“Gamify” and “Ask Me Anything”: In Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership’s Solutions Lab, Haas Alumni Suggest Ways to Make MapLight’s Voter Education Tool Shareable

By Katherine Murtha

Were you happy about the turnout of the primary election last week?MapLight---client-intro-(1)-web

Berkeley nonprofit MapLight wants to help voters make educated decisions when they step into the voting booth. To that end, MapLight developed Voters Edge, a free online tool that provides voters with information about candidate and ballot measure funding and details on all the issues. But so far, MapLight’s Executive Director, Dan Newman, has been disappointed with the electorate’s lackluster response.

With a goal of getting two million Voters Edge users by January 2015, MapLight partnered with the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to run a brainstorm session where Haas alums lent their creativity to brainstorm marketing ideas.

The group of seven alumni included MBAs who graduated in 1982, 2007, and 2014, as well as a Marketing PhD and alums from the undergraduate program.

Before they arrived, the Haas volunteers clicked through the Voters Edge tool and prepared questions for Dan and the MapLight team. After a warmup and brief overview, the volunteers got to work dreaming up ideas to make Voters Edge more shareable on social media.

For about 25 minutes, the Haas alums refined their top ideas. Then they made their pitches to nine members of MapLight’s staff, who stayed late so they could hear the ideas and give feedback.

Some of the ideas aired were for MapLight to “gamify” Voters Edge to incentivize users to share the tool online. MapLight’s team was interested in suggestions like hosting a bipartisan Reddit Ask Me Anything (or “AMA”) forum to raise awareness of the tool and the influence of money in politics.

The two hours flew by. Both clients and volunteers expressed interest in participating in another Solutions Lab, with a little more time for back and forth.

The MapLight Solutions Lab was the third of a three-session pilot run by the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership for Haas alumni. The next batch of client sessions will be held in the fall. Click here to learn more.

At Foundation for Sustainable Development, UC Berkeley-Haas Alumni Brainstorm Messaging through Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership’s Solutions Lab

By Katherine Murtha

Mireille Cronin-Mather had a question.pair-ideation-(2)for-web

The Executive Director of the Foundation for Sustainable Development – a 20-year-old nonprofit with 30 corporate partners and 10 sites worldwide – wondered how her organization could tell its story.

FSD sends teams of volunteers to sites around the world, where over short periods they train community members to run successful and financially sustainable organizations. Five years after these volunteer teams have come and gone, 79% of programs are still running. FSD credits this success to strong leaders within the communities.

Highlighting its asset-based, community-driven approach jars with the more commonly told narrative of international development organizations that solve problems for people in need. And that message had not been tested with a new potential donor pool: impact investors.

So on Thursday night, nine passionate alumni of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business got to work in FSD’s San Francisco office. The two-hour brainstorm and pitch session surfaced ideas for how FSD should make its case to donors from the social impact investing field. Continue reading