The Haas Foundation
The Saul & Dayee G. Haas Foundation improves secondary education for those in need in Washington State. Their work involves 600 secondary schools — that’s 53% of the secondary schools in Washington, including both public and private schools.
While modernizing the efforts of volunteers and staff, the Foundation has created online tools of possible interest to other non-profits, including:
(1) Online forms used by grant recipients to submit annual reports. The forms include requests for human interest stories from the recipients, which have come in handy later.
(2) A means of raising funds online. At last glance, there was a big button to click for donations from the foundation’s Web site.
(3) A volunteering log. Volunteers perform many tasks for Haas Foundation, especially media related. Volunteers are not only working locally, and often they are working online. The foundation receives credit for every hour volunteered, so a log helps with tracking and also managing volunteered work, especially when it is performed asynchronously.
Haas does not always create their internal tools from scratch. One recent publication was a great example of coordinating their original online tools, other readily available online tools, and volunteer efforts. Volunteers used Lulu to publish a collection of success stories, which grant recipients had entered into the online annual report form. The finished publication was volunteer-edited and sent as a thank-you to donors of a certain amount.
The Haas Foundation is modernizing these efforts quickly but does not yet have all the answers. Michele expressed their general need for coordinating a variety of online tools for volunteers. They also want a better way volunteers can connect to form a community online. The Foundation has have used Microsoft SharePoint, but SharePoint has been difficult to maintain over time, “from a usability standpoint” as they reported.
The presentation session at Seattle Net Tuesday which originated this report was brief. Our immediate group did not have an opportunity to discuss potential solutions. My instincts tend toward a private wiki like PBwiki to make collaborative working and intranet connectivity front and center. Community building can be on the side of a PBwiki, either linking to and from it and social networking sites or integrating their widgets into it. It is also possible that a custom social network like Ning would be a better glue for Haas Foundation volunteers.
The Haas Foundation would be happy to hear more suggestions. Tell them Michele Fugiel and Seattle Net Tuesday sent you!
Visit them at HaasFoundation.org.
This article was written based on a presentation by and follow-up with Volunteer Michele Fugiel at Seattle Net Tuesday in 2007.
Saul & Dayee G. Haas Foundation photo credit Mel Hazen, 2007