3p Contributor: Amie Vaccaro

Amie runs Cobblestone Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focusing on business development, marketing, communications and strategy for mission driven companies. Previously, Amie served as Director of Business Development for Viv (a Bay Area environmental start-up), Program Manager for Social Venture Technology Group (a boutique consulting firm focused on measuring social and environmental impact), and Associate Consultant at Bain & Co (a global management consulting firm). She is particularly interested in innovations that reduce waste, altering consumer behavior for good, and leveraging the power of business to solve the climate crisis. You can read more from her on her blog, on GreenBiz.com, and on JustMeans.

Recent Articles

UniversalGiving founder on trends in CSR and volunteering [Video]

| Friday January 28th, 2011 | 0 Comments

Pamela HawleyI got the chance to sit down with Pamela Hawley,  co-founder of VolunteerMatch and founder of UniversalGiving.  Hawley is one of my favorite women in the social enterprise space.  A dynamic and ambitious leader, Hawley also has a side career in improv and acting.  Also, be sure to check out her heartwarming blog. Watch the interview to learn about:

  • Her first experience with poverty and how she came to start Universal Giving
  • How her nonprofit makes money consulting companies on their giving programs
  • The most innovative CSR programs
  • Trends in volunteering

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Senda Athletics Launches Triple Bottom Line Nike

| Monday December 13th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Thanks to the Hub I’ve been working alongside Senda Athlethics founder, Santiago Halty, for the past six months, so I’m excited to report on the launch of his company this week.  Senda Athletics aims to be a sporting goods company with a soul, making Fair Trade soccer balls and sustainably sourced apparrel.

Listen to my interview with Halty to learn:

  • How Senda’s soccer balls support soccer for change organizations globally
  • How Senda’s products are price competitive while paying higher wages to workers along the supply chain
  • Why you should come to Senda’s launch party this Thursday at the Hub Soma (if you are in San Francisco)

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Get Your Hands Dirty on Your Next Vacation with Zuvy

| Monday December 6th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Do you love to travel and experience new cultures? Better yet, do you have exotic travel plans for this holiday season? If either answer is yes, Zuvy is a start-up you need to know about. Zuvy matches travelers like you with hand-selected and meaningful in-country service experiences at organizations working to change the world. If you’re visiting a country and want to get involved in a more intimate way than your hotel, guide book and rental car permit, Zuvy can organize a full day cultural engagement experience for you with a trusted organization.

I sat down with Sonsoles Navarro, Zuvy’s CEO, to learn about Zuvy’s take on volunteering, which acknowledges that the impact is not limited to the work done by volunteers, but rather broadens to include exposure for the organization and enlightenment for the traveler.  

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Catchafire Matches Professionals to Volunteer Projects [Video]

| Tuesday October 26th, 2010 | 2 Comments

Catchafire creates structured, skills-based volunteer opportunities for professionals who want to give back in a meaningful way.  Rachael Chong founded the company, which launched its beta site in September, after experiencing the void from both angles.  As an investment banker wanting to volunteer her “newly minted financial skills” and as a nonprofit leader looking for marketing and strategy help, Chong noted that there was no easy solution.  I sat down with Chong at the recent Socap10 to learn about the organization she’s created to change the way people volunteer. Watch the video to learn how Catchafire fills a gap in the market, how you can get involved, and more.

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CleanSource Launch Accelerates Sustainable Seafood [VIDEO]

| Thursday October 7th, 2010 | 2 Comments

At Socap I was lucky enough to sit down wtih Tim O’Shea, CEO and Co-Founder of CleanFish, fresh after his keynote in which he announced the launch of CleanSource, an exciting new fund.  Watch the video to learn:

  • How O’Shea plans to jumpstart “Aquaculture 3.0″ with CleanSource
  • How he is applying lessons learned on the ground at CleanFish to dramatically ramp up the speed of change in sustainable fishing and aquaculture
  • How a shift in mindset is opening up new doors for social entrepreneurs

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4 Notable Trends in Mobile from GigaOM’s Mobilize Conference

| Monday October 4th, 2010 | 0 Comments

It is high conference season in San Francisco and I attended GigaOM‘s Mobilize: The Future of the Mobile Web conference where leaders in the mobile industry discussed and debated their work and outlook on the field. The conference website has great video coverage of the event, if you want to dive in.  In the meantime I want to highlight a few of the trends that caught my attention.

Education goes mobile: Ever a do-gooder, I’m always alert to learn of globally valuable applications for leading edge technology.  A number of Mobilize attendees are working on educational applications for mobile technology, including the tablet.  For example, Marvell is working on a tablet device for all students.  Imagine the possibilities inside a classroom if every child had a tablet (or a laptop)?  In this vein, they just launched Mobilyze which will fund educational apps.

Geo-fencing is the next big thing in mobile marketing:

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9 Coolest Startups from TechCrunch Disrupt

| Friday October 1st, 2010 | 2 Comments

ban-startup-friday

Yesterday I wrote about some of the trends I noticed at TechCrunch Disrupt.  Today I want to tell you about my favorite startups. Criteria for being a favorite include:  innovation, useful to me, potentially applicable beyond the Silicon Valley elite and/or useful to a do-gooder sort of organization.  Also, I got to demo each of these products.  In random order, my favorites are:

  1. Producteev: Producteev is simple cloud based task management platformfor groups.  I recently started using with with AZAP Mobile and I’m loving it.  It integrates well with any other tools you use and it’s intuitive to use.
  2. Voxy: Voxy is a new language learning platform that teaches language using the news you care about.  Their initial angle is teaching English to Spanish speakers.  And their work includes a text based cell phone application.  This was one of the only startups I encountered that didn’t assume everyone owns a smartphone.
  3. Qwiki: Winner of the Startup Battlefield, Qwiki aims to re-design how people get information.  Their algorithm creates quick audio-visual presentations for any topic. The result is a much more engaging experience than reading a Wikipedia page.

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6 Startup Trends from TechCrunch Disrupt

| Thursday September 30th, 2010 | 2 Comments

I’ve spent the last 3 days at TechCrunch Disrupt learning about the latest and greatest tech startups Silicon Valley (and actually the world) has to offer.  I noticed that many of the start-ups, many of which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt, are doing very similar things.  Here I’ll summarize the trends I saw.  While not totally relevant to the social enterprise world, I do believe many of these technologies can be leveraged to make a difference or at least improve the operations of a sustainable business.

1) Mobile everything

  • Pay with your phone with BlingNation.  MobilePay does something very similar. Easily build mobile apps with ApplicationCraft.   InstaMobile creates a mobile store fast and simple for anyone.  With ParticleCode you can automatically port mobile apps across platforms.  DudaMobile turns websites into mobile sites.
  • Clixtr lets you collaborate with friends and strangers on event related photo albums.  Pinger provides free texting!
  • Apsalar provides mobile analytics.

2) Social networks for everything

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What’s Next Interview: David Hodgson of The IdeaHive and International Futures Forum

| Tuesday September 28th, 2010 | 0 Comments

As part of our partnership with the Social Capital Markets Conference 2010, we are featuring a series of interviews with key conference participants. Don’t forget to get your 30% discount by using the code “3P30″ when you register!

David Hodgson is a Principal with The IdeaHive and a Converger with The International Futures Forum.  He is also curating the Innovation in International Development track for Socap.

Watch my interview with David to learn:

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What’s Next Interview with Deborah Hirsh: The Hoop Connects Consumers and Producers

| Monday September 27th, 2010 | 0 Comments

As part of our partnership with the Social Capital Markets Conference 2010, we are featuring a series of interviews with key conference participants. Don’t forget to get your 30% discount by using the code “3P30″ when you register!

Deborah Hirsh recently co-founded The Hoop Fund, an exciting new start-up which connect producers and consumers to make loans to build business capacity in fair trade.  Kind of like Kiva curated for fair trade consumer products.

Watch to my interview with Deborah to learn:

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What’s Next Interview with Mike Del Ponte: Building the Silicon Valley of Social Entrepreneurship

| Thursday September 23rd, 2010 | 1 Comment

As part of our partnership with the Social Capital Markets Conference 2010, we are featuring a series of interviews with key conference participants. Don’t forget to get your 30% discount by using the code “3P30″ when you register!

I sat down with Mike Del Ponte, Founder and CEO of Sparkseed.  Most recently Sparkseed ran the most adventurous, non-conference like conference I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Dangerously Ambitious brought together 64 young, ambitious entrepreneurs for 3 days of action packed bonding and learning, sans panel discussions.  The conference reinforced my view of Mike as someone in the space who is really moving the needle. So I was excited to interview him prior to Socap about his thoughts on the field.

In this interview, learn about:

  • Sparkseed’s 3 pronged strategy for creating the Silicon Valley for social entrepreneurship:
    1. Leveraging the venture capital model to find deals
    2. Creating a world class social enterprise accelerator program
    3. Investing in social entrepreneurs through Sparkseed
  • Sparkseed’s goal to launch 1000 ventures impacting 1 billion lives in the next 10 years
  • The support that has been critical in Mike’s success
  • How Mike sees social enterprise taking off and recent trends

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What’s Next Interview: Accessing $120B Money for Good

| Thursday September 16th, 2010 | 0 Comments


As part of our partnership with the Social Capital Markets Conference 2010, we are featuring a series of interviews with key conference participants. Don’t forget to get your 30% discount by using the code “3P30″ when you register!

Hope Consulting‘s  Money for Good initiative identified that wealthy Americans would like to invest $120 billion in impact investments, an extremely encouraging finding.  My question is, how do we make that happen?  I sat down with Hope Neighbor, Founder and CEO of Hope Consulting, and Greg Ulrich, Project Manager for the Money for Good project to find out.  Watch the video to learn:

  • About the Money for Good report’s field-changing findings
  • Why financial advisors are key to unlocking the $120 B impact investment opportunity
  • What’s being done and what needs to happen

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What’s Next Interview with Nick Ellis, CEO of Job Rooster

| Friday September 10th, 2010 | 0 Comments


As part of our partnership with the Social Capital Markets Conference 2010, we are featuring a series of interviews with key conference participants. Don’t forget to get your 30% discount by using the code “3P30″ when you register!

I spoke with Nick Ellis, CEO of Job Rooster, as well as his outlook on social enterprise. Job Rooster allows anyone to learn about and apply for jobs from a mobile phone.

Watch the interview to find out:

  • About Job Rooster as base of the pyramid mobile job hunting tool
  • How Nick has managed to get funding and the broader climate for fundraising
  • How entrepreneurs are getting more sophisticated and why you can’t fundraise on a feelgood idea anymore
  • Why crowdsourcing and mobile are the next big things

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What’s Next Interview with Amy Benziger, Co-Producer of Socap 10

| Thursday August 26th, 2010 | 0 Comments

I sat down with Amy Benziger, Co-Producer for the Social Capital Markets conference (Socap), which is in its third year. I’ve attended each year and have enjoyed watching the business for good or social enterprise space unfold and grow. Leading up to this year’s conference I’ll be interviewing a series of thought leaders and Socap speakers and attendees to find out what’s happened in the last year and what’s the next big thing.

As Co-Producer, Amy has a uniquely insider perspective. Hear what she sees as important, why she thinks design thinking could be the next big thing in social enterprise, and more.


Please chime in.  Besides leaving comments, here are 2 ways to weigh in.

1) I recently highlighted the related Impact Challenge competition: Submit 500 words on “What’s Next for Social Enterprise” for the chance to win a free ticket to Socap.   Learn more here.

2) If you will be at Socap and would like to be interviewed for this series, email me at amie [dot] vaccaro [at] gmail [dot] com.  Be sure to mention why 3p readers would want to hear from me.

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Graffiti PR’s 12 Tips for Reaching Your Audience

| Monday July 26th, 2010 | 6 Comments

Last week Graffiti PR hosted a PR Summit Bootcamp in San Francisco – an action packed day of successful PR folks revealing their tips and tricks for navigating and leveraging media.   Even social change needs good media coverage. The more I’ve dived into social entrepreneurship, the more I realize how crucial some of the things I used to perceive as “fluffy” or even just “nice to have” are: that includes branding, PR, messaging, social media, and overall marketing will make or brake any good idea. Here are some of the most meaningful morsels from the event:

  1. Let your brand have a personality.  Make sure you’re not only talking about your product and selling your product with your communications on Facebook and Twitter.  Give value. Have fun. Give your brand a persona.  United Airlines on Twitter is a perfect example of what not to do.
  2. Don’t forget traditional platforms, like direct mail.  Mix it up.  Surprise people.  People now expect that email newsletter, that Twitter account.  Stir the pot with an unexpected medium.
  3. Shaking hands is underrated.  Social media is amazing and all.  But don’t forget to meet your audience in person.  This particularly applies to campaigns for political office, but I think it applies beyond that.  Companies that I’ve had face to face contact with are by far my favorites out there.  I will almost never become an evangelist without meeting the CEO or someone else involved (maybe I’m odd that way?)
  4. Don’t push the same updates to all channels.  Seeing hashtags on Facebook is like speaking English in Paris, one speaker suggested.  It’s frowned upon.  Consider who you are talking to and craft your message accordingly.

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