We came, we saw, we CrowdStormed it!

On 27th April, a group of over 20 Crowdstormers donated their brains for one afternoon to tackle a challenge for a London youth charity, Rewrite. Here’s what they did…

The Challenge

To help Rewrite become more financially stable by boosting regular donations.

We used the video below to give everyone some background to Rewrite.

The Constraints

It wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy now, would it? We made sure the Crowdstormers faced real constraints:

  • budget and time, due to the organisations’ size
  • focus on the public (and not corporate or government funding)
  • make sure that young people are not put at risk!

Generating a sustainable income source is a problem faced by many charities, and, despite being an age-old challenge, the Crowdstormers approached it with enthusiasm and creativity.

The Top 5 ideas were…

Sponsor a Story

#tmoi: the medium of intruigue

#tmoi: the medium of intruigue

1: Sponsor a Story

This team evolved the idea of sponsor a child to suit the ESOL programme and enable donations to continue indefinitely (as opposed to linked to a particular child who will leave the programme at some point)

2. The Medium of Intrigue

This idea builds on the power of creating a sense of mystery and suspense. The idea is to release stories in episodes, and build intrigue around the story by releasing episodes through different medium and sporadically, so people have to be on the look-out for the next episode.  Flash mobs, social media, and a twitter hash-tag: #tmoi would all be used. There would be a small charge for being able to access each episode.

3. Pop-up Theatre

Pop Up Theatre

Called RECONNECT, the pop-up theatre gives a chance for people to reconnect with their communities. They would be held in busy areas in and around Southwark, capturing the interests of tourists, the general public, and of course the local population. Performances would include street performers as the warm-up act. Collections would be made from the audience, and people would also be asked to fill out a sheet with their names & contact details for follow-up regarding regular donations. RECONNECT would become a brand in its own right, and could be extended to festivals and other parts of London.

4. More Bang for your Buck

Sustainable funding strategy
This is a more strategic approach, using the main annual event that Rewrite put on as the focal point, around which to build a solid campaign and drive donor engagement. The event would be supplemented by materials showcasing the work Rewrite do in various mediums. The work would be made possible through the use of interns or students as well as alumni of the programme and ambassadors. Some small investment would be put into ensuring the necessary systems are in place to manage this activity.

5. Kickstarter for kids

This idea uses the creative writing workshops to get kids to tell their story and use this to drive a Kickstarter campaign. People would be asked to pledge to transform a child’s life, and help prove that immigrants can be successfully integrated in Southwark.

You can see more pictures from the day on Picasa

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Kung Hei Fat Choi

Happy Lunar New Year of the Snake! It is an auspicious year for new ventures so we are all really excited about launching CrowdGuru.org this year.

Snakes are problem solvers, social and successful, just like some of CrowdGuru’s gurus!. In the last year we have helped to hook some incredible people up with each other to solve problems together. This is what happens when you get great people together…

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Solving Problems

United Haitians in the UK wanted help with team building and galvanizing volunteers’ efforts around their causes’ core objectives. In this case, the Guru held an interactive workshop session with the team one afternoon, introducing new tools and techniques they could use to help maintain focus and drive. This was a little unusual in that it was not a 1:1 discussion, but rather a chance for the team to work together to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. Everyone enjoyed the challenge and learned a lot.

Get Social

Sometimes mentoring can just be a little nudge in the right direction even by email, knowing that someone else understands you problem and has the solution.

One organisation wanted help to get an e-newsletter off the ground. A couple of emails later and the problem was solved by a marketing Guru: get onto MailChimp.com and get a free email marketing account!

The Friends of St. Joseph’s School for the Hearing Impaired in Sierra Leone wanted some technical advice regarding their website.  In this case, an informal chat with a Guru one evening enabled them to discuss how they were going to take their web presence forward, and led to the creation of their new site: www.friendsofstjosephskids.org.

Get Successful

That’s what CrowdGuru is all about: making charities and social enterprises more successful.

RESULTS.org wanted help with the organisation’s marketing & communications strategy, so they enlisted the help of a Strategic Marketing Guru, with lots of experience of helping large charities with their marketing and communications strategy. We will hear more about this in a later post, but the Guru and Results.org are still working together and loving it!

Variety is the Spice of Life

Great things happen when people come together. The Gurus and Causes that have worked together so far have enjoyed new challenges and learned new skills to help them develop.

If you like the idea and think you have something to offer as a Guru or you work for a Cause and need some help (or you are both!) then get in touch at weloveyou@crowdguru.org and we will do amazing things together.

Crowd Guru: Let’s work together!

Crowd Guru links people with skills to people in good causes who need help with a taskA really simple idea: Micro-mentoring

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” Lao Tzu

So what is Crowd Guru? We are building a social media tool that matches people with skills (Gurus) to others (Causes) who need help on a specific task. For skilled professionals, the ability to teach someone the skills you have is so much more valuable than simply giving your time in an unskilled way, for example, by working on a soup kitchen.  For those in causes, it can be hard to get the training and development you need, and what better way to up-skill than by asking an expert for help in a very practical way, on a specific task.

When a match is made the Guru takes a little of their time to understand what the Cause is trying to achieve and then passes on their skills to help them achieve it for themselves. This might be through a call, a couple of emails or a couple of sessions over coffee.

How does it work?

People working in social enterprises and charities can log in using their LinkedIn account or email address, and post up a task that they need help with.

Gurus sign up in the same way, stating the skills they have to offer.

We sift the crowd of skills needed and skills offered, and suggest some matches using our Very Clever Technology. We’ll set some simple ground rules around confidentiality and make suggestions for how to manage the relationship so it works for both parties.

Then it is down to you.

Why sign up?

If you are a social enterprise, charity or other good cause then you should sign up if you have a task you need help with. That could be creating a marketing strategy or writing a fundraising letter. What you’ll get is:

  • New skills from an experienced professional, for free
  • Tangible outputs: a great marketing strategy or a superb fundraising letter
  • Greater success in doing what you set out to do
  • Connections with other organisations like yours.

If you are a potential guru then you will get some incredible benefits too:

  • Get to use your amazing skills in a creative and new way
  • Refining your skills through helping others, improving your management and communications skills
  • Flexibility to offer your skills at times that suit you
  • Autonomy – the freedom to do it the way you know will achieve results
  • A warm glow from knowing you have passed on your skills to someone who is making a real difference, working for a cause you support!

How do I sign up?

We are still developing CrowdGuru.org. We hope to launch in the next few months. If you like the idea then join our User Group – a small group of causes and gurus who are helping us design and develop CrowdGuru.org.

You can sign up by sending an email to weloveyou@crowdguru.org.