PRESS RELEASE: Virtue Center Responds to GOP Convention Bigotry

In the wake of the disheartening displays of racism witnessed at yesterday's GOP convention, we here at Virtue Center for Art & Technology would like to express our commitment to working with organizations that advocate on behalf of underserved and underrepresented communities; that protect and defend civil liberties and rights; and that strive to build bridges of cooperation and break down barriers of ignorance, hate, and bigotry.
 
We are reminded in unfortunate times like this why it is that Virtue Center exists and why we do the work that we do. It is with great privilege and honor that we work with distinguished public defenders such as the NAACP Alabama, CAIR NY, CAIR MI, CAIR FL, Bar Associations across the country, and other civil rights organizations in restructuring and revitalizing their technology platforms.  Virtue Center's technology is at the heart of systems used by these organizations to broaden their advocacy, increase their funding and market their services in communities.
 
Virtue Center's mission and passion is in providing technology access, infrastructure, and development tools for organizations and businesses that improve communities, the nation, and the world. We empower non profits, public advocacy organizations, universities, professionals, and businesses with technology so that they can empower others and improve their services, outreach, and accessibility. Our mission is to "Enable Any Size Organization to Achieve it's Mission Through Technology + the Strategic Application of Knowledge"
 
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Follow Virtue Center on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/virtuecenter
Like CAIR-NY on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheVirtueCenter
 
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CONTACT: Virtue Center President Ryan Mahoney, 646-734-1029, E-Mail: ryan@virtuecenter.com
 

Aside from Cloud Computing, "Big Data" is the latest technology industry term that is being talked about across the non-profit technology world.  But, what is big data anyway – and how can a non-profit organization benefit from it?  Is it just hype?  

Let's look at the term big data first. Generally speaking data is simply useful information and big data is just a lot of it.  As the tools that non-profits use for operations and marketing become more data-centric and consolidated, a tremendous amount of data is being accumulated.

Let me give a real-world example.  Suppose you have a person in your database named Henry.  Henry has been a supporter of your organization for several years.  During that time, he was a donor, an attendee at events and a consistent social "spreader" of information he received from the organization via email marketing campaigns, the organization's blog and information posted on the organization's Facebook fan page.

In terms of actual data, our friend Henry is responsible for about two megabytes of data storage, because he:

  • received 217 emails, 190 of which he viewed, 75 of which he clicked and 11 of which he forwarded to friends.
  • he visited the website 53 times, viewed 22 unique pages a total 89 times.
  • while on the site, he search for the terms "employment opportunities" and "mortgage relief".
  • he subscribes to the blog and has posted 18 comments which yielded 67 likes. 10 comments were in reply to other comments and his comments yielded 39 additional comments in reply from others.  1 comment was moderated for abusive language.
  • he registered for 2 annual conferences and attended 3 community events.  At conferences, he donated $1,000 in 2010 and $1,500 in 2011.
  • In 2012, he became a sustaining donor by registering online to give a monthly automated donation of $30 (Dollar-a-day program).
  • he watched 3 hours of online video training, with titles such as Spiritually Based Social Activism and Know Your Rights.
  • he donated to the organization 3 times for a total of $600, but viewed the donation page 10 times.
  • he filled out an incident form in October of 2011.  He was contacted by staff via email and phone calls 11 times, and his case was closed in 72 days.

Henry is just one person in the system.  There are thousands more, some of which are even more engaged.  It's easy to see that as the organization continues to carry on their work and expand their outreach capabilities that an enormous amount of data will be collected, and this is big data.

For organizations to truly benefit from this accumulation of information, they need a few critical things:

  1. The Immediate awareness of hot prospects by seeing a recent time-line of all user activity.  Hot prospects are people who may be eager right now to increase their engagement with the organization, but they need to be contacted quickly before they lose interest.
  2. An Aggregate of all one person's historical and current data in a single personal profile that covers all of their activities related to the organization.
  3. To Visualize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in easy-to-interpret information dashboards that facilitate brutal honesty about the health and progress of the organization in a quick glance.
  4. To Uncover useful patterns in correlated data to make predications and forecasts about the future of the organization. For example, how much money will be raised this year? How many staff people will we need? What size banquet hall should we rent for our annual conference?

Big data analytics is no longer just the purview of big companies with big budgets. Increasingly, cloud computing gives small companies an affordable and easy-to-use way to find out how big data can help grow their existing business or uncover new opportunities.

At Virtue Center, we have assembled an inter-disciplinary team consisting of non-profit leaders, economists, graphic designers, historians and marketers to hold a clinic to help non-profits to understand how they can ensure that they are collecting all the data they need, storing their information cost effectively and securely, and utilizing tools to visualize and act on the big data they have accumulated.  To request a session, please email: bigdata@virtuecenter.com.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has published a new report, "How America Gives", published showing which states give more to charities.  It also explores the possible factors which impact their patterns of donating. The report findings were based upon the analysis and compilation of comprehensive data from the Internal Revenue Service for the year 2008, including incomes, demographics, political affiliations and charitable donation amounts from all U.S. cities and towns.

Some Key Finding From the Study

  • Income and Impact
    Donors making $50,000 or more gave a median of 4.7 percent of their discretionary income to charitable causes. This totaled more than $135 billion in contributions- about two-thirds of total charitable gifts given in the United States.
  • Effect of Geography
    States vary widely when it comes to giving rates of its citizens, particularly when viewed based on the political affiliation of the state, and the role of religion in a given region. Overall, Utah, Mississippi and Alabama rank highest in terms of giving, while Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire occupy the lowest ranks.
  • Diverse Communities Give More
    Rich people who live in neighborhoods with many other wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than those who live in more economically diverse communities.
  • Tax Incentives Motivate Donors
    State policies that promote giving can make a big difference. Some 13 states now offer special tax benefits to charity donors.

Interesting Facts

  • Individuals who lived in wealthy areas and had an estimated income of $200,000 a year gave less than individuals with lower incomes who lived in more diverse geographic locations.
  • The most generous city in America is Provo, Utah, where residents typically give away 13.9 percent of their discretionary income.
  • Of the 10 most generous cities in America, according to the Chronicle’s calculations, six are in Utah and Idaho.
  • Of the 10 stingy cities at the bottom of the list, eight are in New England.
  • Red states give more, and give more frequently, than blue states.
  • The eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity voted for John McCain in 2008. The seven lowest ranking states supported Barack Obama.
  • Take religion out of the equation and count only secular gifts, however, and the geography of giving shifts. New York, for example, jumps to No. 2 from No. 18.

This comprehensive report has complete details and breakdowns, available online. Use this link to access a the report in full, including state map, specific information by ZIP code, as well as a close and fascinating look at all of the factors that make up American generosity.

How Can We Help You?

Virtue Center partners with non-profit organizations to help them achieve increased membership, higher attendance at events and greater and more consistent donations from constituents.  If you are launching an online or offline fund-raising campaign, give us a call and let's see how we can give you a technology edge to achieve increased and measurable results.

 

Amazon, the global leader in cloud-based infrastructure has just released their latest web service: Amazon Glacier.  Glacier is a secure, reliable and extremely low cost storage service designed for data archiving and backup.  To learn more, read their blog announcement here.

What does this mean for Virtue Center customers?

Current users of Virtue Center's Technology Platform (VCTP) are already familiar with Amazon's S3 service for storing arbitrary data objects.  With the addition of Glacier as a newly supported Amazon Web Service in the VCTP, Virtue Center customers will experience a direct savings on data archiving and backup costs and increased durability in backups as Glacier is inherently redundant.  Best of all, no actions needs to be taked as, Virtue Center is shifting client backups to Glacier in it's continued effort to offer world class service and continuous improvement.

About “Cloud” infrastructre

Although Cloud Computing is often thrown around to describe just about any hosted software solution, understanding what Cloud Computing really is and what it has to offer is essential for organizations to understand and benefit from.  The bottom line is this: most small and medium sized organizations do not have the resources to manage their own hardware and software infrastructure.  By moving critical business infrastructure to trusted and ubiquitous cloud services – such as Amazon Web Services – organizations can achieve similar technology architectures and impact as enterprise organizations for a fraction of the cost and without the headache's associated with managing infrastructure in-house.  

Virtue Center technology is meant to be run in either the public or private cloud and further simplifies deploying mission critical applications on commodity cloud infrastructure.

Paid Internship

 

We're looking for developers who are passionate about making a positive change in the world. Be a part of our team, working on innovative technology for the non-profit sector.

 

Details

Our internship program is an 8-week paid position in Long Island City, NY for current or recently graduated students (or for exceptional undergrads).  We’re looking for both programming skill and passion for working with technology. We have a lot to teach, applicants for this internship should be self-motivated, open minded, curious, hard-working and mentally focused.

As an intern, you’ll get a chance to work on current Virtue Center projects.  You will gain extensive exposure to cutting edge technology and see how products are built from start to finish.  Along the way, you’ll have a mentor to guide you through project work and help you consider your career path in technology and reach your larger goals.

Interested? Send a resume along with an email stating your internship goals to internship@virtuecenter.com

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