ellohay! West Michigan

Geek-a-thon, August 15, 2009

Posted in events, good news, laptops, pilot, sponsors, volunteers by forgr on August 2, 2009

First off, the ellohay! West Michigan team invites you to read our new blog, at http://www.ellohay.org. We’ve been posting there lately, so if you’ve missed us here, check us out there!

So the next order of business—

August 15, 2009, Geek-a-thon, 6pm at the Brassworks Building, 648 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The Geek-a-thon is ellohay! West Michigan’s first annual install-fest. This evening event that will bring geeks from all over the area together to help prepare 100 computers to be given away, free of charge, to at-risk and impoverished high school students in Grand Rapids, MI.

We are expecting approximately 100 guests for an evening of games, robotics demonstrations, food and drinks.

Poster for the event:
8.5 x 11 ellohay! West Michigan Geek-a-thon poster

Guests and vendors include, Geek-Aid West Michigan, MadCap Coffee, Astronomer Rickey Ainsworth from the Grand Rapids Public Museum Planetarium, the Lego Mindstorm Robotic youth group presenting their Robo-Sumo match, Intelligent Interactive Technology from Jason Sosa’s Immersive Labs, Comprenew Environmental eWaste truck, and more

We are working directly with Geek-Aid of West Michigan, who is holding their Geek-Aid 2009 concert the same day in Riverside Park to raise awareness of youth poverty and digital exclusion in West Michigan.

We need the geeks and nerds of West Michigan to come together and volunteer a few hours of their time to a great cause that will help stimulate job growth, foster community, increase school participation, fight poverty and digital exclusion, and create new jobs!

For more details, visit our facebook event page, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=57803959897

Map to the Brassworks building:

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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:

dscn0100

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.

ellohay! West Michigan officially has volunteers

Posted in support, tech support, to-do list, volunteers by forgr on January 25, 2009

I’d like to welcome Tom and Natasha to the ellohay! West Michigan team. They have both been giving oodles of time towards our growing to-do lists, helping with organization and providing a multitude of ideas and improvements.

It’s really great to see this project grow, to see people believe in it right along with me, and to know that it can and will advance, get better, get stronger.

This has the potential to be an extraordinary thing, thank you for working to make it happen.

If you have a little time and want to volunteer too, here are three ways to take the next step. Email me, Marie-Claire Camp, call me (616) 446-3622 and we can talk about what you might be interested in doing, or write a note to ellohay! West Michigan P.O. Box 1994 Grand Rapids, MI 49501.

Thanks for being awesome guys.

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
  • A Conversation with Dan Balfour

    Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Dan Balfour, professor in the School of Public and Nonprofit Administration and a faculty fellow of the Honors College at Grand Valley State University.

    We discussed the organization, the program offering and our plan to run a pilot program in a GR public school classroom. We also talked about grant seeking classes offered at the SPNA at GVSU and how volunteer work is required in the curriculum at the SNPA (think “grant-writing”, or “research-assistance” for this project… yeah).

    Biggest moment of the conversation:

    Marie-Claire: “So, if there was one thing that would be a grave mistake if I didn’t do during this process, if there was one piece of advice you might give to me, what would that be?”

    Dan: “Don’t stop”

    Thank you so for your time, advice, and resources Dan. It was great meeting you, and I hope to talk to you again soon.

    Mission and programs, draft

    Alright. I’m going to throw this out there onto the interwebs. It’s the newest mission statement along with some of the latest program ideas. I haven’t been sitting on it for long. I’m trying to get some feedback and perhaps fail fast instead of a long, slow death.

    Please note, I’m using the placeholder name, “The Tomorrow Project”, it’s not a serious name or anything, just a placeholder until we can come up with something really good.

    Here goes nothin’:

    The Tomorrow Project utilizes existing resources in the community to provide opportunities for individuals and communities through individualized and focused interactions with technology.

    Some of our programs include:

    Tomorrow Box
    Earn-a-laptop program, 10 hours of community service gets you a laptop computer, orientation classes and general education

    Student Tomorrow Box
    Earn-a-laptop program, collective of 50 hours of community service from your class at your school or in your community, gets you, your classmates and your teacher, laptop computers, training, education, and tech support

    Tomorrow Box Tech Support
    10 hours of community service gets you and your Tomorrow Box life-time tech support from a certified Geek Next Door

    Tech Support Mentoring
    Hands-on mentoring program that matches technology professionals and underserved individuals to teach, understand, and implement basic tech support skills

    Geek Next Door Training and Certification
    Tech support training for young volunteers and students of the geeky persuasion. Graduates get their own laptop, office hours, a tech manual, business cards, and the opportunity to engage in one-on-one tech support with people in the community

    Tech Education
    100-Level classes, centralizing and providing a schedule for free introductory classes and workshops from existing community resources.

    Thoughts?