Archive for February, 2010

Site launch: Airport Jobs

At PICnet, we aren’t just about creating snazzy new websites with sleek design and fancy features. We’re also here to help with your website’s basic needs, like in the case of Port Jobs. We recently worked with Port Jobs’ database contractor to automate Microsoft Access reporting to display current job postings in near-real time on their Airport Jobs site.

Port Jobs chose us after a competitive bid process in which they considered several firms.  Our functionality and a previous relationship with the business favored us in the selection process. But the database revamping is only Phase I – we will now be working on redeveloping Port Jobs in Soapbox, under the same template.

Although this is a rare example, the project was fairly smooth in part because I already understood how their old database was set up – because I had created it when I was an employee with Port Jobs. This made it a lot easier to understand the goal of the database integration, and the limitations and opportunities moving from the current ASP driven site to Soapbox.  In the end, this prior knowledge proved fruitful in a great solution for the client.

Read more »


DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards: What are you going to submit?

A couple days ago, You Tube and See3 Communications launched the 4th annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards. One winner will be selected in each of following categories: Best Small Organization Video, Best Medium Organization Video, Best Large Organization Video and Best Innovation in Video.

Winners will be recognized at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC 2011) in Atlanta in April, and on YouTube, and each winning organization will receive a $2,500 grant from the Case Foundation and a custom Flip camera. To enter, organizations must be a member of YouTube Nonprofit Program.

The deadline is March 19. We know some of you out there have a video that should be submitted. Apply today!


Soapbox 2.0.10: Powerful page titles, slick slideshows, just for you

We’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on Soapbox 2.0.10, the latest upgrade to your website management system.

What do those numbers and dots mean to you? Two things: powerful page titles and slick slideshows. Both available now.  And both part of the Soapbox service you’re already paying for.

Let’s dive into the details, shall we? Read the juicy details at our Help Desk. If you have any questions related to your version of Soapbox or on these particular features, give us a shout!


Help DC area schools, churches, and synagogues clean up this weekend

Our Web site has been an extremely useful way for greater DC area residents to post their snow-related problems and solutions.  Now it’s time to focus our energies!

If you’re from a school, church, or synagogue in the greater DC area, post any help you need this weekend for snow clean up, and we’ll crowdsource the community to help you in your efforts!

All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Post your request for help using a title in this format:  “School:  Washington Elementary School” or “Church:  Episcopal Church of Washington”
  3. Make sure to specify clearly what your needs are in the body of your report (example: “We’ve got snow covering all our walkways, we need snowblowers and shovels”) and include your location in your report and using the map function.  Also, clearly state when you need people to arrive for help this weekend (example: “we’re looking for 10 people from the neighborhood to come help at 10am on Saturday”).
  4. After your report is approved by our team, you can use the link to your report to spread the word.  We’ll do the same on Twitter (using the #72scu hashtag) and on our Facebook Fan page.
  5. Keep checking the comments in your report, and encourage others to post their attendance in the comments of your report.

We’ll take these reports and highlight them on Twitter, Facebook, and the Web site!  Let’s clean up our schools, churches, and synagogues one snow shovel at a time!


Snowmageddon of interest in our crowdsourcing site

It seems we’ve caught lighting in a bottle here at PICnet. During the course of the past two days, we’ve been honored to have our Web site covered in a diverse and wide array of media outlets. We’re hoping that this outreach will help the DC residents learn about this site and extend a helping hand to their neighbors.

Here’s a few of our favorite hits thus far.

Snowmageddon Site Crowdsources Blizzard Cleanup


The Washington Post partners with PICnet on Snowmageddon Web site

After our launch of the Snowmageddon Clean Up Web site on late Tuesday night, we’ve been picking up a lot of great reaction from the community.  Our biggest hit so far:  the Washington Post has partnered with PICnet to heavily extend the exposure of our efforts.

Check out our site embedded on the Washington Post!

Snowmageddon Cleanup Header

Wow.  Thursday was a whirlwind.  We worked closely with the Washington Post’s digital media team to make editorial and graphical changes to the site in order to prep for the wave of traffic from their online circulation.  Additionally, the great logo that Christopher Doorley made for the site needed to have a little update: announcing the partnership between the Washington Post and PICnet.  Thanks to Ross Nover for his stellar design skills to help update the site’s header and additional illustrations.

It’s been wonderful working alongside the Washington Post team to help spread the word far and wide.  We’re excited to see the continued efforts of the Greater DC community to help each other out of this snow mess.


PICnet builds crowdsourcing site to help DC dig out of Snowmageddon

What started out as a test site for an open source software package I was playing around with at PICnet has now become a rallying point for DC residents to help each other dig out of Snowmageddon 2010.  Call it the crowdsourcing of shovels.

Snowmageddon Clean-Up

Since the site, was flipped live on Tuesday night, more than 7,000 visitors have come to learn how they can lend a hand in the DC clean up process. Now, with a Facebook fan page and the 72 Hour Snowmageddon Clean Up Challenge, the site has begun to pick up a lot of traction.

The site’s goal is simple: connect those in need with those that have resources.  Got a car that needs to be dug out?  Post it. Got a pair of strong arms that needs a workout after three days of sitting on the couch (most of DC was closed)?  Post it.

Powered by Ushahidi, we’re excited to see how this site, launched with two hours of work, can be used as a model for other emergency or crisis situations that can be utilized by government agencies and NGOs.

While we don’t have enough hands at PICnet DC to clean up the city ourselves, a little bit of crowdsourcing, applied in the right way, just might help us dig out of this mess faster…because snow is only fun when it doesn’t get in the way of trying to get food.


Stellar support, simplified systems

Recently, we helped migrate a newly designed Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to the Soapbox platform, after they were seeing diminishing service and support from their old system. The organization wanted an option to have support 24 hours a day and to build a relationship with their platform provider.

And boy, did we build a relationship! As project manager, I spoke with Ladd Everitt from CSGV almost every day – as their PR/media person, he had a great personal investment in the website, and he was very involved with the decision-making and details from the start of the project.

We originally were going  to use the eblast system Vertical Response, tied into the Salesforce CRM to manage CSGV’s contacts.  However, upon understanding the small staff they had and the technical literacy which these two systems required, I decided to look into Network for Good’s My Emma Email Now! This turned out to be both a simpler and more affordable solution for the client. Now CSGV has petitions, contact forms and surveys running through the form creation on Email Now, and they are also able to send out well-designed html email blasts through this very simple and easy to use system. I also want to give a quick shout out to Kate Purcell, the designer of the site.

The relationship PICnet built with Ladd for this site was great for overall communications and for the momentum of the project.  He was a great example of a smooth client-vendor partnership – always delivering on time and was available at all hours during the holidays for launch.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy. Learn more here.


Soapbox site launch: Mercy Investment Services

We recently launched another great Soapbox site, this time for Mercy Investment Services,  an asset management program for the collective investment and professional management of the endowment, operating, and other funds of the Sisters of Mercy and the eligible sponsored and co-sponsored ministries that choose to participate, all of which are tax-exempt organizations engaged in religious and charitable activities.

The idea behind the program is that, by combining their assets, participants may obtain lower costs for the investment of their funds and access to better performing investment managers than each would otherwise have.

Here are some of our favorite, and notable features for the new site:

  • Flash maps that display where the reach of their socially responsible investing in the United States and around the world
  • Use of a taxonomy product PICnet built to classify the socially responsible investments not just by geographical area but by Type of Investment, making the information more accessible to site visitors while not increasing administrative overhead on staff to upkeep the site

Mercy Investment Services is connected to the Sisters of Mercy Communities,  for whom we’ve built several community sites. You can read more about those here and here.


We’re a B Corporation!

B Corporation logo

We’ve been newly minted as a grade A, bona fide B Corporation and we couldn’t be happier with the certification. As described by the B Corporation website, “B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” That’s PICnet, in a nutshell, and we’re happy to join the growing community of 250+ B Corporations dedicating themselves to more than just the bottom line. That’s exactly the kind of folks we want to be associated with and we’re proud of the company we’ll be keeping

If you want to learn more about our fellow B Corporation friends and details of what it means to be certified, check out