Social Media for Nonprofits Conference: Leveraging Eventbrite’s Free Tools


For hard-pressed nonprofits in tough economic times, “free” is always a good word. So it was encouraging for nonprofit leaders at the Social Media for Nonprofits Conference in Mountain View to hear about the free tools available to help them expand and strengthen their connections with supporters.

The day-long event on Thursday, July 26, at the Microsoft Conference Center, was organized by the group by the same name, Social Media for Nonprofits; it included speakers from Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite,, among others.

All this week I’m posting highlights from the conference. Yesterday was all about how nonprofits can effectively use Facebook. Today includes helpful information from Eventbrite, the online service that enables event creation, promotion, and ticket sales. The site offers free tools that will help any nonprofit plan and host any type of event. [Read more…]

Social Media for Nonprofits Conference: How to Use Facebook Effectively


With social media bringing a giant wave of change to society, nonprofit leaders who felt as if it was all about to crash down on them instead learned ways to ride the wave to success at the Social Media for Nonprofits Conference last Thursday.

I attended the day long event at the Microsoft Conference Center in Mountain View with about 300 others representing dozens of local nonprofits. Some of the people I spoke with before the conference said they felt overwhelmed at times by a dizzying array of social media sites, new apps and technologies.

Ritu Sharma, executive director of Social Media for Nonprofits, and Darian Rodriguez Heyman, co-founder and head of external partnerships, as well as author of Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, brought an impressive lineup of speakers from Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite,, and others, including Beth Kanter, an influential blogger and co-author of The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change.

“We didn’t realize when we started out that there’s no other conference series in the country focused on social media for social good, so there really is a gap out there that we are doing our best to fill,” Heyman said, to a round of applause.

By the end of the day, some of the same people I spoke to at the start said the conference gave them the confidence to navigate social media more effectively.

Throughout the week I’ll be sharing highlights from the conference. Today I’m featuring notes from the Facebook presentation. [Read more…]

Grateful for New Journey Helping Victims


A chance conversation with a complete stranger and a college assignment are propelling Lisa Blanchard on an unexpected trajectory as the leader of a fast growing all-volunteer organization that extends comfort and aid to sexual assault victims across the State of California.

Thanks to The Grateful Garment Project, started by Blanchard in March 2011 as an undergraduate student, sexual assault victims who must give up clothing as police evidence can go home fully clothed. In the past some victims left examinations with nothing more than a paper hospital gown.

“I had no idea when I started my simple class project that I was hitting a vein of need that was so immense, that basically it’s consumed my life for the past year,” said Blanchard, a San Jose resident and University of San Francisco graduate student.

The Grateful Garment Project has grown into a full-blown nonprofit with a board of directors, numerous volunteers, and Blanchard as its unpaid executive director.

To help continue its mission of aiding victims, the group’s volunteers are hosting a “Party for Panties” fundraiser at 6 p.m., on Saturday, July 21, at the Willow Den, 803 Lincoln Ave., San Jose. The event features free food, dancing and door prizes. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Scholarships Available for Social Media for Nonprofits Conference


Is your nonprofit focused on digital inclusion and working with communities of color and low-income populations? Are you looking to learn how to use social media to reach and better serve constituents, as well as advance your fundraising, marketing, advocacy, and recruitment efforts?

If so, we have some exciting news for you: The Knight Foundation is underwriting 50 scholarships for the upcoming Social Media for Nonprofits Silicon Valley conference in Mountain View on July 26, 2012, featuring keynote speaker Beth Kanter. The scholarship includes access to the full-day of program, plus breakfast, lunch, and entry to the evening networking cocktail reception. Apply now!

Social Media for Nonprofits is the world’s only conference series devoted to social media for social good. We provide nonprofits with the tools and resources to create, manage, and maximize their social media presence and we focus on sharing practical, actionable insights, vs. vague concepts or theories. [Read more…]

Student Travels to Kenya on a Dream of Schools for All Youth


A big dream of schools for all children envisioned by UC Berkeley student Justin Li is taking him all the way to Kenya later this month, where an organization he helped found at Cupertino High School is currently helping three schools.

Justin Li holding his 2011 Sandlot Award.

Li is traveling July 29 with two other members of the student-run nonprofit called Kenya Dream, to visit the schools in Meru County, formerly known as the Eastern Province, in the country on the eastern coast of Africa.

“Words can’t really describe how I feel about this upcoming trip,” Li said. “I have spent over five years putting my heart into Kenya Dream, and I know for a fact that my life is going to be changed forever when I finally get to see the work we as a community have done. I know I will probably break down and cry when I see each school.”

Li, fellow co-founder and Berkeley student Lisa Nguyen, and current co-president of Cupertino High’s Kenya Dream Matt Workman, will spend 16 days touring the province with representatives from an organization they are partnered with, Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife. Kenya Dream is working with Kenya Schools to fund tuition and supplies for more than 50 students.

The team will not only visit Nthimbiri Secondary School, Nkubu Victory Acadamy, and Kachiuru School, to see how the approximately $100,000 Kenya Dream has raised since 2007 has been put to work, they will also visit other sites the group might help.

“I can’t wait to immerse myself into the culture, meet the students we have been supporting, and make new connections for future projects,” said Li. [Read more…]

Good Karma Bikes on the Move to Expanded Services


Good Karma Bikes, the small San Jose nonprofit changing lives through bike repair, is expanding its reach in helping homeless and low income clients after recently moving into a cavernous corrugated steel-sided warehouse not far from downtown.

The popular weekly Saturday morning free bike repair clinics that previously were held near Diridon Station are now being offered at the new location at 345 Sunol St. Now instead of waiting in the sometimes harsh elements either standing or sitting on parking lot curbs while their bikes are repaired at no charge, clients wait sitting inside or under shade structures.

Good Karma founder Jim Gardner said he is pleased with the new setup, since the warehouse gives volunteers easy access to dozens of bins holding donated bike parts and tools; at the mobile clinic access was limited to what fit into an old white service van. The large space is also allowing the nonprofit to store donated bikes and equipment, and expand its services to homeless and low-income clients with job skills training and transitional employment opportunities. [Read more…]

Two Silicon Valley Teachers Honored for Inspiring Students, Serving Others


An award to one heroic Lynbrook High School teacher for his contribution to the community was in fact a two-in-one event, as his award was

Teachers Bob Hunter and Jeffrey Bale

bestowed in honor of another teacher who inspired generations of Lynbrook students.

Jeffrey Bale was recently named the first honorary recipient of the Lynbrook Sandlot Award, “based upon his character and the positive impact he has made with the students he instructs,” according to Howard Doi, a Lynbrook alum and Sandlot volunteer.

At a special ceremony held in June, Doi and others honored Bale, and at the same time honored retired Miller Middle School teacher Bob Hunter, who influenced thousands of students before they moved on to Lynbrook. Doi said Hunter served as the inspiration for the Lynbrook Sandlot Award.

“For almost five decades, Mr. Hunter has positively influenced and touched the lives of hundreds of students, many of whom who took his “Hunterisms” to heart to become successful students at Lynbrook and beyond,” Doi said. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Refugee Transitions Providing Summer Fun and Learning


Editor’s Note: We welcome Refugee Transitions as a contributor to the Good Neighbor Stories site. Check out the GNS article about this wonderful San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit. If you have a group that would like to contribute posts to our site, contact us.

Summer is finally here, and with it sunshine, a break from school, and family trips and vacations. However, for many refugee and immigrant youth, summer can be the most difficult and dreary time of the year. Many of these youth are low-income and unable to join in on the summer activities that their peers may be able to enjoy – even the resources that are available are often difficult to access, as students need a means of transportation to and from various summer camps and enriching activities.

Refugee Transitions, a nonprofit social service and education organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, provides invaluable support to these newcomer students during their first years in their new communities, providing safe, supportive and engaging learning environments. As part of their programming, the agency organizes annual summer camps for refugee youth, which help to relieve students from frequently home-bound days. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in July


Celebrate America’s independence by being a good neighbor this month! Here are five ways to give back to the community during July.

1) Party With Your Neighbors: If you’re home this Fourth of July plan an impromptu block party by inviting neighbors over for a barbecue or simple potluck. Or, find out what your city is doing to celebrate, and make a point of joining in the fun and getting to know more people from your community. For example, in Cupertino there’s a pancake breakfast, children’s parade, and concert in the park from 7 a.m. to noon at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Rd. Then in the evening there’s fireworks, with music and games from 6:45 until the big show starts at 9:30. Catch all the fun at either Creekside Park, 10455 Miller Ave., Hyde Middle School, 19325 Bollinger Rd., or Sedgwick Elementary, 19200 Phil Lane.

2) Sort Food for the Hungry: Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties has a brand new warehouse in San Jose to facilitate getting more food out to those who need it most as quickly as possible. The 75,000 square foot facility at 4001 N. First St., is called [Read more…]