Be a DoGooder – Skill Raising with Tech

by on February 8, 2013 · 24 comments

The first annual Philadelphia DoGooder Awards is a unique program designed to raise $250,000 worth of skills for area nonprofit organizations. The awards not only bring much needed skills to local nonprofits, but also help publicize their good works. Sometimes doing good means contributing skills rather than cash.

I recently spoke with Dave Gloss, who co-founded Here’s My Chance along with Kevin Colahan. Here’s My Chance is running the Philadelphia DoGooders Awards, designed to help nonprofit organizations achieve their goals and bring attention to their causes.

The Philadelphia DoGooder Awards program pairs 25 local film makers with 25 local nonprofits to make short videos explaining the mission of the organizations. These videos were posted at the Philly in Focus website where people could vote on their favorites. The winners of the DoGooder Awards, who will be announced at an awards ceremony later this month, will receive $250,000 worth of volunteer skills from local Philadelphia businesses.

“We created the Philly DoGooder Awards to celebrate the best in Philadelphia storytelling, as a way to create a really compelling online campaign that generates great content in terms of video, helps activate film makers in the community to give back to the city, and gives the nonprofits a chance to learn what it takes to run a successful online campaign, activating their community,” explained Gloss.

Here’s My Chance held a video hackathon in November which matched the nonprofits with the film makers. “We wanted to insure that there were quality films competing in the challenge. They had 10 days to storyboard, shoot, edit and submit a film. All 25 got their videos submitted which was a real testament to the community,” said Gloss.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January, local corporations provided volunteers to assess the nonprofits’ needs for specific skills such as legal, accounting, marketing, and operations. Gloss pointed out, “Even if they don’t win the competition, they still get a baseline of what skills they need. It gives them a clear path forward.”

Voting for the videos started December 17th and concluded January 31st. The $250,000 prize will be allocated among five different organizations ($50,000 each) for each of the following awards:

  • Overall winner
  • Hackathon winner
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for Viewer’s Choice

The film makers also gain publicity by their videos being shown at Xfinity on Demand and at the national DoGooder Awards website. “We wanted to celebrate the film makers. They should get something out of it, ” explained Gloss.

One of the videos tells the story of a New Leash on Life USA, an organization that matches shelter dogs with prison inmates. The inmates volunteer to help train shelter dogs to be adoptable by families, helping the inmates as much as the pups. If the New Leash on Life USA video doesn’t get you choked up, well then your nickname just might be “The Grinch.”

The Philadelphia DoGooder Awards is part of the national DoGooder Awards program, but the hackathon and skills audit are unique to Philadelphia. “According to the United Way, this is the single largest skill volunteer program in the City’s history,” said Gloss.

The Awards ceremony will be held on February 21st at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Here’s My Chance is running a contest to give away free tickets to the event. If you want to enter the contest, take a picture of yourself doing good works and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #PhillyDoGooder. The best picture will win two free tickets to the awards show.

In the unlikely event that you don’t win the contest, you can purchase tickets to the event at the DoGooders website.

Have you heard of the DoGooder Awards? What do you think of this skills raising program? Would you like to have this program in your city? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Sapna February 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm

HI Carolyn

Great information!

I have never heard of dogooders, it appears they are doing great by giving back to the society.

Thanks Carolyn for sharing.


Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Hi Sapna, Yes, this is a great use of tech to help raise awareness and skills for different nonprofit organizations. I love stories like this about people helping other people!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
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Mike Maynard
February 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I won’t do the joke about the video being a bit rough! :)

I’m in favour of anything that helps people. It seems like a good idea. Do-gooders tends to be a term of derision here and so we would have come up with something else.

Something weird happening with my website. I keep getting emails saying I have new subscribers, but I don’t really. They all live in Poland too! It seems harmless so far…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Hi Mike, Lol, great joke!

Yes, I’m sure that when and if this arrives in the UK, you Brits will come up with a delightful and charming moniker that will leave us Yanks wondering why we didn’t think of that!

For your subscribers, look in your Dashboard under Users to see if these new people registered as subscribers on the blog.

Congratulations on your popularity in Poland! Check Google Analytics to see if that country is now dark green for you. :-)
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Mike Maynard
February 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I’m back and confused. I was looking at the number of subscribers when I check stats, there were only a few. I checked users on the dashboard and there are pages and pages of them; mostly in Poland. I can only see two ways to subscribe. Either check a box when they comment or insert their email address in a box in the side bar. I tried both and it adds a subscriber to the short list that I see under stats. How are all these people from Poland getting their names on the user list? I can’t see another way of subscribing. I’m not really sure why I have 2 lists either!

Thanks, if you know the answer…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Hi Mike, Yes, unless you have blocked people from registering with your blog, they can register as subscribers. Here’s a WordPress help article on the topic.

I use the Subscribe2 plugin so my readers can subscribe using email on the sidebar.

Isn’t it great to find out that you have more subscriber than you thought? Way to go!
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Aaron Brinker February 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm


I love this idea (okay…I like everything you share) I had never heard of the DoGooders Award until today. I think it is a wonderful way to support community involvement and skill raising. It would be a great thing if all communities took it to this level.

Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders

P.S. Wow…I don’t have the time to respond to some of favorites bloggers new posts for a few days and I get way behind! I checked out three of your new stories today….time is definitely a commodity.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Aw shucks, thanks, Aaron. I’m glad you liked this. I was very excited about this program when I heard about it. Dave Gloss has so much enthusiasm for this project and it’s easy to understand why.

I hope that his and Kevin’s great ideas do spread to other communities.

Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts, Aaron!
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Prime Aque February 9, 2013 at 3:22 am

Hi Carolyn. I haven’t heard about this before. I am from the Philippines and I wish this kind of skill raising program will be held here too. It’s awesome.

Like you said, contributing skills than cash is given more value in some situations. Thank you for sharing this one.

And thank you for taking your time reading my guest post at Erik’s blog.

See you.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

Hi Prime, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, this program is brand new here in Philadelphia. It’s the first time this has ever been done, but has been very successful. I hope that Philadelphia DoGooders inspires people worldwide!

Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing to the conversation, Prime!
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Bill Dorman
February 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

Interesting concept; I know I certainly have much more time than treasure. I like getting involved anyway instead of just throwing money at something, but also know money is important to achieve the mission.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Hi Bill, I know you do a lot of wonderful charity work so I’m sure that this resonates with you. I hope to spread the word about how this program can help others spread the word about the good works of nonprofits and help raise skills.

You’re right, sometimes cash donations are required. But other times, skills are what organization are looking for!
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Samantha February 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm

what wonderful ideas! using tech to help is a great usage
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Hi Samantha, Yes, you’re right. If these nonprofits just popped their videos onto YouTube, few people would notice. But DoGooders helps to bring attention to these worthy causes as well as raising skills for them.
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Dakota Adelphia February 9, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Hi Carolyn,

It has been awhile, hasn’t it?! I absolutely love anything that is giving back to the community and helping businesses along.

I have just gotten back into the blogging world after a three month trip across the United States by bicycle. Now that was an adventure! :) We actually raised funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation while doing the trip, which made it all that much better.

I hope you have been doing well, your blog certainly has!


Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Hi Dakota, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! What an adventure you have had. Thank you very much for all you have done in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I just saw my nephew earlier today who rode across the US on a cycling trip that changed his life. People like you change the world.

Best of luck back in the blogging world. You certainly have experiences to share with the world! (*)
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Ruth Zive February 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I worked for 15 years in the non-profit sector, and I LOVE seeing innovative approaches to philanthropy. I especially love that technology has released the floodgates of creativity and has empowered charities to think outside the box. Even when it comes to funding. Thanks for sharing Carolyn!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Hi Ruth, You’re right, Dave and Kevin really have come up with an innovative approach to helping nonprofits. These videos do a great job of illustrating the purpose of these organizations, bringing them attention and skills. I was so excited when I read about this, I couldn’t wait to share this with Wonder of Tech readers!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us here, Ruth!
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Jens P. Berget
February 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Wow Carolyn, the New Leash on Life USA looks like a fantastic organization. I love animals, and what this organization does is just amazing. Watching the video, I started to think about if this could be something for the prision in my town. What a wonderful idea that was. That really got me thinking :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Hi Jens, Thank you. I absolutely loved this video! I hope you are able to bring a similar program to your local prison in Norway, Jens. It could help dogs, prisoners and families. The ripple effect of this cause is very wide.

Keep us posted if you are able to get this started in your hometown, Jens! :-bd
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February 11, 2013 at 4:01 am

Hi Carolyn,

No… I never heard of DoGooder :)

A wonderful concept. I believe it’s much worthy as a skill raising program in first place and much more of a learning experience that will help go few more steps ahead from their existing goals.

Very true Carolyn :) It’s an opportunity for non-profits on how to run such a campaign much more efficiently and effectively. Well, here in my country that’s something that non-profits are really lack of and media is not much corporate in such events. May be different in US though :)

It’s really amazing how non-profits evolve though they are lack of money. It’s not always about money but financial support can be very helpful. However right collaboration and set of skills can do a lot of things successfully even without money. Many people and organizations do while others do the talking :)

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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Hi Mayura, You’re right. Nonprofits can get a lot done with very little money so long as they have people who pitch in to get the jobs done.

This program is unique in the US but I wanted to spread the word so that others can implement this great idea. The more people do good, the better for everyone!
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February 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Damn you Carolyn, you knew that video would bring me to tears.

I remember Oprah doing a show on prison dogs where they took them to the prisons to let the inmates train them. This program also sounds very worthy because if anything can bring a prisoners heart out it would be the love of a dog.

I don’t doubt that the other videos that have been turned in are just as good because I’m sure there are literally hundreds of wonderful organizations out there doing so much great work.

Thank you for sharing this and I’ll be anxious to see who wins.

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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hi Adrienne, yes, I just love that video. You and I love our dogs so I’m not surprised this video got to you too. This organization really does give both people and dogs a new leash on life!
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