constituent database

Digital Expansion Initiative Program Developer

Organization: 
People's Production House
VISTA Name: 
Alexis Walker
Program Start: 
6/2007
Project Description: 

The Digital Expansion Initiative uses participant-led media production, education, and organizing to expand meaningful access to all New Yorkers. The VISTA will support the project by producing and helping others produce radio and by conducting research.

- Develop a comprehensive understanding of the barrier to technology access in poor communities in New York City by training members of 5 - 10 non-profit organizations to research and report on the state of Internet access in their organizations and among their constituencies
- Produce and distribute community-produced content documenting the state of Internet access in New York City as a way to engage new constituents in the development of broadband infrastructure of programs to bridge the digital divide
- Based on community-produced content, produce and distribute comprehensive report on barrier to Internet access in New York City
- Build a new constituency of engaged and conversant experts on community access technology, based in communities with no or limited access to technology, and the capacity to continue expanding that constituency

Project Outcome: 

During her year of service, Alexis served as the program associate for a new program: the Digital Expansion Initiative. In this capacity, she served as support for the program - maintaing contact records and contacting organizations for partnerships, consolidating data, researching articles and resources, updating website content, conducting audio interviews, administering a written survey, writing articles on public policy of telecommunications, and presenting the initiative’s finding and methods in workshops around NYC and the country.

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
James Lofton
Program Start: 
2/2007
Project Description: 

- Lead community outreach and marketing efforts
- Hold information sessions about NTRC Programs and Services
- Develop our database, track client information
- Create surveys and evaluations for users to evaluate NTRC programs
- Coordinate community groups and leaders and hold meetings including users, stakeholders, and other community members on issues related to the NTRC projects
- Market NTRC programs and services to partner organizations, Service Connectors and Housing Developments
- Create publications, press releases and newspaper articles

Program Development and Outreach

Organization: 
Appalshop
VISTA Name: 
Julia Taylor
Program Start: 
7/2008
Program End: 
7/2009
Project Description: 

Julia works in various capacities at Appalshop/Thousand Kites Project. She manages “StoryLine,” our online story-gathering project, for which she uploads audio to the content management system, and writes the copy for the website. She also responds to communication via our social networking sites and writes emailblasts. She works with community members (locally and nationally) to gather their stories about the criminal justice system and post them to the website. She also is currently creating a plan for a google map to document these stories using new technology. She also co-produces our campaigns. For our most recent campaign, Calls From Home, Julia coordinated the targeted outreach to radio station managers, prison chaplains, and prisoners and their families. She does the background research for the campaigns and organizes content. Including partnerships with other non-profits for viral marketing support. Julia works with community members (stakeholders) to identify community needs to inform future campaigns and communication strategies. Julia also produces our weekly radio show, Holler to the Hood, which broadcast online, as well supporting workshops that train community members and stake-holders in radio/online production.

Project Outcome: 

When Julia arrived at Appalshop, she spent the first couple of months working with staff to revamp the project’s website, making it media rich, clean, and efficient. We now have an direct model for people to call in their stories and a way to share them on the web. At the same time, Julia aided in the creation of a Facilition Guide, which helps Thousand Kites be a model for communities to take action. This document makes our work process more efficient because we can now direct people to the guide, instead of having to talk through all the details with each individual community. It is available in print and online and has greatly increased our capacity to train and garner participants. Julia has taken the lead on developing our database, updating contacts, and training staff on a system for long-term use. Overall Julia has worked at all levels of the organization to build our communication, online, and digital capacity.

Julia is able to identify key opportunities, and run with them. While looking through old email to learn more about the project’s correspondence, she found an unanswered email from a poet who was willing to volunteer his time to the project. Julia contacted him about possible connections, and now his network of poets has become a tremendous source of capacity in our project. His online community of writers has generated hundreds of audio samples for our website. Another example of this was when we received an email from a woman in the Virgin Islands who is dealing with the prisoners from her community being shipped up to prisons in our region. Julia saw this as an opportunity to really immerse in a community’s issue and help them find ways they could take action locally. The group has since produced their own radio program and hosted multiple film screenings using the Kites tools.

Impact Quote: 

Without our VISTA we would not have gotten several projects off the ground or reached the level of capacity that we have. Julia greatly expanded outreach and participation in our program by local, regional, and national communitiy members through building our communication backbone, developing a model for web-site content production, and building tools to lower the threshold of working with our program. It has simply impacted the entire organization to have someone focused on capacity building and research.

Database Development

Organization: 
El Centro de la Raza
VISTA Name: 
Mike Moore
Program Start: 
1/2007
Program End: 
3/2008
Project Description: 

Initially, the Vista member focused on database development to increase the technological capacity and efficiency of El Centro de la Raza (ECLR). Starting from scratch, Mr. Moore was able to build a centralized demographics database based primarily on Microsoft Access. In order to accomplish this, he needed to analyze previous systems utilized by staff, troubleshoot, and develop solutions to migrate the infrastructure in a manner that staff could utilize effectively. After completing this task, he completed a manual detailing usage and offered informal trainings to staff. The Vista member was also asked to update other databases (donor, volunteer, and grant tracker databases) in order to improve the tracking and reporting capacity of staff. Mr. Moore was also asked to monitored the server, install standard organizational computer configurations, update other technological systems, assist with events, and other software duties as necessary.

Project Outcome: 

Throughout the service year, Mr. Moore showed a great deal of flexibility by taking on new tasks and meeting agency needs as well as those specifically involving the databases. He also showed his development capability by increasing the effectiveness of our databases, and helping our staff increase their reporting accuracy. Mr. Moore’s efforts led to the following successes:

1. Developed a new centralized demographics database to prevent duplication in reporting to major funders,
2. Increased the efficiency of the donor database,
3. Increased the accuracy of the grant tracker database,
4. Increased the accuracy and usability of the volunteer database,
5. Began to rebuild ECLR’s homepage,
6. Helped fulfill ECLR’s server needs in the absence of a part-time IT Manager, ­
7. Helped to install standard software packages on new ECLR hardware, and
8. Assisted staff with Microsoft Office problems.

Mike Moore came to El Centro de la Raza expecting to primarily customize an existing system, migrate data, tutor users and monitor data input. However, by the end of the first week, our staff realized his experience and capabilities were well suited for so much more. Mike quickly realized that the database El Centro proposed to utilize was difficult to tailor to our needs. Compounding the problem was an IT Staff that was difficult to reach and slow to respond. Mike projected that this customization and full utilization process would take close to the entire year simply to implement, no less train staff and begin to migrate data. This was time that our agency did not have, as major funders pressed us to improve our accuracy and develop unduplicated counts of individuals served. Mike recognized the immediacy of our needs, and proposed to build a database specifically customized to track demographic data in a format we could fully utilize. Working alongside staff members from a number of different departments, Mike noted each person’s need and a series of solutions to maximize the database’s efficiency and usability. On top of accomplishing other tasks associated with his placement (tutoring and modifying other databases), Mr. Moore was able to complete a workable system in just under five months. This left plenty of time to migrate data to the system and meet all of our deadlines.

CTC Assistance

Organization: 
Allston Brighton CDC
VISTA Name: 
Chelsea Thompson
Program Start: 
9/2000
Program End: 
9/2001
Project Description: 

There are two primary long-range goals of this VISTA project. The first is to develop a sustainable network of computer resource providers in the neighborhood in order to help low-income residents bridge the digital divide. The second is to link technology training to local employment opportunities.

The VISTA member will perform the following takss:

- Assist with teaching computer classes

- Identify resources in local area for additional classes and training

- Recruit and train volunteers

- Provide Allston-Brighton Community Computer Collaborative members with information about resources available to them

- Develop outreach materials for marketing classes

- Assist with publicity for program

- Maintain database of class participants

- Develop relationships with area employers to assist class graduates with reaching computer-related employment goals

Fundraising & Outreach Coordinator

Organization: 
Community Software Lab
VISTA Name: 
Carolyn Thompson
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
7/2010
Project Description: 

The Community Software Lab is in need of a Community Organizer to do fundraising and outreach for our organization. The current plan is to divide their time on structured tangible work like making networking phone calls and unstructured work like figuring out how to get more of the public using our sites. The VISTA will attend meetings of groups of agencies, demo our software, develop ways to increase viewership, attend public events like festivals, make followup networking phone calls to agency representatives after meetings, and contact agency & program contacts to get them to update or add entries to the database.

- Increase the number of organizations putting their records into our databases
- Increase the number of people searching for information on our sites
- Document a reproducible process for getting organizations to put their info on our sites.

Project Outcome: 

Carolyn has brought in approximately $3,000 in undesignated donations, almost reaching her goal of $5000. Working with board members and other staff, Carolyn scheduled coffee or lunch meetings with past and potential supporters and asked them for money. Carolyn created a database of past and potential donors of more than 300 members. Carolyn also organized and ran a fundraising Tea that brought in approximately $1000. Considering our past best year for individual donations was about $700, this is quite a leap forward.

The Community Software lab now has the infrastructure for soliciting donations and for putting on fund-raising events. We also now have an organizational culture that values fundraising. To insure we can continue, our board and permanent staff have worked with Carolyn on fund-raising setup and implementation and pledged to continue when she leaves. Remaining work includes refining our presentation for different potential donors. We need to cultivate donors outside our existing network.

When Carolyn started we realized that her work should fit into a larger plan, a plan that we had not yet created. Carolyn has contributed to our business planning efforts and our draft/working business plan document. Carolyn has done planning work on an un-conference we are exploring putting on with another organization. Carolyn recruited somebody who is proving to be one of our better board members. Carolyn helped write two grants.

Marketing and Outreach

Organization: 
Pro Bono Net
VISTA Name: 
Stephanie Lin
Program Start: 
7/2009
Program End: 
7/2010
Project Description: 

A VISTA member would work with Pro Bono Net staff to define short and long-term strategic outcomes for immigrants’ rights initiatives, create a project plan, and support Pro Bono Net and its partners in achieving outcomes defined in the project plan. Each of these initiatives uses technology to benefit low-income immigrants.

Goal 1: To provide strategic guidance and technical support for Pro Bono Net’s immigrants’ rights initiatives
Goal 2: Work with Pro Bono Net staff and partners to develop a training curriculum and toolkit to support the nonprofit immigrants’ rights sector
Goal 3: Research, implement and support new technology projects

Project Outcome: 

Stephanie’s primary focus was to develop a marketing database and other technology tools to expand our membership. In the year that Stephanie spent with us we increased our membership by approximately 1/3.

Stephanie’s efforts lead to a significant increase in membership as well as developed a robust marketing and outreach database that will continue to be a valuable tool for our project.

Stephanie took on a number of ad hoc research and other projects based on her interest in immigration law and policy. She also helped to support our social networking initiatives and overall content management.

Website and Social Media Development

VISTA Name: 
Colleen Beach
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

Colleen Beach was responsible for a variety of Web2.0 efforts including work on CMC web efforts including cmcweb.org, californiavoices.org, and CMC Facebook and Twitter pages. Colleen also organized efforts to create an online contact database and e-newsletter for CMC. Our VISTA member came to the project with extensive knowledge of Web2.0, and did considerable research and self-training in areas where she needed additional expertise.

The VISTA will research and develop the following internal systems:
- build the capacity of the CMC Sacramento office to communicate/collaborate with the CMC Fresno office and implement CMC programs in Sacramento community.
- Create hiring and training materials for new staff
- Create standardized premiere planning materials
- Create standardized systems for management training and staff supervision at the regional office level
- Create standardized instructor training workshops
- Create standardized electronic communication systems between offices
- Create standardized staff trainings and guidelines for working with youth
- Create material supplementing the California Voices training manual, focusing on higher-level filmmaking techniques
- Create standardized film distribution resource lists, including social media avenues, film festivals, and community radio/TV avenues

Project Outcome: 

In her first year of service with CMC, Colleen has been extremely important to our organization and has spent the past year on a variety of projects that help us to better communicate and collaborate internally and externally. She made upgrades to our CaliforniaVoices.org website and she also upgraded CMCWEB.org to a newer version of Joomla. She designed and implemented a new contact database, created a social media strategy (includes facebook, twitter, and more), and researched a number of open source software solutions for our organization.

She will continue to work out of our Sacramento office to increase the capacity of our organization to communicate, collaborate, and share best practices between our two regional offices.

In her second year, Colleen has created a curriculum for our youth jobs program that allows for great consistency between Sacramento and Fresno regions as well as opportunity for collaboration. She has also been instrumental in helping our office create a marketing consultant team for our Youth Empowerment Studio and assisted in their meetings. She has also been running our social media campaigns, is working on a business plan for our Youth Empowerment Studio, helping with grant writing, and stage managed our youth film premiere in June. However, Colleen was unable to fully finish the YES curriculum due to changes in the program.

Technology Capacity Coordinator

Organization: 
Appalshop
VISTA Name: 
Andy Kachor
Program Start: 
7/2009
Program End: 
7/2010
Project Description: 

The VISTA member will work to improve Appalshop’s capacity to digitally present its history, work, and issue-based campaigns to diverse audiences through digital delivery; build the capacity of staff to integrate emerging technologies in their organizational work; prepare a new generation of technology leaders to work at Appalshop and in their communities. All work will support Appalshop’s mission to involve the people of Appalachia in the representation of their culture, traditions, and stories.

Goal 1: Develop and expand Appalshop’s online capacity
Goal 2: Broaden Appalshop’s communication capacity and online content

- Developing training opportunities for Appalshop staff in CMS and CRM applications.
-Learning about, updating, and maintaining project database and facilitating integration with other online project tools. This will involve research on Sales Force (the online database), communication with other non-profit organizations to learn what tools they effectively use, and the implementation of gained knowledge in Sales Force and our online community.
-Managing online marketing campaigns using the knowledge gained in the advancement of the database, which will involve integrating petition and letter writing software into our campaign model of advocacy
-Maintaining communication with Thousand Kites partners through email, letter writing, and web 2.0 tools
-Generating radio, web, print, and video content to build capacity of the Thousand Kites Project in these artistic fields
-Aid in design, content management, and upkeep of the Thousand Kites website

Project Outcome: 

The VISTA would take the lead in implementing the first phase of SF, using Sales Force’s online learning tools, identify the key programs applicable to our needs, and lead the staff through taking the courses and subsequent discussions to enhance learning. The key goals in the first phase of developing our CRM are: to work with our web design firm to connect Sales Force’s online forms to our website and email accounts, create a process for entering leads and contacts, develop email templates for communication, and customize SalesForce to fit our organization structure and needs. This was done for the Thousand Kites project, building on work by previous VISTAs and with support of Kites and other Appalshop staff. Andy brought both knowledge and energy to this work. We anticipate the VISTA member convening meetings, tracking goals, and looking for opportunities to raise the capacity of our staff and community participants in the use of technology that moves our organizational goals forward. Andy worked with Kites staff and community members providing training and technical and design including in flip-video cameras. We anticipate an increased involvement from rural youth, low-income participants, traditional musicians, and stake-holders in the pressing social, economic, and environmental issues facing the central Appalachian region. Andy’s work included all these stakeholders. Andy also contributed to strengthening the Thousand Kites website http://www.thousandkites.org/ which expanded involvement from stakeholders nationally. We intend to do an “assets survey” to evaluate and codify existing opportunities and content being produced through our education, radio, artistic, and community development work that could be migrated into engaging web content. We surveyed over 200 of our partner organizations leaving behind a clear needs assessment of our community. Our internal assessment is ongoing.

Appalshop as a whole has an expanded understanding of the use of databases and particularly SalesForce. We have also learned from the work done by the Kites project developing and presenting work based on the emerging Kites model. This is a model we will adapt for other projects.

Andy also developed and used a process for using MoxX for updating Appalshop “front page” which we continue to use. He also developed a much-improved website for our annual Seedtime on the Cumberland festival http://appalshop.org/seedtime/ This site served us well before the Festival and will continue to be a resource as we work with community partners to plan next year’s events.

Communications Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Oriana Magnera
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2010
Project Description: 

We are seeking a CTCVISTA volunteer to assist with the our communications systems, specifically in regards to the development of a series of Project Initiative websites, and the internal and external communications mechanisms for project planning and development. This work would include web design and management, integration of social networking tools for initiative projects, communication support for project partners, interviews and podcasts with initiative participants, the development of online evaluative forms and database.

AmeriCorps*VISTA member will work with CDS staff to organize CDS information systems to support our organizations efforts including:

1. internal staff site for communication and information sharing,
2. public website (story theater, newsletter, curriculum, podcasts, program initiative kit),
3. marketing materials and activities (public screenings, brochures, email information campaigns, video PSA’s, surveys),
4. Training for staff, intern and volunteer in implementation of Initiative-based systems

Project Outcome: 

Principal Task: Internal and External Communications including web, electronic and printed materials. Oriana created a new and professional looking electronic and web quarterly newsletter featuring the Program Initiatives for the first time. She created a newsletter template, staff training materials, a form for collecting newsletter submissions, imported and organized thousands of contacts, managed the list and added new names on a quarterly basis. She completed both ongoing website updates as well as a round of improvements to the layout and information on the website. She began research for a new platform and web hosting service as well as prepared information about applying for a Tap Root Grant for web and marketing support which CDS will pursue in the spring of 2011. Creation of “Donate Now” button for CDS website to collect financial/in-kind donations. Creation of a multi-page guide to newsletter production and distribution.

Secondary Task: Oriana has also began making improvements in our internal communications. She has assisted with organizing materials on our internal Staff Site, managed any trouble-shooting issues with our email and web provider, and sent emails to our Program Initiative teams to collect information to place on the Staff Site as needed. She completed a Grant Writing Seminar and gathered and organized current and past grant proposals and resources from staff to place on the Staff Site for reference.

Greatly improved external communication and marketing through newsletter and public website. More connectivity between staff through email and internal staff site.

Oriana also undertook a complete re-layout of our book entitled Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. This task included converting book files from Framemaker to InDesign, revisions on every page of the book, as well as research for updating Technology Appendices and re-indexing the entire book.

Transmission Project