Page 1

USF Advisory Board

USF Advisory Board : L A O G

ade r d n A e v a D l im e M s a i D Aaron ro Krissa Q ue

ie u o L y a s d Li n Steffi Liem


USF Advisory Board

Table of Contents 1. Executive Summary 2. Introduction 3. Statement of Purpose 4. Methodology 5. Results & Findings 6. Analysis of Results 7. Conclusion & Next Steps 8. Appendix


USF Advisory Board Community Partner Report - iSpot Compassion Researched and Developed by: Aaron Dias-Melim, David Andrade, Lindsay Louie, Steffi Liem, & Krissa Quero Table of Contents by Section 1.) Executive Summary 2.) Introduction 3.) Statement of Purpose 4.) Methodology 5.) Results & Findings 6.) Analysis of Results 7.) Conclusions, Recommendations & Next Actions 8.) Appendix 1.) Executive Summary This paper details the transformation of five young adults from humble honors students to a full-fledged Advisory Board for iSpot Compassion, a brand-new nonprofit organization based out of Santa Cruz, California. The organization itself aims to serve as a vehicle for community service and strategic philanthropy; students interested in doing community service (or were required to do it as a high school graduation requirement) could visit the iSpot Compassion website to get and share ideas for service projects, collaborate with other like-minded students, spread the results of their projects through social media such as Facebook, and connect directly with charitable organizations of their choosing to present the funds they may have raised. Although it was still in its very beginning phases, iSpot Compassion seemed to have everything it needed for success; a clear concept and vision, a team of hard-working and dynamic experts across several disciplines, and a detailed plan to make it all work. After internal discussion, however, one shortfall became apparent; what was the most effective way to market this new idea to the Generation Z crowd that would end up forming its user base? Enter us, the students of the Honors Cohort Program in Business at the University of San Francisco. Using our formal business education, innate knowledge of social media constructs, and closer proximity to the Generation Z demographic, we aimed to serve iSpot Compassion by offering our perspective on the younger generation and turning that understanding into feedback that would be useful to the organization and move it forward. Drawing on the knowledge we received from Leslie Goldgehn’s marketing course, we began the seemingly simple task of segmenting the target market for users of iSpot Compassion. After much deliberation, however, our task was not as simple as originally expected. While we acknowledged our intended Generation Z target market, we soon realized that they would not be the only interested stakeholder in the organization. The parents of these students would also be 3

USF Advisory Board visiting the website, as well as any individuals or companies that would become potential donors to iSpot Compassion. This created an additional tier of market segmentation that we had to consider in the balance of our approach. Most excitingly, perhaps, was the constant exchange of knowledge between ourselves and the rest of the iSpot team; we learned first-hand what it means to start a non-profit organization from the ground up, and the iSpot team discovered some things about Generation Z and social media that they might not have expected. Although the semester is now over and our official term with iSpot Compassion has reached its end, we as the Advisory Board will stay with the organization as it moves forward into the stages of strategic planning and donor development, and in a demonstration of solidarity and the high regard we hold for iSpot, we will be making a direct financial contribution to the organization in the near future that is generous according to our means. Now that iSpot Compassion has an operating budget for 2010 and is nearly ready to launch full-scale, we reflect on the magnificent experience we have enjoyed over the past three months and eagerly await the new developments that lie ahead. 2.) Introduction iSpot Compassion began humbly and modestly, with its aspirations being anything but modest or humble. It was really a conversation around a kitchen table that spurred the aspiration to create a more compassionate world. This conversation started with Lori Butterworth, a woman who has made a name for her ability to connect communities to benefit those in need. From children to adults, Lori's actions have stemmed events which have changed the lives of thousands. Here, she faced an issue that was seemingly less dire than the concerns of her other organizations, Jacob's Heart and the Children's Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition. But in actuality, the implication of this new organization would be ground-breaking. Every generation Y or Z individual can relate to a point in their education where they were required to do community service. Getting service done is no easy feat itself, but actually finding a project to join is even more difficult. This is where iSpot Compassion came in, delivering a vehicle which community service organizations and those looking to serve can connect and make something happen. Before Lori was able to move forward with this idea, she was going to need a support team. As Bill George stressed in True North, a support team is critical to a leader finding their true direction among challenges. Her new team became composed of a few talented individuals who not only held strength within their unique talents, but also within their motivation and willingness to give their time for the cause.


USF Advisory Board The iSpot Team Working to Facilitate a Vision As a working professional, parent, and friend, giving up your time is no easy task. This team of adults did this on their own volition, seeking no compensation. While creating the foundational ideas of this vehicle, Lori Butterworth and her team based their work on a few core beliefs. • • • • •

Community service should be meaningful, fun and last a lifetime; Social entrepreneurs are being born every day; Technology, including social media, is an immensely powerful tool when used appropriately and can improve lives; The country's efforts to engage communities in service should include and engage our children and youth; iSpot Compassion can inspire the next generation to be generous, kind and compassionate.

With these core beliefs, the team realized it was possible to do amazing things stemming from small actions. Many small actions from all over the country and from many individuals can aggregate into a powerful function of compassion. This function of compassion would be one that becomes a part our country's culture. Ideally, "compassion" would be a word as common as "cool." The Beginning of the iSpot Platform Ideas were exchanged, thoughts were voiced, and eventually a full-working beta of the site was established. This is where the USF Advisory inBoard came as guiding voice full of honest opinion and ideas for the potential of the ground-breaking web platform. Lori and her team needed a different perspective, one of the youth, to fully engage their target audience. With the utility and honesty of the USF Advisory Board, the iSpot Compassion team was able to move forward with refining and promoting the site. In only months, they took an idea which was just a thought to a fully-functional vehicle of world change. It was amazing to see an idea blossom through the devotion of a few select individuals along with the honesty of those on the outside. It ignited our excitement, as we saw that non-profit organizations truly do give you the freedom to create your own path in the business world. iSpot Team Methodology For the USF iSpot advisory board, our methodology towards approaching how we were going to best help our service learning partner was a combination of personal knowledge and experience as well as application of business knowledge from our classes.


USF Advisory Board We first looked at who our target audience was. While the iSpot website can function well for any age group, its primary focus was to help teenagers find creative and fun ways to do community service. Additionally, the website was created to help bridge the gap between adults (parents and non-profit organizations) and social media so that they can communicate with Generation Y. After talking with our community partner, we established that our target “market� was going to be high school students who were looking to get their community service requirement for graduation as well as supplement to their college application. The whole spectrum of our market included high school students who were interested in community service, but didn’t know what to do, students who were not interested in community service, and at risk teenagers with no interest in community service. Next we talked to people we knew who were in part of our audience, which included siblings and friends who were still in high school. We asked them to take a look at the iSpot website and took note of their observations and reactions to it. When we talked to our trial consumers, one of the first questions we gauged them on was, from looking at the homepage do you understand what the organization is about? Questions like this helped us to put together feedback to give to the iSpot team. Getting fresh perspectives aided us in so many ways as we were already familiar with the iSpot organization and needed to get an idea of how to new users interested in learning more about iSpot. Our next step was to determine how to best reach the target market. Just as in our previous step, we asked members of our target market what sites they use to communicate with friends and family in their everyday lives. We also referred to what we learned about Generation Y to determine what aspects of social media best serves them. We recommended that the best social media sites to promote the organization of iSpot Compassion would be Myspace, Twitter and Facebook. From our experience with social media, we decided that "fan" pages depicting non-profit organizations would be the best route for iSpot. At each page, iSpot has a fan profile page that links fans of the organization to other fans as well as to the iSpot website. It's important for social media to be seamlessly blended in with the overal experience of the site so that users can become encouraged to engage with the online community. Throughout our service learning experience we were able to keep in constant contact with our community partner by holding weekly to biweekly meetings via Skype. Along the way we have been able to help with the progress of the iSpot Compassion website by giving our own feedback towards the content regarding clarity and overall look and feel of the site. We were able to use our own knowledge and experience from looking at other similar non-profit sites to aid us in our evaluation of iSpot to make the site more captivating for the audience. Results/Findings/Analysis of Results Through this methodology, we learned a lot not only about the organization, but also about using different ways of communicating to generate a positive result. An organization must know their target market if they want to make a mark on this world, because then they can continue 6

USF Advisory Board their vision on a specific section of people. We realized that finding the perfect target market for iSpot was not as simple as it may sound. We knew that high school students were the most likely to want to do community service and most also are required to do it; that was not the difficult part. It was appealing to not only those high school students but their parents as well. You can also segment the high school students into different types as well. So we learned that every step in creating an organization is important and may seem more difficult that it initially appears. We also realized the power of the internet. This was seen through the immense power of social media, seen from the feedback from high school students and also as a means of communication. We relied on the internet for almost this entire project; collaborating as a group with google docs, communicating with the iSpot team with multiple emails a week, and using skype as the only real-time "face-to-face" communication. We realized that although face-to-face is always an effective and productive way to work, it was not the only way to get things done. By dedicating our Thursdays to Skype calls and any time throughout the week to prepare for the upcoming Skype meeting, we learned that we could get a lot of things done and also learn a lot through video conferences. For our service learning project, we were able to assist in identifying the target audience through an in-depth understanding of the mission and objectives of the iSpot organization. iSpot Executive Team had articulated that iSpot’s primary target audience is youth (ages 12-18) due to the growing concern from this age group to get engage in community service. For example, many students in high school have inquired about volunteer opportunities in order to meet their school required community service hours, yet majority of them still struggle to find meaningful volunteer opportunities as a result of not being informed of the resources available to them. With social media and service in mind, our team recognized that youth from this age group are also very knowledgeable and are frequent users of various forms of media such as email and social networking sites (Facebook and MySpace). In addition, individuals in the identified target group are already utilizing various forms of social media to connect with friends and family and to speak out on several issues that concern them whether it be sharing a link to an article or simply creating a blog to express their opinions. Our findings revealed that youth in this age group are active in a variety of social media environments, thus we recognize that social media outlets such as iSpot have the unique ability to link service to youth by providing a space to share and inquire more information about service and volunteer opportunities. iSpot Compassion definitely propelled idea of social media in the context of encouraging individuals to make a difference in their communities. Reflecting upon our own service experiences in high school, we do not recall not relying so much on networking sites rather on our own personal networks to get more involved. After learning more about the iSpot organization, we are inspired to explore how we can use social media to enhance several aspects of our personal and professional lives. In addition, this service learning project was a very rewarding experience in regards to contributing to our overall understanding of how social media 7

USF Advisory Board functions in organizations as a communication tool as well as a marketing strategy. We look forward to working with iSpot in the future and to continually spread the message of compassion. While working on this project, we explored creative ways to spread the message of compassion to a specific target audience. For instance, we provided suggestions on how to improve the different components of the website from design, content, and functionality, while ensuring that the needs of the target audience were being met. In addition, we were able to provided valuable insight to iSpot’s strategy in using social media as a vehicle to empower youth to create social change in their communities. Presently, the iSpot provides many tools for youth to share and enact change through various aspects of the site which includes the spot profiles, compassionate map, idea bank, and causes section. Furthermore, iSpot strategy in using social media as medium to empower youth to share their cause and implement their community service projects is reflected in how it has integrated several forms of media in their site from blogs, video, and social networking sites. We believe that the different component of the site and the strategies iSpot has employed thus far ultimately results to a more compassionate world in which is the primary goal of the organization. Organizational Leadership in Non-Profit Organizations In an attempt to gain a better understanding of how Social Media serves as a tool for youth to get more involved in their communities, we looked into how non-profit organizations have effectively used social media. Essentially, non-profit organizations play a critical role in encouraging youth to be more engage in community advocacy. As means to share their cause and connect with their target audience, non-profits such as iSpot Compassion have fully integrated social media not only in their marketing strategy, but in how their users connect and contribute to a particular cause. iSpot Compassion has successfully recognized that organizations require a platform to bring awareness, thus social media is significant in enhancing an organization’s effort to ultimately create lasting change. More so, iSpot's approach in using social media is changing perception of how individuals can do service and contribute to a cause. Our service learning project allowed us to reflect upon the dynamic of teams in the context of non-profit organizations. Our experience was quite unique from all the other groups as technology played a critical role in our project such as our method of communication with the executive board of directors, specifically via online mediums such as skype. Although, our method of communication was unique, it most definitely contributed to iSpot's goals of promoting innovation and shared collaboration to create change. Overall, our service learning experience gave further insight to how organizations utilize social media to enhance communication and partnerships. In regards to applying the four frame approach to understanding organizations, we perceived iSpot from a human resources, symbolic, and political frame. Non-profit organizations provide support and serve primarily to the needs of individuals. For this reason, the success of non-profit 8

USF Advisory Board organizations is measured by how they are meeting the needs of their target audience through their services and programs. iSpot compassion aims to measure their success through seeing an increase community involvement from youth as well as seeing that many of the featured causes are addressed. From an entrepreneurship perspective, iSpot essentially is selling the concept of compassion. Therefore it is relevant for iSpot to take into careful consideration the different meanings of compassion in their process of creating a strategy to reach their target audience and in their approach of working with various stakeholders. iSpot’s partnership with various interest groups such the featured organizations and community partners can be applied to the political frame. Specifically, they must take into account the different objectives and values that these stakeholders may have and how that can contribute to the overall atmosphere of iSpot compassion. Many of the approaches in understating Business organizations can be applied to Non-Profit organizations considering the similarities in their goals and processes in organizational leadership. Through an in-depth analysis of iSpot, we were able to invest our minds and hearts towards spreading compassion. We made strides towards bridging the gap between the adult generation and the youth generation.In the process, we provided further insight in how to reach the target audience via iSpot website, thought of innovative ways that iSpot can promote compassion through social media and reached out to possible organizations that we believed could work well with iSpot.Through clear communication, hard work, commitment to the cause, and understanding the ultimate result of developing young entrepreneurs to change the world, we were able to fully connect on many levels of the organization and integrate iSpot's mission of fostering innovation and service in our personal and professional lives. Concluding and Spotting Next Steps Overall, we recommend that iSpot keeps channels of communication open with individuals in the younger age group. Direct access to the younger age groups in middle and high schools will aid the research and development of the iSpot platform. With the information and feedback from actual users, the group can have its eye on up-and-coming trends in social networking and the youth's interests in social entrepreneurship. We would also like to recommend that iSpot focuses on recruiting individuals and organizations that are open to the social media technologies. Combining efforts with other like-minded platforms will also combine the interests of the users of other organization's user bases. Finally,we also believe that it's important for iSpot to focus on particular main objectives before concerning it self with separate, but equally great, ideas. It's going to take a lot of effort and brainpower to push iSpot to its true potential, and diverting attention and energy away from that cause could be difficult. After the main objectives have been achieved, it would a great time to examine the possibility of a divisional structure that divides its emphasis among children, their parents, and the causes that iSpot aligns itself with.


USF Advisory Board You never realize how rewarding and life-changing a service learning project can be until you personally experience it. Working with iSpot Compassion was so amazing, learning so much about a start up organization and even ourselves. We learned the leadership strengths that we all have and some areas that could use improving. We also learned the challenges and the amount of dedication the amazing iSpot team has, truly believing in the power of children and the amount of impact they can have on the world. The passion that the iSpot team has is truly inspiring; We forget sometimes that passion is really what drives us in life, and we must remember to choose a career that We enjoy doing and that not only benefits me but others as well. We will never forget the experience We had with iSpot Compassion and am so glad to not only be part of an organization that will make a difference in the world, but to work with a wonderful group of people who truly value my input and work. We loved working with Lori Butterworth and the rest of the iSpot team and will continue to work with them in the future.

We can’t say it enough; thank you!


USF Advisory Board 8.) Appendix

This image, created by Lori and her team was our guiding resource towards who we should be targeting in our efforts. Being among those who would be considered “Teens who want to get involved” and “Already Interactors,” we found in challenging to develop methods to reach out to those who should become a part of iSpot Compassion. Along with this graphic, which we used as reference, we have attached items such as our social media webinar notes, an example of conference call preparation, and our social media plan brainstorm.


iSpot Community Partner Report  

A semester-end report about our experience with the spectacular startup non-profit organization, iSpot Compassion.