Carol Pandak, the director of PolioPlus for Rotary International, acknowledged that the fight against polio is difficult. Rooting out polio from conflict regions in Afghanistan especially is challenging. Still, she says, she is not discouraged.
Rotary has increased its annual fundraising commitment from $35 million to $50 million per year to make finishing the job possible. Carol says, “We made a commitment to the world and we haven’t completed it, yet.”
“We hope the end is coming soon,” Carol adds.
Interview with Carol Pandak, the Director, PolioPlus of Rotary International.
The following is the pre-interview with Carol Pandak. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion to polio eradication since it started its PolioPlus program in 1985.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Polio eradication with Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners.
More about Rotary International:
Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit rotary.org and endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.
Carol Pandak’s bio:
Carol Pandak is the director of PolioPlus, Rotary’s global effort to eradicate polio, working in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has held this position since 2000.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Four students at University College London who launched aptly named Rice Inc. have been awarded the $1 million Hult Prize to meet the official challenge to “build a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.”
Their plan is to make fast, effective and affordable rice drying available to smallholder farmers who, lacking the technology, typically lose about 20% of their harvest in the drying process. Today, those farmers simply spread their rice on the ground in the sun, where is it vulnerable to weather, birds and other pests that may eat or contaminate the rice.
“We solve inefficiencies in the rice supply chain caused by an existing power imbalance between smallholder farmers and millers,” says Kisum Chan, the team’s chief marketing officer. “We solve this by providing farmers with access to drying and storage facilities which can potentially unlock the true value of their harvest.”
Originally, the foursome, Lincoln Lee, CEO, Julia Vannaxay, COO, Vannie Koay, CFO and Chan, planned to sell the farmers innovative, affordable solar dryers. When they got out in the field in Myanmar, however, the farmers were not enthusiastic. Be sure to watch my interview with Lee, Chan and Koay in the video player at the top of this article.
The solar dryers were faster than leaving the rice in the sun and the rice was protected from the weather and pests, but the solar dryers were slow compared to the farmers’ preferred solution: biomass-fueled dryers.
The team did their homework and realized that by burning the biomass waste from the production of rice—including the rice husks—the solution would have only a small carbon impact—the energy necessary to blow the fans. By accelerating the drying, however, more rice could be dried more quickly. The benefit of avoided food waste could offset the carbon used in drying.
At a cost of about $6,000, the dryers are not affordable for smallholder farmers, Koay explains. The team determined to buy the machines and then provide use of the machines as a service to farmers on an affordable basis.
Their solution increases the number of rice farmers can sell as well as the price at which they can sell it because it is more consistently dried and there is less loss due to pests. The team hopes to double the income of smallholder farmers.
Increasing food supply is also important. “Half the world depends on rice and actually what happens is that we–according to current projections—we probably will run out of food or we won’t have enough to feed our population and the half the world that eats the rice will probably be the first ones affected.” Says Lee. “But actually, we do grow enough rice. Are we just wasting a lot of it.”
Athina Kafetsiou, executive coach and CEO at The Executive Lounge, served as a judge at the campus round of the competition. She offered to mentor the team as they moved forward to the next rounds. Ultimately, she was invited to join the board, which she did.
“The commercial stamina and health of their business model has not just one, but a number of built-in components for addressing critical social challenges: solving global food insecurity, enabling generations to skip the poverty loop, and creating more equitable ecosystems of supply and demand without adversely impacting the world’s finite resources,” Kafetsiou says.
Koay explains that 100,000 students around the world participated in the Hult Prize competition. The competition winnows the field at the university level and then in regional competitions that eventually yield finalists, all of whom receive training and coaching to help them reach their objectives.
The $1 million prize is provided as an investment in the enterprise, rather than a grant, helping to assure some accountability for building the enterprise—and potentially improving the food supply for 10 million people by 2025.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
“I was living in Tokyo at the time and working for a Wall Street bank when the earthquake hit; I was on the trading floor literally when this huge earthquake hit,” says Wendy Hapgood, 40, now chief operating officer for the Wild Tomorrow Fund.
She goes on to explain that it wasn’t the earthquake that rattled her so much or even the ensuing tsunami. Rather, it was the nuclear crisis that developed in the following days.
“A lot of people commented at the time of the disaster, ‘Well, you know, it wasn’t that bad; nobody died [from the radiation].” And I really thought—because I was there on the ground and I experienced it personally—that they were missing a crucial part of the environmental destruction and the poisoning of our Earth,” she explains.
“I used to joke with friends that I felt like the only banker on Wall Street who wanted to quit to join Greenpeace,” she says. Watch the full interview with Hapgood in the video player at the top of this article.
Several years would pass before she left Wall Street to form the Wild Tomorrow Fund with her co-founder and Executive Director John Steward.
For his part, he credits a conservation volunteer trip to South Africa in 2013 with inspiring him to step away from his career as an advertising creative executive. “I first witnessed the immense struggles wild animals and the people responsible for their safety were facing.”
Steward is proud of the impact their organization is having. “I am most proud of educating people on the issues facing our natural world. I have seen many people take positive action to protect wildlife who I believe would not have done so without my influence.”
When Hapgood left Wall Street in 2015, she not only co-founded the Wild Tomorrow Fund but also started a master’s program in sustainability management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She studied the intersection of poverty and rhino poaching.
Poaching is a hot-button issue for her. She notes that rhinos are critically endangered entirely because of poaching, with fewer than 20,000 white rhinos and 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild.
Things aren’t much better for elephants. From 2007 to 2014 when the last census was taken, 30% of elephants in Africa were gone due to poaching. Seeing “144 thousand elephants killed in the last seven years, sort of on our watch, this is not a crisis from the past it’s a crisis of today.”
The Wild Tomorrow Fund started working by literally putting boots on the ground. While the organization considered sexier investments like drones, when they learned that rangers in South Africa were not only poorly paid but so poorly equipped they didn’t even have boots, they raised money to buy them boots.
Today, the organization has a four-pronged approach to conservation:
“I would like us to have even greater impact on the ground in Africa,” Steward says of his vision for the fund’s future. “The activities we choose to support will stay fluid in order to match the region’s conservation challenges. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to help protect wildlife by supporting the region’s underfunded wildlife reserves and we will continue to purchase and protect large areas of wild land that are under threat from agriculture and human development.”
Samuel Dameus, a social entrepreneur from Haiti, says the world’s perception of Haiti is malformed, by what we read about Haiti in the media. The Caribbean country rivals its peers for sheer beauty as a destination.
While not without its problems, Haiti’s reputation has become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Samuel is working to change the narrative, to help the world reimagine Haiti less as a destination for aid and more as a tourist destination.
Be sure to watch the full interview with Samuel at the top of the article.
Interview with Samuel Dameus , the Founder of Faces of Haiti.
The following is the pre-interview with Samuel Dameus . Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
Revenue model: Event fee, Books & Canvas sales
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Changing the narrative of Haiti through images while reducing its lack of visibility to the world. The exhibition and book reveal the beauty of Haiti which directly impact the tourism industry. It provides direct access to an audience of prospective tourists to discover Haiti who otherwise would never get to see the country’s true beauty which exists in the rich culture, landscape and its people. Faces of Haiti has also created a platform and a movement to engage every Haitian and friend of Haiti as an ambassador to promote Haiti.
More about Faces of Haiti :
Faces of Haiti is an international photo exhibition
Samuel Dameus ’s bio:
Born with a natural sense of leadership, Samuel Dameus has demonstrated his energy talents as an effective leader throughout his career. A native of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Samuel Dameus is a young dynamic professional in social communication, digital marketing and photography. Dameus is passionately dedicated to offer his best to his country.
Dameus has worked as Director of Communications at the Ministry of Tourism and Sunrise Airways as “Marketing Director”, and in several other private institutions as a consultant in Communication.
Over the years, he continuously uses technology to effectively communicate his vision and ideas. His interest in using technology effectively to communicate has initiated his involvement in developing his knowledge of the latest and most practical forms of communication in the ever-changing world of technology. As stated, images are unquestionably one of the best communication tools, which is why Dameus naturally started his social photography shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
He is the founder of “Faces of Haiti”, an international photo exhibition project and an eponymous published book. Both reflect the current situation throughout Haiti with a particular emphasis on different aspects of the country, the beauty of Haiti still unknown and unfamiliar throughout the world. This social vocation has allowed it to fully expose in many major cities around the world, the thousand and one facets of Haiti, including its multidimensional splendor. Miami, Orlando, Havana, Beijing, Cairo, Geneva, New York, Montenegro, Paris, Boston, Washington D.C., Bueno Aires, Montreal and very soon London and Port-au-Prince are the some cities featuring the photography exhibition.
Dameus is also a sought after speaker and influencer who has received several awards for his commitment over the last year aimed at Haiti’s progress through tourism and culture.
By Chris Dovi, Executive Director, CodeVA
Amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City streets, partnerships are made every day that impact the trajectory of business and industry. Some of these partnerships happen quietly, but are no less significant, like the one between CSforALL and the Siegel Family Endowment.
“We use the term institutional home,” says Thea Charles, head of computational thinking at Siegel Family Endowment (SFE). In practical terms, CSforALL, an advocacy organization that grew from a 2016 summit convened at the White House to foster the budding national computer science education community, now has a long term place to call home and shared offices with like-minded leaders at SFE.
“It gives CSforALL the operational support to be able to look at the national landscape and put attention on the things that need attention,” says Ruthe Farmer, CSforALL’s chief evangelist, and a former CS policy advisor in the Obama White House. “We’re better able to serve as an honest broker to build meaningful relationships between the organizations doing the work and the partners they need to be successful.”
SFE was founded by David Siegel, a computer scientist by training and a co-founder of the tech-driven investment firm Two Sigma. SFE has long recognized the importance of providing high-quality computer science education for all students, and was a natural partner to support the movement by granting it an assurance of independence and security.
“Siegel Family Endowment is a natural fit,” says Michael Preston, co-founder and managing partner of CSforALL, who first worked with the organization when he was with CSNYC, the New York City-focused predecessor to CSforALL. “SFE has had this longtime priority of computational thinking. When we decided we were going to make this shift to be a national center and a hub for this community, they were willing to enter this amazing partnership with us.”
“The partnership is of high value to Siegel Family Endowment as well,” says Thea Charles with the Endowment. “As we were doing our landscape review of the field, we saw CSforALL shifting to doing more national work, we thought partnering with them would be a really great way to help achieve those goals – and learn a lot from them through our partnership.”
In a practical sense, support for CSforALL’s mission is important to long-term sustainability in some very important ways.
First by creating financial security for CSforALL to lift the organization above the fray of fundraising.
In addition to giving CSforALL more room to work as a facilitator between funders and ground-level organizations, the organization also has more capacity to grow the movement, particularly through important convenings like the CSforALL summit held this year in Detroit.
Additionally, the partnership creates capacity to support local change by seeking to replicate some of the ideas that worked in New York City public schools under the leadership of CSNYC. And tied to this is the ability to promote a research agenda that can report out on best practices and successful interventions implemented by members of the CSforALL Consortium.
Important to all of this is that the combined strengths of CSforALL and SFE give extra punch to the work that both organizations were able to do on their own.
“The knowledge that the CSforALL team holds about the community,” Farmer says, is an important asset for an organization that already was doing a tremendous amount to build awareness and to foster long-term strategies that stick for computational thinking and CS. “We have a tremendous amount of knowledge about what is happening in the CS education community; what has worked and what failed in the past. And we have broad relationships across all sectors, including schools, out of school time and the funding sector.”
Charles agrees, saying that those strengths allow her to better do her job, which is ensuring computer science and computational thinking are not just passing educational buzz terms, but have the true staying power necessary to bring about systemic change in education.
“I would say the main goal is related to equity, but it’s also about transferring power, so that schools themselves have more agency,” Charles says, “so it’s not someone coming in and saying you should do this or that. Individual leadership at the school level is what will make this movement sustainable, and help it grow deep roots.”
Roots are important, and now is a critical time in computer science K-12 education, says Jeff Forbes, formerly a program officer at the National Science Foundation, because there’s a great deal of uncertainty around how to ensure sustainability, but also how to ensure that the emphasis on equity remains core to the movement.
“Bringing people together is important because we’re moving now,” Forbes says. “But you’d like us moving in a productive direction.”
It was NSF funding that first launched CSforALL in 2016, not to mention the modern K-12 computer science education movement. But sustainability for the initiative is what was launched by SFE.
“There’s a lot to like about being co-located with them,” Preston says. “As an organization, they’re looking far off into the distance. The future of learning, the future of work, [this] is what they think about. It’s a good balance for us between getting things done now, but having a plan that’s more long term. We feel this is a long game. There’s a lot to do now, but there’s a lot of preparing for what we need to be in five years or ten years.”
People often ask, “are you a glass is half full or half empty kind of person?”
Entrepreneurs I’ve known can look at a virtually empty glass and see it as full. For a long time, I figured that they all must suffer from some shared psychosis, but I’ve come to appreciate that entrepreneurs aren’t blind optimists or mentally ill—they know something others don’t: they know where to get the water.
For most of my career, I have worked with entrepreneurs. For the past seven years, I’ve worked primarily with mission-driven business owners who are focused on solving a social problem, not just an economic one.
Now, I see an entrepreneur’s view as “deep optimism.”
This is not about believing today is going to be a good day nor even about having confidence in your solution to a big problem. And it isn’t only about knowing where the water is.
To the contrary, it starts with a recognition that action trumps attitude. Nothing is as likely to make today great as doing something great.
Picture a beach covered with crude oil after an oil spill. A good attitude and cheerleaders won’t clean it up. It will require hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of careful scraping and scooping to remove the layer of muck and return the beach to its pristine condition.
Your book won’t write itself because you have a good attitude; you have to sit down and put words on the page. Your business won’t grow because you will it to; it will grow only when you do the work required.
Deep optimism, you see, isn’t about seeing the glass as half full, it’s about knowing where the water is and then fetching it.
Contact Devin about speaking at your event here.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Heather (not her real name) was working consensually at an escort service as a sex worker when she realized that a human trafficking ring was trying to trap her. “She was completely panicked,” says Sherrie Caltagirone, to whom Heather reached out.
Caltagirone leads the Global Emancipation Network, a young, nonprofit organization that utilizes data to identify both traffickers and victims. Their weapon is Minerva, named for the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, which puts the big data to work.
Studies about the number of people being trafficked today yield different results, ranging from 20 to 45 million, giving the estimates a margin of error greater than 100%. The trafficking problem is huge but so is the lack of good data. The Global Emancipation Network is out to fix that.
“Human traffickers are reliant on current technology to increase their revenue. But the same technology can be used against them,” Caltagirone says, explaining the fundamental premise of her work. (Be sure to watch my full interview with Caltagirone in the video player at the top of this article.)
Using Minerva, Caltagirone was able to identify the individuals involved in the attempt to trap Heather in this trafficking ring. Leveraging the organization’s relationships, “we were able to rescue her from that situation and she was not trafficked.”
The Global Emancipation Network has received help from Microsoft Philanthropies, which provides technological support that accelerates the effort. GEN has recruited Microsoft volunteers and utilized Microsoft Philanthropies’ grants and discounts over the past two years since GEN was founded. This is part of the Tech for Social Impact Team at Microsoft.
“The upstream impact GEN has had in the human trafficking sector is remarkable given their size,” says Justin Spelhaug, general manager for the Microsoft program. “It is inspiring to see how a relatively small organization saw an opportunity to put their talents to work and went all in, leaning on partners like Microsoft Philanthropies to provide the tools to fulfill their vision. GEN is just scratching the surface on the immense impact they can make in ending the human trafficking industry.”
Caltagirone says the long-running efforts to thwart trafficking needed an upgrade. “The strategies that we have been employing are completely ineffective,” she says.
She points to the recent FBI takeover and shuttering of Backpage as an example. The site was used for selling sex, including trafficking victims. Shutting it down was hailed as a victory. Caltagirone says we’re just playing “whack-a-mole.” The perpetrators, who were not arrested, will simply move their ilicit wares to other websites.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NCMEC, was created in 1984 by John and Revé Walsh. It is designated by Congress to serve as the national clearinghouse for information about missing and exploited children.
Staca Shehan, the executive director of the case analysis division of the NCMEC, notes that Microsoft introduced Caltagirone and GEN to the NCMEC in 2016. “Sherrie has traveled to NCMEC to provide training to our staff in-person and collect feedback based on our use of the tool,” Shehan says.
Shehan explains how the NCMEC uses Minerva. “Minerva helps NCMEC find information in large, hard to search data sets. Specifically, Minerva has helped NCMEC locate additional phone numbers in online advertisements and further analyze who that phone might be registered to, which can lead to possible current location for the child. Time is critical in missing child cases and Minerva is one of the tools that support NCMEC’s efforts to generate leads quickly to support the child’s recovery.
Fighting human trafficking is different than address many other social problems. In other situations, even bad actors may have no malice, no intent to cause a problem. Rather, problems either arise through no human action, as in the spread of malaria or polio, or as byproducts of other activities, as in our near-universal use of fossil fuels with its impact on the climate. In contrast, with human trafficking, there are bad guys acting with malice.
This contrast leads to difficult results for those at risk of trafficking. In Heather’s case, trafficking was averted, but her life was devastated. The would-be traffickers told her full-time employer about her nontraditional side hustle and she lost her job. They told her landlord and she lost her apartment. Ending human trafficking and its related suffering will not be easy.
Minerva has now identified 989 individual victims and perpetrators and is tracking 22,000 more. The work of the Global Emancipation Network provides everyone in the anti-trafficking effort with a new tool that both protects those at risk and blocks, hinders and punishes the traffickers. There’s a new sheriff in town and she’s slinging big data.
Nathan Ogden broke his neck twice–the second time when he was dropped off an x-ray table a year after being paralyzed. He turned tragedy into triumph, building a successful career as a speaker.
In recent years, he’s turned his attention and his focus to others less fortunate than himself. He’s created a nonprofit organization, Chair the Hope, to provide wheelchairs to people, typically in the developing world, who lack access to this life-changing device.
Watch Nathan’s story in the video player above.
Interview with Nathan Ogden, the Co-Creator of Chair The Hope.
The following is the pre-interview with Nathan Ogden. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit
Revenue model: The following are our current streams of revenue but we are working on many others at the moment.
– Strait Donations at chairthehope.org
– Nathan speaking at events with part of the fee going to nonprofit
– Sales of the movie “Chair The Hope” and Nathan’s book “Unfrozen”
– Annual Gala/auction fundraiser
– Ticket sales from theaters showing the movie
– Company and other organization donations
Scale: In just over one year from creating Chair the Hope we have raised over $100,000. At $150 a wheelchair, that is 666 individuals and families who have, or will have, their lives changed forever.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
It’s estimated 100 million people in the world need a wheelchair but don’t have the means or opportunity to get one. Paralysis, diabetes, amputees, spina bifida, and birth defects are just a few causes creating this need. Chair The Hope raises funds and has partnered with the Wheelchair Foundation to manufacture and deliver wheelchairs throughout the world. By working with local communities and over 150 countries we are making a difference in providing independence and mobility to those who desperately need it.
Nathan’s Website: NathanOgden.com
More about Chair The Hope:
Chair The Hope is a nonprofit that helps those with disabilities locally and throughout the world. There is a strong focus on providing wheelchairs and other adaptive devices to those in need, allowing that individual and their families the power of independence, the power of life.
Nathan Ogden’s bio:
Nathan Ogden has taught thousands how to conquer their fears and move from paralysis to progress through eliminating excuses in their lives. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, wheelchair athlete, co-creator of the non-profit Chair The Hope, and author of the book Unfrozen. In 2001, Nathan broke his neck snow skiing leaving him paralyzed and in tremendous pain. Nathan lives in Meridian, Idaho and is married to a beautiful wife with four children. He uses his unique life-changing experiences in overcoming challenges to train a vast variety of groups, from high schools to business executives throughout the country. Nathan’s courage and determination give hope and power to all who know him and hear his messages.
Amy Stanton, the CEO of Stanton & Company, an agency that focuses on sports and lifestyle businesses, mostly run by women, co-authored The Feminine Revolution with Catherine Connors. Their thesis: women’s feminine traits don’t make women weak, they make them powerful.
Interview with Amy Stanton, the CEO of Stanton & Company.
The following is the pre-interview with Amy Stanton. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
Amy’s Book: https://femininerevolutionbook.com/
More about Stanton & Company:
Stanton & Company LLC is a sports and lifestyle marketing and PR agency. Our services include brand strategy, marketing, PR, events, content development, social media and more. We bring the skills and high-level thinking from big agencies and big brands to philosophy-driven, entrepreneurial clients.
Amy Stanton’s bio:
With a background in traditional marketing and deep experience in marketing to and building brands for women, Amy Stanton has a unique perspective on the women’s landscape, the role of femininity in personal and professional lives, and the impact that unleashing our true feminine power can have on happiness.
Amy founded Stanton & Company (S&Co) with a passion for promoting and building positive female role models and messaging for women. Since 2006, when the company opened its doors, S&Co has built a roster of philosophy-driven brands, including exceptional athletes, lifestyle experts, and brands in the healthy, active living space.
Before founding Stanton & Company, Amy served as the first-ever chief marketing officer (CMO) for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and was the head of marketing and communications for NYC2012, New York’s Olympic bid, where she developed and executed both the local and international campaigns for this first-ever endeavor. Amy started her career in account management at advertising agencies including BBDO, JWT, and BBH.
Between her leadership roles on Fortune 500 accounts in advertising, her role as the CMO at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and, most recently, as founder and CEO of an eleven-year-strong marketing and PR agency focused on building female-focused brands, Amy has deep experience in the women’s space and a wide range of relationships with powerful women who have inspired her thinking about femininity and how women can be our best. Amy has received accolades and awards from the Sports Business Journal and Women in Sports and Events (WISE) LA, and Stanton & Company has been recognized as an industry leader. She speaks about marketing and representation, women in sports, and women’s leadership.
Amy recently wrote a book called The Feminine Revolution with co-author Catherine Connors, challenging the idea that femininity and feminine qualities are weak, and encouraging women to define and embrace their feminine behaviors as sources of power.
Interview with Catherine Connors, the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Maverick.
The following is the pre-interview with Catherine Connors. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
Catherine’s Blog: herbadmother.com
More about Maverick:
Maverick is a digital community platform for young people to express themselves, anxiety free and to connect with people around shared interests. This new community invites you to be who you want to be, say what you want to say, be curious, and find your people.
Catherine Connors’ bio:
Catherine Connors is a writer, entrepreneur, activist and mother. She is the co-founder and CCO of Maverick, the founder and author of the website Her Bad Mother, and co-author of The Feminine Revolution.
As the founder and author of Her Bad Mother, Connors has been helping mothers navigate motherhood, womanhood and raising empowered girls since 2006. Named one of Time’s Top 25 Blogs of 2012, HerBadMother.com has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and sundry other publications, as well as on CNN, ABC, CBC and the BBC online. A former academic, she holds a BA in Communications and Political Theory (Simon Fraser University), a MA in Political Science (University of Toronto), and PhD (ABD, University of Toronto) in Political Science. Her research on the place of women and girls in the history of social thought, which took a close look at how social understanding of their roles has been defined in reflected in philosophy, art, literature and popular culture, has continued to inform much of her writing as well as her work in media.
Formerly the Editor in Chief of Babble Media and head of content and Editor in Chief of Disney Interactive’s women and family division, Connors has made appearances on most major media outlets, including CNN, NPR, and Good Morning America. Continuing her passion for helping young women and girls, in 2015 Connors created Demeter Media Group, a research and media development company dedicated to developing media properties and content products serving the market of women and families. Demeter’s flagship project, Project Girl Quest, became the basis for Maverick, a creative community and social network for girls and young women that Connors co-founded in 2017.
Adam Treiser wanted to do something to make a difference in the world. A lawyer by training, he was unsatisfied with the work he was doing, so he immersed himself in artificial intelligence. He developed a way to help nonprofits optimize the ask to every donor.
If you ask a donor who is willing to give you $250 for $25, you’ll likely get the $25. On the other hand, if you ask a donor who is ready to give you only $50 for $250, you’ll likely get zero! Knowing just the right ask is a game changer.
Using only information that you already have, his company, Arjuna Solutions can help you increase donations from your existing donors. Their experience to date suggests a first-year bump of 19 percent and a second-year increase of 72 percent.
Interview with Adam Treiser, the Founder and CEO of Arjuna Solutions.
The following is the pre-interview with Adam Treiser. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
Revenue model: The value of artificial intelligence – or any intelligence – is in the ability to make better decisions. Arjuna enables nonprofits to realize the benefit of AI by selling each decision for a few cents each. For example, if a nonprofit is sending a direct mail campaign to 100,000 donors, it will purchase 100,000 ExactAsk ask amounts from Arjuna. This means that nonprofits get the benefit of AI, without any capital expense, lengthy subscription fees, and no setup, maintenance, or data fees.
Scale: Nonprofits using ExactAsk raised more than $250 million in 2017 across more than 570,000 donors. Since 2016, Arjuna has produced nearly 20 million ask amounts, generating an average increase in donor lifetime value of 19% within 12 months and 72% within 24.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Arjuna solves the problem of how to maintain the value of individual donor relationships. While most nonprofits have employees that manage major givers and cultivate those relationships over time, it simply is not cost effective to do that for the millions or thousands of non-major givers. By using artificial intelligence, Arjuna enables nonprofits to apply the same personalization methods of major giving to its database of donors.
Learn More: www.exactask.com
More about Arjuna Solutions:
Arjuna Solutions is an artificial intelligence company specializing in consumer pricing. The firm’s ExactAsk Platform was specifically developed to enable nonprofit organizations to determine individually optimized price points for individual donor solicitations that optimize Donor Lifetime Revenue while retaining patrons.
During the past two years, Arjuna’s ExactAsk Platform for individual giving optimization has produced more than 18 million individually optimized “Ask Amounts” for nonprofit organizations to use in individual donor campaigns. These precision ask amounts have generated an average uplift in donor revenues of 19% within first year and 72% in the second year.
Arjuna’s clients typically experience three operating benefits with ExactAsk including:
1. Faster response rates to solicitations
2. Improved levels of participation from donors and most importantly
3. Increased giving that are correlated to the amount requested of the donor.
These benefits substantially increase revenue for nonprofits while also multiplying the value of donor relationship management platforms like Salesforce, DonorPerfect, Constant Contact, and others by applying AI to the data those systems collect.
Nonprofits purchase ask amounts for a few cents each. There are no capital costs, no subscription fees, consulting fees and no maintenance, set-up fees or data acquisition costs.
On average, ExactAsk increases the lifetime value of a donor by 19% within 12 months and 72% within 24 months.
The technology is employed in a wide variety of fundraising campaigns categories when executed through direct mail and email solicitations including: Acquisition, Renewal, Upgrade, Lapsed, Recurring, Special Appeal and End of Year Campaigns. There is minimal change to existing fundraising workflows, providing maximum efficiency in adopting the technology.
Adam Treiser, Founder/CEO of Arjuna is a distinguished professor of Decision Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering. He was recently commissioned to deliver the Keynote Address at the United Nations Conference on Human Horizons covering the subject of “ A.I. for Humanity”.
Arjuna Solutions was also named one of the Top 25 Machine Learning Companies of 2018 by CIO Apps Magazine.
Adam Treiser’s bio:
Adam Treiser is founder and CEO of Arjuna Solutions, and professor of analytics and decision science at the Johns Hopkins University. Adam regularly speaks about artificial intelligence and how it can be used for good. He recently delivered the keynote address at the United Nations on the topic of “AI for Humanity”.