My Nonprofit Future

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Hi, my name is Omar Ziadeh, and I am a student at the University of Nevada-Reno, pursuing a graduate degree in Business Administration and planning to graduate in the Spring of 2019. I go to the University of Nevada-Reno. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in 2017 with a degree in Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in cultural anthropology.

 

Over the course of the past five months, I have written 37 blogs, and created 5 videos. My main topic has been non-profit management, but I have delved into change, leadership, and innovation within this topic.

 

Over the past five years, I have been going back and forth with what I want to do with my career. But the only consistent over those five years is that I want to do something that helps people, and I want to be motivated to wake up in the morning. Those are not the most concise descriptions of a career path, but I have intentionally kept this vague.

Today, I am asking for a hand, just as I have spoken about multiple times over the course of my blogs. I am not sure what my career path is, or will be, but I’m hoping that it is somewhere in the non-profit field.

It does not necessarily have to be a non-profit organization, it could be for a start-up, University or small company in a community-oriented position.

And I have a great list in mind of places and positions I would want, but making this video blog, and hopefully getting someone’s attention, is just one more way I can try and make connections with people who would be willing to lend me a hand.

If you are active in nonprofit management or know someone who is active, do not hesitate to contact me. I am always open to networking and sitting down for a drink and having an open conversation.

I appreciate you taking time to open this blog. Thank you.

Follow me on Twitter so you can get an update whenever I post a blog or post content related to the nonprofit sector!

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Social Innovation Requires a Crowd

Dream Speech

Social innovation requires a crowd. An idea does not become an action without a large group of supporters behind the scenes. Even Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, two of the most well-known social innovators of the past one hundred years, were not able to accomplish their grand visions of social justice without the support of millions of people behind them.

 

Nonprofits and their leaders are no different. Your grand idea for social innovation needs support, and it is important to understand that asking for helping is one of the most important ways to get that support.

People want to help. People feel a rush of euphoria when they are able to help someone in a time of need. We need to remember that. If you can appeal to the values and convictions of an individual, they will help you.

Don’t be a fearless leader of a movement and forget the crowd. They need you, and you need them. It is more important to bring people along than it is to carry the entire movement by yourself. Never forget that.

Works Referenced:

How to Get the Help You Need: Harvard Business Review Article by Heidi Grant

Great Leaders Don’t Do It Alone . . . They Get Help: Forbes Article by Erika Andersen

Photo Credits:

MLK Photo: Time Magazine

 

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I Did a Commencement Speech, and I Hope You Can Take Something From It

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On Wednesday, June 13th, I was the commencement speaker for the high school in which I graduated from in 2014. It was an awesome experience, and it was my first time doing a pre-prepared speech in front of hundreds of people.

In this speech, I talked about how narrowing your growth to a comfortable bubble will displace your ability to make a difference. This applies so much to nonprofits and innovation.

In addition, I talked about grief and how going through it alone is a tough way to deal with it. In the nonprofit realm, many jobs have you dealing with situations in which people or animals are suffering. You shouldn’t hold your emotions in, but rather have a network of people to rely on so that you have somebody to lean on when times get tough.

I hope you can take something out of my speech. I believe what I said is so applicable to the nonprofit realm. Thank you so much for watching!

Photo Credits:

Silver Stage High School

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The demographics of major social media platforms (Part 4)

 

In today’s blog, I examine the last three social media sites that I want to look at: Reddit, Flickr, and Tumblr. Though not as popular as some of the other social media sites I have talked about in part 1, part 2, and part 3, they all have hundreds of millions of users.

Reddit is a community-driven creator of content. Users post content on the site, and other users give the content up votes or down votes. Posts with more up votes tend to spread throughout the site. Typical posts on Reddit include stories, videos, photos, GIFs, and many other types of shareable content.

Flickr is an online photo sharing social media website. Users share and post photos with other users throughout the site. In addition, Flickr is a photo-storage website. Many people use Flickr to save their favorite memories and moments.

Tumblr is a social media site that promotes micro blogging. Simply, users post multimedia content to a short-form blog. These can be words, photos, video, GIFs, and so on. Many people peruse through the main dashboard to find the most popular micro-blogs. Others follow certain micro bloggers.

All in all, all three of these sites host hundreds of millions of visitors each month. Nonprofits and philanthropic organizations need to have a larger presence on these sites because they unlock demographics you won’t find on other social media programs.

Works Referenced:

1. Social Media Fact Sheet: By Pew Research Center

2. Flickr About Page

3. Tumblr About Page

Photo Credits:

1. Reddit Logo

2. Flickr Logo

3. Tumblr Logo

 

Follow me on Twitter so you can get an update whenever I post a blog or post content related to the nonprofit sector!

The demographics of major social media platforms (Part 3)

This blog is part 3 of my series on the demographics of major social media platforms. If you would like to read part 1, where I talked about three major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, here is the link! If you would like to read part 2, where I talked about three more major platforms: Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, here is the link for that! In this blog, I will be looking into demographics from two more social media platforms: LinkedIn and Google+.

LinkedIn: For Professionals in Business

2000px-LinkedIn_Logo.svgLinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social media network. It has over 500 million active users in more than 200 countries worldwide. LinkedIn is the premier social media site for people with a business background. The ease of being able to connect to other professionals is what makes LinkedIn so appealing to professionals.

The Pew Research Center has the following demographics on LinkedIn,

“25% of U.S. adults use LinkedIn. This is split evenly between men and female. The age group 30-49 has the highest usage rate at 33%, followed by the 18-29 age group at 29% and the 50-64 age group at 24%. College graduates are overwhelmingly the most active on LinkedIn, with 50% of college graduates using the platform compared to only 9% who have a high school degree. As it is with most social media platforms, urban users are at 30% compared to rural areas at 13%.”[¹]

The demographic for LinkedIn is clear; college graduates. If you are looking for educated males or females who are middle aged, LinkedIn is the clear-cut choice. Even the 50-64 age group uses it at a decent rate of 24%. LinkedIn is a premier spot to display job openings and make connections with executives of other companies that you may want to partner with. Simply put, LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites for making connections, something it prides itself on.

Google+: Unable to Overthrow Facebook but Still Viable

246x0wGoogle+ is an interesting case study. Executives at Google were looking at Google+ to be a viable alternative to Facebook. While initial reports came back positive, Google+ eventually was unable to gain even close to the same following that Facebook has. Regardless, it still has over 200+ million active users.

Google+ is a social networking service. It attempts to differentiate itself by allowing more transparency in who you share with and how you interact. It is also integrated with all of Google’s other services: Google drive, Google search, Gmail, and so on. You can create circles, which are personalized and centered around a specific theme, such as a college class or a book club.

There is not as much data on Google+ and its demographics, but SearchEnginePeople were able to do some digging and find useful information,

Google+ is a male-driven professional social media site. The fact that 70% of brands have a presence on Google+ goes to show how companies feel that Google+ has potential to help improve their brand image.

What intrigues me most about Google+ is the fact that using Google+ could influence your search rankings. The most used search engine is Google, and naturally, you would assume that Google tries its best to pump up Google+ results as high as possible. While this has not been proven to be true, it would not be a surprise if using Google+ helped you favorably when it came to Google searches.

Professional Social Media is Important

These two sites are more oriented towards professionals, and taking advantage of this is important. Professionals have immense potential to advance your brand image if they are treated well. They have the most connections and the biggest networks. Do not sleep on LinkedIn or Google+, they can be just as important to your brand as Instagram or Snapchat.

Works Referenced:

1. Social Media Fact Sheet: By Pew Research Center

2. Google+ Demographics by SearchEnginePeople

Photo Credits:

1. LinkedIn Social Media Logo

2. Google+ Social Media Logo

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Social innovations that need your support

In this blog, I want to highlight two social innovation projects that are being promoted through Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform that allows innovators to display their ideas and have normal, everyday people fund it. In return, people who fund Kickstarter products receive benefits. First of all, I want to define what social innovation is.

Social Innovation

According to the Standard Graduate School of Business, social innovation is defined as follows,

“Social innovation is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress.”[¹]

The key to social innovation is that it does not necessarily require entrepreneurship. Creating a company or nonprofit is not a precursor to being socially innovative. Socially innovative ideas can come from nonprofit organizations that already exist, corporations, governments, NGOs, and individuals who just want to make a difference. Moreover, social innovation is rarely accomplished by one person. It is truly a collaborative effort. One person may have an idea, but it requires a group to be socially innovative.

Socially innovative ideas can be found throughout education, community development, health, and many other areas. The only two pre-requisites for a socially innovative idea is that it is valuable for society and good for many.

Bringing Neighborhood News Back

When you hear about Chicago, Illinois in the news, it is typically bad. Media channels, especially Fox News, like to smear Chicago as if its an urban war-zone and a place that harbors criminals. While there is no argument against Chicago being an area with high rates of crime (as many high population urban cities are), we never get to hear the stories of what is going on in Chicago beneath all the biased and agenda-driven articles written by the major press.

da3adb22065c205d024916300b203cfd_originalBringing Neighborhood News Back is trying to change that. Through their Kickstarter campaign, they are trying to start a nonprofit news organization that is “dedicated to delivering to delivering reliable, nonpartisan and essential coverage of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.”[²]

I love this because stories are what communities what they are. Large media organizations typically do not write about the average person. This Kickstarter campaign has already demolished its goal, raising $183,720 when its goal was $25,000. However, the great thing about Kickstarter campaigns is that they aren’t over after the money is raised. This non-profit needs your support to grow into a reliable news organization that can share the real stories of Chicago. Check out their website here!

FinalStraw

I personally believe not enough nonprofit organizations are working on environmental issues, and that we are relying too much on bureaucratic and climate-change ignorant governments to change. FinalStraw is a Kickstarter campaign that became insanely popular. They raised $1.8 million with an initial goal of only $12,500. That is so impressive. Check out this GIF from their website that highlights what FinalStraw is.

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Yes, it is a reusable straw that fits so easily on your key chain. Throughout the globe yearly, we use tens of billions of straws, and straws made of plastics compose slowly and usually end up in the ocean, where they are a serious detriment to the environment.

Straight from their website, this is what FinalStraw is,

“FinalStraw’s mission is to reduce plastic straw use by giving people a convenient, collapsible, reusable alternative. In doing so, we hope to make the public more aware of the devastating effects of plastic pollution and use that awareness to pressure restaurants to stop serving straws.”[³]

FinalStraw is convenient and easily usable. Most importantly, it will last a long time. Forget the plastic straw, go to FinalStraw and order this amazing product. Do the environment a favor, and help prevent plastic straws from damaging our oceans.

These are two Kickstarter campaigns that captured my attention and convinced me to donate my money to. I encourage you to do the same! These socially innovative products funded by every, normal people are such a pleasure to watch grow. If you have a socially innovative idea, I recommend Kickstarter as a building block to make it happen!

Works Referenced:

1. Defining Social Innovation: Stanford Graduate School of Business

2. Bringing Neighborhood News Back by Block Club Chicago

3. FinalStraw Kickstarter Campaign

Photo Credits:

1. Bringing Neighborhood News Back by Block Club Chicago Logo

2. FinalStraw Gif

 

Follow me on Twitter so you can get an update whenever I post a blog or post content related to the nonprofit sector!

Corporate Social Responsibility: Companies Leading the Charge

In my previous blog titled Corporate Social Responsibility: What It Can Do For Your Company, I wrote about how embracing corporate social responsibility is not only the right thing to do, but the most fiscally responsible thing to do. For firms, embracing corporate social responsibility improves relationships with stakeholders and increases employee retention and morale. In this blog, I want to talk about two of the world’s most socially responsible companies and how they integrate their business operations with their CSR practices.

Patagonia: The Standard Bearer

logo-PatagoniaLike peanut butter and jelly, Patagonia and CSR go hand in hand. If you have not read Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s book Let My People Go Surfingyou are missing out on the story of how Patagonia became the pioneer of CSR. In addition, Chouinard talks about the CSR values that are nearest and dearest to his heart. From the very beginning, Patagonia (known as Chouinard Equipment when it was founded) was a company that was focused on the sustainability and the environment.

In the late 1950s, mountain climbers used pitons that were placed once, then left in the rock. Some climbs required hundreds of pitons to be used. Chouinard witnessed firsthand the degradation of mountain climbing routes throughout the western United States.

Chouinard viewed this more as a way to help the environment and much less as an opportunity for a business. It was not until 1965 that he decided to amp up production. During the late 1960s, Chouinard’s main goal was to create climbing gear that was stronger, lighter, simpler, and more functional.

Eventually, Patagonia grew into one of the premier outdoor clothing and gear companies in the United States. However, they never lost their vision of having a company that is beneficial for all stakeholders involved. From Patagonia’s website, here is how they view CSR, as you should notice, stakeholder theory is something they heavily believe in.

“Corporate Responsibility (CR) is a broad-based movement in business that encourages companies to take responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, communities and the environment. Companies committed to corporate responsibility also agree to abide by international labor and human rights standards.”[¹]

Below is a list of how Patagonia ensures they operate as ethically and morally as possible:

  1. All suppliers of goods are required to sustain fair labor practices, safe working conditions, and environmental responsibility.
  2. All mills are required to use organic materials. In addition, all steps in the production process are traceable, even for consumers.
  3. Throughout their supply chain, all workers must be paid a living wage regardless of which country they are from.
  4. Any clothing bought from Patagonia that is damaged can be sent back to Patagonia free of charge for repairs, Repair, Reuse, & Recycle.
  5. Patagonia pledges 1% of pre-tax profits to preservation and protection of the natural environment. They were the flagship firm for the 1% For the Planet program, which includes about 1,800 firms. They collectively raised over $175 million last year.
  6. Patagonia often lobbies politically for policies and bills that support the environment.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. The amount of good that Patagonia does for their stakeholders is immeasurable. When consumers buy the Patagonia brand, they do not only get a high-quality product, they are supporting ethical and moral business practices. Patagonia is as much an organization as it is a movement.

Coca-Cola: A Prime Example of Operational Integration

946677-coca-cola-logoCoca-Cola was founded in 1886 as a medical solution to a plethora of problems that John Pemberton, the founder, said could be fixed by drinking the product. Though these claims were false, it was the first step into creating a company that is known worldwide.

Coca-Cola did eventually move away from being a medical product and instead, became an affordable drink for the masses. Coca-Cola may have not been founded on the principles of CSR as Patagonia was, but today, it has a few notable CSR initiatives.

What is the one common denominator between every Coca-Cola product? All of their products contain water. Whether it is Coca-Cola classic, Dasani, Minute Maid, Fanta, or Sprite, they all require water. Coca-Cola is well known for their soda that can be found almost anywhere on the planet, but their CSR initiatives do great work as well.

Coca-Cola’s two most recognizable CSR programs are their Save the Polar Bears campaign and their Water Stewardship campaign. I specifically wanted to highlight their water stewardship program because it aligns so closely with their business operations. This is something that all firms should be focusing on.

You do not need to go outside the box to become a firm that embraces corporate social responsibility. Firms that consider what they do as a company and integrate what they do into their CSR programs will be most successful. Coca-Cola knew that having freshwater sources was key to their survival as a company, so having a water stewardship program is not only beneficial to the communities in which they have helped create new freshwater sources but for themselves as well.

If this sounds selfish to you, it may be so. Coca-Cola also is not the most criticism free example of a company that embraces CSR, many of their core products contain amounts of sugar that has contributed to the worldwide rise of obesity.

However, Coca-Cola has successfully cultivated 248 water partnership projects in 2,000 communities across 71 different countries. In addition, over the past thirteen years, they have reduced the amount of water in each liter of their products by 27%. There is no denying the success of this program,

“According to their infographic on Water Replenishment, they have invested 300 million dollars to provide sustainable and safe water access to 2,000,000 people in Africa who had previously unreliable freshwater sources.”[²]

Aligning Values with CSR is Key

There are hundreds more examples of companies that have embraced corporate social responsibility. The ones who are most successful have aligned their business practices with their CSR initiatives. When it comes to CSR, going outside the box may actually be detrimental to your success. Whether its Patagonia and their clothing line, or Coca-Cola and their drinks, when companies align values with CSR, they are much more likely to have a positive effect on their stakeholders.

Works Referenced:

1. Patagonia Website CSR

2. Coca Cola Water Replenishment Info

Photo Credits:

1. Patagonia Company Logo

2. Coca Cola Company Logo