on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘jolkona’

Every Ending is a New Beginning

Today is my last day as a full-time employee and the Director of Communications & Social Media at Jolkona. This is a hard post to write because, while this departure was my choice and I’m very excited for what’s next, it’s hard to say goodbye to an organization I worked so hard to build.

From Volunteer to Director


When I started at Jolkona, it was as a volunteer to run their social media. I remember my interview with Adnan Mahmud, their co-founder of Jolkona. It was probably one of the most rigorous interviews I had ever been on – and it was for an unpaid position. It was a challenge because I was selling him on my social media skills that had only been tested on my personal brand, but not on a business or a nonprofit. But I knew what I was doing. And I told him that I would figure it out and deliver.

I got the position (obviously), and my first assignment was to write the social media strategy for the organization for the entire year and present it at the leadership retreat that following weekend with all of the directors of the organization.

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details, but that weekend as I sat around a boardroom with the other volunteer-directors of the organization – still not knowing what I was getting myself into – I knew I was sitting in a room with some of the most ambitious and passionate people than I’ve ever had the chance to work with before.

And I was right.

Throughout that year I learned, first hand, how to build a community online, launch a fundraising campaign solely by promoting it through social media, manage a communications and marketing team, land my first speaking engagement, and make a name for myself in the nonprofit scene.

And I was ‘just’ a volunteer.

I volunteered with Jolkona to help me build the experience to land me my next job; I just had no idea that at the beginning of 2011, Jolkona would be the position that I was looking for.

Almost 2 Years, 1,500 fans, and 3,000 followers later

The part that I have enjoyed the most about my role with Jolkona was the process of building their strategy, brand, and community online to the point where they are today. When I started, Jolkona had 805 Fans on Facebook and 1,028 followers on Twitter. Today, they have increased their fans by 90% with over 1,500 Likers on Facebook and have over 3,000 followers on Twitter (+195%). Not bad numbers for an organic following. And as of today, Jolkona has published 200 blog posts, and 15 newsletters – not bad for a scrappy nonprofit startup with extremely limited resources.

@NickKristof Jolkona tweet

The best part about my role at Jolkona was creating campaigns and partnering with some incredible businesses like Waggener Edstrom, CRAVE, thinkspace, and Bill the Butcher. I got to plan the branding, creative, launch strategy, and marketing elements of each campaign – oh, and launch each one. It’s an awesome feeling to work really hard and really long on a campaign and watch how people respond in real-time via social media. Not to mention donations.

There are three campaigns that I’m the most proud of:

Give to Girls: Invest in the Women of Tomorrow by Giving to Girls Today – Which launched on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and was sponsored by CRAVE. This campaign had a modest matching fund to help launch it and after one-day raised $6,000 for projects supporting women and girls through Jolkona and is the highest single-day of fundraising to date.

12 Days of Giving – Last year’s holiday campaign where 12 different campaigns launched by 12 different members of the Jolkona team were ‘unwrapped’ over 12 days in December. This campaign was 100% my idea and one of my favorite efforts, not because I learned first-hand how hard it is to fundraise, but because I designed, built, and rallied the team throughout this campaign and watched when people not-related to any of the 12 Days campaign owners left messages on Jolkona’s Facebook page and tweeted at Jolkona that they were so inspired by the campaign that they decided to donate. That’s why.

12 Days of Giving-donor testimonial on Facebook

Jolkona’s Groupon Campaign – At SXSW 2011 I met with Groupon’s G-Team and learned about how they’re leveraging their platform for good. In July we launched a campaign with G-Team and over the course of 3-days, we ignited our following and raised $5,380 in about $10-increments (total includes the contribution from our matching sponsor). Oh, and it landed Jolkona in the ‘cool’ book and this awesome blog post written by Debra Askanse: Groupon Case Study: Jolkona’s Groupon Experiment.

Eat Local, Give Global – This last campaign that I designed with Bill the Butcher and launched only yesterday. This campaign came out of something that I love doing, networking, and I’m excited to see how well it does from now through the end of the year!

During my time at Jolkona, I helped raise over $45,000 in micro-donations during nine giving campaigns that were marketed through social media alone. My work landed me the following press:

Over the past two years I have learned a lot about myself and grown by leaps and bounds as a marketing communications professional.

What I am thankful for the most

Jolkona Floor Brainstorm

Branding brainstorm on the floor (with Ariel Gold and Nadia Mahmud)

Beyond the work itself, the part I enjoyed the most was the people. I am thankful to Jolkona’s co-founders, Nadia Khawaja Mahmud and Adnan Mahmud, for their trust and the opportunity to develop Jolkona into one of the most socially-media savvy nonprofits in Seattle. They set the strategic goals for the organization, and gave me the opportunity to figure out how to get there. Along the way I grew by leaps and bounds as a communications professional and as an individual. I got to develop and launch creative, marketing and fundraising campaigns; work with some amazing corporate partners; and talk to people, all day, through social media. For that I am forever thankful.

One of the thing I enjoyed the most is the team at Jolkona – the young 20- and 30-somethings who spend their free time working to build Jolkona and lending their skills are just amazing. And our interns, the sugar-crazed awesome interns who have taught me a lot about being a manager – I’m definitely going to miss them.

It’s been an incredible two years at Jolkona and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work hard and prove myself while building their brand. And I have been given the opportunity to join another startup and build again. I’ll go into more details about my new role with my new company on Monday, but for now I want to sit and reflect on the end of my era with Jolkona.

You never stop writing the book of your life; you just start a new chapter.

Infographic: You Are What You Tweet

July was an insane month full of BBQs, friends, my first vacation since my honeymoon, launching a massively successful campaign at work, and watching men and women compete to become the fittest in the world — needless to say I have a queue of blog posts that need to be written. But first, here’s a fun infographic I created to compare who I am based on what I tweet using You know how I feel about visually organized data, so I couldn’t resist sharing one that’s all about me!

Am I what I tweet? @Jolkona vs. @lamiki

To test this out, I thought I’d compare the two personalities that I manage on Twitter, @Jolkona, the nonprofit I work for, and @lamiki, yours truly in my most natural form.

Note: I didn’t customize @Jolkona’s avatar in the infographic, but I did customize myself.

First of all, I am a little disappointed that Jolkona is the “rock star” while lamiki is a workaholic. Though, it makes sense as I do tend to tweet about working from @lamiki and share more “woo hoo”/good news stuff from @Jolkona. But still, I’m feeling slightly bummed that lamiki isn’t has “fun” as Jolkona seems to be. (Mental note: change that).

I also have no idea why lamiki gets caught being obsessed with shopping while Jolkona is stuck sipping coffee either…I think the jury is still out on that one.

The ‘Tweets Seen per Day’ statistic is the most interesting statistic, especially when you compare how many followers @Jolkona vs. @lamiki has compared to who sees them. In the conversation of what makes a person influential or not, this statistic is very important and gives me a benchmark for where to improve.

The topics is the weakest part of this infographic because it’s only pulling words and content that I talked about and shared during the past two weeks when both @Jolkona and @lamiki were promoting Jolkona’s Groupon campaign like crazy. I wish that was able to pull more historic tweets for this information, but I’m sure it’s a limitation of Twitter’s search.

What does your Twitter infographic look like?

To continue the fun, I created a second infographic comparing the co-founders of Jolkona, Adnan Mahmud (@adnanmahmud) and Nadia Mahmud (@nadiamahmud), needless to say, it’s quite fun.

Even more fun, here’s a comparison of me and my husband using his racing handle — @lamiki vs. @jkimballracing.

If you have five minutes free, feed your ego, create an infographic for yourself, and share your link with me. And let me know if your ‘likely obsession’ is true or not. 😉

This post was semi-inspired by this post written by Grace Boyle on Small Hands, Big Ideas.

How I Define Giving on World Give Day

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward and Jolkona. To find other posts in this series please visit or follow the hashtag #giveday.

One Dollar, Sir! by Stuck in Customs (Trey Ratcliff)

I am part of an amazing group of 20- and 30-somethings who are changing the world. It’s a movement that the media is trying to capture but something that is built within the DNA of the majority of people I know. No, we don’t all work for nonprofits or social enterprises, but there’s a strong need to dedicate our lives, our passions, and our careers to doing “good.”

You all know what this means for me as I’ve written about my adventures in philanthropy multiple times. But it goes beyond dedicating my time to a startup nonprofit, it’s about knowing that the work that motivates and drives me tracks towards something that is larger than myself. And my direct relationship with giving has fallen into one of three categories: I give my time, my money, and myself.

I give time – to help build organizations and to cultivate the next generation of philanthropists.

I give money – in small amounts for causes I’m passionate about like providing healthcare for mothers and newborns in India and when disaster strikes and money is the most effective way that I can help.

I give myself – to people I care about to help them create and ignite projects that they’re passionate about. I also give a shoulder or an ear when needed. I strategize over coffee instead of networking at parties. I am there when the people in my life need me.

This is how I make an impact and give.

Small donations are the backbone of philanthropy

I’m going to borrow the definition of Jolkona, which is a Bengali word that means, “drop of water.” It represents the idea that small-scale acts and donations can have a ripple effect of change.

For Jolkona, that’s an easy vision to see. With your gift to, say, ignite girls’ leadership in Pakistan, you will empower and mentor a young woman through leadership training to become an agent of change today and a leader of Pakistan tomorrow. When I was in school, I had many opportunities where I went on a leadership training that shaped how I saw the world and my role in it. Those things can leave a lasting impression on a person and challenge them to greatness. By supporting a project like that one through Jolkona, can you imagine the opportunity that you will create for one girl?

By giving one small donation for less than $100, I can make a huge impact in the world. And while I’m not at the place in my life where I can make a ton of these contributions every day, I can make small ones every so often and together, they’ll add up to something big.

World Give Day blog seriesWorld Give Day

Today, I’m proud to be a part of World Give Day, a day to encourage people to give – whether it’s by making a donation, through their time, or even a simple hug. I am excited that Jolkona is a partner and that many of our friends are celebrating by writing blogs dedicated to the theme of giving:

You can read more posts from World Give Day Blogger Buddies, here. Meanwhile, I need to decide how I will celebrate giving today.

How do you define giving? What can you give of yourself that will make someone else’s life a little bit richer?

Thank you, Ethan, Desiree, and Cate at GiveForward for organizing World Give Day!

Photo by: Stuck in Customs

The Big News I Have Been Waiting to Share

Be the Change
The funny thing about living your life online is that when something big happens, you can’t wait to share it. And even when something hasn’t happened yet or is about to happen, you can’t wait to translate that giddy feeling inside of you into 140 characters of sheer glee and excitement!!!!!

And then, when something EVEN BIGGER happens in your life that’s a game-changer, you hold off and wonder what the best way to deliver the news is—Is it to be Tweeted about and risk losing it get lost amongst the noise of what everyone else had for breakfast? Shall it be a status update on Facebook that will encourage 10 or so “Likes”? Or will it be delivered in person, where you can give the maximum amount of details and receive the most amazing support from those who know you the most and how hard you’ve worked for it?

That’s what’s interesting about this whole ‘social media’ thang: social media is a form of marketing and now, more than ever, you have to act as your own brand manager. You are responsible for calling your own press conference. And you are the one managing your communications effectively to get the results and secure the ‘placement’ within your friends’ minds that you desire and deserve.

Read all about it: Laura is off the job market!

Nadia & Laura selling raffle tickets at SMC

For the past three weeks I’ve been elusive in my tweets and in my status updates, but it’s all for good reason. In the beginning of January, I started work as Jolkona Foundation’s second full-time employee.

For Jolkona, the startup nonprofit that I have been volunteering with since February 2009, hiring its first two employees means that the organization has reached a pivotal point in its life. I will be working closely with Nadia Khawaja Mahmud, who is the co-founder of Jolkona and the new CEO, as well as the volunteer leadership team and the 20+ volunteers who support them.

As the Director of Communications & Social Media, I’ll lead Jolkona’s marketing and outreach efforts, which include managing my own team, PR/Marketing/Social Media, and the following volunteer teams: Campus Outreach, Events, and Corporate Partnerships.

When I started with Jolkona, I signed up to run their social media with the goal to gain real-life experience that could bridge my way into a full-time, paid position. And it worked, as it landed me multiple contracts throughout the past year. But when co-founder, Adnan Mahmud, mentioned that in the ideally, they hope to look to their volunteers when hiring, I had no intention that that could be my reality.

You can read more about everything that Jolkona accomplished in 2010 and where we’re heading in 2011 in this blog post written by Adnan.

What makes this newsworthy?

For me, signing on with Jolkona full-time is a big deal, not only because I’ve been on the job hunt for almost a year-and-a-half and doing the job for almost a year, but because it’s something I’m truly passionate about. To friends, family members, and even in interviews with other employers, I always talk about how with Jolkona, I get to work with the most incredible, inspiring, and passionate individuals, working towards goals that are more strategic and more smart than any of my paid positions before. Mind you, this is a pitch I started saying last spring.

When I approach a new employer, I always say, “Give me a challenge, and let me show you what I can do.” It’s probably not the best strategy, but it’s the honest truth. And I’m incredibly honored and thankful that Nadia and Adnan have given me the chance to show them just what I can do for Jolkona.

We have a big year ahead of us, and I’m ready.

Photo Credit: Feggy Art

Help Me Change the World, One Life at a Time

Laura Kimball (lamiki) and newborn Lucius Howe

This month I became a first-time auntie. Being with my sister (who lives on the other side of the country) for the final weeks of her pregnancy, through labor, and helping to welcome her first baby home was one of the most incredible things I witnessed this year. I will never forget her strength and watching her transformed into a mother.

As an auntie, my job was to support her and my brother-in-law. There were some things that I could do, like make sure they were comfortable at home, but when we arrived at the hospital, all I could do was provide moral support while the midwives, doctors, and nurses stepped in.

I don’t know a lot about pregnancy and giving birth. But I do know is how important it is to have a midwife or a doctor to ensure the safe delivery of her baby and her own well-being. And while all expectant mothers make a birth plan, circumstances may change that and access to services skilled health care providers when we need it is something we take for granted in the States.

Many mothers around the world are not as fortunate. According to the United Nations:

  • More than 350,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, almost all of them — 99 per cent — in developing countries.
  • The maternal mortality rate is declining only slowly, even though the vast majority of deaths are avoidable.
  • Every year, more than 1 million children are left motherless. Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not.

What breaks my heart is that most maternal deaths could be avoided through access to skilled health care workers, services, equipment, and supplies. This is why improving maternal health is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals the United Nations is dedicated towards achieving in an effort to end poverty by 2015.

Luckily, we can do something to help work towards that goal and change those statistics.

My goal is to adopt a total of 5 mothers and their newborns through Jolkona, the nonprofit I volunteer with.

You can support this campaign by making a full gift of $235 which will support one mother and her child for 3½ years or by making a partial donation for as little as $5.

You will not receive a proof-of-impact for a partial donation. However, if you make a partial gift, let me know and I will put you on a private email list and share with you updates about the mother you supported. To respect the privacy policy Jolkona has for their beneficiaries and partner organizations, I cannot share with you any photos or the name of the mothers and their children. But I can share their stories and tell you about them.Campaign Widget, Powered by Jolkona

Help me save a life, actually 10 lives. For more information on how to donate, visit my campaign page on Jolkona or learn more by going here.

Will you help me make an impact for the holidays?

Update: Thank you for all of your support! As of January 14, 2011, this campaign was complete and with your help, we exceeded the campaign’s goal and supported 6 mothers and their newborns! Thank you so much for making such an enormous impact!