Our 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event was remarkable in many ways, as much for the commitment of the nonprofit organizations who brought us event day challenges, as for the fantastic team of developers and civic technologist who turned out for our August 11 event and continue working on the projects today. This is part II of our National Day of Civic Hacking recap. You can find Part I here.
Our 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event was one of the best we’ve ever held, both for the commitment of the nonprofit organizations who brought us event day challenges, and for the fantastic team of developers and civic technologists who turned out for our August 11 event and continue working on the projects today.
Despite the late development of having to cancel our hoped for St. Petersburg event, most of the nearly 60 registered participants gamely switched over to our Tampa event, held at the Industrious Center and generously supported by The Ledger , Covered Web Services and Inside the Box Catering.
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.
We’re super happy to announce that we have a second location for this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking event in Tampa Bay, on August 11! In addition to our St. Petersburg location, generously provided by the Academy at the Suncoast Developers Guild, we’re grateful to The Ledger, Brianna Bond and Covered Web Services for donating space use at the Industrious Office on Franklin Street in Tampa, and for support from Hillsborough County .
Select your preferred location when you register
At our Tampa location, we’ll be working on these projects:
- Metropolitan Ministries – to help develop an intelligent chatbot to better direct those in need to most appropriate services (Tampa NDCH)
- Winners’ Resource Center – A more efficient resource for non-profits and companies to share their information with those in need in the Tampa Bay area (Tampa NDCH)
- Pasco Agents for Change – helping this newly created nonprofit develop an advocacy website and tools to aid their efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in Pasco County Public Schools (Tampa NDCH)
In St. Petersburg, we’ll be working on these:
- The Greenhouse – a platform for St. Pete’s Grow Smarter Initiative (St. Pete NDCH)
- Arts Conservatory for Teens – Grant tracking database/system (St. Pete NDCH)
As well as other projects participants may be interested in developing at each location. We’ll share more information about these groups and their projects in the next few weeks.
Winning solutions will be chosen by agency representatives, and winners will receive trophies and the opportunity to continue developing their hackathon challenge solution into fully working models for the relevant civic agencies.
Please join us!