Archive for the ‘DIA’ Category

Soapbox Site Launch: The Smart Campaign

Picture 1Earlier in March, PICnet launched a new site for ACCION and their new program called “The Smart Campaign.” They needed a simple site that would be eventually be available in Russian, Spanish, French, and Arabic.  The site also needed to host ACCION’s toolkit of resources, available in all languages.  Users will be able to find valuable information that serve as guides and best practices to those looking to participate in micro-finance.

What I like best on this site is the humanistic feel the homepage design presents. Lisa Mattei-McDonald, my client contact at BI, was introduced into this project midway.  After her predecessor left, Lisa did an extraordinary job catching up quickly to all things web related.  I applaud her success at keeping the project cool and calm even during her own discovery of her role and the unforeseen requirements that the project took on.

It was a full blown effort with four vendors involved! Boston Interactive hired PICnet to implement their design.  Strategy and communications firm  M+R was also involved.  And Democracy in Action came in at the very end to help The Smart Campaign’s constituents active on the site.

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Soapbox Site Launch: Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) wanted an update to their outdated website – for being the greatest representative of whistleblowers in our nation’s capital, they wanted to have a site that demonstrated their force when reckoning with the bullies.

Dylan Blaylock, my point of contact at GAP, was a very proactive client. He was so prepared that he delivered the site’s wireframes to me instead of the other way around! While these provided a great starting point on which to consider layout, we worked extensively on the site navigation. I once again was confronted with a communications challenge – I didn’t initially present the solution in a visual way. (This is becoming to be a common thread among my clients. I can’t help it- I’m not visual! I see things logically. Forgive me, people!)

In addition to the common website hurdles, Dylan and I had to reckon with DC Snowmaggedon RIGHT. BEFORE. DEADLINE. And this deadline was extremely important:

“On February 17, 2010, GAP teamed up with Participant Media and the Paley Center for Media for a fantastic and unique event – the first-ever televised, long-format special that details and analyzes what whistleblowers are, the six stages of whistleblowing they typically experience, and their lack of legal protections.”

Read more about this event on GAP’s Blog.

So while all of Dylan’s coworkers were at home trying to organize the event when all DC offices were closed, Dylan trudged into work amidst the horrible weather to make this site complete — all by himself! He really did a great job. Between his iPhone and my ski vacation breaks over President’s Weekend, we worked hard to troubleshoot and resolve all outstanding issues before the big event. Dylan gave us some props himself: “Thanks for everything with the Web site again. You and Ryan did an amazing job.”

Through the new website, advocates and constituents alike can contact congress on initiatives, using an advocacy platform through DemocracyInAction (DIA). Online donations are processed through Network for Good.

About GAP The Government Accountability Project’s mission is to promote corporate and government accountability by protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech, and empowering citizen activists.

GAP is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with an operating budget of around $2.5 million. Gifts to GAP are tax-deductible. The vast majority of our funds come from over 10,000 individual donors and foundations such as the Carnegie Foundation, CS Fund, Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Rockefeller Family Fund. Additional support comes from legal fees, settlement awards, and services provided. GAP is compliant with standards set by the Better Business Bureau, and we enjoy that organization’s stamp of approval.

Founded in 1977, GAP is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. Located in Washington, D.C., GAP is a nonpartisan, public interest group. In addition to focusing on whistleblower support in our stated program areas, we lead campaigns to enact whistleblower protection laws both domestically and internationally. GAP also conducts an accredited legal clinic for law students, and offers an internship program year-round.


Soapbox site launch: Weatherize DC

weatherizeIn February, PICnet collaborated with our design partners and DC neighbors Free Range Studios, to launch a new Soapbox site for Weatherize DC. The campaign is part of The DC Project, a DC non-profit founded by former leaders of the Obama for America campaign. The DC Project advances economic and environmental justice by creating clean energy career opportunities for people who need them most. Staff are trained in grassroots organizing techniques rooted in metrics-based, data-driven field methods that empower neighborhood volunteers to affect systemic change.

Here are a few highlights from the project and the website:

  • Integration with Democracy-in-Action (DIA) donate, events, and e-newsletter subscription
  • Real time Twitter updates
  • Facebook Fanbox widget that allows for dynamic display of current fans and provides option for end user to become a Facebook fan from the Soapbox site
  • Embedding of WeatherizeDC YouTube channel
  • Custom design for new Soapbox Slideshow on home page
  • Use of new Title Manager

And now a word from Free Range Studios designer Kathi Bahr: “It was truly a pleasure collaborating with an organization that’s doing positive (and tangible!) work for the DC community. We were given complete creative freedom in order to build the new WeatherizeDC brand from start to finish, beginning with a logo design and then website design. It’s rewarding to know we were part of a team that established a creative tool that community members will see and interact with directly.”

In summary – great project, great partner, a great success. Excellent job, team!


Supporting Schools through Soapbox

NYCCharter_screenshotWe recently helped The New York City Charter School Center launch a new Soapbox website in partnership with design firm Big Duck. The organization helps new charter schools get started, supports existing schools,  builds community support, and trains new leaders so that highly effective services can flourish.

The new site is informative and engaging, with aggressive integration through Democracy In Action for events, campaigns, and eNewsletter sign-up and templates. It also includes liberal use of WuFoo custom forms for robust online grant and fellowship applications.

One final cool feature is a Google Map integration displaying more than 100 charter schools in New York that links to more details and content within the site and to the individual schools’ websites.

Learn more about the New York City Charter School Center.


PICnet CEO Ryan Ozimek gives CMS/CRM talk to OneWorld members

OneWorldIn an effort to help spread the word of open source content management systems (CMS) and constituent relationship management systems (CRM), I was asked to give a talk at OneWorld on March 28, 2007 to the OneWorld Peer Learning Exchange. Roshani Kothari from OneWorld was gracious enough to write up some great notes on it (see below) as well as post a podcast of this.

Listen to the MP3 of the talk

Thanks to Roshani for her hard work to make these OneWorld Peer Learning Exchanges occur, and to my co-presenters Alan Rosenblatt and Guy Stevens for their contributions.

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Islands and bridges: why Soapbox will lead the way to CRM and CMS integration for non-profits

Islands of CRM systemsAs Non-Profit Soapbox continues to grow in the non-profit community, we have listened and responded to our clients’ ideas, pains, and comments. Surprisingly, what we hear most doesn’t have much to do with the core of Soapbox and Joomla, but rather the struggles of linking together a Web site with an organization’s database, or CRM system.

We haven’t taken this issue lightly, and as we discussed two weeks ago, we’re heavily involved in building bridges between Soapbox and the leading CRM systems for non-profits, starting with Democracy in Action.

What makes Soapbox a success for non-profits is that it goes beyond the core of just being a Web site manager, and allows organizations to connect more seamlessly to their CRM systems. That ability to present data from the database, and choosing the presentation of that data in the Web site is what will be the main differentiator between CMS choices for non-profits.

As CRM vendors are feeling the pressure from clients to provide open APIs, PICnet is stepping up quickly to act on this new opportunity for our clients. Although we’re weary of the all talk and no walk, we’re willing to take vendors on at their word. We’re building the bridges between Soapbox and the following CRM systems:

Our goals are simple when building these bridges:

  • empower organizations to choose where they place their data
  • provide choice for the presentation of data from their chosen CRM
  • simplify the Web experience for organiation’s Web site visitors

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing J!DIA to the community as an open source component for Joomla. Soon thereafter, we will begin working with GetActive and to build similar functionalities for building bridges between Web sites and databases. Stay tuned, we’re empowering non-profits with choice.


J!DIA – Joomla and Democracy in Action together in harmony

J!DIAOne of our most interesting projects in the PICnet Labs is J!DIA, which brings together Joomla with the Democracy in Action database in ways in which we’ve never been able to achieve before.

Imagine the following situations that could make your members and supporters lives easier when interacting with your organization through your Joomla-based Web site:

  • allowing users to login and edit their DIA profile directly within Joomla
  • enabling members to be able to search a member’s only directory stored in the DIA database, all within Joomla and without any wrappers
  • adding new supporters in DIA database using Joomla, without needing to do so through the DIA headquarters
  • allowing users to login to Joomla and view all their past donations and events attended that are stored in DIA

One of our fearless Joomla developers, Chris Garvis, is very close to putting together what we call J!DIA. This component will provide never before seen access to the Democracy in Action system directly through an organization’s Web site. Before J!DIA was developed, most of the display of data in DIA, for most organizations, would need to be presented in the DIA headquarters via wrappers.

We’ve changed this paradigm for Joomla users, enabling the Joomla CMS and your Web site’s stylesheets control the output, look, and feel of the DIA data in a format you completely control.

We’re eager to get this out to the community as soon as possible, and once we have a proof of concept, we’ll let you know. But right now, know this: we’re about to make life much easier for Joomla administrators that are also using DIA.

And Non-Profit Soapbox users, you’ll be happy to know this will be included in all our Non-Profit Soapbox sites in the near future.

More details coming soon.