blog

Op4G's Volunteer of the Month: JP Borderleau!

hockeyOp4G’s Volunteer of the Month is JP Borderleau! Since 1999, JP has volunteered as a coach for the Chicago Tomahawks – a youth special needs hockey program and member of the American Special Hockey Association.

The program offers weekly hockey practices and games to 70 special needs players in the Chicago area. Furthermore, once a year, the program sends players to a national hockey festival for individuals of all physical and mental abilities.

JP’s motivation to coach grew from his love of hockey and his desire to help his community, particularly the youth population. In his words, “The most rewarding benefits for youth’s participation in sports is the increased confidence they gain out of the rink or gym”.

JP’s passion for sports, fitness, and helping others also extends beyond his coaching. In his day-to-day life, he is the joint owner of Precision Multisport in Evanston, Illinois. The company offers everything from personal training to group workouts, helping adults reach their personal health goals.

If you’d like to recognize an Op4G member and volunteer from your community, please contact support@op4g.com.

Flickr photo credit: clyde

 

blog

Op4G $500 Winner: Pacific Science Center!

scienceThe Pacific Science Center is Op4G’s $500 Sweepstakes Winner for April! Based in Seattle, the Op4G partner strives to “bring science to life” and “inspire creativity to fuel tomorrow’s innovations”. Their award-winning, interactive exhibits reach more than 1.3 million people across Washington each year — in their communities, classrooms and on the Pacific Science Center campus – and allow them to wander among tropical butterflies, touch live marine animals, explore distant galaxies, and experience a giant-screen IMAX film. The Pacific Science Center is a private not-for-profit.

To offer your support, please click here or complete Op4G surveys for the Center today!

Flickr photo credit: Horia Varian

blog

What happens if you order a Chicken Philly at Pat's King of Steaks?

Pats King of SteaksSo this past Memorial Day weekend I took my son to the NCAA Lacrosse National Championships in Philadelphia.  It was an amazing event featuring the fastest growing sport in America.  If you’ve never seen a college lacrosse game live, you should add it to your bucket list.

While in Philly I wanted to take in a few of the well known sites, and Pat’s was at the top of my list.  I can’t resist a good cheese steak.  My son really likes them too, although he’s grown to like chicken cheese steaks due to a rare red meat allergy caused by a tick bite.  This bizarre allergic reaction was first thought to be more common in adults, but more and more kids in the Mid Atlantic states are being diagnosed. It can be dangerous if you’re not careful, but for most people it’s an irritating nuisance.

While reading the Internet based touch screen kiosk located in the hotel lobby, we found that Pat’s also had “chicken cheese steaks”.  It was game on! After a nice evening walk through downtown Philly and the Italian Market area we arrived at Pat’s. The line wrapped around all 4 sides of the building.  A lot of the other lacrosse fans had the same thing in mind.  Not to worry though, Pat’s is famous for order taking efficiency.  So famous, that if you order incorrectly they will kindly give you a do-over at the end of the line.

How to Order a Steak at Pat's

That’s part of the experience though.  We joked with folks we met about getting an order incorrect.  We practiced while making fun of each other.  I had never enjoyed waiting in a long line before this.  Eventually we made it to position #1 and it was our turn. My son went first and said, “I’d like a chicken…”. This was followed by a quick and assertive interjection from the gentleman behind the counter. “No chicken, next!”  I then stated that the hotel information kiosk said Pat’s had chicken. Clearly this must be true, right?  I read it on the Internet. He said, “mista, there hasn’t been a chicken in this building for 83 years.”

I turned to my young son. He was silent and had a far away stare that persisted for the next several hours. To him it felt like a swift and unexpected kick in the gut.

We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s a harmless kick like his, and other times it’s a major blow. Those experiences often present us with opportunities to pivot in a new and productive direction. They give us the motivation to try something different, to volunteer, align ourselves with a cause, start a small charity, and even take surveys with Op4G to benefit a non-profit. What will you do the next time you’re kicked in the gut?

Despite the minor set back, our experience in Philly was still unforgettably good. And, if Pat’s ever adds chicken cheese steaks to the menu, we’re heading back.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons – Photo 1, Photo 2

 

 

 

blog

Who are the Greatest Victims of a Struggling Global Economy?

As the global economy continues to struggle, among the greatest victims are today’s children.

According to a recent report from the United Nations Children’s Fund, more than one in five American children fall below the poverty line (defined as less than half of the median income). In fact, the US ranks 34 out of 35 developed countries, above only Romania. To make matters worse, the average poor child in the US lives in a household than earns 36% less than the relative poverty line. Only Italy has a wider gap.

Even more disturbing are child poverty rates in the developing world. Of the world’s 2.2 billion children, the UN estimates that approximately 1 billion live in poverty. Consequently, as of 2012, nearly 20% of children under age 5 in the developing world are underweight, 30% are stunted, and 20% lack basic vaccines. Furthermore, approximately 7.6 million children under the age of 5 perish annually.

Certainly, the heaviest cost of all is borne by the children themselves. However, research reveals that societies also pay a heavy price for child poverty. Among other effects, child poverty translates into lower educational achievements, reduced skills and productivity, increased chance of unemployment and welfare dependence, and higher costs to judicial and social security systems.

To help reduce child poverty in the US or abroad, please support one of our partner non-profits: A Chance for Kids, A Kid Again, All the Children are Children, Community Services for Children, Education for all Children, Stand Up for Kids Silicon Valley, Tukwila Children’s Foundation, and the Westchester Children’s Association.

blog

Help Moore. Give your time to Oklahomans in need

help moore oklahomaThe devastation in Moore, Oklahoma from Monday’s tornado is hard for any of us to wrap our minds around. The images and information coming out of this event remind us how often strangers and our neighbors are willing to help in a moment’s notice. Our thoughts and prayers are directed to the families who have lost precious loved ones.

Our members carry a spirit of volunteerism, charity and concern. As a result, we’d like to offer an extended option for those who’d like to help Moore, OK. We’ve moved the American Red Cross into the position of “Non-Profit of the Month”. This will give our members the option to apply their survey earnings directly to an organization providing boots-on-the-ground service to the affected families.

Other Ways to Help

The American Red Cross has quickly sprung into action and set up several shelters and begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well.

To donate directly Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Salvation Army is helping in Moore by activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents. You can donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. If you’re sending a check make sure you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK. 73157.

blog

Are You Eating Right? You May be Surprised

2 copyIn 2011, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an updated nutritional food guide for the United States. Known as – MyPlate, – it replaced the long-used food pyramid diagrams.

MyPlate outlines the recommended amount of food from each major food group, per meal. It is divided into sections of approximately 30% grains, 30% vegetables, 20% fruits, and 20% proteins. As well, it suggests a small side serving of dairy. Of course, these proportions may vary for certain individuals, such as pregnant women or athletes. They should also be followed in conjunction with other key recommendations (i.e. maintain portion control and minimize sodium and sugar intake).

At Op4G, we are fortunate to partner with several non-profits dedicated to promoting nutrition in the United States. Healthy Lifestyle Choices, for example, focuses on obesity prevention through nutrition and increased physical activity. Operation Sack Lunch serves three nutritionally dense meals a day, seven days a week, to the hungry living in the Seattle area. Furthermore, Op4G’s many partner food banks work to collect and distribute healthy food to those in need.

Flickr photo credit: Jessica Spengler

blog

So who the heck takes these Internet surveys anyway?

Well I’m not sure about panel members found in other places, but as it turns out, Op4G survey takers are quite a purposeful group. Many folks join because they have a strong interest in a specific non-profit or charity. That’s obvious, right?

What’s interesting is that the Op4G Platform –MyOp4G– creates value for these members in the form of a brand new opportunity to help their cause. The system and tools are unique because they fill a need where no similar solution previously existed. Not only can large, well known organizations participate for free, but also small, locally focused groups. As a result, members are able to feel connected to their non-profit and share insights in a purposeful way.

A recent survey of our members found that 31% of them are large donors, as defined as someone who gives $1,000+ to charity each year. What does that mean? It means that many of our members who already have a donor relationship with their favorite non-profit, are taking surveys for them as well!

In addition, of those members who donate any amount, 97% said they would continue donating at their current levels, while ALSO taking surveys. Finally, 73% of our respondents said they ONLY take surveys on the Op4G platform.

So who the heck is taking these surveys? It’s a proud group of people who want to connect, engage, and share insights when these actions are -cause- directed. Now that’s purposeful!

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/84123084@N00/

blog

Want to know why everyone will be wearing PURPLE tomorrow?

Why? Because it’s time to spread awareness and help the Lupus Foundation of America solve the cruel mystery of Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints and/or organs inside the body).

On Friday, May 17th as part of Lupus Awareness Month, thousands of people from around the country will PUT ON PURPLE to get the word out. Op4G and our Non-Profit Partner, Lupus Foundation DC/MD/VA Chapter would like you to join us in this effort by having your family, friends, team members, and co-workers make your Friday purple.

According to LFA, 59 percent of Americans know little or nothing about lupus and its devastating impact. Find out more about this unpredictable and sometimes fatal disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. Get started by Liking LFA on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

blog

Op4G's $100 Twitter Winner: Susan Sliney!

3333Op4G congratulates member Susan Sliney, our $100 twitter winner!

In honor of Op4G’s philanthropic mission, Susan has generously offered to donate a portion of her winnings to Op4G partner Beverly Bootstraps. Based in Massachusetts, Beverly Bootstraps works to provide critical resources to families and individuals so that they may achieve self-sufficiency. Through its food pantry and thrift shops, it offers such resources as food assistance, clothing, and household items.

Susan choose Beverly Bootstraps because it helps the families most in need that are having a hard time with trying to survive in today’s economy. As a mother of five who faced some struggles in the past, she knows the importance of having local social service agencies where people can turn to in a time of need. She only wishes that every community had such an organization!

Susan registered with Op4G only a few weeks ago, stating that she loved the fact that through taking surveys, I can help someone else. As she has a strong passion for helping others, she plans to continue taking surveys to raise as much money as possible for Beverly Bootstraps.

For your chance to win in our upcoming contests, please follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook today!

Flickr photo credit: Jamie McCaffrey

blog

Okay, but enough about me, what do YOU think of me?

The Op4G model is a unique ecosystem of moving parts. Our program serves as a functional pivot point, enabling us to create simultaneous value for individual Members, Non-Profit organizations, and Market Research Clients. Like any system with moving parts, maintenance is required. We’re always looking for opportunities to enhance our program benefits.

From time to time we ask for feedback from our stakeholders. Here are some of the responses we’ve received. We’d really love your comments, questions or suggestions as well.

What about Op4G first caught your attention?

There were many factors that caught my attention: integrity and thoughtfulness of the founder; sensitivity to donor security, creativity, and sincerity to helping Non-Profits; new stream of income; and high return with little investment in time. – Lisa Deutsch from Guiding Eyes for the Blind

How did you first learn about Op4G?

Other non-profit partners in our area recommended joining – Sarah Uldricks, Okizu

I first heard about Op4G when I attended the AFP Greater New Orleans February 2012
meeting and a representative from Op4G spoke about the organization and the benefits for
non-profits. – Ari Sibler, Healthy Lifestyle Choices

What effort was required of your organization to launch the Op4G campaign?

We reached out to community members and volunteers in a variety of ways, including direct
emails, articles in e-newsletters, Craigslist posts, a page on our website, Twitter, and
Facebook. – Dana Troy, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

We initiated three newsletters and a social campaign to our mailing lists. We also reached out to our board members in one meeting and followed-up with an e-mail encouraging them to sign-up and have their friends and family sign up. We also posted about our partnership on our Facebook page and Twitter account. – Ari Sibler, Healthy Lifestyle Choices

It required very little startup effort on our end, which was a huge bonus. – Sarah Uldricks
from Okizu

There was really very little effort required, just a little thoughtful planning about how and when to spread the word. Our Op4G representative was great in developing and sharing marketing materials for us to distribute at events and during our organization’s day-today activities. – Tracy Cieniewicz, United Cerebral Policy Huntsville & Tennessee Valley

What feedback have you received from your supporters about your partnership with Op4G?

Very positive once they understood the concept, some had a hard time believing there was no catch. It sounded too good to be true. – Joanne Gold, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Puget Sound

What feedback have you received from your supporters about the program?

So far, our staff, board members, volunteers, and client families are very happy with their Op4G membership and anxiously await more surveys! – Tracy Cieniewicz, United Cerebral Policy Huntsville & Tennessee Valley

So far everything has been positive!  Jared Levy, ChemoClothes

Largely positive, with some skepticism which I believe will be overcome in time as more people participate and share their positive experience. – Joan Rizzo from United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia

Many people like it because it is an easy, free, way to give back. – Sarah Uldricks from Okizu

Would you recommend Op4G to other Non-Profit organizations? Why or why not?

Yes, as long as there’s someone who has some time to commit to promoting the program. It doesn’t have to be an excessive amount of time, but there won’t be many new members signing up without continued outreach. Spending a little time and effort on this has been effective for us, yielding donations through member activities, with potential long-term benefits through continued participation and new members. – Dana Troy from Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

Yes, I absolutely would recommend Op4G for a few different reasons: there is potential for significant ongoing revenue once membership levels are established; charitable giving is an integral component of the business model; and the model respects donor choice. Everyone who represents the company demonstrates a cordial, professional, and ethical manner. – Joan Rizzo from United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia

Absolutely. Why not keep your support base thinking about you and helping you in ways that don’t involve donating money themselves? Our clients are also low income, so this allows them to give back too. – Sarah Uldricks from Okizu

I would recommend Op4G to other nonprofits, as it is another means of exposure and potential fundraising. – Ari Sibler from Healthy Lifestyle Choices

What internal barriers did you have to overcome upon partnering with Op4G? How did you
overcome them?

Our main barrier is balancing the number of communications we send out. We waited until after the holidays to share the message, as too much goes out in November and December. We do not want to risk spam reports or excessive opt-outs. – Michelle Berg from Second Harvest Food Bank

Our primary internal barriers were all tied to the timing of our all our outreach and the most effective way to reach the biggest number of people without hitting the overload point. Since we communicate primarily electronically, we cannot afford to have people opt out of our constant contact communications because they don’t want to be bothered with crowdsourcing requests. If we want them to volunteer, we need them to get our emails. This is why we had to carefully design the outreach materials and schedule. – Linda Turner from Junior Achievement of Dallas

How has your organization benefited to date from the program?

We have over 700 members and in January received over $1,000 in survey payments each dollar provides 2 meals for people in need so this is a great benefit. We anticipate the monthly total to increase over time, and will try to grow our membership number by reaching out to different groups. – Michelle Berg from Second Harvest Food Bank

Would you recommend Op4G to other Non-Profit organizations? Why or why not?

Yes, I would recommend Op4G without reservation. I’ve been pitching Op4G even before it went live. That’s how much confidence I have in the concept and management team. – Lisa Deutsch from Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Photo credit: flickr Creative Commons,ralphbijker flickr.com/photos/17258892@N05