Giva Blog Categories : Non-Profit

Social Enterprises: What They Are & Why They Are Important

Business Giving Nonprofit Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are, to put it quite simply, about people. These are organizations that, rather than placing their main focus on making a profit, seek to partner their revenue with something that benefits people in communities, the environment, etc. They are not required to be a strictly profit or nonprofit organization, as they could be either. In some cases they may make a profit and then re-direct it back to make a change in the surrounding communities.

Why might they be considered to be important? In a world where commercials and advertising dominate most any medium for the sake of profit, these organizations' main focus is to create and enable change for something better. Rather than wanting to make a profit or keep all profit for themselves, these businesses purpose to use the revenue from a product or service in order to make the world a better place.

People of action say that if you want to see a difference in your life you need to make a change, small or large. Social enterprises go that one step farther than normal and put all of their energies into parlaying their business concepts into benefiting the world around them in some way.

One such example is D-Rev out of Palo Alto, California, a nonprofit product development company that designs and delivers products to low-income people around the world living on less than $4 a day. They own the research, design, and development of their products and then partner with industry leaders to manufacture and scale for maximum impact. Their mission is to "to create world class products at an affordable price." One sector of their company provides equipment they have developed to treat newborn jaundice conditions. According to their website, to date, 51,925 babies have been treated with their equipment, 43,554 of which would not otherwise have received effective treatment, resulting in 676 newborn deaths and disabilities averted.

Another example is TROSA, (Triangle Residential Options For Substance Abusers, Inc.) out of Durham, North Carolina. "TROSA is an innovative, multi-year residential program that enables substance abusers to be productive, recovering individuals by providing comprehensive treatment, work-based vocational training, education, and continuing care." There is no cost to the individual receiving treatment at TROSA. Their funding comes from three primary sources: revenue generating businesses which provide vocational training for residents; donations from individuals, companies, and foundations; and modest government support. TROSA is a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status and is governed by a board of directors.

These are just two of many social enterprises realizing their goal of bettering the world and changing lives, creating long-lasting ripple effects, now and into the future.

4 Summer Volunteering Ideas for Youth (or Any Age!)


Volunteering at any age allows for making connections with your community and helping to make it a better place. Wide-ranging benefits of dedicating time to volunteer include making new friends/contacts, increasing social and relationship skills, increasing self-confidence, reducing risk of depression, staying physically healthy, gaining career experience, and teaching valuable job skills. You may be thinking, "Where do I find volunteer opportunities?" According to, these opportunities can be found in community theaters, museums, libraries, senior centers, local animal shelters or wildlife centers, youth organizations, sports teams, places of worship, or online databases. Summer is just around the corner; a season when many teens seemingly find themselves without much to do. Why not look for a volunteer opportunity that interests you and make the time very worthwhile for yourself and others? We have provided 4 organizations below offering a variety of opportunities for teens and youth in which to participate. brings non-profits and volunteers together, making it easy for people to find organizations that focus on what interest them, such as those related to environment, animals, youth, etc., and those that are part of their local community. They have over 100,000 participating organizations, and have matched over 9,000,000 volunteers. For more information, visit


Teenlife provides listings of outside-the-classroom programs for life-enrichment aimed at teens. Some listing examples include summer programs for high school students, engineers, musicians, etc.; volunteer opportunities around the country; and other information geared toward young people. For more on their opportunities, see assists youth who want to make a difference find a cause they can participate in to help others. You can choose from a wide variety of "campaigns" aimed at creatively benefiting others, such as bringing dogs to campus so students taking exams can de-stress, collecting food outside a supermarket for the local food bank, or donating board games to the local family shelter. To view their many campaigns, see

United Planet

United Plant brings people together with organizations for short term or long term international volunteering. Projects include working with children and education programs, environmental groups, health professionals, etc. To learn more about these international serving opportunities, visit United Planet.

Happy volunteering!

World Changers: Giva Salutes Every Woman's Place

Every Woman's Place

At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

Giva Salutes Every Woman's Place, a center dedicated to supporting women and children in crises. The center was founded in Muskegon, Michigan with the mission of empowering and supporting women who are victims of domestic violence, or women facing other unique challenges in life. Every Woman's Place was established in 1975 by a group of women who were concerned that the community was lacking in adequate support services for their female peers with regard to employment, housing, assistance and protection in crisis situations. It is an inclusive agency that works to serve the unmet needs of women from all walks of life.

Just five years after opening their doors on July 1, 1975, Every Woman's Place merged with Webster House Youth Services as one agency that provided services not only to women in the community but also to youth in crises. Webster House Youth Services is a shelter for youth in crises with support services similar to Every Woman's Place: counseling, support groups, social service advocacy, referrals, general education and support that aims to empower youth to take control over their lives, heal their relationships and become active and thriving members of their community.

Every Woman's Place and Webster House Youth Services both serve as shelters for women and youth. Victims and survivors of violence, along with their children, can seek safe-haven and support free of charge at Every Woman's Place which is open and staffed 24/7 by professional support staff and volunteers trained in domestic violence. There is also a 24-hour hotline that can be accessed for victims, friends, family or children who wish to report or seek counsel during or after a crisis.

The goal of Every Woman's Place is to empower women to be self-sufficient, hence, a key part of their services is education about domestic violence, physical and mental health, and how to access resources in the community such as employment and health services. One of the unique education programs they offer is Empathy Training, which teaches participants techniques for exhibiting empathy and compassion. They also host several awareness campaigns and programs throughout the year.

Every Woman's Place also caters to supporting the children of women in crises. A children's advocate on staff runs recreational and support activities for children. If necessary, they provide women with legal advocacy and courtroom support. Youth in crisis can work through behavioral and emotional issues at Webster House and set goals with their case manager to re-acclimate to life outside of the shelter and to heal relationships with the loved ones in their lives. Webster House staff advocate on behalf of youth in crisis and refer individuals to care and service providers after their stay.

Giva salutes Every Woman's Place and Webster House for all of the work they have done and continue to do to empower women, children and youth to continue with their lives after crises, and to educate community members on how to support victims of domestic violence, serve as advocates, and prevent these crimes from occurring in the future.

If you would like more information, please visit

Does Your Business Need A Service Level Agreement?

Sample Service Level Agreement

Organizations prepare service level agreements (SLA) detailing the services provided to their customers. These agreements describe how the work of the service organization is prioritized along with agreed upon response and resolve times.

For example, In order to provide optimal first level support service to all departments, all problem and repair calls might be received by a central Help Desk. This first level provides a platform where:

  • All problems will be recorded
  • Problems will be resolved or assigned to the appropriate specialist
  • Problems will be monitored etc.

An SLA describes the factors influencing first level problem determinations, such as:

  • Number of customers affected
  • Effect on business mission
  • Context of problem etc.

Tables used to define severity levels describe how calls are prioritized and the associated response and resolve commitments.

Single point of contact responses can be determined using the following criteria:

  • Orders for new equipment provided by manager
  • Data entry service
  • System sign on request etc.

Does your business need a service level agreement? To ensure your SLA is consistent with best practices and contains all relevant topics and details, Giva provides much more in-depth coverage of this subject, using a help desk/customer service agreement as an example, in our whitepaper Sample IT Help Desk Service Level Agreement (SLA), which you can view online or download for free.

The Giva Challenge: Giva Customers are Talking! Miles & Stockbridge

Miles & Stockbridge

Saving time, in the long run, saves money. The new Apple watch discussed at TechCrunch is in the business of saving people time by making it easier to see important information throughout their workday without having to pull out their smart phone. This equates to precious time saved. According to Matthew Panzanaro at TechCrunch, "There are very few products that allow you to hand someone cash and be given back TIME."

Working around-the-clock to meet a client's needs is what a great attorney does. If that clock is slowed down in any way it costs extra money. Miles & Stockbridge P.C. has enjoyed a rich history of well-planned growth, enduring client relationships and loyal community leadership for over 80 years. They support approximately 500 employees in 8 offices across the east coast of the USA. "Since we are providing IT technical support to attorneys that work around-the-clock, we needed a solution that could be accessible anywhere and anytime by our staff. Our attorneys' time is our 'stock in trade', so we must keep the firm up and running and highly productive on a large number of applications and various hardware platforms in order to generate revenue." (Ken Adams, Chief Information Officer) They were spending a lot of time and money on managing and maintaining servers and software to host their previous application.

After researching their options, they found the solution to their time problem. "Giva's application suite is fast and responsive, and we have had 100% uptime. Any cloud application we use must perform this way, especially since we are working with attorneys that are always under tight deadlines and want to minimize the amount of time they are on the phone with us." Not only have they saved attorneys valuable time they have also experienced;

  • 70% cost savings when considering the total cost of ownership (TCO) over a 3 year period
  • 70% decrease in number of tickets that remain open from day-to-day
  • 60% increase in customer satisfaction of attorneys and staff
  • 100% application uptime and high application responsiveness

Miles & Stockbridge have taken the time to save their clients valuable time. According to Ken Adams, "With Giva, when I view any report, it always has real-time information. Furthermore, any of my staff can create, save and share reports, which allow us to retrieve pertinent real-time information at any moment without having to set up our own versions of a report. This dynamic nature of Giva's reporting engine is a tremendous advantage over all the others we evaluated."

Find more information at Miles & Stockbridge Case Study.

What is your challenge? Let Giva be your solution!

World Changers: Giva Salutes Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run

At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run, an international non-profit organization dedicated to teaching girls 3rd through 8th grade through a multifaceted curriculum positive self-esteem, how to maintain healthy relationships and the power they hold as both individuals and teams. Their community-based model provides mentor ship from volunteers, staff, family and schools meant to empower girls across the world to realize their limitless potential. Based on two core strategies for development, conversation-based lessons and running games, Girls on the Run establishes values and skills for maintaining healthy lifestyles that nourish one's mind, body and spirit. Culminating in a 5k running event at the end of each season, Girls on the Run teaches girls the necessity for self-care and self-worth in order to set and achieve goals. In a society that conditions us to be ever-striving, we may sometimes sacrifice our health and connection with the present to continue to maintain our busy, stressful lives. Teaching girls to value the body through which they experience and contribute to the world is essential for developing girls into healthy and happy female leaders with the ability and drive to positively impact our world at large.

Girls on the Run was founded in 1996 by Molly Barker, who discovered that a running program helped her to overcome her personal struggles and cope with the stress of her day-to-day life. By learning to respect and care for her body as an amazing vessel and the foundation of her life, Molly was inspired to teach this same focus on health to establish positive body image and self-esteem in girls at a young age. By shifting the focus off of the social pressures of physical beauty, Molly and the many local chapters throughout the world are now giving over 130,000 girls the mentor ship and tools necessary to navigate the challenges of the human experience.

The 20-lesson curriculum used by Girls on the Run is taught to girls in teams of 8-15. They offer 3rd-5th grade, and 6th-8th grade programs that include conversation about healthy body-image, fitness and personal growth. Programs teach girls to grow as individuals and how to build and maintain healthy relationships, as well as how to work as a team. Each 12-week program is led by staff and volunteers who teach girls healthy habits and an appreciation for fitness. The 5k run at the end of each season is meant to give girls a sense of achievement and a better understanding of how to set and achieve goals.

Girls on the Run offers opportunities to act as a coach, practice partner, planning and event-committee member, 5k volunteer, donor and so much more. To learn more about Girls on the Run and opportunities in your area, please visit

10 More Tough Questions to Better Qualify Any Software / Cloud Vendor

Questions for Software Vendors

How can you more quickly qualify and evaluate any software or cloud vendor?

In another informative whitepaper, Giva offers even more tough questions to keep your potential software or cloud vendor on their toes and to make sure they know you have done your homework. Customers interested in purchasing any software or cloud service may encounter myriad of problems and obstacles during the purchase process.  This whitepaper provides tough practical questions to ask your vendor candidate to help avoid mistakes that even the most experienced professionals can make. 

Some topics covered include:

  • What happens if we have a disagreement? Mediation/arbitration or litigation?
  • What are the costs of additional modules and licenses purchased in the future?
  • What are license options for part-time usage?
  • Are customer case studies with business results achieved available?
  • Are your customer references compensated in any way?
  • How will our future feature requirements be obtained?
  • Will we have a dedicated Account Manager?
  • Are thirty-day supported production trials available without obligation?
  • How many new releases are provided per year?

For more information and tough questions to assist you in your vendor selection process, please refer to Ten More Tough Questions to Better Qualify Any Software or Cloud Vendor

Skills-Based Volunteerism, Part Three: Marathon

Skillful & Knowledgeable Volunteers


Marathon Skills-Based Volunteering refers to a pro-bono volunteer effort, much like a marathon, that lasts over a short time period but involves a high volume of work and deliverables. Generally, Marathon volunteering involves pooling together many employees, along with their skills and resources, over a 24-hour time period to deliver services, tools, training, etc.

Getting Help with Your Marathon Project

CreateAthon is a nonprofit that helps to organize marathon pro-bono volunteer events across the country aimed at supporting nonprofits and businesses partnering together to bring to life Marathon volunteer days. They help businesses target the skills and human resources that can be offered and identify nonprofits that would be proper recipients. Their model provides a framework and network of support, resources, and contacts to greatly assist a business in the process of setting up a successful Marathon event: "Because we want you to put all of your energy into the creative process, we've developed an easily repeatable process for organizing, hosting and leveraging your own marathon creative events and compiled this step-by-step process in our easy-to-follow Toolkit" (Who We Are). Their guidance and "Toolkit" have helped over 101 businesses deliver over 2500 Marathon projects.

Case Study: Fleishman Hillard

Utilizing their industry specific skills and knowledge in PR and marketing, Fleishman Hillard was able to help Kids Street International target their messages to reach a younger donor population. Kids Street International recognized that their donor population was aging and that they should try to grow their donor base to reach younger audiences, but they did not have a clear idea of how to do this. Fleishman Hillard conducted a Marathon pro-bono volunteer event that helped Kids Street International to target younger donors by utilizing images and messages that related the younger audience to the younger population served by Kids Street International. "By mirroring the very same target demographic that Street Kids International assists globally, we created a social media strategy that included Facebook post, Tweets, and an infographic" (Case Study: Fleishman Hillard).

Getting Involved

If you would like to learn more about partnering with a nonprofit and CreateAthon to run a successful Marathon pro-bono event, visit them online and request an information packet that fits your organization!

4 Tips for Optimizing Online Customer Service

Digital Online Customer Service

Micah Solomon, best selling business author and named by the Financial Post "New Guru of Customer Service Excellence," wrote about an important principle of customer service titled the BUBL method in his informative article, "The One Customer Service Training Secret You Need To Know". The simple acronym stands for Begin immediately, Uncode, Break Your Schedule, and Leave Room For More:

Begin Immediately: This means giving immediate attention to the customer. Keep in mind they are here for your service; their needs are your priority.

Uncode: Be receptive to the body language, tone, and verbal cues of your customer to decode their persona and adjust your attitude accordingly.

Break Your Schedule: Throw your to-do list out the window. Customer service entails tending to customer needs as they are needed, so assure your schedule is their schedule.

Leave Room For More: Lastly, leave your interaction open-ended. In other words, make yourself available for future assistance.

These four practices are essential to successful customer service interactions.

But how do you provide helpful customer service when you are not physically present? Excellent online customer service is equally possible; however, business methods must be adapted to digital spaces:

  1. "Beginning immediately" is no longer an issue in an online environment where the desired information should be readily available. A customer service representative or associate may not be present, but providing a Frequently Asked Questions page in your navigation can substitute as a reliable resource for any business-related questions your customer may have. Additionally, a search feature will assist users in navigating your website for any specific questions.

  2. Uncoding a customer's presence online may not be possible , however, knowing what your customers find helpful or unhelpful is critical to the success of your business. To quote Bill Gates, "We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve." Encouraging customer input by Including a survey or feedback form is a simple and effective way to gain that feedback. Consider using websites like Survey Monkey.

  3. Navigating a website is a self-serving practice prohibiting you from personally tending to the customer's schedule. Instead, implement an analytics program to view the effectiveness of your website. By tracking metrics, you can gain a comprehensive look at customer interactions and pinpoint what areas of your business need improvement.

  4. With regard to leaving yourself available for further interaction, be sure to provide a customer service phone number and email address in a clearly visible area should a visitor have additional questions or concerns. Regardless of the efficiency of your website's navigability or helpfulness, customers will always genuinely appreciate the option to communicate with a live person.

The online customer brings different challenges to the customer service environment, and successful organizations will find creative ways to closely interact with them, even if it is through "personal" virtual means.

The Giva Challenge: Customers are Talking! Santé Health System

Santé Health System

Bedside doctors of old were sure to have a reputation in the local community. That reputation was determined by qualities that still exist in our current fast-paced world. Today, delivering the highest quality health care is as important now as it has ever been. According to Leonard S. Feldman, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, "Basic things make a difference in patient outcomes and they're not being done to the extent they should be" (5 Ways New Doctors Fail At Bedside Manner). Just as it is for doctors, great customer service should be top priority for businesses. Giva customer Santé Health System understands this and endeavors to make certain that their customers in the medical field are satisfied.

Santé Health System provides IT and technical support across sixteen geographically dispersed healthcare sites. They provide technical support to physicians who in turn need quick answers in order to give great patient service. They were having difficulties that needed to be addressed. “Before Giva, we used FrontRange Solutions HEAT. However, significant IT issues were falling through the cracks over and over again. This is not tolerable in our organization given our goal of delivering the highest quality medical care possible” (Juan Carlo Muro, IT Director). After researching their options, they found the solution that would improve their customer service.

Santé Health System turned to Giva in order to solve the problem. “We were intrigued by Giva's cloud based service right from the first time we began evaluating it. It was very easy to get started, and we worked with a technical specialist for only just a few days in order to fully customize Giva the way we wanted it. Giva is more intuitive, easier and faster to customize, more functional, and has outstanding reports and dashboards.” The numbers show just how much they have improved:

  • They experienced a 50% increase in productivity by using Giva's custom forms that are integrated with service requests to prompt technicians to ask important questions the first time they speak with users.
  • As a result of productivity increases, they also experienced a 60% increase in meeting their internal resolve-time service level agreements (SLAs).
  • The Giva dashboard made managers 80% more productive as compared to when they were using FrontRange HEAT as they can now see exactly what is going on across their 16 sites that they service.
  • Giva increased their technician productivity by over 40% for those that travel between their 16 sites.

"Selecting Giva was an excellent choice for Santé Health System. After a support request is opened, Giva contacts us for more information, if needed, and consistently nudges and reminds us to follow up and provide all the information they need, so that our questions can be resolved in as timely a manner as possible. We never get this kind of focus and deliberate follow-up from other software vendors, and so we are extremely pleased."

Read more at about how Giva helped Santé Health System in their case study.

What is your challenge? Let Giva be your solution!


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