Prince George's County Tech News


Monday, November 24, 2014

Prince Georges County – What Non-Profits And Social Sector Leaders Need To Succeed

Subject: Prince George’s County – What Social Sector Leaders Need To Succeed

A McKinsey and Company article by Laura Callanan, Nora Gardner, Lenny Mendonca, and Doug Scott lays out what the social/non-profit sector needs to succeed. They need great leadership. In fact, non-profit leadership needs to be formed in teams like for-profit private sector businesses. The lesson I learned in trying to go it alone in creating a business is that I can’t do it alone. Doing it alone as a solo entrepreneur is…stupid and highly stressful! Most of all, the chances of growth and/or success are slim and the people or idea you are trying to serve will not get the full benefit.

Harvard i-lab | Developing an Effective Social Enterprise Business Plan with Margot Dushin (Start video at 14 min)

In closing, please remember team work and collaboration are major parts of a successful non-profit/501(c) (3) in Prince George’s County. Non-Profit leaders in Prince George’s County, please read the article.

How to create a successful social enterprise | Marquis Cabrera | TEDxTeachersCollege

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Prince Georges County – How Can AAF Help Local Non-Profits Create High Quality Basic TV Commercials At An Affordable Price?

Subject: Prince George’s County – How Can AAF Help Local Non-Profits Create High Quality Basic TV Commercials At An Affordable Price?

I engaged the Baltimore chapter of the American Advertising Federation or AAF-Baltimore on Twitter about creating an affordable, cookie cutter, commercial package solely for 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations. AAF-Baltimore suggested I put together a blog post outlining an example of an affordable, cookie cutter, replicable commercial package template of high quality. They said they would look at my proposal and present it to their members.

What Local Non-Profits Don’t Want
I know cable companies have low cost local advertising packages like the template I am suggesting for small businesses but they look and sound very cheap. Cable companies are producing local commercials that turn off the viewer and muddle the message of the business. The viewer is focused on the subpar look and sound of the commercial. 

My idea is to have the non-profit follow the basic parts of a 15 – 30 second TV ad spot.

Who are you?
Who is your non-profit?
What does your non-profit do?
How can the viewer help the non-profit?
Why the viewer should act now/Call to Action?

The AAF member would simply require the non-profit to provide digital pictures, and/or digital video which could be easily inserted into the template.

How to make a commercial in 5 easy steps (Level12)

These “direct response” commercials would allow non-profits to engage the public via overnight hours (2 am – 5 am) on TV and drive them to a website or phone bank for additional information and ways to donate. The would be considered “public service announcements” or “run of schedule” commercials to be used when the local TV outlet doesn’t have a paid advertiser for a 15 or 30 second time slot. Non-profits could also negotiate very reasonable prices for time slots during overnight hours. I have seen multiple national and local 501 (c) (3) non-profit commercials run in the overnight hours.

How to Charge Non-Profits for Creating the Commercial
AAF-Baltimore members could charge non-profits on a sliding scale based on the revenues reported on their prior year tax return. The minimum cost of a quality cookie cutter commercial would be $250 for non-profits with revenues of $25,000 or less. The charges can increase $50 for every $25K in revenues a non-profit makes on top of the $25K minimum. The charges can be capped at $500 or $150K + in revenues. If a non-profit wants “bells and whistles” or additional production services, they will have to negotiate this outside of the cookie cutter commercial all-in-one package. This program is targeted to non-profits with revenues of $300,000 or less. Please keep in mind most of the revenue of non-profits goes toward low employee salaries and operating expenses for programs.

Advertising Expert Tim Burt Reveals How To Create Effective Commercial Advertising - Episode 1

Who Should Create The Commercials
It would be a great idea to assign junior employees and interns to these projects with a senior employee to oversee. Communicate to the junior employees and interns that they have a limited amount of hours to create this high quality TV commercial based on a simple template and it must quickly answer the 5 questions stated above. This will give junior employees and interns practical experience. It will give them a chance to experiment and cut their teeth in the field while showing them a bare-bone, replicable financial model that creates revenue while doing social good.

Offering Non-Profits Limited Guidance on Getting Their Commercial Run As a PSA on TV
The amount of guidance and assistance offered in getting the TV spot run as a PSA would be up to the participating AAF member.  It would be understood by the AAF member and non-profit that whatever assistance given on this topic is at the discretion of the AAF member and is NOT part of the cookie cutter commercial all in one package.

Reference Info Examples of Their Work That Doesn’t Look Cheap:

Link to article about How to Buy Advertising:

How to get Public Service Announcement (PSA) Aired on TV:

Link to Article about How to Buy Radio Advertising:

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prince Georges County – UMD Creates Crowdfunding Site Called Launch UMD To Help Fund Student Projects

Subject: Prince George’s County – UMD Creates Crowdfunding Site Called Launch UMD To Help Fund Student Projects

University of Maryland College Park has launched a crowdfunding platform called Launch UMD. The platform limits financial fundraising to members of the University of Maryland, College Park community which includes students, employees, alumni, and parents. It’s a way for the school to tap into its target market. 

Launch UMD: Startup Shell Innovation Fund

Funds can be raised for anything using this platform but the project has to be tied to the university in some way. Over the last few years, crowdfunding has become a major source of fundraising for the University of Maryland, College Park. The school simply researched, chose a vendor to operate the Launch UMD crowdfunding.

After watching the “Launch UMD: Startup Shell Innovation Fund video, I some questions.

Statement of Fact: UMD, College Park is incubating and growing businesses with the crowdfunding source Launch UMD

Q: Does Launch UMD help the broader Prince George’s County ecosystem of entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses?

Q: If not, how do we fix the disconnect and get rid of the Us vs. Them mentality?  There seems to be a disconnect between the Prince George’s County entrepreneur/startup ecosystem and the UMD, College Park entrepreneur/startup ecosystem. 

Q: Why aren’t both entities collaborating and sharing resources to support the whole community as well as foster a customer base and legislative environment for startups to grow? This would lead to higher retention rates and creative ideas/legislation to retain businesses at least in the first ten years of their existence.

Launch UMD: Make our Makerspace Accessible!

Should concerned residents, social entrepreneurs, small business owners, and startups of Prince George’s County follow UMD, College Park’s lead in finding a vendor to operate a crowdfunding platform that would focus on raising money for projects to benefit investment and solving problems within our County? In the case of UMD, the large organizational structure took the lead in organizing the vehicle but anyone one can do it. Once it is done, there has to be a plan for advertising and alerting the residents and other interested parties that this vehicle is available for use by local businesses and social causes. The link below shows a list of online companies that provide crowdfunding platforms. The devil is in the details such as:
-Is there a monthly charge for the site?
-Is there a per transaction fee charge?
-Does one platform offer more bells and whistles than the next for a cheaper price?

Support the Clark School Alumni Cup - Launch UMD

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Prince Georges County – Cybersecurity And Tech Job Worker Shortage $93K

Subject: Prince George’s County – Cybersecurity And Tech Job Worker Shortage $93K

This story about the skilled worker shortage is reported by WAMU 88.5 Metro Connection’s Jennifer Strong. Since I regularly write blog posts to prompt students, underemployed, and unemployed residents of Prince George’s County to find training and enter the cybersecurity field, I was glad to hear this story. This story lets Prince George’s County residents know the jobs are there if you get the training, certifications, and ask for help in navigating the security clearance process ASAP. The average salary in cybersecurity is $93,000.

SANS GIAC Program (

(GIAC) Global Information Assurance Certification:

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Prince Georges County – Amazing - Bill Strickland’s Job Training And Community Arts Program Is Amazing!

Subject: Prince George’s County – Amazing - Bill Strickland’s Job Training And Community Arts Program Is Amazing!

Link to book “Make The Impossible Possible” by Bill Strickland:

Bill Strickland is the embodiment of social entrepreneurism. From hearing him speak and observing his demeanor, I think he is uniquely qualified to have taken the journey he speaks of in his presentations. This Pittsburgh native has taken his visions and translated them to actual programs with the help of wealthy donors and dedicated supporters for 22 years at the Manchester Bidwell Center in the heart of a disadvantaged neighborhood in Pittsburgh. 

Look Like the Solution: Bill Strickland's Path to Solving Problems

Through his vision and the help of multiple partners like eBay’s Jeff Skoll, Strickland has replicated an Arts and Technology Job Training Center in multiple cities called the National Center for Arts and Technology (NCAT). I hope Prince George’s County Executive, Public School CEO, and the top business leaders in the County read this blog post and contact Bill Strickland for a meeting. Bringing a project like this to Prince George’s County would be an impactful asset for improving the graduation rate, training students to be educated and competent, and  taking residents off the welfare rolls and training them for industries that have shortages. 

Manchester Bidwell Corporation: Replication

Bill Strickland gets it. He understands how to change behavior. He has proven he knows how to communicate and build up a person which is the first step to producing a solid, contributing citizen. With the current $40M plus in projects happening throughout Prince George’s County, I think all stakeholders collectively have the means to invest in a project that would benefit them greatly for years to come.

Manchester Bidwell: Adult Career Training

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