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Good Advice: Tips and Resources

Why Nonprofits Should Care about Linked Data and the Semantic Web

by Kristen Milhollin

The meaning and implications of the semantic web have not been understood by many people outside of a very small cluster who have embraced it since World Wide Web Founder Tim Berners-Lee announced at TED in 2009  his idea that it would be useful if the internet did more than hold unrelated documents - if it instead began to hold more data, and link related data together in a logical framework. SpaceforGood takes a look at what Linked Data can do, and what nonprofits can do with it.

Expert Advice: Ray Schillinger of Media|Sophe on Audio

We were very lucky to attend and to be able to share part of Raymon Schillinger's Filmmaking Bootcamp during Digital Capitol Week (DCWeek) this year, which was a rapid-fire succession of great suggestions for shooting and editing your own films.  We thought the following 3 key suggestions were a good starting point for nonprofits- suggestions that we wished we had taken before venturing out to cover some of the DCWeek events this year...

The first, about audio, is summarized in this short video:

Some of his other suggestions:
2) Buy a tripod- he discussed the pros and cons of the monopod, tripod, and "Gorillapod."

3) Buy a portable light- he recommends CN-160 LED light, available onlne.  Just looking at some of SpaceforGood's earlier videos- ahem- wish we had purchased one of these lights ages ago.

Below is a downloadable PDF of many of the tips/pointers provided in the session, which is as packed full of useful information as the session was.

Expert Advice: Liz Norton/Stone Soup Films on Storytelling

  "There is a Movement Going On Here"

Liz Norton stated Stone Soup Films two years ago with two volunteers she found on Craigslist.  Now, the DC-based nonprofit that matches volunteer videographers and editors with nonprofits in need has an arsenal of hundreds of volunteers and has made over 13 projects for DC-area nonprofits in need.

While there are still challenges to overcome in getting nonprofit organizations to understand the value of video as a critical communications tool in the new, more visual and immediate online fundraising environment, Norton said that her organization has had an overwhelming response from the nonprofit community and from funders who recognize the potential for video in raising awareness about issues and the organizations who are addressing them.

Expert Advice: Amanda Buenz Makulec on Volunteer-Led Video Projects

We met Powerhouse Volunteer Amanda Buenz Makulec at the UN Foundation/Mashable Social Good Summit.  She was buzzing with energy, wearing many hats as a Monitoring and Evaluations Associate at John Snow Inc and as Washington DC Regional Director (a volunteer position) for One Home Many Hopes, which builds homes for orphaned girls in Kenya.  Amanda helped spearhead the creation of her organization's first video, and her experience is especially relevant for organizations that rely on volunteers for fundraising, outreach and communications.

Lessons learned from her efforts:

-Try to locate a volunteer videographer to create your organization's main "about us" video.  It often is a "win-win" for both you and the videographer, as your video could be a great portfolio-builder, especially for someone just starting out on his/her career.  Side note: try contacting local film schools to see if they have a community service program for their students, or just do a Google search

Expert Advice: Andrew Scarella, Save the Children on Capturing Field Video

Save the Children has come up an extraordinarily creative and engaging way to show what they do with the donations they receive.  Andrew Scarella, Campaign Communications Specialist, deecribes Save the Children's GoodGoes Campaign, which sent out Flip Video Cameras to hundreds of health workers in Asia, Africa, and Central America.   The result?  Fresh, genuine, and very real footage that shows exactly how and where donors' funds are spent. 

Andrew tells us how Save the Children collected the video- a challenge for many of the workers, many of whom had never used a camera:

Here is a great examples of the video they collected from the GoodGoes YouTube Channel:


Is it polished?  No.  Is it real?  Yes.

Here's an overview of the GoodGoes Campaign:


Thanks Andrew!


Expert Advice: Filmmaker Mat Hames on Developing a Video Communications Strategy

SpaceforGood cornered award-winning filmmaker Mat Hames at the Mashable/92Y/UNFoundation Social Media Summit and struck gold: a steady stream of great advice for nonprofits about how to approach making videos, how to incorporate video production into a long-term communications strategy, how to conceptualize your organization's video, and, well, let's just say he knows what he's talking about.

See for yourself:

His main suggestions are:

-Be authentic and compelling; tell your organization's story from the vantage point of the people you are helping.

-Use a variety of formats/venues to tell your story.  You can use the same material to make a long-form video, then re-edit the same material into a short video for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

-Document everything you do.  Not only will you have a treasure trove of file footage, you can use older footage as a way to show how your organization has made progress over time in accomplishing its mission. 

Mat is Principal