For many nonprofit ecosystems in Orange County and beyond, answering the basic question of who can do a certain outreach activity in a certain language to reach a certain population in a certain city is not a simple task.
But that answer determines what strategies we coordinate, which partners we collaborate with, and how we can best align resources to create the most collective impact – whether it is to ensure our most marginalized community members are counted in the census, don’t lose public benefits, are included in basic income pilots, or participate in civic engagement.
No organization does its work in a vacuum, so understanding landscape and partnership opportunities at the ecosystem level is critical to the equitable distribution of resources across our diverse communities.
Building upon past mobilization efforts and looking to the future
In 2021, Charitable Ventures partnered with Good Work Collaborative to create a tool that can help Orange County more effectively and efficiently design comprehensive funding and outreach strategies for major community activation initiatives in the years ahead.
Building upon our collective experiences leading outreach efforts for the 2020 Census, we envisioned something that would allow someone to easily search for and compare groups of community outreach organizations by location, populations served, outreach languages, and activities from a birds’ eye view.
Over an 18-month period, we worked to ensure what we created would provide unique, useful, and complementary information to the existing tools in Orange County and be thoughtfully designed for the capabilities and needs of non-technical users from CBOs, local government organizations, and foundations. We:
- Conducted a data visualization exercise to explore what functionalities, features, and data categories might be most useful
- Completed a landscape analysis to identify gaps, opportunities, and potential redundancies with existing organizational directories and mapping tools
- Soft-launched multiple early iterations of the tool and collected community feedback from users to refine design, data categories, and overall user experience
Designed for simplicity, accessibility, and community use
Map My CBO is a “first-of-its-kind” tool that provides a comparative point-in-time snapshot of who does what, where, and in what capacity in the community outreach and civic engagement space. Among its key features:
Simple user-centered design. We created a “two-dimensional” layout with a blog-like user interface containing just the most essential categories needed for preliminary research.
Low barrier to entry. Not only is the directory free to use, but it is also free to join or update – no 501(c)(3) required – using a simple online survey that takes just a few minutes to complete.
Balance of quantity, quality, and applicability of data. We present a consistent level of information for all organizations using city-level geography and easily transferable categories.
Democratized access to information. All users are able to download an up-to-date spreadsheet with the same raw data we have on the back-end to allow for further analysis.
Utilizing Map My CBO in the years ahead
Since the official launch of Map My CBO earlier this year, more than 145 community-based organizations have already joined the directory, and our goal is to engage hundreds more. In July, we held a Welcome Event where attendees learned how to use the tool alongside OC Nonprofit Central, OC Philanthropy Central, and the OC Census Atlas to find outreach partners, align resources, and increase collaboration across Orange County.
The more organizations that are reflected in this map, the more powerful the tool can be. Community outreach from trusted messengers will continue to play a critical role in supporting Orange County’s diverse communities, and Map My CBO can help us find them.
If your organization does community-based outreach in Orange County, we invite you to fill out this brief form to be listed in the search directory.
Map My CBO Orange County is a collaboration between Charitable Ventures and Good Work Collaborative, with support from the Orange County Community Foundation and OC Grantmakers. Contact Raymond Lo (email@example.com) with any questions.