Volunteering with Back on My Feet presentation at Refresh Philly

View from the 45th floor of the Comcast Center, before the start of Refresh Philly

I rounded up the rear with a presentation on volunteering with Back on My Feet as part of a four-part event on ‘Fitness for Geeks’ on Monday.

It was another installment of Refresh Philly, the monthly speaker series for the region’s technologists and creative community members. I graced the podium after Randy Schmidt, co-creator of Lose It or Lose It, Robert Jolly, a triathlete and creative director at web development firm Happy Cog and Kristen Faughnan, Philly’s Dailymile ambassador.

More than a year ago, I was on hand for Philadelphia CTO Allan Frank’s unveiling of a ‘Digital Philadelphia’ plan at Refresh and last November, I led a panel there on the future of local politics and the web.

My third visit to Refresh was as much a treat as the rest.

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Nonprofits breaking news about their mission

If you have a mission, nonprofit or otherwise, you ought to have a voice in your mission.

On the Back on My Feet blog, we don’t do enough of it, but when issues surrounding homelessness come up, we are sure to share them with our readers.

So when the very big news of the country’s first national report on homelessness was published and was part of a call to end homelessness in five years, we certainly shared it promptly, following our primary source of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

That happened June 25, so I was certainly interested to see the first mention in Philadelphia of that big report come by way of an editorial from the beleaguered Inquirer on July 5.

That’s a startup nonprofit feeding important industry news to its supporters before news media. Note the obvious trend.

Back on My Feet blog introduction

Today, I’d like to announce the official content platform for homeless running nonprofit Back on My Feet.

I announced in February my taking a job with the Center City-based organization that uses running clubs to create support around homeless populations seeking to move forward. From my first interview, I highlighted the need to use a blog to share the heavy dosage of content, member stories and updates that come from the nonprofit’s now-four chapters and growing.

I’m very interested in tracking all the web metrics I can, from traffic to social media trends, for Back on My Feet. Launching this blog — a project I initiated and have led — came without question and has been a great source of pride thus far.

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Today Show (live on the set of the national morning show)

I am not exactly a Today Show kind of guy.

But, in helping to organize getting my boss on air, I took a train to New York yesterday (with time to eat) and, I’ll admit, it was certainly cool watching the hundreds of people shout toward the NBC morning show hosts, including Matt Lauer, who, was, you know, like, just walking around me.

Even if you don’t particularly care about the little guy in the suit, it’s interesting when a couple thousand people around you do.

The Ultimate Runner: Back on My Feet story I penned is anthologized

Well that’s a nice perk of the job.

It wasn’t so long  after I started my job as national media director at homeless running nonprofit Back on My Feet that I was presented with what would be a rewarding opportunity. Not so long  at all after I first started talking about how traditional marketing was just a small part of what I thought mission-orientated nonprofits should be chasing for audience building.

Not a month into the job I heard that HCI — the publishing house that hit a home run(s) with the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series that reigned commercially successful, if critically panned, for 15 years — was finalizing Ultimate Runner, the latest edition of its newest anthology series, and had an opening.

I was working for a running-involved organization with compelling stories and came from a writing background. I also had been blabbing about how we needed to involve ourselves heavily in content creation. This sounded like something to chase.

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Three months of social media growth for nonprofit Back on My Feet

Tracking our Twitter followers from January 2010 to April. Back on My Feet launched a campaign on the Web in January.

Last month marked three months since I started at nonprofit Back on My Feet and launched a concerted effort to share more member stories and help develop a better, broader online relationship with our volunteers, members and supporters.

The first step in that process was to reawaken our social media accounts — the best platforms to create Web communities and ones buttressed by an organizational blog that I hope to more formally announce soon. Because our organization is all about accountability, we wanted to see how we’ve done.

I thought some lessons or benchmarks might be able to be garnered for others interested in social media use by nonprofits or other organizations, so I’ll share our progress below.

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Summer 2010 unpaid Content and Media internship at Back on My Feet

Your work and experiences with Back on My Feet will be more meaningful than this cat's, I swear.

I hate unpaid internships. I think they suck.

So I’m going to make the one I’m offering as meaningful as I possibly can.

Since January, I’ve worked for homeless running and opportunity-development nonprofit Back on My Feet. Homeless advocacy nonprofits aren’t known for being flush with cash. You can decide whether they’re even legal and what they say about our organization.

But the rules are a little bit different in the mission-orientated nonprofit world. I am the first in this role, creating what the media and marketing department of ours should look like.

And already, it’s time to bring on an intern this summer to help me with my role as Director of Media and Social Marketing in our Center City Philadelphia headquarters at 15th and Locust streets. The good news is that because I hate so much being unable to pay an intern, I’m looking to make it a meaningful learning experience.

See the formal Content and Media internship description here, but the short of it is that I’ll be looking for someone sharp and engaged and interested in social advocacy, the Web and content.

You’ll work with me on creating community and audience building via social media, including our yet to be officially released blog. I’ll be expecting 15-20 hours a week, but for the right candidate, I’m going to be flexible in time and space.

So, contact me already or spread the word.

A new job: Media director for nonprofit Back on My Feet

Back on My Feet founder Anne Mahlum and members of the organization in 2007.

I’ve decided to step away from self-employment.

I’ve spent the last year of my life freelancing, by some accounts, at perhaps the worst time to do so in my life and arguably the worst time in the history of journalism.

After a meeting of the most influential media leaders in the region made clear no drastic foundational investment would be made into niche news anytime soon, I knew I needed to secure my finances — as a new homeowner, especially — and take a more cautioned approach toward building News Inkubator, Technically Philly and NEast Philly.

A funny thing happened not a week or two after I made this decision. A friend made me aware of a job opportunity I actually wanted.

On Mon. Jan. 18, I walked into a Locust Street building in Center City Philadelphia and began defining what a media director should do for homeless advocacy nonprofit Back on My Feet.

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How to switch from Facebook groups to pages

When I first came on to Back on My Feet at the start of 2010, our Facebook presence was off.

We had a Facebook account — officially named “Backon MyFeet” to fit naming restrictions and even then against the social network’s terms of use allowing accounts for only individuals.

The vanity URL facebook.com/backonmyfeet, of course, had already been reserved for that account. What’s more, we had three Facebook groups for our two chapters (Philadelphia and Baltimore) and one for Washington D.C., where we were expanding to that March. All three had different style — i.e. a hyphen between organization and chapter name — and different utility.

We needed a change.

(We’re mostly assuming here that a Facebook Page is probably what you want, but compare them with Facebook groups and get more about that fight with Mashable here.)

While other work was warranted, I’ve found that one of my first objectives is a task that lots of groups, organizations and people have had to complete: transitioning Facebook groups to Facebook pages.

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