Metropolitan Ministries is a nonprofit community service agency whose mission is care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency. The organization works across four counties: Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk, providing short term emergency shelter, the Uplift U Self-Sufficiency program to help people transition into permanent housing, works to alleviate food insecurity and provides educational and lifeskills training support.
Galina Tishchenko, Director of Digital Strategy for Metropolitan Ministries, submitted this communications challenge for our 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event. She enumerated the issues, and the needs:
- For Metropolitan Ministries, the rate of crisis intervention happening via social media channels, namely Facebook messenger, is drastically increasing. This new form of instant communication has opened an opportunity for better service but has also created immense strain on the Metropolitan Ministries marketing staff. Inquiries range from urgent crisis situations, to basic questions about food distribution, to donors requesting information on drop off and volunteering. There currently is no technology in place to rapidly address these concerns in a sensitive and appropriate way. The information that could help those in need is scattered across various channels and the Metropolitan Ministries website, neither of which are user friendly.
- 85% of Metropolitan Ministries support comes from private donations. Most of this support comes from The Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers. If Metropolitan Ministries is to persist in Tampa Bay they need to inspire a new generation of donors to engage with this community and feel a sense of ownership in the Metropolitan Ministries mission. They are currently struggling to develop strategies that provide an inspiring message to younger audiences that gets them to engage financially and socially.
- Metropolitan Ministries is built on the idea that bringing the community together will solve many of the problems we face. There currently is not a great place for community members to help those in need, digitally. You can find small examples of this on the Metropolitan Ministries social media pages where people, unprompted, will offer information or direct help to those in need. The problem is no centralized place for the community to step in and directly help one another online on a person to person level.
If you would like to help develop a comprehensive digital platform that would help Metropolitan Ministries more efficiently provide crisis intervention through social media, inspire engagement with a younger demographic and improve community engagement overall, please register for our National Day of Civic Hacking event on August 11th, and select the Tampa location to Hack for Change at The Industrious Office from 9am to 5pm at 401 E Jackson St Suite 3300 in Tampa.