Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making Sense of How America Gives

Through my Twitter feed I was introduced to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's special section on How America Gives. The graphic below shows the home page of this innovative site.

There is a wealth of data on this site that can be used to help volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and similar birth-to-work programs grow, if we can find people who will make time to dig through the data and figure a way to use it to educate and motivate donors.

This image is one showing the Chicago area. It's an example of the powerful interactive mapping capacity of the site and shows how people can create their own maps, then export them to photoshop and create JPG images that can be inserted into blog articles or other communications.

In this Rest of the Story article and this "How to use Tutor/Mentor Program Locator article I've been sharing ideas that student and volunteer writers, journalists and advocates could use to help build on-going support for volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs helping young people move through school and into jobs and careers.

Making sense of the information is only the first challenge. Communicating these ideas on an on-going basis so that busy people in business, philanthropy, politics, etc. spend time reading, reflecting and integrating the understanding into their own commitment and actions is a much more difficult challenge. We have a short term problem solving mentality and want to simplify complex problems into five-minute elevator speeches.

That only works if the person we're talking to has a deep understanding of the problem and can intuitively understand the proposed solutions. That does not happen without many hours of reading, reflection and experience.

Sharing this information and increasing the number of people who use it is as difficult as pushing a boulder up a mountain, especially if you're doing it by yourself. Finding others who share the same vision, purpose and goals and who will share the work is what my daily goal is in writing these articles.

If you'd like to help, or if you know others who already are doing this same work, please connect with me.

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