at risk: Harris (Houston), Gwinnett (Atlanta), Fulton (Atlanta), Wake (Raleigh), Montgomery (Houston), Meckleburg (Charlotte), Bexar (San Antonio), Duval (Jacksonville), Jefferson (Birmingham), Cobb (Atlanta).

Forests provide so many benefits to humanity.

Just to revisit some of the benefits provided by forests, here are the 9 benefits, via CBD: 

1. Forests provide food and a vast array of materials for medicinal, cultural and spiritual purposes, as well as building materials and firewood.

2. They store and purify drinking water.

3. Protect watershed.

4. Mitigate natural disasters.

5. Control erosion.

Continue reading “9 Benefits Provided by Forests”

This Is Your Life

Is this how things work? Wanted to do something but ended up doing something else. Like watching this video. It wasn’t on my list at all. I was looking for a music video that I downloaded in my computer, when I saw this. It’s been a while, forgot about this – at all. 

You know how signs can come from everywhere. Maybe, this is a sign, a reminder – for the recipient to stay on track.

So if you need a pick-up, have a look on this. (only 2 mins long). It’ll inspire you.


        Live Your Passion

        Live Your Purpose

        Live Your Dreams


Social Good Startup: Kopernik

kopernik dlight solar lanternKopernik is one of the 8 finalists to Startups Good Challenge that was held about a month ago, sponsored by the good guys at Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation. I tried to reach out to all of the finalists, however, only 5 responded – with one left the event early, before I had the chance to interview the founder.

The criteria:

“Startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world will compete for a chance to present at the Social Good Summit and win a $10,000 cash prize for their company.”

So this is the first social good organizations out of four (that I was able to have conversations with) that will be featured here. The lineup: Kopernik, Empower Energy, Simple Energy and the winner of this competition – a 19-yo kid, Sun Saluter.

In this interview, I talked with Toshi Nakamura, the co-founder of Kopernik, a social enterprise who’s also a member of Clinton Global Initiative. Toshi and I shares one thing in common: Indonesia. Oh well, his organization is based in Indonesia, and I was lifted from there. That’s about it.

The problem that they’re trying to solve is in the distribution of life-changing technology to the last mile in the developing country (read: the poorest). Think of this business as the online store for innovative technologies, i.e. technology like what you see from the picture above showing d.light lantern, which is one of the products available from their store.

Continue reading “Social Good Startup: Kopernik”

Why Upskilling is Key to Staying Employable

why skilling up is key to employableWhat is it about the world that makes it more challenging to find work? I know at least a couple of friends who are educated and still looking for jobs.

Technology has lowered the barriers for people to learn. For example, ever since English become one of the official languages use on the Internet, teenagers in Indonesia these days speak better English than when I was their age!

So now because of technology and access to Internet, competition for the same kind of jobs can come from anywhere in the world.

A robot can even replace you, the worker. This is already happening (as we speak)., uses robots (not people!) to move things around. How about that?

It’s either another person or robot or machine. Whatever. You’ve got competition! This competition leave us with few choices: either reinvent, redefine – or toast.

How do you stay employable?

Well, I’ve got news for you. You can. Here is what you want to do: skillup and keep on learning – for as long as you able to work – for life! Because a college degree alone won’t be enough to keep you employable. You want to keep moving forward and continue to reinvent and redefine your career.


1. The future lies on your (continued) education

The  US Congress on Joint Economic Committee, recently did a study “Nowhere to Go” to see the impact of Free Trade to US workers. The study finds that older workers and those without a college education – are at risk (of losing jobs). That being said, jobs are hard to come by for those without college degree. “Since most of the jobs expected to be created are in sectors that require education beyond high school.”

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 11.9 million jobs between now and 2018 will be in professionals category, where 65% of employees have a four-year degree.

chart shows how jobs growth needs higher education Continue reading “Why Upskilling is Key to Staying Employable”