winwinner Wednesday: KidSafe Collaborative

KidSafe Collaborative is a nonprofit serving Chittenden County, Vermont. The organization works to improve response to and prevent child abuse and neglect, providing direct support to families and advocating through partnerships with local organizations. On June 20th, they will host their 6th annual fundraising bike ride in the islands of Lake Champlain.

The idea: To improve child safety and well-being by aggregating multiple solutions together in an integrated way.

KidSafe works on two levels: on a family level, the organization coordinates “Child Protection Teams” that directly address the needs of over 350 children and families in Chittenden County.

To ensure the safety of children, KidSafe recognizes they also need the coordinated support of other agencies. This is why they partner with community organizations to improve the systems (protective, legal, medical, social) which respond to child abuse and neglect. This includes facilitating collaboration between human services agencies and the criminal justice system.

How it started: In 1969, the Community Child Protection Network was formed, a volunteer organization dedicated to improving Chittenden County’s response to child abuse and neglect. Over the years the group has changed in name and structure, but its mission has remained consistent.

Today, KidSafe leads a partnership of over 30 agencies, community groups, and individuals – all working together to improve support systems for area children and families.

How they used winwin apps: On June 20th, 2010, KidSafe will be holding its annual KidSafe Island Ride, which begins at Grand Isle State Park on beautiful Lake Champlain and raises funds for the organization’s important work. KidSafe is using their winwin webstack to manage registration and donations for the ride.

More info: To learn more about KidSafe Collaborative, visit their website at

About “winwinner” Wednesday: Each week we profile one of the nonprofits using winwin apps to make the world a better place. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, drop us a line!

winwinner Wednesday: Bread and Butter Farm

In August, 2009, Adam Wilson and Corie Pierce put together a proposal that was approved by the Vermont Land Trust. They were chosen to take over the 143-acre Leduc Farm in Shelburne, VT. Adam and Corie named their venture Bread & Butter Farm, producing fresh milk and meats, vegetables, and traditional breads. This month they are opening a farm store so customers can buy food at the farm and see exactly where it comes from.

The idea: To create a community farm that produces delicious, nutritious food, takes care of its animals, plants and people, and preserves a beautiful piece of land.

Who does what: Adam manages the small dairy; the cows are 100% grass-fed and the farm sells the cows’ delicious milk raw. He also runs the wood-fired oven bakery, where he bakes traditional German sourdough breads. All the flour is organic, local, and milled the day before baking.

Meanwhile, Corie heads up specialty greens production: spicy and mild Brassica-based salad mixes, spinach, lettuces, kale, chard, Asian greens and more, grown year-round in unheated greenhouse structures heated only by the sun. Additionally, Corie runs the educational programs for kids and adults at the farm.

A video about B&B Farm.

The initiative: Adam and Corie were selected by the Vermont Land Trust as part of their Farmland Access Program. This conservation program helps diversified, experienced farmers gain access to productive, affordable farmland. Bread & Butter Farm’s varied, synergistic operations are well matched for the farm’s soils, infrastructure, and location.

A conservation easement was placed on the land as part of the program, which helps landowners and conservation groups voluntarily limit development on productive farmland and forestland. Landowners still own (and can sell) the land, but the easement remains on the property permanently.

The winwin: Adam and Corie get to do what they love. Locals not only get farm fresh food, they also get to visit the farm and see the operation firsthand. And this beautiful Vermont land gets permanent protection, ensuring the farm will always be producing fresh, delicious food.

More info: On May 21 and 22, Bread & Butter will be launching their farm store. You can check out their winwin webstack, official website, or Facebook page for more information.

Adam Wilson (w/calf), Chris Dorman & Corie Pierce w/their son Henry

winwinner Wednesday: East End Brewing Company

East End Brewing Company is a microbrewery based in Pittsburgh, PA. East End makes delicious beers in a sustainable way, and supports local causes through its annual “Keg Ride” event.

The idea: To create a hometown brewery that makes delicious beers in a sustainable way. East End not only produces delicious craft brews, they do it using local ingredients, used equipment, water conservation, and smart waste management.

How it started: Scott Smith was working as a mechanical engineer for a Fortune 500 company and found that his hobby of making beer was something he had a big passion for. He started East End Brewing Company in 2004. At the time, it made sense to purchase used equipment – and from there he started exploring all sorts of ways to cut costs, do the right thing, and make beer in an environmentally responsible way. You can read more about the sustainability efforts of East End Brewing here.

The winwin: Beer drinkers of Pennsylvania get a variety of delicious, carefully crafted microbrews, and the planet gets a little love from Scott’s sustainable practices in crafting them.

Click to watch a video about East End

How they used winwin apps: This year on May 14, East End Brewing will host their annual “Keg Ride” event, a bike ride to deliver the first batch of their summer “Pedal Pale Ale” from the brewery to a watering hole on the other side of town. Up front, volunteer cyclists pull the kegs on special trailers. Behind them, several hundred cyclists follow the bouncing kegs on a circuitous route around town. When the (secret) destination is reached, riders enjoy their first pint for free. Proceeds from the event go to support 3 local charities. East End is using winwinapps for registering cyclists and auctioning the coveted “keg pulling” slots for the ride.

More info: To find out more about East End Brewing Company or their 2010 Keg Ride, visit You can also follow them on Twitter.

About “winwinner” Wednesday: Each week we profile one of the nonprofits using winwin apps to make the world a better place. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, drop us a line!

For Love of the Game

by Nathan Hartswick

Over the weekend I got to see my father play baseball with a bunch of other middle-aged fathers. I have blogged on this topic before, but it’s a deep well.

When my dad tells people he plays in a league, they usually reply, “Oh, is it softball?” This is a reasonable assumption given that A) my father is in his mid-fifties, and B) a softball is generally easier to hit, throw, and see out of the corner of your eye when you are drinking a beer in center field.

But there are no large balls or beer at my father’s games, so he will typically glare at the person asking the question and intone seriously, “It’s hardball. We play hardball.”

As it turns out he is not the only overly serious person on the team. To the casual observer this might look like a simple pickup game, but there is an array of equipment, a seriousness to the verbal patter, and a noticeable lack of levity at these games. Oh, they are still having a good time. They are just very, very committed to it.

Sitting there watching them, I realized that being passionate isn’t necessarily the same thing as having fun. When you see people doing something they love, there’s an intensity to it, a focus they don’t have for other things – you can tell they’re enjoying themselves, but they may not even be smiling while they’re doing it.

It’s a little bit magical to watch people do this, because you know you’re witnessing them living completely in the moment. They could do this for hours and hours, oblivious to the weather, to the time, to their own physical pain (and there’s plenty, with these guys).

My dad’s team lost this weekend, but you’d never know it listening to him talk about the game afterwards. He gave my mother such a dramatic play-by-play it was nearly impossible not to get caught up in his passion for it – and I’m not even a baseball fan. Passion is contagious, I guess.

So what’s yours? And how much of your life is built around it? Is it a hobby, or your job?

What do you get lost in?

Social Media Can Be A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Thing

Joe Mescher says Social Media can be a good thing -- but beware it's pitfalls!Yeah, social media is awesome — unless it totally sucks. I’m writing about a post I came across about the Worst Company in America. One of my Twitter buddies posted the link and I shuddered when I saw the two names mentioned.


Wait — don’t they help customers via their @ComcastCares team on Twitter? Well, yes, but that doesn’t stop people from complaining using blogs and other social networks (this is to be expected with a subscriber base the size of Comcast’s). What do you think the impact could be on a smaller company though? Say…a non-profit or startup local business?

Online Reputation Management is Everyone’s Job

Maybe Comcast being voted the ‘Worst Company in America’ doesn’t matter a whole lot. After all, the Comcast Twitter model is a great example of reputation management. The cable company makes sure to keep their antennas actively tuned in to the social mediasphere to address complaints and compliments alike — and you can too!

Here’s the deal, all you need to do is sign up for notifications with a free service like Social Mention. You’ll be notified anytime someone makes a comment on places like Twitter. But you shouldn’t stop there. Certainly you’ve heard of Google Alerts, right? Make sure to sign up for alerts using parentheses to cut down on unrelated content (like “Your Name” instead of just Your Name).

Putting Information to Good Use

So what’s the point of keeping your eyes and ears open if you aren’t going to use the information you gather?

Here’s my point: If you come across a problem, don’t try sweeping it under the rug. Publicize it. That’s right, I said it — communicate with the person to find a solution and ‘make them famous’. This makes the person feel like they matter and gives you positive press.

Sure, it’s a risk, but a calculated one (and you offer such good service and response, there shouldn’t be an issue of poor response, right?). Good luck out there on the social webs. Make sure to take advantage of the huge opportunities to promote, monitor and share your good name.

winwinner Wednesday: Office Squared

Late last year, our friend Jen Mincar founded Office Squared (“02” for short), a coworking space in Burlington, VT for  freelancers and telecommuters seeking a collaborative workspace.

Not only has 02 been a great space for people to work (we’ve spent most of our time at 02 during the development and lanch of winwinapps), but Jen has also hosted a number of successful business events there.

On May 4, for instance, Office Squared will be hosting an on online display advertising workshop.

winwin apps' setup at 02.

Conducted by digital marketing expert Greg Stobb, this session will teach attendees how to cost-effectively target prospects on the web through proper strategy and effective measurement. Partial proceeds from the event will benefit Save Our Strays of Vermont.

Office Squared is using winwin apps to register attendees for the event (tickets are $15 and can be purchased on 02’s winwin webstack).

Also, the winwin apps team has partnered up with Lara Dickson of Deep Dish Creative to help 02 out even further on upcoming stuff, so stay tuned for more…

In the meantime, you can visit the Office Squared website, check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and see event photos on Flickr.

Tips from Switch on clarity and directed-giving">Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard</a><img src="// the Founder’s Bookshelf:

I am currently re-reading “Switch: How to change things when change is hard” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. Amongst the many dog-eared, and underlined sections is a brief line on page 17: “What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.”

The author’s example is a public health campaign in West Virginia that specifically directed residents to switch their milk drinking from whole to 1% or skim. Instead of the valuable – but diffuse and difficult – goal of simply “acting healthier,” the campaign gave clear instructions.

What can this mean for non-profits? Quite a bit.

At a recent fundraising auction checkout, one of our cashiers requested “an additional donation to support the work of the beneficiary.” Her line had a smaller than 5% donation rate. Our other checkout line asked winning bidders to “round up their purchase by 2, 5, 10, or 18 dollars” (whatever brought them to the nearest $100 figure). This money would go to purchase a new pick up truck to be used by members. This second line had a 37% round up rate. For a small non-profit that was the difference between $10 dollars in the first line and $475 in the second. Neither was enough to buy a pickup, but with clear instructions the actual dollars in the bank increased by 40 times.

What about you? How specific are you with your asks? Do you tie gifts to specific programs, ask for discrete amounts at particular times, or take advantage of triggers in the environment of your supporters?

Other take home messages from Switch for fundraising:

  1. Follow your bright spots. If a campaign, donor, or programming is exceeding your goals, try to determine why and replicate it.
  2. Marry long term goals with short term critical moves. Your mission is critical, but showing your staff and supporters how you will get there shrinks the change, and energizes giving.
  3. Script the moves. For an organization that fights homelessness, linking a monthly gift equal to 1% of a donor’s mortgage payments can keep your mission front of mind and the amount and timing of donation clear.
  4. Grow your people. Increase their role and identity within your organization. Donors who support a public health campaign might become “messengers” – with their donation receipt you can arm them with support materials and task them to teach 10 friends the importance of breast self exams.
  5. Act more like a coach and less like a scorekeeper. Everything looks like  a failure in the middle. Focus on the valleys of a program as learning opportunities rather than failures. There should be no “never” – only “not yet.”
  6. Use the score when it can help you. The herd mentality can work for you. If the majority of your board members have exceeded last year’s gift, use that fact. People tend to fall in line with their peers.

What is your favorite take home from “Switch”?

– Anna

winwinner Wednesday: The King Street Center

The King Street Center is a nonprofit community organization in Burlington, VT that provides children and families with programs that build academic skills, physical fitness, and other skills necessary for a healthy and productive future.

The idea: To provide support for children and their families through educational and recreational programs. The center engages with families and the community to promote personal and social wellness. Their programs provide fun and enriching activities year round for children, teens and adults.

How it started: In 1971, a few dedicated parents and a group of volunteers from the University of Vermont started the program out of a van parked next to a laundromat and a budget of only $90. Much has changed since then, but the area remains a working class neighborhood with a high concentration of subsidized housing units and immigrant and refugee families. Today, the King Street Center serves over 500 children and families each year, offering an accredited preschool; after-school programs for K-5, middle and high school students; evening drop-in programs for teens; mentoring programs, and English language instruction (in partnership with Vermont Adult Learning).

The winwin: Children and teens receive the kind of academic and recreational programs they need to develop into healthy adults. Families are supported and actively engaged in the community. And volunteers get to have fun with kids and feel good about making a difference in the community.

How they used winwin apps: This year’s Burlington Clothes Exchange (which we wrote about in an earlier post) is benefitting the King Street Center. But the center itself is also holding a raffle as part of the event and offering some great prizes including a $500 yoga package and a one-year family gym membership. (Go pick up a few tickets now!) The Clothes Exchange and the King Street Center are both using winwin apps to manage this great initiative to raise funds for the center so they can continue doing their great work.

More info: To learn more about the King Street Center or to get involved, visit their website at Also check out their blog and  become a fan on Facebook.

About “winwinner” Wednesday: Each week we profile one of the nonprofits using winwin apps to make the world a better place. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, drop us a line!

winwin Wednesday: The Institute for Sustainable Communities

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) works in communities around the world, giving passionate, committed people the tools and skills they need to inspire active citizenship, protect the environment, and take on climate change.

The idea: ISC was founded to help create economically, environmentally and socially healthy, resilient, sustainable communities. This effort takes a great deal of practical, integrated problem-solving and a long-term perspective. It is the belief of ISC that every community has the ability to find creative solutions to complex problems; ISC strives to help people realize this potential, building capacity and infrastructure and leaving a legacy of leadership and results.

Video: winwin apps' founder chats with ISC

How it started: In 1990, Vermont Governor Madeleine M. Kunin monitored the first democratic elections in Bulgaria. Inspired by the potential for change, Kunin and her policy advisor, George Hamilton, returned to Vermont with the commitment to help communities in the region address environmental, economic, and social challenges. A new organization was born: The Institute for Sustainable Communities.

ISC began with two projects in Bulgaria and Hungary, helping local governments work with citizens to identify environmental priorities, develop action plans, and implement cost-effective solutions to the communities’ most urgent environmental issues. To date, ISC has managed 74 projects in 22 countries, leaving behind strong community leaders, organizations and networks with the capacity to keep building upon ISC’s work.

The winwin: ISC promotes sustainability throughout the world – working with communities to create a better quality of life, healthier ecosystems, more effective governance, and better economic security.

In the meantime, ISC inspires local individuals, institutions and businesses to become involved in the continued success of their own communities.

Video: ISC talks about using winwin apps

How they used winwin apps: In November of 2009 ISC produced an extremely successful fundraising event in Williston, Vermont. “Wine & Swine” was a live and silent auction, as well as an evening of wine tasting from around the globe, and local and faux pork and desserts from local eateries.

ISC used winwin apps to register attendees, manage the auction, check-in and check-out guests, and more. (See ISC talk about using winwin apps in the video on this page.)

More info: To learn more about the important work being done by ISC, please visit their website at You can also follow them on Twitter @SustainableComm and become a fan on Facebook at And don’t miss their incredible photos on Flickr.

About “winwinner” Wednesday: Each week we profile one of the nonprofits using winwin apps to make the world a better place. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, drop us a line!

winwinner Wednesday: RU12? Community Center

The RU12? Community Center in Burlington, VT is a powerful force for equal rights in the green mountain state. Its mission is “to celebrate, educate and advocate with and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Vermonters.”

The idea: Create a place where LGBTQ Vermonters could meet, learn, and organize for greater equality. RU12? has a drop-in resource center, a free community space with a lending library and a cyber center. Its staff members and volunteers train people about LGBTQ cultural competency, Elder issues, violence prevention, health issues, and more. RU12? also provides important programs such as the SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program and peer-led support groups to help with coming out and transgender issues. And RU12? advocates on behalf of the LGBT community in the media and the legislature as well.

How it started: RU12? was founded in 1999 by two students at the University of Vermont who believed that Vermont needed a multi-generational, substance-free, queer space open to people of all ages, races and genders. The organization moved from its first location on the Lake Champlain waterfront to their historic building on Elmwood Street in 2003. RU12? continued to grow, and in 2006, SafeSpace merged with RU12?, as did Equality Vermont. RU12? is now the largest LGBTQ organization in Vermont, and works closely with many organizations including Outright Vermont, the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, and the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The winwin: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Vermonters have a place to go to learn about LGBTQ issues, celebrate their identity, receive help and support, and form a community to affect change. For the rest of the state, RU12? (and its partner organizations) shine a light on LGBTQ issues to encourage a shift toward greater tolerance and equality for all Vermonters.

How they used winwin apps: This year on May 22nd, RU12? will host its 11th Annual Queer Community Dinner & Auction. With comedian Ian Harvie performing and items up for bid from JazzFest tickets to birdhouses, the event promises to be a fun night for a worthy cause. RU12? is using winwin apps to register attendees and manage the auction.

More info: For more information on RU12 and its offerings or to volunteer, visit

About “winwinner” Wednesday: Each week we profile one of the nonprofits using winwin apps to make the world a better place. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, drop us a line!