The Blog of Daniel Francavilla

Design. Charity. Life.

Why You Might Help That Stranger 0

Posted on March 01, 2013 by Daniel Francavilla

There are countless behaviours humans have adopted over time – for such goals of survival, defence and pro-creation. How humans relate to one another, and more specifically care for and protect each other, is key to their survival and maintaining relationships.

How do humans react in situations when others are in need? When or why do people help strangers? Do humans feel responsible for the lives of others? This design concept for Art Meets Science displays what people think when presented with situations to help fellow humans.

To visually represent these key concepts of Social Psychology, I created the two graphics above. To view them, click each individually for a larger image. The title of this series is “Why you might help that stranger: Psychological Explorations in the Common Phenomenon of Altruism and Assistance”.


The Common Phenomenon of Altruism and Assistance

A variety of theories were used in the creation of these pieces . One includes the Arousal: Cost-Reward Theory and the other includes Empathy-Altruism Helping Theory; along with the concepts of Altruism, Assistance and the Bystander Effect.

For example, one factor for a person helping another are the costs involved (if the costs of assisting are low, and the costs of not assisting are high, the bystander will definitely choose to help – however, if the costs of not assisting are low, the bystander may not help at all) as well as who else is around (if many people are there, this may lead to diffusion of responsibility for example [Garcia et al., 2002). A simple factor such as whether or not a victim asks for help varies people’s reactions immensely (without the victim asking directly, less than half as many people would stop to help [Yakimovich & Saltz, 1971]).

Through this design it is evident that overall, people have the capacity and desire to help. There are many factors that influence people’s decisions, including everything from stress level to the responses of others.

Through positive reinforcement by society, encouragement and a social conscious, humans can help make the world a better place for all.

How Will Millennials Save the World? 1

Posted on September 22, 2012 by Daniel Francavilla

Are youth tired of being told things like Find Your Passion, Have an Impact, and Be the Change? That’s what Adora Svitak says, as a 15-year-old author, teacher, speaker and activist who delivered a great speech at the Social Good Summit in New York City. (You can read my Interview with Adora here).

Really, youth don’t want to be told what they should do for social good. “We want our world to have confidence in us,” Adora explains.

What can a 15-year old girl do, sitting in Language class at school? She can do something – or her dream will go to waste. Like the poem, A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes:

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore–And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over–like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

Youth Empowerment is not a #FirstWorldProblem (a great twitter reference by Adora – that hashtag drives me crazy and is always so ignorant). We want to transcend our boundaries, and do things not only for a college admissions reviewer, Adora says.

For the last 3 years (since giving her TED talk on What Adults Can Learn from Kids), Adora has organized TEDxRedmond with about 20 other teens (every speaker is under age 20). I’ve seen her mention this on Twitter, and watched her talk on YouTube. The best part of this – which Microsoft has provided them their Conference Centre – is that it is all about a message, not just a conference. It allows youth to realize that they have power to give a voice to ideas for social good.

The future: “We’re connected, reasonably informed, and leap towards opportunities to make a difference.”

How can a generation consumed by our smartphones and “narcissistic blogs” make a difference? Adora says we’re not hopeless – our devotion to creating individuality may not be a weakness. She explains that when younger, children did good things (fundraiser at school, for example) because everyone did them – but now, teenagers see doing social good as a part of their overall self image.

“I’m seeing teens that are not waiting for the go-ahead from their parents,” Adora stated. But are we just doing this for our image? “No, it’s part of our identity – we’ve seen posters telling us to recycle and save trees for years, for example. We choose to define ourselves by the social good that we do.”

Image and Identity are the two components. Online, for example, ideas spread. People share, like, comment, react. But, youth are also taking concrete action to make a difference.

For non-profits, governments and causes, reaching an audience where they are – and not making them come to you – is a necessity. There are many websites that look like crap, are un-engaging, or fail to connect to the young demographic online (which is why I did my thesis on this).

Adora mentioned that her speech was “a privilege I would like more millennials to have”, and I can relate. It’s inspiring and motivating to get involved in a cause where you can have a positive impact; and engage millennials in doing social good.

Ultimately, for youth to “save the world” they need to feel ownership, discover the issues on their own, and be empowered to do so. Youth need to be given 3 things, Adora defines;

“Give youth a stage, a role, and a voice.”

Read Activism at Any Age: Interview with Adora

Social Good Summit: Words of Wisdom 0

Posted on September 22, 2012 by Daniel Francavilla

An event full of inspiring speakers, is full of quotes – especially when these speakers include some of the most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists. Below are some selected quotes and stats mentioned at the Social Good Summit, updated throughout the conference.

  • “Technology is a wonderful tool, but it does need people behind it.” – Jill Sheffield
  • “3.5 Billion people are under 25. Take young people seriously. Don’t believe young people are less than you are.” – Jill Sheffield
  • “Investing in girls and women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s honestly the smart thing to do.” – Jill Sheffield
  • “Don’t just think about how you can do it yourself, think about how you can motivate the world to care about the mission you are on.” – Todd Park, White House Chief Technology Officer
  • “Data by itself is useless. I cannot feed my baby daughter data. It is only useful if you apply to create actual public benefit.” – Todd Park, White House Chief Technology Officer
  • “Social Media did not replace face-to-face diplomacy, but I went from 250 to over 7,000 Zimbabwe citizens on Facebook. It was working.” – Charles Ray, former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe
  • “You can’t go back to foreign headquarters to get every tweet approved. All diplomats are very comfortable doing it.” – Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to US
  • “Instead of writing a letter to the editor and waiting for it to be published, we can tweet. It’s a unique tool for engagement.” – Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to US
  • “There are a billion people who will never see a doctor in their life.” – Josh Nesbit, CEO, Medic Mobile
  • “The device will not end aids, the people using it will.” – Robert Fabricant, VP of Creative, Frog Design
  • “It’s very easy to save a life. I don’t think anybody ever realized.” – Women from the WWE
  • “Social good is global currency. It has real value.” – Mike Fogarty, Global SVP, BabyCenter
  • “We need to be active in our voices and partner with orgs that want to share our message.” – TMS “Teddy” Ruge, Co-Founder of Project Diaspora
  • “How can we more permanently protect our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness online? We can create a digital bill of rights. Digital freedom of speech, freedom of assembly – we assemble on Twitter and Facebook.” – Rob Reich, Co-Director of Center on Philanthropy & Civil Society and Director of Ethics in Society Program at Stanford University
  • “The speed of technology will never be as slow as it is today.” – Hans Vestberg, President & CEO, Ericsson
  • “You serve best doing the thing you love most” – Maria Bello, Actor & Women’s Rights Activist, quoting advice she was given
  • “One of the things that is often missing is the importance of networks and communities. Networks are a critical part of what we do. Just take action and actually activate it.” – Danah Boyd
  • “You have to create your own job, and create your job not only to make money but to address social issues.” – Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum
  • “Now every company has to stand for something because this generation demands it.” – Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED)
  • “Social change is about connecting with networks and connecting them with on-the-ground change.” – Beth Kanter, Blogger

Catch the live stream of this event online here.

The Social Good Summit is uniting a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: The power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.

Social tech for social change: Connecting non-profits with Technology at MyCharityConnects 3

Posted on June 10, 2011 by Daniel Francavilla

The web is changing. Society is changing. And people are coming together to do something good about it. Net Change Week is full of events that explore how social innovation and social technology are changing our society. The week on “social tech for social change” exists because of this rapid change, and I believe it’s key for social causes to get on board! This is where the MyCharityConnects conference comes in, the sold-out event which I had the opportunity to attend this year.

Over 200 charities and non-profits from across Canada gathered at the well-designed MaRS Centre for this exciting social media and online fundraising learning opportunity, on June 6 and 7 in Toronto. There were opportunities to learn about social media platforms, trends in technology, mobile giving, community building, online fundraising and video, movement marketing, and a lot more. As CanadaHelps describes it, the conference was “by the sector for the sector; it was just the attendees and the experts, including the charities that have done it right”.

By the name of this website alone, you can understand how relevant MyCharityConnects is! For a brief intro to the conference itself, watch this video:

The conference included some incredible presentations, and for someone like me who is constantly online with social media and active in the non-profit world, it was challenging narrowing down which ones to attend.

One seminar that caught my eye was called #Fail – Biggest Online Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Presenter Lee Rose made the session interactive, and displayed the many tweets coming from the conference and its outside followers. Rose posted his presentation online, which you can click-through in full here:

Being really interested in design and branding personally, I found the session on Reaching the Next Generation of Supporters Through Integrated Branding Programs eye-opening. Sheetal Persaud and Matt Barr of a company called HJC lead this session, which included executing branded programs and campaigns for non-profits. The complexity of Passion Branding is very interesting.

“Let’s get real – social media is only one complementary channel for your online programs,” says Claire Kerr, Director of Digital Fundraising at Artez Interactive. I had a great conversation with Kerr during a break and am a fan of her down-to-earth presentation topic, “Oops! You Raised Awareness Without Raising Money (Whatcha gonna do about it?)“.

But what is the real relationship between technology – the online world – and charities? I found a comment by Katya Andresen fascinating when she answered the question of why people contribute to causes: “Technology when used right helps people be generous. People have to feel compelled to give.”

To gain some insight on the conference from an organizer’s perspective, I asked CanadaHelps‘ Fundraising & Business Development Coordinator Katelyn McKeown, and Marketing & Communications Manager Kirstin Beardsley their thoughts.

Of course there’s a huge conference about it, but those who did not attend may wonder how important technology is for non-profits today.

“Technology is hugely important to non-profits for many reasons: donors/volunteers/clients and other constituencies are using technology and non-profits/charities need to be able to communicate with these groups where they are. Technology is a low-cost communications options compared to many traditional communications tactics. Technology tools allow charities to publish their own interactive content without needing to wait for a media outlet to be interested in the cause.”

I also asked how the CanadaHelps’ team feels that a conference like MyCharityConnects benefits the non-profit community overall. They shared that it “levels the playing field in terms of building knowledge about how to use technology effectively.” They added that MyCharityConnects is cost-effective, which isn’t always the case for other tech conferences, and that the content is geared specifically to a non-profit audience.

Since the conference featured so much great content, it’s easy to miss some great presentations. I asked CanadaHelps’ McKeown and Beardsley what they found most memorable, and it was was a case study presented by Sara Falconer.

“Sara provided the audience with some great examples as to how organizations such as World Wildlife Fund-Canada are taking its online communities to the next level. Throughout the presentation Sara highlighted the importance of creating a strategy by looking at three main areas: Goals, Tactics and Metrics. As the audience shared their experiences and ideas we were able to learn as a group the importance of defining what we want to accomplish, how we want to accomplish it and the most effective way of measuring our success in social media.”


All of the 2011 MyCharityConnects Conference presentation slides have been conveniently posted online here.

Thank you to to the teams at CanadaHelps, SiG@MaRS, PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Foundation, and the many other supporters and sponsors, who put on an inspiring event.

Companies are focused on making a positive impact: Interview with PwC Director of Corporate Responsibility 0

Posted on April 13, 2011 by Daniel Francavilla

There is a lot of discussion about the world of Corporate Social Responsibility today, and the movement is not slowing down.

Last month, I wrote about the how some corporations take advantage of socially responsible advertising. This month, I had the opportunity to ask a key corporate contact about the relationship non-profit organizations have with corporations, how corporate giving affects public perception, and how others can implement socially responsible practices and initiatives in their businesses.

James Temple, the Director of Corporate Responsibility at PwC and of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Foundation, took some time to answer my questions on this expanding popular topic.

Recently, the foundation put together a report on Capacity Building, which contains content from the community discussions they organized.

Q: How did members of not-for-profit sector organizations, private foundations and major corporations cooperate during the series of roundtable discussions you held? Were there any interesting situations, given that this doesn’t often occur?

A: One of the most exciting aspects of the PwC roundtables was the excitement shared by all members who attended the sessions – not-for-profit organizations, private foundations and corporations.  Everyone who attended had the same focus:  to look to the not-for-profit sector as a source of wisdom and inspiration to educate us on how to make smarter, long-term investments that will help them achieve their missions. At the end of the day, all stakeholders shared a common goal to help our communities, but we as corporations can do a better job in understanding what it takes to get there.

The project wasn’t without some necessary friction – there were some big opinions, passionate debates and lot of talk about the fact more of these roundtables need to happen.  Suffice to say, we’re excited about continuing this important project.

Q: Often, corporations become affiliated with non-profit organizations to create a positive public image. What are some examples of situations where genuine generosity and passion have contributed to the success of corporate donations?

A: It’s no surprise that corporates affiliate themselves with not-for-profit organizations in part because it can help foster a positive public image. But, we believe it goes much deeper than this. It’s all about the approach you take to ensure your support makes a big impact (not just lip service) and that you provide the right resources to staff to support their interests in giving back to the community.

How do we do this at PwC? To ensure we make a significant impact in our community involvement, we developed a measurement tool called the Volunteer Continuum, which we’ve recently made available for other corporations and not-for-profits to use as a resource. The Continuum helps individuals and businesses become more strategic in their volunteer efforts and was developed in collaboration with some of Canada’s largest charitable organizations, including Volunteer Canada, Imagine Canada and the Toronto Community Foundation.

Not only are we focused internally on our own approach to CR, we’re also actively engaged with the not-for-profit and corporate communities to help evolve charitable partnerships to become more effective.

Q: How evident are PwC’s Corporate Responsibility goals within various levels of the company? How can businesses of all sizes promote CSR internally?

A: At PwC, CR represents the way we integrate social, environmental and economic concerns into our overall values, culture and decision-making. We focus our commitments in the four areas in which we operate, namely Community, Environment, People and Marketplace, to bring a holistic view to our CR initiatives.

A good CR strategy embeds good social, environmental and transparent behaviours into day-to-day decision-making. We promote our CR program through a variety of internal communication vehicles – messages from our leadership team, local office initiatives, posters highlighting our sustainability program, and holding local events to talk about critical CR issues. We also have a network of Foundation Champions in offices across the country who promote our CR initiatives at the local level.

Every business will have a unique CR journey. There is no right or wrong way to go about developing a CR program. There are various best practices a company can follow, but they need to first ensure that CR is reflected prominently in the overall business strategy for it to be effective.

Q: Do you feel students and young professionals are being offered or exposed to opportunities within the non-profit sector enough? Any comments on how non-profits can provide comparable jobs?

A: We have a young and engaged workforce. The average age of our people is under 30! As part of our commitment to building and empowering community leadership, we’ve assembled a group of over 200 Foundation Champions and Green Team leaders across our offices. These individuals are passionate about work within the not-for-profit sector and environmental sustainability. They look at new ways to get involved in our communities that make sense to that region.

From our perspective, we find there is a real thirst from students and young professionals to work for companies with strong CR programs. In fact, we hear from new recruits often that our Foundation is one of the reasons why they were interested in PwC. Our job is to listen to them, shape our programs accordingly and provide them with the financial and work-flexibility support so they can get involved in the community in ways that are meaningful for them.

Q: There is so much positive (and sometimes vital) work being done by various community and non-profit organizations. Is the support of corporations reliable and can it become sustainable?

A: This is a very timely question because this is an issue that we’ve been following closely. In fact, we just launched a new thought leadership paper diving into this topic, called Capacity Building: Investing in not-for-profit effectiveness. To achieve more sustainable partnerships, we need to be mindful that these partnerships have a lot of layers.

The question remains on how organizations will stay focused on what’s really important – having measureable impacts and outcomes in the community vs. driving competition in such a non-competitive space. The first step is for not-for-profits and corporations to have more candid, honest conversations about how support needs to evolve to help not-for-profits achieve their missions. You can read more about our Capacity Building paper at

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