Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Technology for a better world.

Great Happy Hour Space for Non-Profits June 27, 2008

Filed under: donating,DonorsResource,non-profit — pdxbob @ 9:21 pm

Last night I attended a Happy Hour for, the creators of the Virtual Warehouse which brings together donors and non-profit organizations in need to items (clothing, kitchen items, computers, furniture, you name it). The Happy Hour was held in the showroom space of California Closets at 1225 SE Grand Avenue in Portland. There were I’d guess fifty people who came from non-profits interested in receiving item donations, donors (such as myself), board members and other supporters of this unique service for nps.

I met some interesting people, including Jeanne Ann Van Krevelen, owner of Escalation Business Consulting, blogger at The Edgy Entrepreneur and on Twitter at JeanAnnVK. Jeanne’s blog has got some great, targeted advice for new and small business owners and non-profits. I recommend checking it out.

I also met Brenda Lee, VP of Business Development at Pavelcomm, an IT service and consultancy located in NW Portland. Pavelcomm has been providing IT services to non-profits in the area for years. Some of their clients are Cancer Care Resources and the Franciscan Spiritual Center.  They are also active with Trillium Family Services and the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Brenda understands the IT business. If you are looking for outsourcing IT or getting some IT help, I recommend you give them a call.

Ok, so you’ve read this far and I haven’t mentioned anything about the venue, California Closets showroom.  I was pleasantly surprised at the elegance and simplicity of this space for small happy-hour-style gatherings. California Closets provides this showroom to non-profits for such events and given its central location and relatively-easy street parking in the area, I think it is a great spot for non-profits to gather their friends and supporters for an early evening happy hour. The location was perfect for a happy hour that is very interactive. This is different from some of the events I attend where geeks get together around laptops, such as BeerAndBlog. I didn’t ask if they have WiFi but the setting is not really targeted toward the technical community.

Thanks to Kiyoshi Terada, Marketing extraordinaire for, for the invitation.


Spring/Summer Cleaning and Donating June 24, 2008

Filed under: donating,non-profit,philanthropy,Portland — pdxbob @ 7:19 pm

I don’t use my home office as much as I used to, primarily because I love sitting anywhere in my house with a laptop on my lap, and I also love sitting in coffee shops with WiFi. The home office has accumulated a lot of computer equipment that is unused and I finally got around to unloading the older gear. I had, and have, many options for unloading computer equipment and furniture: my young-adult kids, Craigslist, FreeGeek.

But the first place I think about now is, a Lake Oswego-based non-profit. Online cash donation has been common but what if we can donate goods online?   Della Rosenthal, Director and founder of DonorsResource, has been organizing the giving of needed items to low-income families for years. She collected and distributed more than 20,000 items to families in need in Portland in only 18 months, manually, and offline.  Now her new dedication is to connecting donors and nonprofits in need or goods and resources. DonorsResource created Virtual Warehouse that enables donating and receiving items online

So I got started by putting two CRT monitors, a printer and two desks into a “box” in the Virtual Warehouse. How easy is that? I just had to name the items, optionally providing additional description and pictures, and the site stores a virtual box in the Virtual Warehouse, ready for the taking by a Portland-area non-profit. When an organization shows interest in receiving my donated items, we, the donor and the non-profit, make arrangements for delivery or pickup. That’s why the storage is called a Virtual Warehouse. Clever.

You can also give to a specific organization, even search for organizations by category of donated items such as computer equipment, men’s clothing, cell phones, office furniture, etc. The site is cleanly designed and easy to use. Currently, there are hundreds of non-profits in the area looking for donated items to help them with their mission. If you have unused computer equipment, furniture, clothes, kitchen items or virtually any other home or office stuff, consider donating to a needy non-profit in the Portland area.