Gotta Catch 'Em All: Pokemon Go & Nonprofits

Have you heard of the newest phenomenon taking the world by storm? (If you haven’t, you probably live under a rock.) It’s Pokemon Go--a mobile app game where users roam the outdoors to catch Pokemon monsters. As you walk around, the game uses location services to create augmented reality of the little creatures.

And the game has gained some insane traction. As of July 8, the app has been downloaded on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US and is being used on average 43 minutes, 23 seconds a day (higher than Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger!). Whether people are jumping on the Poketrain to feel that ’90s nostalgia or to get their steps in, Pokemon Go is being played by millions.

So, what the heck does that mean for your organization? Well, it’s one great way to raise awareness and attract volunteers.

Right in our back yard, Muncie Animal Shelter has got the right idea. They’re leveraging the game to encourage people to come volunteer. Walk a dog, catch some Pokemon!

It’s all about finding a creative way to mesh your cause with the game. Maybe your organization is hosting a fundraising or community engagement event. Consider investing a few bucks to drop a lure that attracts the monsters to your location for 30 minutes. Then you can take advantage of the increased foot traffic to share your mission. Here’s an example of how 3Wisemen in Broad Ripple did this.

If there’s a Pokemon Gym or Pokestop near you, let your followers on social media know. Just getting traffic near your organization can raise awareness of your cause. You might even be able to find a creature that’s related to your cause, and you can share that information with cute signage outside of your facilities.

Whether or not the phenomenon is here to stay, your organization should catch ‘em all while you can!

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What's Mine is Yours

Take a deep breath. I'm about to use a word that may set your teeth on edge. You might start having flashbacks to long meetings and unproductive conversations. You might feel instant frustration, but stick with me. This blog post is about collaboration.

There, I said it. The C-word. For a lot of people in the nonprofit sector, the word "collaboration" is akin to corporate-speak words like "synergy." We hear the word all the time, and it sounds great in theory! But what's it really even mean?

The truth is, collaboration, at least in the nonprofit world, means a lot of things. It means finding a way to blend or merge duplicated services. It means integrated services. It means partnerships. Sometimes collaboration means shared services.

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Shared services, also called network alliances, are a way for nonprofit organizations to leverage and maximize existing resources. The best thing about this type of collaboration is that organizations with totally different missions can join forces.

Eos Nonprofit Consulting is working with a group of nonprofits right now that is exploring shared services, and we're thinking of this initiative as collective bargaining. The goal is to find better rates on essential contract services like maintenance, IT, healthcare, janitorial services, insurance and more. Not only will each organization save money, but also an amazing amount of staff time that's spent with quote comparisons and reference checks.

To learn more about how to implement shared services, I can't recommend highly enough that you check out what the Foundation Center has to say. Not only is there great original content there, but several links to more resources. You can learn about whether shared services might be right for your organization. If you need help putting the idea into action, Eos Nonprofit Consulting is here for you!

The Other Side of Fear

When you dream about your future, what does it look like? Are you envisioning a tangible reality or a fantasy that would've only been possible if you'd won that billion and a half dollar lotto? Do you think about your life in five years or twenty? I've always been one to just prepare in the present for the best possible future. I don't think I can anticipate what life will look like in a year, let alone a few decades from now. But for the past several years, I've had a very clear idea of what my retirement would look like. I'd be a consultant. I'd work with organizations that are doing good things, and just need a boost to get to great. I'd do a little bit of everything, and every day would be different. I'd be able to help my community, which is always a part of my dream. Consulting has been my "someday" job, that thing I've been shooting for if I could do anything.

Except that recently I decided, why wait for someday? Why not today? The answer, for me, was that fear was the only thing stopping me. Fear that I would go from a secure position where I was making a tangible difference to having to start all over -- and as a small business owner.

  Because life would be so boring if we let fear make our decisions, I've taken the plunge. Today is my last day as an executive director. I am now the owner of Eos Nonprofit Consulting. I've already secured a few clients, including the organization that I've resigned from. My goal is to work with organizations to identify small changes that can make big differences. I'll be doing a little bit of everything, including grant writing, marketing, board and leadership development, fundraising and program development.

It's big, and it's scary, but it's a dream come true. I'm looking forward to serving my community in a way I've never been able to before. And that's thrilling, and totally worth the risk.

In addition to the servicesI'm offering, I'll be blogging about the world of nonprofits weekly. I promise, most of my posts will not be all about me, as this one has been. My hope is to share some knowledge, spread some information, and start some interesting conversations.

I'll be sharing those posts and other interesting information on the Eos Nonprofit Consulting Facebook and Twitter pages. Come along on this journey with me!