Innovation and Progress in the New Year


Kartis, a project launched by residents at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is a crowd-sourced map of nonprofit organizations around the globe. Residents are designing this map to help nonprofits connect with one another to share ideas and resources.

We asked Rally Leader Andrew Cole for some crowdfunding advice to help others along the way. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What have you found to be the most effective way to spread the word about your cause?

A: Sharing on Facebook is great, and we managed to pull in a lot of money that way.  But I think what’s even more important is reaching out to possible supporters who you think have a personal stake in your cause, and explaining to them on a person to person level what your project means to you, and what you think it means to them.  This could be through an email, or in person. That way, your campaign becomes a part of a larger conversation, and the more personal the better.

Q: What are some strategies you suggest to encourage donations?

A: Networking, networking, networking! I’ve found that the Rally campaign has given me an excuse to reach out to a lot of interesting people I haven’t spoken to in a while, and on a personal level that’s been really great for me.  So use it as an opportunity to reach out to the professor or family friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, but who you know would be interested.

Visit the Rally campaign for Kartis to learn more. For more tips on how to create a stellar Rally campaign, check out our Rally 101 blog posts.

STAY CONNECTED Hosts PDF Liberation Hackathon, January 17-19

Courtesy of Open Knowledge Foundation Blog

Photo Courtesy of Open Knowledge Foundation Blog is all about inspiring leaders and inciting action to foster social change. That’s why we’re excited to host the PDF Liberation Hackathon’s West Coast event at RallyPad in San Francisco, CA, Friday through Sunday, Jan. 17-19.

This innovative 48-hour event, which will also take place in Washington D.C., New York City and Chicago, will bring developers and researchers together to come up with new ways to answer to old questions. Hackathon participants will troubleshoot different solutions for extracting large amounts of data sets from PDF documents. PDFs (in their current format) restrict the way that open source models can analyze data.

Read this excerpt from Marc Joffe’s guest blog post for “Math Babe” about the importance of this hackathon. The entire blog post can be found here.

“[O]pen source models can bring much needed transparency to scientific research, finance, education and other fields plagued by biased, self-serving analytics. Models often need large volumes of data, and if the model is to be run on an ongoing basis, regular data updates are required.

Unfortunately, many data sets are not ready to be loaded into your analytical tool of choice; they arrive in an unstructured form and must be organized into a consistent set of rows and columns. This cleaning process can be quite costly. Since open source modeling efforts are usually low dollar operations, the costs of data cleaning may prove to be prohibitive. Hence no open model – distortion and bias continue their reign.”

Visit this page to register for the PDF Liberation Hackathon.