ellohay! West Michigan

It’s so much, but the thing is… it feels right.

Posted in organization, physical presence, pilot, planning, programs, strategy, volunteers by forgr on March 8, 2009

As it turns out, the more work that I do behind the scenes, the less time I have to share cool stuff with the outside.

I always wanted to make sure that if I was involved with an organization, it would be a priority to keep things as transparent and honest as possible. And it’s not that I’m not being honest, I just can’t do everything that needs to get done all by myself.

Right now, I’m learning so much new stuff, and all at the same time to boot:

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Nonprofit administration
Building a board of directors
Fundraising
Mission-based for-profit ventures
Building a budget
Incorporation
The details of becoming a tax exempt nonprofit organization
Special needs education methods
Grant writing

Familiarizing myself with Ubuntu, Open Office, Picassa
Donor management systems
Commercial real estate jargon

And easily 100 other new, exciting, things.

Natasha, Tom, and I have been meeting weekly to get programs fleshed out, and get a plan for the months ahead hashed out, visiting potential workshop spaces.

I have my Friday afternoons (my new dedicated ellohay! West Michigan time) jam jacked with meetings, visits, tours and conversations.

It’s so much, and it’s everywhere, but the thing is, it feels right.

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Bringing it all together

Posted in earn-a-laptop, organization, planning, research, software, strategy, writing by forgr on January 4, 2009

In my professional life I keep everything organized in one place. One to do list, with subheadings, prioritized items, due dates, the works. At home I’m much less organized.

For this project, I’m organized in my head, but not on paper. I’m all over the place.

Let’s review the online tools list that I use:

For writing, I use: Twitter, WordPress.
For photos, I use: Flickr
For bookmarks, I use: Twitter, and the ‘links’ column in WordPress
For fundraising, I use: Fundable (success!), ChipIn (fail)
For Groups, I use: Google Groups (fail), LinkedIn (mixed success)
For video, I intend on using: YouTube

Now, a look at other on and offline tools for getting things done:

For newsletters, I intend of using: Constant Contact
For domain registration, I used: GoDaddy
For website hosting, I used: DreamHost
For email, I use: Gmail
For writing, I use: Microsoft Word
For Internet browsing, I use: Mozilla Firefox
For wire-framing and strategic documents, I use: OmniGraffle
For top of the head notes, with no paper on hand, I use: a little digital voice recorder

For getting ideas down on paper, literally:

Color-coded sticky notes
Black journal with graph paper pages
Graph Paper note pad
Giant sticky notes
Whatever happens to be lying around if/when I get an idea (receipts, empty spots on the back of brochures)

It’s so scattered right now. So, what I’m trying to do is figure out what works, and how I can quickly communicate things to the right people and in the right place. Blogging here works pretty well, but it doesn’t loan itself to versioning very well, and it’s difficult to write partial thoughts too.

BaseCamp or Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets may be the best option to keep all these things together.

picture-3 picture-4

I guess it’s time to just choose and get started. Aggregate, transcribe notes. Bringing it all together is going to be difficult, and take time, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that can understand my own notes.

On an unrelated note, we’ve got ourselves a P.O. Box, and a first draft of a budget.

What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?

Posted in strategy, tech support, volunteers by forgr on September 1, 2008

A month ago, I asked, “What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?”

Highlights from the community’s answers,

Renato Simoes Batista, System Analyst at Accenture writes:

Many reasons are possible, for example:
– Opportunity to learn or to be in contact with new technologies;
– Build a network connection;
– Feeling of social responsibility about helping others;
– Recognition of his work (in some level. e.g.: Publication of his name in the organization website, as a volunteer)

In the bottom line, the person needs to feel that it would be good for him to volunteer.
For example, the PMI’s Chapters have a lot of volunteers that just want to develop project management skills.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.

Thierry Charles, Finance Manager (NGOs)

Hi Marie Claire,

I have been having several experiences with tech volunteering in my NGOs, an auditor, water engineers, a cost killer consultant, a coach, bankers, a dbase programmer etc…
None of them wanted to do this for living

Basically their heart was the first motivating factor (as student they used to volunteer, or members of their family or friends do it)

They chose to help but did not want to do the usual business (answering the phone, meeting with people).

They chose to help with their skills
because it was simple efficient and with the best leverage (of their time)

Though, all missions were not a success.

Good points to have a successful experience are

– A mission with a clear begin and a clear end
– A light time table with a negociated dead end (lack of pressure)
– Large autonomy (they should be able to work home)
– Higher rate of success if they work on new projects
– One and only one correspondant within the NGO (with a backup)

Care about the reward
A presentation in front of the board or honor membership were surprisingly highly rewarding.
But this should only be speaken of at the end of the mission.

They in general are pride to work for you, but they tend to be modest.
They are recognized as a specialist within your organization, which gives them confidence (it is not always the case in their normal life)
They like to choose, do not hesitate to present various missions.
The first two meetings are important, If you do not feel the guy, stop.

In France a good experience is passerelles et competences (enclosed)

They offer mission from ngos and professionnals (in activity) propose their service
The split of their mission is the following
31% marketing
28% HR
19% finance law
14% IT
19% strategy organization

hope this helps

Links:

  • http://www.passerellesetcompetences.org
  • Naming, structure, goals, objectives and strategy

    Posted in organization, planning, strategy, writing by forgr on May 18, 2008

    I’ll be taking a break from posting about meetings and new concepts here for a bit to focus independently on naming, structure, goals, objectives and strategy.

    If I get a chance to post here, I will (I greatly value your comments and strong opinions).

    On another note, our Fundable drive is at 37%, if you’ve been meaning to contribute, but haven’t had a chance yet, the last day to meet our goal of $240 is exactly 7 days 1 hours 43 min. 40 sec. away. What can just $10 do for this project? Read here.

    Thank you, everyone, for your support, and I’ll talk to you soon when I emerge from writing.

    Marie-Claire Camp

    Digital Inclusion in Grand Rapids, MI Project
    (616) 446-3622
    forgr.wordpress.com
    groups.google.com/group/forgr