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PICnet at the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation

I promise the reason I left dreary Washington, D.C. behind for 5 days in Los Angeles wasn’t just that it was 70 degrees in mid-February.  Rather, it was the chance to connect with 100 young social innovators from around the world all convening in Santa Monica to discuss trends in social entrepreneurship.  Okay, so the weather didn’t hurt, but I swear it was the chance to learn and grow as a social entrepreneur that inspired me to go.

I was honored to be selected as a StartingBloc fellow, and am incredibly grateful to PICnet for supporting my attendance at their social innovation summit.  In attendance were social entrepreneurs representing six continents, multiple countries, numerous sectors and cause areas, and myriad life experiences.  What connected us all, though, was our passion to employ the toolkit of entrepreneurship to improving the world around us.  From the social entrepreneur addressing sanitation issues in slums in his native India, to a recently-returned Haiti volunteer dedicating his career to teaching others the Creole language to promote cross-cultural communication, the ideas were big, and the action even bigger. Read more » launches

Coming to work for PICnet, I figured I would learn all kinds of geeky computer-terms like php, SQL and Cufon. Little did I Know that one of the coolest terms I would learn came from a client: charismatic mega-fauna.

What do charismatic mega-fauna – large animal species with widespread popular appeal – have to do with my job as a project manager? A lot, it turns out, when it came to creating a new site for the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC).


ASOC, as you’re probably imagining, has some incredibly compelling images, so we wanted a site that captured the visitor’s attention visually. This manifested itself in a stylish background image of Antarctica, as well as a prominent soapbox slideshow and embedded Flickr images module.

Don’t let the eye-candy fool you though, this site is deep with tons of resources on a number of key issues related to nature in the Antarctic as well as a fantastic archive of news articles and policy papers. To make sure the site felt fresh despite having so much content, we created a series of dynamic modules on all of the issue pages that are set to display the three most recent news articles and three most recent publications related to that specific issue area. This provides the site with a great mix of depth – you can read reports on the Antarctic that go back decades – as well as relevancy when looking for what’s happening right this minute.

But alongside all of the rich content and deep information, the charismatic megafauna still continue to find a place. I mean just look at the adorable penguin favicon for the site (say it aloud: “awwww.”)

Congratulations to ASOC on their beautiful new site!


New Site Launch: The Hitachi Foundation — Non-Profit Soapbox goes bilingual

When I applied for a job at PICnet I proudly listed that I am semi-fluent in German  (please don’t ask my high school German teacher though; she might highlight the “semi” aspect of it).  So, obviously when PICnet assigned me my first site to work on as a newly-hired project manager the site was in…Japanese.

I had the pleasure of working with the Hitachi Foundation to help launch a brand-new site that highlights how business practices can be applied to improve communities and create new economic opportunities.  One of the exciting aspects of creating the site was that it really became two-in-one: one in English as well as one in Japanese.

Once we had developed a great template and design for the English side, the challenge of adjusting it to fit for the Japanese language began.  All sorts of interesting issues arose as we began filling the site with Japanese characters.  For example, while English has no problem with arbitrary line breaks, these are crucially important in Japanese, which meant that the <br> html tag became a good friend of ours in order to make sure everything displayed correctly.  Thankfully, I found that the Non-Profit Soapbox platform was flexible enough to handle almost any challenge we threw at it — as long as we could think creatively.

It was a pleasure working with the Hitachi Foundation team as we launched PICnet’s first ever bi-lingual site.  Now only one question remains: do I dare add to my resume that I’m semi-fluent in Japanese?


Soapbox Salon: Podcasts for Your Non-Profit

Thanks to all of you for joining our Soapbox Salon event for November!  For those of you that couldn’t make it, you can check out the slides from our presentation below.  In it, we walk you through why you should consider creating a podcast for your Non-Profit and the steps and best practices to make it happen.   Enjoy!

Soapbox Salon: Podcasts for your Non-Profit

Be sure to keep on the lookout for our next Soapbox Salon!