To Connect, Disconnect.

Remember back in the 90s - when the internet was still a novelty - how excited you got when you got online? Connecting to the internet via AOL in the early days was not an easy thing to do as technologies were still immature. But once you made it on and heard that “You’ve Got Mail” chime, there was instant excitement.

Since then, it’s been a mass influx of digital connections as most of the world’s 7.7 billion+ people access the internet on a daily basis. Physical connections with other people and with nature have taken a backseat to social media, web browsing, and the like.

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The statement “offline is the new luxury” is now our reality, and a shocking realization to come to. That said, it’s also a reminder as to how many treasures await us out in nature.

The digital revolution of the past two decades may have taken our focus elsewhere for a while; and listen, that’s not to say that these technologies haven’t brought us GREAT things. But every once in a while, we think it’s incredibly valuable for EVERYONE to “disconnect” from their screens and get out into the great unknown.

The impact of getting to your special place in nature is better than any drug, or YouTube video, could ever bring you. It’s far and away the best way to “connect” back to what really matters in your life.

Now go out and explore!

What Was Once Private, is Now Public

Very pleased to announce that the private beta phase for the Advomate app has now gone PUBLIC! It’s now available for download to Tampa Bay-area users on both iOS and Android devices by clicking the following links:

App Store (iOS)

Play Store (Android)

So, if you haven’t yet, we encourage you to give it a download and join our small (but growing) community to start making a difference. We’ll add more and more volunteer initiatives as we go along, and are efforting to partner up with local Tampa Bay area nonprofits to feature their events.

We are limiting the app’s use to the Tampa Bay area only for now, as this is as far as our infrastructure can extend at this time. But we certainly have aspirations to expand into new markets in the future - and as our community continues to grow we will do just that. Just stay tuned!

Keep in mind that we are still in the beta phase so there are likely to be some bumps in the road during your use of the app. With this in mind we are still accepting ANY and ALL feedback you may have to make the Advomate user experience better. So if you have a suggestion, or run into a problem with the app, don’t hesitate to visit www.advomate.com and reach us at the contact info provided.

Thanks and we greatly appreciate your support to this point!

There's Another Way to Live.

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There’s awesome collective power in seemingly small things.

The examples listed above are just a small sample size of things we can do to collectively work towards a more positive, inclusive, and peaceful society. Most of us have opportunities to do things like this everyday, but we don’t - and it’s usually not because we’re mean spirited people, we’re just pre-occupied with life.

But from here on out, let’s try and remember the impact that even one of these small actions can have with just one person. It may not seem like much to you, but you never know how much it might positively impact that other person. And it may not seem like much of a big deal at the time, but if performed with enough frequency and by enough people, can begin to reshape how we operate in this world.

No matter what others might tell you, our society doesn’t have to be marked by greed, war, corruption, personal gratification, and the like. There is another way…and it’s for the good of us all.

A Hall of Famer, in More Ways than One

Houston Texans' defensive end JJ Watt is one of the best players in the NFL.  But once he decides to hang up his cleats for good, he'll be remembered for so much more.

Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Houston area in August 2017, was the subject of multiple fundraisers and crowdfunding campaigns.  But none were more successful than the one Watt led - by a long shot.  His crowdfunding campaign raised an incredible $41.6 million for hurricane relief, an all time record for crowdfunding.  Nice job JJ.

The financial impact aside, this effort did absolute wonders when it comes to encouraging people to help others.  Whether you're a sports fan or not, chances are you've heard of Watt - and when you see someone as famous as Watt lead an effort of this magnitude, there's a good chance it influences a little inspiration.  Athletes get bashed all the time for off-the-field mishaps, but when they do something like this, the positive power it has on our society cannot be overlooked.

Social media, which Watt leaned on greatly throughout this campaign, also gets bashed in the public eye - but without it there's no way the total gets that high.  It's easy to dwell on the undesirable features of social media and how it might be damaging our society.  But just keep in mind that when used in this way, it's incredibly powerful.  So let's all start using it the right way!

Making Life Easier for Those Who Need Volunteers

Our Advomate mobile app fills in a variety of gaps that exist on the volunteer landscape through its peer-to-peer environment.  One of the most notable is cutting down on lead times, or the amount of time it takes for a prospective volunteer to go from interested to participating.

Many charitable organizations & nonprofits require registration and/or screening of new volunteers, which can often slow the process when people are in true need.  For v3.0, we're looking to help this process along through a new feature that links volunteers back to the organization's website to complete any necessary registrations:

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We've also made it easier for both those posting initiatives and eager volunteers to pinpoint the location of the initiative.  Here's a screenshot of the new version of our address field, which auto-populates on the map once you begin typing:

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These are seemingly small changes, but nonetheless VERY important ones to accomplishing our mission!  Finding volunteers and volunteering shouldn't be a lengthy process that leaves you wanting to pull your hair out.  We're excited to continue along our journey to help fix this, and get charitable organizations the help they need when they need it!

Road Trippin' the Right Way

Summertime has a way of lighting a fire up under us and calling us to the road.  Whether it's wanting to get away from the scorching heat & humidity for a little bit (ahem, Floridians) or just wanting to fulfill that sense of adventure, there's no more popular time to take a road trip.

And just like anything else, there's a right way to do it and you'll only get better with experience.  Here are just a few of our favorite tips to make your next road trip less expensive, more enjoyable, and more memorable:

  1. Make sure your baby is good to go - About a week before you leave, have your mechanic check fluid levels, brakes, tires and anything else that could cause problems.  Be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables on hand.
  2. Keep her clean, before AND during - Your wheels are everything on a road trip, so keep up with them.  Take a couple minutes per day to purge your car of undesirable junk - which can accumulate quickly and drive you mad in close quarters.
  3. Don't plan too much - You're out on the open road, so be free!  It's okay to have primary destinations in mind that you want to hit, but be open about how and when you'll arrive at them.  There's a ton to see out there!
  4. Back roads are your buddy - Again, there's a ton to see.  Some of our favorite sights have come OFF the main highways and on state roads that not many people traverse.  This is also a great tip to avoid rush hour traffic
  5. Be good co-pilots - It's crucial to split up drive time equally so nobody in your group gets burned out, and has a chance to take in all the sights.  And when you're sitting shotgun, you're co-pilot #1 - so be there to tend to the driver's every need.
  6. Be open with lodging - We know firsthand: there are a TON of options out there for overnight stays.  From hotels, to Walmarts, to Camping Worlds, to gas stations, to campgrounds, make sure to check all your local options as some of them can be quite memorable (just exercise safety)
  7. If you're a park-goer, get passes - We learned this lesson the hard way.  If you plan on hitting up a bunch of parks on your journey (both National and State), purchases annual passes!  They'll save you lots of cash.

Here are a couple great links with more road trip tips.  Happy travels this summer...wherever the road may take you!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianroberts/2018/04/30/road-trip-tips/#208d86476198

 

https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/road-trips/articles/road-trip-tips

Screenshots, Screenshots, Screenshots

Here's a rundown of some of the latest features we've added to the Advomate app.  This is just a small taste as we currently remain busy developing v3.0...so many more will be on the way!

 

 

 The first actual initiative completed over the app.

The first actual initiative completed over the app.

 Our Market, where points earned from volunteering can be redeem for items & discounts from local merchants.

Our Market, where points earned from volunteering can be redeem for items & discounts from local merchants.

 The user menu on the Android version.

The user menu on the Android version.

 A user profile example on the iOS version.

A user profile example on the iOS version.

 The "Create Initiative" screen which includes a calendar feature for easy initiative planning.

The "Create Initiative" screen which includes a calendar feature for easy initiative planning.

 List view of initiatives, with search

List view of initiatives, with search

 "Coachmarks" that help guide users through the app in a user-friendly manner.

"Coachmarks" that help guide users through the app in a user-friendly manner.