Showing posts from 2012

Sandy Hook School Support Fund Link

The United Way of Western Connecticut has established a support fund for the families and the community of Newtown.

To donate go here.

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Thoughts And Prayers: Sandy Hook School Shooting

Map of Northeast
Joined with millions of others across America, our hearts go out to the elementary school children, parents, and staff reeling from the shooting this morning at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown Connecticut.  Today children saw their friends and teachers gunned down in a horrifying tragedy.

Timeline: School Violence in United States.


If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to Heaven
and bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken
no time to say goodbye
you were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why. 
My heart still aches in sadness
and secret tears still flow,
what it meant to lose you,
no one will ever know.

Author Unknown

As the death count reaches 26, and parents try to comfort terrified children, the scale of this tragedy hits home--particularly near as we are to Columbine High School here in Colorado. We realize how fragile and how important are the connections within our communities. Each of us can ask ourselves today what we can do, in our communities to build resilience, strength, and connection.

Remember the emergency responders, too, they have an unbearable task today.

Douglas Zimmerman

Telling your Nonprofit's Story through Video

Last night, a couple of us from the VisionLink team attended another wonderfully informative Tech4Good forum on the power and execution of video storytelling. After watching a few short, low budget videos, it became clear just how effective (and inexpensive) film could be when it comes to spreading your nonprofit's story and mission. If your organization is thinking that it may be time to pick up a camera and create one of these videos yourself, here are a few tips we learned from last night's panel of experts:
  • Define your goals and strategy
    • Raise awareness
    • Share your mission
    • Thank/acknowledge supporters
    • Adopt new donors
  • Plan ahead and think about the end product
    • Who will be seeing this (sponsors, donors, volunteers)?
    • Where will it be played (on a big screen, online, website)? 
    • When is the due date and how long will it take to create?
  • You don't need to break your bank account
    • Can film the video in-house
    • No camera? Consider an audio slideshow
    • Can even use an iPhone camera
    • Ask corporate partners to donate/lend equipment
    • Reach out and ask for free/cheap help from experts and students.
  • There are many helpful (and cheap) tools & resources
    • iMovie - free on your mac
    • Pinnacle studio - $100 for PC users
    • Powerpoint - make powerful text and/or photo videos
    • Soundslides - creates audio slideshows
    • ReverbNation - find bands who may create music for you
    • Wistia - add share buttons and track online videos
  • Bring IT into the picture before the video begins
    • Be aware what file format you need. It is different for different mediums.
    • Think about size of final screen. Online video screen size is different than a big screen.
    • Know how much data storage you need. Raw footage takes up a ton of space.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway revealed last night is to plan ahead. Making a video is a lot more complex and time consuming than you expect. Be sure you set a clear timeline and creative plan so your video is completed how you want it by when you need it!

Until next time folks!

Georgina Douglas
Marketing Associate

Portraits of the People: Northeast America and Sandy

Sometimes it helps to see the people impacted by disaster--the personal stories. It helps us see what other members of our extended community are going through, and a reminder that each of us could find ourselves in this situation sometime in the future, if it is not already part of our past.

Brandon, the creator of Humans of New York, began taking portraits for this project in 2010. His work has evolved from capturing portraits to now the stories as well. You can find his work here:

Among the scenes of devastation from Hurricane Sandy, he has found a few smiles as well, as captured above.

Disasters demonstrate the connections within and among community. They bring into sharp relief the assets that bring resilience, and the spirit of nearly all people to help one another. That willingness to help also needs formal chains of command, clear communications, resources catalogued in advance, and professionals and volunteers alike to mount a large scale response.

For our part, VisionLink is contributing considerable staff and technical resources to the relief effort.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Hurricane Sandy Situational Map

Because of the severity of Super Storm Sandy, the VisionLink team has launched a real-time situational map at