August 24, 2012

Candace Nelson, Founder of Sprinkles on how her customer bases grows.

Speaking of extending value after hours, I stopped by the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM the other night. Without a peek into the numbers, the Cupcake ATM is a great way to extend their services. It was around midnight and the cake was still moist, so product quality is not a concern. I imagine many folks will even go to the ATM during normal business hours as it is a novelty, doubling up the revenue stream during the day. I’m looking forward to watching this. 

August 24, 2012
Twitter Tip O’ the Day

Some companies like restaurant, boutiques, and universities with weekend classes can benefit from weekend activity but do not have the weekend personnel to pull it off. That’s when you schedule your tweets to deploy while you’re out of the office.

My favorite scheduler is Tweetdeck, though there are a few others.

Tweetdeck is free and easy to use. In fact, scheduling tweets is probably it’s most fluid function as it seems to lack in the pushing replies through department. I also like the idea of adding the Tweetdeck app to Google Chrome to make it even easier.

Check out

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Filed under: Twitter tips 
August 22, 2012
Twitter Tip O’ the Day

Just because Twitter is constant, it doesn’t mean you have to constantly tweet.

I liken it to the occasionally quiet or all white tv commercial. A lull in the constant barrage of messages and images can be more attention-grabbing then your next hashtag.

For more on the rules of social media marketing, not just Twitter, peep an article posted on Fast Company. #TheRules of Social Media: Everyone Says They Don’t Want To Be Marketed To. Really, They Just Don’t Want to Be Talked Down To

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August 21, 2012
Twitter Tip O’ the Day

I’ve witnessed a number of organization do a Twitter search and follow every person who mentioned their key word. This practice is the equivalent of buying a list of addresses from the post office and sending everyone near you a postcard. Not saying this is not an efficient tactics for direct service practitioners like the cleaners, or the newest pizza joint; but just as you give those postcards in your mailbox a fleeting glance and mentally mark them as spam, so will the new folks you follow.

Instead of just clicking follow, try to reply with a tip or fact pertaining to their tweet. This will not only make it worthwhile for the user to pay attention, it will demonstrate your value and spark a conversation.

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August 17, 2012
meet Now Is the Time

Although the Chicago Public Library is not a non-profit, it is one of those civil services that get a pass. I stumbled upon the organization Now Is the Time, while visiting the library’s site and I’m a thoroughly impressed.

From their website

About Now Is The Time

Now Is The Time is a citywide initiative inspiring young people to make positive change in their communities and stop youth violence and intolerance. The Chicago Public LibraryFacing History and Ourselves, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company join forces to start this conversation in Chicago’s many neighborhoods, along with theaters involved in Now Is The Time to ACT  and dozens of other organizations and institutions.

For the 2012-13 season, we’re hosting:

  • Events across the city
  • Media-making for youth
  • An interactive exhibit
  • Theater performances and classes for teens
  • Literary events
  • Visual arts activities
  • Workshops for educators 

…And much more.  Join us now.

August 6, 2012

January 24, 2012

Chicago Digital Divide from Nick Pandolfo on Vimeo.

A school on the wrong side of the digital divide.

This is very important and can’t get away from us. Poorer school are at a significant disadvantage and a lack of access to technology is sure to compound the issue.

January 5, 2012

December 15, 2011
10 Retailers Who Give Back During the Holidays

I’ve been reading all of these articles on better ways to spend your money than buying your relatives gifts, and well, I’m not buying it. We should at least be able to show our loved ones a token of our love on Christmas. Sheesh.

Here is an article by Ultimate Coupons that guides you on ways to buy nice things and support good causes at the same time. If you’re anything like me, now you feel a little less guilty.

During the holidays I like to donate bags of canned goods at my local grocery store, and when I’m buying gifts for my family, I buy a few extras and donate them to a shelter for women and children. I also like to shop at retailers who give back during the holidays. Here’s a list of some good places to give back while you’re getting gifts!

1. Nordstrom

Treasure & Bond, a subsidiary of Nordstrom, is a completely non-profit store. Buy gifts here, and all the after-cost profits go to charities that benefit New York children. You have to shop in-store, but if you’re in NY, go for it. This just opened in August, and I’ve never actually shopped there because I live on the opposite coast. If you’ve been there and bought gifts, leave a comment! I’d love to know what it’s like.

2. Macy’s

For the past four years, Macy’s has asked children to drop of their letters to Santa. For every letter dropped off, they donate $1 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which uses money to help sick kids with life-threatening illnesses do things such as meet their favorite celebrity or take a fun trip. This costs nothing for you, so get your kids working on some letters! You could even drop off your own letter!

3. JCPenney

For three years now, JCPenney has teamed with the Salvation Army for the Angel Giving Tree Online campaign, which lets shoppers provide children and seniors in need with Christmas presents. You can even donate via an app on your SmartPhone or iPad! YOu can also donate online or in-store. Do what I do, and when you’re buying gifts for your friends and family, throw in a couple extra for those in need. Check out this program here.

4. Toys ‘R’ Us

For the third year in a row, Toys ‘R’ Us has teamed up with Shaquille O’Neill to spread the word about their toy and cash drive to benefit the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Foundation. Donate some cash or a new toy in the checkout line at any Toys ‘R’ Us location, and a needy children will have gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning.

5. Sears

The holiday season can be especially hard on families with members overseas fighting for our country. Not having Daddy or Mommy home to celebrate the holidays is heartbreaking enough, and not having money for holiday treats or gifts can make that person’s absence even harder to bear. Sears’ “Heroes at Home Wish Registry Program,” in its fourth year, enables you to go online and donate a gift card for military members, veterans and their families. I did it this year. It takes about a minute and it really helps families in need. The family at right lost their husband and father five years ago. Their only income in Social Security, and this program made it possible for them to make essential repairs to their home.

6 &7. Pepsi and 7-Eleven

Pepsi and 7-Eleven are getting together to help families in need this holiday season. Until Dec. 31, Pepsi will donate five cents from each 20-oz. Pepsi product purchased at 7-Eleven locations to Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that gives food assistance to 37 million Americans every year. After you buy your Pepsi products, you can double your donations by “checking in” to 7-Eleven on Facebook, so remember to do that! Pepsi will donate up to $250,000 to the cause. I love my Diet Pepsi, so this one is a no-brainer for me.

8. Stop & Shop

Stop & Shop, a grocery store  chain, is having its  22nd annual Food for Friends program from Oct. 28 through Dec. 8. Shop at the store and you can donate $1, $3 or $5 to hunger relief organizations in your area. Stop & Shop’s goal is to raise more than $2 million this holiday season. Help them out with this goal! If you’re loading up on groceries for a big holiday meal, you can spare a few extra bucks to help those in need.

9. Petco

When families don’t have enough money to feed everyone, guess who goes hungry first. Sadly, it’s usually the family pets that go hungry, or get abandoned at shelters when families can’t afford to care for them anymore. If you love animals, then shop at Petco this holiday season. To participate, drop off dog or cat food at your local Petco. Hill’s Science Diet will match every bag of Science Diet cat or dog food purchased at a Petco store and donated to the Food Drive up to 100,000 pounds. If you don’t have a Petco near you, animal shelters can always use donations of food, beds, and toys.

10. Payless

At Payless, you won’t be asked to donate, because they use the profits from your purchase for good all on their own. Payless has pledged to donate 50,000 new pairs of shoes to hundreds of local charities this December, regardless of profits. Since the Payless Gives program was launched in 2008, the company has given away over 3 million dollars in free shoes to those in need. Shop at Payless for gifts this season, and you’ll know some of your money is helping people who are less fortunate than yourself.

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December 14, 2011
Salvation Army Kettle Update

Mass. Salvation Army’s Kettle Collections Drop by a Fifth

Five weeks into its seasonal red-kettle drive, the Massachusetts Salvation Army says donations are down by more than a fifth from last year, reports The Boston Globe.

The charity said it has taken in $1.2-million, a 22-percent drop from the 2010 holiday season, when its bell ringers collected $3.4-million. The biggest drops have been in urban areas, with donations down 38 percent in Boston, 45 percent in Waltham, and 53 percent in Chelsea and East Boston.

Other Massachusetts charities are reporting similar drops. Judy Salerno, head of the charity umbrella group Foundation for MetroWest, said the drop-off comes as the economic downturn has created a spike in the number of people needing services. “Even if  [contributions] were up, the problem is that need is way up,” she said. “The resource gap is bigger.”


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