Category Archives: nonprofit

SAY San Diego

Tis The Season To DO Good!

By | agency life, Digital Operative, DO Good, holidays, nonprofit | No Comments

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone starts thinking about hot cocoa, holiday music, and the time of giving! Last year Digital Operative gave back by partnering up with Toys For Tots and everyone in the office donated gifts for children.

This year DO is DOing good and getting into the holiday spirit by partnering up with SAY to help out 30 refugee families living in the poorest sections of San Diego. Shannon D’Orsi our Director of Culture, summed up DO’s holiday giving, “As a local San Diego Company we think it is important to give back to the people in our community who ultimately help to shape and make San Diego the vital and vibrant place that many of us call home.”

SAY is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1971 to help 30,000 people ranging from children, families, and communities to overcome barriers and create opportunities. Families and individuals become involved with SAY by contacting the organization directly, and some referred by schools, courts, law enforcement, or community organizations.

The families that DO will be assisting this year are The Karen People of Southern Burma. These families are from refugee camps in Thailand who have been involved in a war for independence since 1949. They speak little English and are transitioning to a whole new culture. There is no safety net for them as they are mainstreamed into urban life. Children are placed into the education system in San Diego, and expected to keep up with other students. “These are very resilient people trying to do well in difficult conditions and can use all the support that can be given.”

The office already has a Christmas tree up with tags as ornaments that say what the families most need, and seeing each one taken as the days go by is heartwarming.

We hope others join us in choosing to make this holiday season special for friends, family and especially those less fortunate.

This year, you too can help donate in the slightest ways to make the biggest difference. Find the closest toy drop off for Toys for Tots to donate your gifts, and/or search for volunteer opportunities. If you would like to get involved with SAY, they have plenty of ways to give back, ranging from donations, volunteer work, helping families directly, and much more!

rendezvous - Asheville, NC

Rendezvous 2014

By | Conference, digital campaigns, nonprofit | No Comments

It’s all still a bit of a blur. My brain hurts, my quads are worse and I’m having reoccurring dreams about losing a game of tug-of-war to The Boy Scouts. Let me explain. We had an opportunity to attend the Outdoor Industry Association’s Rendezvous conference tucked away in the dense Appalachian forest just outside of Asheville, NC. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the area, Asheville in October is rightfully considered the most beautiful place on earth, and the Omni Grove Park Inn where we stayed is in my opinion the coolest resort east of the Mississippi. For any millennial reading this blog, imagine a Harry Potter Castle, but with a spa, golf course and unparalleled views of the smoky mountains. You might think that a conference for outdoorsy types would require us to “rough it”, or go “glamping”, but I can assure you that this was nowhere near survival in the wilderness.

The setting allowed plenty of room for two things:

  1.  Getting Inspired
  2.  Meeting Great People.

It’s as simple as that. The OIA picked this magical place, brought together aprox. 400 outdoor professionals and coordinated a series of educational events, activities and seminars that could fill 3 pocket pads from cover to cover with new ideas and action items.

The attendees from Digital Operative, which included myself and BJ Cook (our CEO), decided that the best way to kick-off a long week of brain teasing seminars and intense networking events was to help grow outdoor participation. AKA, we went mountain biking. Our friends at Slyvan Sports sponsored all the outdoor activities for the week, and bombing down single track in the Pisgah National Forest with guides from Bike Farm seemed like the logical choice. By the way, if you want to be a car camping hero, check out the trailers at Slyvan Sport!

After 1,500 feet of climbing, and 15 miles of some of the best, root choked, flowing single track of my life, we were ready to learn and immerse ourselves at the conference. But first we had to give back to the local community.

Timberland sponsored a local river cleanup for the 16th year in a row. A couple hundred outdoor employees dawning garden gloves and trash bags, hit the coastline or hopped in an inflatable raft to clean a few miles of the French Broad River. BJ and I chose to clean with the team of rafts and helped pull out hundreds of pounds of garbage, including some big ticket items like a tractor tire, a wicker dining set, and a container of rotten chicken livers.


I had the proud distinction of being that day’s only “swimmer”, which is short for me plunging backwards over the rails of the raft into icy cold water, and trying to keep a smile on my face for the next hour while my body experienced first stage hypothermia.

The next few days were filled with incredible speakers, educational seminars and more opportunities to network with the variety of brands and employees in attendance. From unique start-up companies like Parks Project to keystone industry brands like The North Face, from Marketing Mgrs to CEO’s, every conversation was filled with enthusiasm, best practices and staying relevant to the ever changing consumer.

At the event, Digital Operative partnered with the Outdoor Foundation to promote a contest built on our Contest Core platform (read more about the platform here), challenging the outdoor industry to Get You(th) Outdoors. When you’re inside the outdoor industry, it’s easy to forget that it took someone, be it a camp counselor, family member or friend, to introduce you to the outdoors. This initiative that launched at Rendezvous will help outdoor industry employees upload and share their inspirational stories, photos, ideas and suggestions for getting more kids outside. Of course there will be great prizes, and 3 $500 grants to local youth based non-profits, as an extra incentive to participate. Being a part of such a great initiative has been a privilege and one that the team members at Digital Operative are proud to support with their time and expertise.

Inspiration Board

Rendezvous culminated in a team building Scottish games festival, where I found myself on the wrong side of an all out tug-of-war battle. OIA employees in kilts, a bag piper, caber tossing fun noodles and of course a bluegrass band and great food made this the highlight of the show. By the time the week was over I felt like I had made real connections with real people. Sometimes (dare I say it coming from a digital agency), e-mail or LinkedIn cannot replace quality face-to-face time.

My brain is still overflowing with new insights into the outdoor industry, conversations with brands facing the real and sometimes scary leap into omni-channel retailing, and ideas for making Digital Operative a better partner in the outdoors. Next year’s Rendezvous in Seattle is already on the calendar, and this time I will choose a non-water activity.


Get You(th) Outdoors

Get You(th) Outdoors – Digital Operative’s Pro Bono Project of 2014

By | Corporate Social Responsibility, digital marketing, nonprofit | No Comments

Every year, Digital Operative selects a nonprofit organization to support in its endeavors. This year we are excited to be working with the Outdoor Foundation, a nonprofit that is a driving force in the promotion of outdoor recreation in America.

The Outdoor Foundation prides itself on offering research, grants, and resources to promote the multiple facets of the outdoor recreation movement. Outdoor Nation is their signature program that is targeted at young adults and youth to get outside and be active. The movement includes camps, grants, and summits across the United States.

In August, the Outdoor Foundation hosted their second annual Outsiders Ball, which aims to bring together companies from all outdoor sectors to connect current and future generations, raise money and continue growing the movement of millennials getting their peers outdoors and active.

We worked with the Outdoor Foundation to create Get You(th) Outdoors, a social campaign that asks individuals to share their outdoor stories in hopes to inspire youth to get outdoors. Technology and online media are some of the biggest platforms to reach people in wide numbers; we trust that this contest will have a great impact and inspire many kids.

“Many people look at technology as a hinderance to outdoor participation,” said Digital Operative CEO BJ Cook. “We look at it as a catalyst for connecting more people outside.”

Weekly winners receive prizes from leading outdoor companies, and three grand prize winners will receive grants to donate to nonprofits of their choosing.

The Outdoor Foundation also launched a second campaign, Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge where ten colleges and universities will compete to see who can get the greatest number of youth outdoors and active! The school winner will receive the title “National Champion” and the individual winner will be gifted some exceptional prizes including the opportunity to intern with the Outdoor Foundation, and a whole lot of gear from The North Face, as well as other prizes!

“These campaigns give companies and colleges a unique way to engage with their employees and students,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We’re hoping to blend online social contests with outdoor activities in order to reach and introduce new people to the activities we love.”

At Digital Operative, we got involved in the best way we knew how — through digital marketing. For Get You(th) Outdoors, we provided all of the marketing strategy, design, user experience and development pro-bono. Help this project become a success by submitting your story online

If you are interested in building a custom contest page for your company, check out Contestcore for easy to use features and multiple customization elements. For any digital marketing help, please contact us here and lets get started!

Image by Digital Operative

Digital Operative Provides Pro Bono Work To The Outdoor Foundation

By | Corporate Social Responsibility, DO Good, nonprofit | No Comments

Every year, Digital Operative selects a nonprofit organization to provide pro-bono work to and support in its endeavors. This year we are excited to be working with the Outdoor Foundation, a nonprofit that is a driving force in the promotion of outdoor recreation in America. The Outdoor Foundation prides itself on offering research, grants, and resources to promote the multiple facets of the outdoor recreation movement. Outdoor Nation is their signature program that is targeted at young adults and youth to get outside and be active. The movement includes camps, grants, and summits across the United States.

We are working with the Outdoor Foundation to create two contests on the Contestcore platform: Get You(th) Outdoors and Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge. Get You(th) Outdoors is a social campaign that asks individuals to share their outdoor stories in hopes to inspire youth to get outdoors. Where as the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge is geared towards colleges and inspiring the college community to get outdoors and be active. Both of these campaigns are currently under development — our strategy, design and technology teams are hard at work. We will make sure to provide updates on the progress and announce when these exciting projects go live.

“These campaigns give companies and colleges a unique way to engage with their employees and students,” says Chris Fanning, Executive Director of The Outdoor Foundation, “We’re hoping to blend online social contests with outdoor activities in order to reach and introduce new people to the activities we love.”

At Digital Operative, we got involved in the best way we knew how — through digital marketing. If you need help with an online campaign or maybe you work for a nonprofit don’t hesitate to drop us a line, so we can get involved.

Movember – How do I get involved in San Diego?

By | agency life, Corporate Social Responsibility, digital campaigns, nonprofit | No Comments

Good thing you asked.

If you subscribe to this blog, follow us on Twitter, Like our Facebook page; then you’re in the know. We’ve moved from the digital channels of spreading mustache love around San Diego to event planning. Yes DO can do more than just SEO, design a sweet website, build an interactive app; offline is in our blood.

So how can you get involved with Movember in our great city of San Diego? Here’s our Top 10.

  1. Go learn more about Movember and decide to start your own movement or join #TEAMSAN
  2. Come to our official event at SidebarSD on Nov.17, 2010 and RSVP
  3. Follow the San Diego movement @MovemberSD and retweet RT away
  4. Donate your hard earned cash here
  5. Grow a MO and spread the word to friends and family
  6. Buy a Movember tee shirt from our friends over at Jedidiah
  7. Join the MovemberSD Facebook group
  8. Attend the gala party on December 2, 2010 at Double Deuce
  9. MO Sistas – encourage your man friend to grow a MO
  10. If you have a stache, let it all hang out because Movember 2011 is a whole year away.

If you want to come to our event, check out the details below:

Movember is back! Join TeamSAN in Digital Challenge

By | agency life, blogging, Corporate Social Responsibility, digital campaigns, digital marketing, Digital Operative, nonprofit | 2 Comments

TeamSAN Getting Ready for Movember 2010


Last year the team at DO manned and womened up to support this great cause to fight cancer. You can see our moustache historical glory here.

This year we got a special invite to participate in the Movember Digital Challenge featuring some of the brightest marketing minds around the country. From New York City to Austin to Boston to Los Angeles; we have some stiff competition. So if we pull out the favor card, it’s for a great cause.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Movember is …

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is an annual moustache growing charity event held every November which raises funds and awareness for cancers that affect men.

At the start of Movember guys register with a clean shaven face. The Movember participants, known as Mo Bros, have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their Mo, raising money along the way to benefit men’s health.

So if you’re a San Diegan, friend, family member, former love interest or just love moustaches; here’s how you can chip in:

  • Join TeamSAN here – To join team go to and follow the steps.
  • Follow TeamSAN updates on Twitter via #TeamSAN
  • Spread the love via Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Email, SMS, phonecalls, carry pigeons, messenger bike; whatever you can do to support TeamSAN.
  • Come to the MO Warmup TeamSAN event at DO HQ – event details coming soon.

At the end of the day this is for a great charity and we are all TeamSAN. Without any of you participating this can’t be possible. Also keep your eyes posted for possible iPhone App and Microsite. If you want to help out let us know.

Covering A Continent With WiFi

By | Corporate Social Responsibility, education, geekery, innovation, nonprofit | No Comments

The Co-Founder of, Paul English, announced his amazingly ambitious plans to blanket the entire continent of Africa with free wireless Internet. Working with for profit and non-profit organizations Paul is looking ahead over the next decade of his life to make this vision a reality.

Fast Company Article

Imagine the possibilities of connecting one of the worlds most populated and at this point technologically disconnected continents.

  • Updated digital e-textbooks for students
  • Consistent communication between health officials in Africa and in the west
  • Open lines of information for NGO’s working in rural areas
  • Online classroom experiences for villages that don’t have or cannot afford a teacher
  • Higher level learning opportunities for cities & villages without a university
  • Open and free phone via Skype for those who can’t afford a phone
  • A new funnel to channel news through thus creating a better understanding of what is happening in Africa
  • Video diagnostics for patients in places without doctors
  • A road map to connecting other developing nations in Asia and South America
  • A billion or so more people on Facebook
  • The possibility of the next great tech leader being from Southern Nigeria or Northern Uganda instead of a drop out from Harvard

Stay connected with the project through their Google group

iLoveSchools Gets Green for Teachers – A Social Media Lesson in HARO

By | blogging, nonprofit, social media | No Comments

We’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a growing, great social enterprise called Based in San Diego, we’ve had our hand in all aspects of their online platform from strategy, design, development and now even some pro-bono marketing.

One of the greatest fulfillments is to see someone believe in something you also believe in and give a small, growing organization a shot. Luckily with tools like HARO (Help A Reporter Out), I was able to connect to Debra Atlas, an environmental writer/blogger. The idea that both people and companies could look into their closets, warehouses and garages for used items and donate them to teachers around the US resonated with Debra. So I connected her to Jerry Hall, Executive Director at iLoveSchools and the rest was magic.

Debra not only blogged about iLoveSchools, but she also happens to get coverage on -“Distinctly Green: Web site links schools in need with donors

If you’re wondering if you have time to read every HARO email that you get everyday; you may not. BUT my advice is … MAKE THE TIME. You never know who is looking for great stories or content. And as they say, “You’d never know if you didn’t try.” Isn’t that the essence of social media? Connecting with others to share stories, create a connection or bond and build upon something that could be long term. Put yourself out there, take a chance and be human.

Team DOstache Growing Moustaches to Help Support Movember

By | education, nonprofit | 2 Comments

Good bye November, hello Movember. Next month the team here at Digital Operative will be traveling back in time to the 1980’s and growing moustaches to help support prostate and testicular cancer as part of the Movember campaign. You can help support our efforts or join our team (DOstache) here.

Chris Waldron from Take Lessons had this to say about the campaign on Twitter: @adamlevenson I’ll be in Australia for movember (where it started) TL did it last year. Awkward at moments when u wake up w creepy stache.

Despite the creepiness factor, awkward looks from the general public, and the complaints from significant others, we have decided to wholeheartedly embrace Movember.

Make sure you check out the Movember website, as there is a lot of great information (including a moustache style guide). Personally, I think I am going for the rockstar or the trucker. According to the rules, you much start clean shaven on November 1st and grow and groom your moustaches for the month.

On a personal note, both my grandfathers had prostate cancer and I hope that our support and donations can make a difference.

Stay tuned for details and progress next month. The pictures alone will be worth it.

If You Drink Water…

By | nonprofit | One Comment

I live in a town called Carmel Valley, which is a little suburb just north of San Diego. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a little, quiet, family oriented town.  This week I got a recorded phone call saying, please do not use the water until otherwise notified. There had been a water pipe breakage and health officials were concerned with water contamination. No problem, I’ll just go buy some clean and safe water to drink and use for other purposes, for example brushing my teeth. Easy fix.  This went on for what seemed to be 2 long days. Now, imagine for a moment living somewhere without any access to clean water. Unfortunately millions of kids are dying everyday because they don’t have access.

Digital Operative has been given the privilege this year to help the TAP Project raise money to help bring clean and safe drinking water to those in need. World Water Week 09 Started March 22 and will end on March 28.  Restaurants nation wide are participating by charging 1 dollar for tap water during that week.  That $1 will help provide one child clean and safe drinking water for 40 days.

There have been many gracious people helping to support this campaign. Some of the bloggers we’ve reached have helped create awareness for the TAP Project campaign and they are:

As I mentioned before, this is a nation wide campaign. Cities all over the country have put on events to promote this cause:

  • San Diego
    • The Thirsty For Change event was a fun way to raise awareness and get people excited about the campaign.
    • Drink For A Good Cause Happy Hour Event also had a successful turnout.
    • The San Diego Online Society hosted a pool party this year and the donation bowl definitely filled up.
  • Los Angeles has kicked their campaign off this year with Tap Project Radio. Musicians and Celebrities are featured guests to help raise money and awareness.
  • Washington DC: President of UNICEF joined with businesses, government and academia in endorsing the declaration on US Policy and the Global Challenge of Water. It pushes for the US to make access to clean water a priority.
  • New York: Where this campaign was born. They kick started World Water Week with a water walk starting in Battery Park. Close to 1500 supports attended.

Many more cities around the country have joined in to help this cause.  It’s not too late for you to be a part of this campaign. Any support you can give, no matter how little is a big help, so take your loved ones out for dinner this weekend and buy some tap water for a dollar.  Check for participating restaurants in your city here.

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