7th Annual Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp, 2010


This year, I had the pleasure of attending the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp event at the UC Berkeley campus for the second year in a row. This year’s Boot Camp had over 70 presenters and was the first year with a shift beyond the nonprofit sector. Below are my tweets, and my favorite tweets from others and concepts shared by speakers throughout the day.


  • Chip Conley: "The most neglected fact in business? We are all human."

Keynote speaker, Chip Conley, founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre and author of Peak, kicked off the day by sharing his innovative approach to business. Joie de Vivre, a boutique hotel company, has a business model with a core philanthropic component. Each hotel chain elects a local charity that generally reflects its unique personality and clientele, and is subsequently evaluated on its ability to raise money for that charity. For example, the chosen philanthropy of the Rolling Stones-inspired Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, CA is Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.).

One of the most interesting moments was the PowerPoint slide illustrating Conley’s business model: a simple, but telling, red heart. This heart represents “karmic capitalism” – a service profit chain based on the idea that if you create a great culture, it tends to drive employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Within this heart are four connected elements: 1) creating a unique culture; 2) building an enthusiastic staff; 3) developing strong customer loyalty; and 4) maintaining a profitable and sustainable business.

What does this all boil down to for Conley? “You can have a job, a career, or calling.”

BREAKOUT SESSION – Beth Kanter, “Understanding the Networked Nonprofit”

  • "Social media skepticism is not a convo stopper. It's a convo starter. Don't be afraid to talk about it." 
  • Beth Kanter's tip to simplicity: Focus on what you do best and network the rest. You have too much to do bc you do too much. 
  • RT @tomjd  'You can't recycle wasted time' slide by @kanter http://twitpic.com/2epums

We already briefly touched upon Beth Kanter’s presentation, “Understanding the Networked Nonprofit: How being more transparent, connected and social can help you transform your neighborhood or community” in a previous blog post, “Finding the Right Transparency."

Transparency was one of many topics touched upon by Kanter, a nonprofit marketing and social media expert. Some of the other interesting topics and quick tips from Kanter included:

On creating a social culture

  • Have the right attitude. Kanter states that “I can make better decisions” reflection is essential to social media. Do not be afraid to fix it as you go.
  • Make a social media policy mean more than just a piece of paper. Kanter’s social media policy in a 140-character tweet: “Be professional, kind, discreet, authentic. Represent us well. Remember you can’t control it once you hit ‘update.’”

On being transparent

  • You can be one of three models: a fortress, transactional, or a sponge.
  • Ask yourself, “How well do you know your fans and super followers, and what sets their hearts on fire?”

On achieving simplicity

  • Beware of ADOLAS (Attention Deficit… Oh Look A Squirrel!)
  • Advice to small nonprofits: avoid the scarcity mentality that “we don’t have time.” Kanter suggests moving towards abundance by considering what you could do less of.

BREAKOUT SESSION – Peter Block and John McKnight, “The Abundant Community”

  • Peter Block: Shift the community narrative from what is wrong to what is possible – "you decide what's worth talking about."
  • Peter Block: "What do you know that you're willing to teach?" 
  • John McKnight: Understand that the stranger is the greatest gift we can have if we make a friend. 
  • John McKnight: You don't know what you need from the system until you know what you have & what can be done w/ local community first

Peter Block, partner of Designed Learning consulting, and John McKnight, co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, discussed key concepts from their co-authored book, The Abundant Community, which focuses on the movement from being consumers (e.g., relying on the marketplace and the system) to citizens (e.g., creating associations and neighborhoods) for a more satisfying life. Some key concepts were:

  • The system and the local community are like a hammer and a saw in a toolbox; both are tools, but do different things.
  • Start with what the community can do within its capacity and with its abundance. Then ask what the system can do to help.
  • There are three building blocks to an abundant community: discovering gifts, capacity, and skills; building associational life; and understanding that the stranger is the greatest gift we can have if we can make a friend.

BREAKOUT SESSION – Steve Wright and Rem Hoffman, “Measuring Social Impact”

  • Wright's 3-steps to theory of change map: vision, method, metric. Things I want to see, things I'm going to do, how I will measure it
  • Measuring Social Impact, Steve Wright: The goal is to solve problems. Money is a means to that end, not an end in itself. 
  • Suggested reading from Steve Wright on social impact: Monitor Institute's "What's Next for Philanthropy" http://bit.ly/avcKK1

Steve Wright, Director of the Social Performance Management Center at Grameen Foundation, and Rem Hoffman, President and CEO of Exponent Partners, discussed tactics for measuring social impact. The more advanced terms and concepts well-understood by these two IT experts were difficult for new audiences to measuring social impact to digest in one shot, including myself. However, there were still many useful, simpler concepts to take away:

  • Social impact is inputs –> activities –> outputs –> outcomes –> impact. In other words, it comes from what you use –> what you do –> what happens –> what results –> what lasts.
  • Setting benchmarks is critical to measuring social impact. We first need to take a step back to identify long term goals and then map backwards of how to get there. 
  • Social impact data is a repeated process: design –> collect –> report –> aggregate –> inspire.

BREAKOUT SESSION – Taproot Foundation, “Doing Pro Bono Right”

  • Pro bono continues to evolve: "Someday every professional will think of pro bono as part of their professional development" – Taproot
  • Taproot Fdn: Strong pro bono projects are an investment of time, energy, and talent. Treat pro bono like any other major investment.

Taproot Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the pro bono movement, provided an insightful session on how pro bono has continued to expand beyond the legal profession within the last 10 years. Taproot Foundation addressed key considerations for both sides of pro bono service in the nonprofit sector – nonprofit recipients of pro bono services and nonprofits that provide pro bono services. Highlights include:

  • Pro bono work should be the same quality work as paid engagements; hold high standards on both sides.
  • Pro bono is a common entry point into the nonprofit sector. As a provider of pro bono services, one should be a good ambassador of the nonprofit sector.
  • Pro bono clients should have a clear strategic direction, be responsive and respectful of the project’s timeline and scope, and be an expert of the organization to the consultant.
  • Nonprofits may find pro bono services from companies seeking a public relations boost, community individuals who want to network, or someone who simply wants to help.


  • Chip Conley discusses importance of striving for both customer-satisfaction AND employee-satisfaction. Create meaning in work.
  • RT @kanter 40% decline in empathy of college students last 20 yrs. Call to action for nonprofits to be ninjas in ladder of engagement

The closing panel included Chip Conley, Bob Johansen (The Institute for the Future), John McKnight, Craig Newmark (craigslist), Marsha L. Semmel (Institute of Museum and Library Services), Lateefah Simon (Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights), and moderator Rachael Myrow (KQED). A theme raised at the beginning of the day was how to act more locally now that we have become better at thinking globally; questions surrounding social media were a main focal point in addressing this concern in the closing remarks. Here are some final thoughts from the closing panel until next year’s Boot Camp:

  • A study on digital natives asked “How much time do you spend online?” The question was met with confusion because the digital natives surveyed felt they were always online. (Johansen)
  • A recent University of Michigan study showed a 40% decline in empathy (the ability to “stand in someone else’s shoes”) in college students over 20 years. One hypothesis: electrical instead of personal world. (McKnight)
  • Social media cannot and must not take the place of real people in real grassroots efforts; “power of people is what changes humanity.” (Simon)
  • Most powerful thing about philanthropy is “giving things away with trust you’ll get more in return.” (Johansen) 
  • How do we change from being nice to necessary?

You can follow me on twitter @nonprofitlawyer.

Coverage of the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp 2010 is available here.  Podcasts and presentations from the event are expected to be posted by the Craigslist Foundation at a later date.