The theme of the first Edudemic+ session was the relationship of social entrepreneurship to technology and social media. Edudemic Editor Terry Heick hung out with Adnan Mahmud, one of the founders of Jolkona, an organization that matches non-profit organizations to donors around the world; its site is as a bridge between the two groups. Terry and Adnan explored the effects of social media and the Internet on Jolkona’s mission and success, while Adnan educated us on the phenomenal work he and his partners are doing.
Terry explained to the viewers that the Edudemic+ sessions provide a “platform for emerging and established voices in education and in fields connected to education.” Jolkona currently supports 34 projects related to education for organizations based in the United States and other countries. Other project categories are Arts and Culture, Empowerment, Environment, Jolkona Capacity, and Public Health.
Adnan described Jolkona as “an online platform that allows donors to give to projects around the world and receive feedback for every donation that they give.” Their business model helps those of us who cannot give a lot to see that what we can give makes a difference.
Adnan said that bringing this transparency to the giving process could “bring millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, into the sector and allow small non-profits to go and do more work.” The foundation’s site shows potential donors “possible projects they could give to, and for every donation they give, the receiving organizations will come back and tell them exactly what they are doing with their donations.”
Terry asked, “And so, would this business model have been possible without the Internet, without social media?”
“I think without social media it would have been very very difficult,” Adnan responded. “What the Internet does is that it makes it available to everyone and much quicker.”
As an example of how efficient the foundation can be, Adnan told the viewers, “When the famine hit Somalia, for example, we put up a project for donations and we raised over $5000 in three, four days. Again, through social media, it spread like wildfire. In 2010, when the floods hit Pakistan, we set up a project to help the flood victims before, actually, it high the mainstream media, and by the time the media had picked up the news, our network has already raised $10,000 for the flood victims. So again, that sort of very quick reaction – giving help – is only possible because of social media and because of the Internet.”
Terry then asked Adnan about other ways the Internet and social media could affect the goals of Jolkona. “Not just in the way that you collect money, but in the way you uncover needs for money and the way you communicate with the people who actually need the money and need the help. How does it affect that?”
“That’s a great question,” Adnan began. “When we first started Jolkona, we reached out to the organizations around the world to see if they would want to be our partners. Today, we actually no longer seek out organizations because we have enough organizations coming to us on their own…They see our tweets, they see our blog posts, … and then they find out about our work and then they reach out to us.”
Jolkona posts videos to YouTube, also, when they make visits to their partners. These videos inform the public of the good work these non-profits are doing, which leads to increased donations.
Terry re-directed the conversation back to education again, mentioning that a trend in American education “is project-based learning and the ability for students to use social media and to use digital technology to reach other learners and audiences for their work.” He proposed that Jolkona could be useful in this area, providing students “pathways that you’ve already established to support education and give access … where you’re actually allowing learners to engage with real-world, authentic, twenty-first century challenges.” Adnan agreed that this would be possible.
I say that teachers and administrators should seriously consider partnering with Jolkona. Many districts now require students to complete community service projects before graduation; this site and others like it would be a great source for ideas and allow students to sharpen their social media, video, and collaboration skills while also giving back to the global community.
Social media and umbrella organizations such as Jolkona give people, institutions, and organizations the ability to collaborate, share best practices, and help those in need. Edudemic+ thanks Adnan Mahmud for joining Terry Heick in a hangout and making our readers aware of the great work his foundation is doing.