Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lespwa Means Hope- Campaign Evaluation

For my campaign evaluation I focused on an organization that aims to help those less fortunate in Haiti, the name of the group is Lespwa Means Hope. The word "lespwa" in Haitian literally means hope which is how the organization got their name. Lespwa Means Hope was created when four college students at UCF held a dance party with a $5 entrance fee in order to raise money for children in Haiti. The result was a party that raised over $20,000 in one night. After such great success the students felt that they couldn't simply stop there. After the dance party fundraiser in 2006 the students created a charitable organization dedicated towards their cause. This organization was called Lespwa Worldwide, which was aimed towards educating Haitian children. A few years later the earthquake in Haiti hit which left 100,000 people dead in 10 seconds. It was in the wake of this disaster however that Lespwa Worldwide met Mission of Hope. Mission of Hope was a 10 year old Christian organization founded by a couple working to provide relief in Haiti. It was through this synthesis that Lespwa Means Hope was born. Lespwa Means Hope functions as a subsidiary of Mission of Hope and remains true to their mission, aiming to educate 1/5 of every Haitian child. "In short, what began as a tiny school of a few young students and a few willing hearts, has since grown into a 72 acre facility with a school of 2500, a medical clinic and a prosthetics clinic; a 55 acre facility for agricutural development, orphan care and a trade school; a 200 acres facility with a building project of 500 homes; and total operations employing over 250 Haitians, with a mission that relentlessly pursues the best ways possible to bring life transformation to Haiti - with, by, and through Christ and our Haitian friends" (Schurke). This quote displays the amazing accomplishments that the Lespwa organization has accomplished. None of this would be possible however without the dance party back in 2006 that jumpstarted Lespwa Worldwide. I believe that the dance party received so much attention because it had a large amount of support from the Christian community at UCF. The University of Central Florida also has a very large student population of about 50,000; because of this I think that simple word of mouth played a very large role in the event's success. The event had been promoted on MySpace (which was much bigger in 2006) but that was pretty much all the social media used to promote it. This makes the events success even more suprising. One thing is for certain however, had it not been for the success of this dance event, Lespwa Means Hope would likely cease to exist and thousands of Haitian lives would not have been saved as a result.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

TNNP Ch. 10 & Ch.11

    Chapter 10 of The Networked Nonprofit discusses the role that making friends plays in acquiring funding for your organization. The example the book uses is that of a man who has a party and asks all of his guests to donate $20.00 to some sort of charity. With 700 guests this turns out to be very helpful and helps to establish six water wells in Uganda. This example is meant to illustrate how people are motivated to give more if they have a good relationship with whomever they are giving for. This idea goes back to the point that in order to gain as many supportive followers as possible you must first create a personal connection with that person. In doing so people feel welcomed by the organization and want to help support it however they can. The book also says to focus on creating a more personal relationship with your strongest supporters, in doing so these supporters will be likely to not only give more but to also spread word of your organization to friends and colleagues. This chapter also discusses the importance of reaching out to younger audiences. This is important especially in regard to online campaigns, as a younger demographic generally views this more, but also because they can become supporters for a longer period of time. As in other chapters the importance of social media and blogging is stressed. In doing so organizations reach a larger audience but also make it so that their story/ mission can be easily shared between people. Creating a place online for people to read and contribute to your organization can take the personal aspect out of the situation. If not addressed than this can lead people to not feel welcomed by the organization, one way to combat this however is through the use of personal narratives to appeal to peoples emotions, making them more likely to contribute. Rather than requesting people to contribute money, giving people the option to contribute and thanking them graciously when they do is effective.
        Chapter 11 of The Networked Nonprofit explains the governing of nonprofits and how this can better guide the organization through the future. The chapter uses an example of a board member named Joe who is part of the Save a River Foundation, it discusses how a typical board meeting in the office can be boring which results in low participation and sometimes not available to get to. The book offers and alternative however of using an online face-to-face video chat room as well as using social media sites such as twitter to post information and ideas. In doing so the meeting suddenly becomes accessible to a wider array of people across varying geographical contexts and, in combination with social media and the increased level of sharing ideas, more exciting. The chapter discusses several commonalities among ineffective boards. These include: a lack of diversity, poor leadership, and a closed culture that doesn't allow for real discussion and outside input. Stagnant boards often consists of a very homogenous group of people which results in a low level of diversity amongst ideas, this often creates a chasm between the board and those whom it serves. While taking a more networked approach in regard to the organization's board, there is an overall increase amongst many positive factors. This in turn makes the organization more likely to gain support from followers and in general more successful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TNN ch. 5 & 6

     Chapter 5 of TNN talks about the art of conversing in order to build relationships. The book explores in detail the key steps in order to do this. One of which is the importance of listening, by listening to users on the web you can get an idea of how people are reacting to your organizations decisions. Certain programs exist which enable internet organizations to do just this. My dad's company DBase Media uses a program which searches keywords associated with a particular client. In doing so he is able to tell what people are saying about that client and create a strategy in order to help the company react. Chapter 5 also discusses the type of engagement organizations experience. In this chapter an emphasis seems to be placed on the importance that the organization is "authentic" that means treating it as though it were a realistic friendship. You need to tailor a specific type of interaction rather than treating them the same as everyone else that you interact with. In doing so the client feels a personal connection and feels more of an obligation to support your organization. Chapter 6 of TNN talks about the importance of a company being "transparent", this means that all aspects of the company are viewable by an outsider. According to TNN in doing so the company becomes honest with itself and is able to reach a broader spectrum of individuals and organizations. The level of transparency demonstrated by the company is a reflection of the company's culture. TNN describes three categories which organizations fall under: The Fortress, Transactional, and Transparents. The Fortress as described by TNN refers to a company that reserves most of their information from the public, (such as government organizations). Transactional organizations are based on money, they base the majority of decisions on how it will affect the organization financially. Lastly are companies that are Transparents, these companies are referred to as "a glass house", this means that all information is available to the public and that nothing is withheld. By being transparent companies are able to more easily be found. This is especially important for organizations looking to reach a larger audience. With more information circulating around the web, organizations are more likely to be discovered than those that favor the Fortress method. This is especially important within this day and age with the use of S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimization). By utilizing these techniques companies are able to better market themselves to reach a broader spectrum of viewers and in turn become more successful.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TNN ch. 4

      Chapter 4 of the texts discusses the use of social expectations within an organization. Not to be confused with a social network, this "social-ness" as described in the book refers to the way in which companies expect workers to conduct socially. The example used by the text analyzes the group The American Red Cross Association and the way in which they interact with customers/ clients. This chapter also discusses the importance of innovating in this field. An example is used of someone who is not used to the general online procedure. As a result the company is looked upon negatively. Going along with this the book continues to discuss some of the proper online etiquette. This includes the use of blogging, the use of a social network, or even just general online postings, it is important to consider what you would want people to think about the organization you are representing online. Even the style in which you write can give viewers a particular feeling about the group you represent. As in the previous chapter, chapter 4 stresses the importance of being innovative in the competitive marketplace. This is important for nonprofits as well as viewers now respond to different information than they had years ago.

TNN Ch. 3

            In chapter 3 of The Networked Nonprofit, the use of social networks and their influence within society is discussed. Social networks act as an extension of the social life one experiences within the real world. As a result we have entered a new age where people are connected more than ever. This new level of connectivity has accelerated the pace in which we move. Therefore if companies were able to successfully integrate the use of social networks into their business it would make a significant improvement. Social networks also have the potential to dramatically influence society, this is because nearly everyone uses some sort of social media, be it Twitter, Facebook, etc. This enables the social network to reach a large audience. Like other companies, social networks are constantly innovating and reinventing themselves, as a result companies using these social networks need to also innovate in order to keep up. In regard to nonprofits, social networks enable people to easily link together to fight for a similar social cause. Social networks can contain specific pages which can represent your topic of interest. This speeds up the ability of people to link resources together and in turn can make a difference faster. Nonprofits also have an advantage over other businesses when using social networks in that people are motivated to join behind a specific cause, while the same may not be true for a particular product.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Networked Nonprofit Ch. 2

      Chapter two of The Networked Nonprofit addresses some recent challenges among nonprofits. A major factor influencing these challenges is the dramatic increase among nonprofit organizations. The result of this were many "professionally based organizations". These organizations began to become more competitively driven and focused solely on economic gain. Human interaction between the organization and the customer also decreased, this results in a less personal feel between customer and business. As these nonprofits became more competitively driven the emphasis on problem solving decreased dramatically as groups engaged with other nonprofits less frequently. The result of this is stand alone companies that work in desperate measures in order to receive funds. According to the book executive directors have a high rate of turnover as a result. The book also goes on to state that people are more likely to buy a product when the company has a deep seated passion for the cause they represent. When this doesn't occur amongst stand alone nonprofits, these customers tend to lose interest in the product or service. This chapter also discusses the importance of free agents which can greatly influence your audience. By befriending free agents, the free agents become more likely to be enthused about your cause which will be reflective within their posts. These free agents likely know other free agents within the blogging community as well which would further raise awareness for the cause.

Networked Nonprofit Ch. 1

      Chapter one of the new book entitled The Network Nonprofit deals with the basic concept of just that, a network nonprofit. An initial example the book uses is that of the Surf Rider Foundation which worked to bring about major reforms in the cleanliness of our beaches. Networked nonprofits involve linking people together with similar beliefs in order to achieve a common goal. In doing so these organizations are able to greatly broaden there scope of focus and reach a greater number of audiences. This chapter also addresses the ever expanding field of social media. The use of new websites such as Facebook allows networked nonprofits to reach other organizations more easily in hopes of working together. Social media also allows networked nonprofits to reach out to a greater number of people in order to gain both awareness and support for their cause. An important thing to keep in mind while using social media however is to remain professional when representing your organization. This can be overseen at times when using sights such as Facebook, which tend to be regarded as more informal than say a press release. The book goes on to point out certain misconceptions when regarding social media. One of which was the perceived lack of importance of face to face interactions. While social media is able to effectively reach a large range of audiences nothing undermines the power of personal interaction. In doing so you are showing the client that you care about them enough to be there, that they are not just a contact on an email address. Going along with this is the importance of conversations amongst people in order to bring about social change. An example the book uses is how over the past couple decades littering has become socially unacceptable. People are more likely to be influenced by a family member for instance describing the importance of not littering rather than a commercial. The best way to influence these conversations is through networking, be it through personal relationships or social media, once an idea catches fire it can rage on relentlessly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ch. 10 of SCFN

       In chapter 10 of the book the importance of establishing partnerships is discussed. Partnerships within work are very beneficial for both parties so long as they share similar goals. Of course other factors influence whether a partnership will succeed or fail, but the most important are a shared set of beliefs/ values, as well as goals. Partnerships can help your group by bringing a new group of people with a whole new range of skills to the table. Partnerships also broaden the amount of connections which your group has. While working during homecoming for Safe Harbor we had been approached by two girls in a sorority who said that they had worked for Safe Harbor as well. They offered to help collaborate with our class so that we may help one another achieve our goals. Since they have similar values and goals the girls would most likely be compatible to work with the class in the future. In doing so we would swap connections which would help to further spread word of the Safe Harbor organization. Partnerships can also enable more creative brainstorming sessions. With more people together at once collectively generating ideas, more successful ideas are likely to occur. If a partners don't have similar goals or do not simply work well together than the partnership becomes less than beneficial but rather inhibiting.

Ch. 9 of SCFN

            Chapter 9 of the book focuses on the importance of selecting a good spokesperson to represent your groups interests. Throughout the book an emphasis is placed on the importance of your group reflecting similar values/ interests of those whom you are trying to appeal to. This is the case in this chapter as well, when selecting someone to represent your groups interests, they should reflect the interests of your audience. In doing so your audience will identify themselves with the speaker and the information will be received better. Over the past weekend our group tried to employ this tactic by having the girls in our group  approach families and kids for face painting. Since the girls in our group would approach families saying things like, "He's just adorable!", the families responded better. The chapter also talks about the importance of knowing your organization's goals through and through. By knowing what we wanted to accomplish, while working on Bowman, we had established expectations for achieving these goals. The book also goes on to talk about the way you deliver the message to the receiver and the content it should contain. Our group knew that when we approached someone to offer them a ribbon we had to mention the purpose for giving it to them. If the person or persons whom we had offered it to did not walk away quickly then we would then begin to talk about some of the goals our
organization wanted to accomplish. By not hassling people and providing in depth information when appropriate, our group was able to put on a successful homecoming campaign for Safe Harbor.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ch. 7 SCFN

    In chapter 7 the importance of maintaining positive media coverage is discussed. From the start our group has an advantage because our goal is one valued across almost all people and contexts. This does not mean however that we are totally in the clear. It's important to keep in mind the language that is being used regarding our topic, be it through blogs our a Facebook group promoting our vision. As discussed in chapter 4 language is a major component in the persuasion process and one "out of place" word can result in the loss of the audience. Language is also important more specifically online because it determines what comes up in a search engine such as Google. While our topic will probably not receive television coverage it is still important to instill a positive message with reporters. While we are raising awareness in a positive light, those who were steered the wrong way in an interaction with us have the ability to raise negative awareness. It is also important that we as a group compile a basic set of information that we think best reflects our mission in the event that we are in fact interviewed. It is also very important to demonstrate your best behavior as it will reflect upon the organization which you are representing. While some of these points are fairly obvious they are very important nonetheless and can be a major influence in the raising of awareness.

Ch. 5 SCFN

    Chapter 5 demonstrated the importance of staying technologically relevant, the benefits for doing so, and the problems that ensue if not. This topic relates to our situation through our use of different  potential media types to help raise awareness. Company's and groups must stay innovative in order to keep up with competition as well as the world around them. A relative quote is "innovate or die" this is relevant to our topic of domestic abuse because if we chose the wrong type of media by which to broadcast our topic we would not be able to draw peoples attention. An example of this is the company Blockbuster which faces financial problems as a result of a slowing of sales. This resulted after many people switched over to Netflix. Netflix enables members to receive movies right at their doorstep through the mail, as well as watch movies instantly on their website. Blockbuster who did not innovate is unable to provide as much and has suffered as a result. While these are organizations working to make a profit their situation is important to keep in mind because it exemplifies the importance of innovation. If our group were to post somthing regarding domestic abuse in the newspaper it would not receive near as many viewers than if it were to be posted online or through a Facebook group. Since our target audience is primarily college students we want to use the same media as them in order to maximize our effectiveness. As stated in another previous blog of mine, the use of radio to broadcast our topic would work well too. Since many college students listen to the Clemson radio station it would help increase our audience.

Ch 4. SCFN

While reading chapter 4 I noticed that a lot of the information compounded on some of the topics in chapter 3. More specifically chapter 3 discussed the use of polls in order to discover peoples beliefs and values. Chapter 4 talks about using your knowledge of these values to establish your own set of values that should reflect those of the people observed. By establishing a mission statement that reflects the views of the specific group of people, that group of people in turn identifies with the organization. Therefore I think that it's important to include Safe Harbor's mission statement on something visible to the public. People will be able to identify with the mission statement because the value of safety and fairness are universal among everyone. For this reason I also think that it may be a good idea to come up with our own mission statement, this would have to be separate from safe harbors so not to cause confusion among viewers. We are also at an advantage in that according to frameworks our value is at "Level One" or a primary value. This means that people hold it to be very important and direct more attention to it as a result. This chapter also discussed the use of storytelling in order to convey a specific meaning. I think that this is going to be our strongest asset, as discussed in class no other technique makes people more emotionally moved. The use of a personal story puts a "face" on the problem and shows people what had been endured in the case of domestic abuse. This is better than a statistic because people are able to identify with the storyteller and feel empathy for them. In combination with fitting music, this can be a very powerful persuasive mechanism. An example of this can be seen in the commercial with Sarah McGloughan where she discusses the problem of animal abuse and neglect. In combination with pictures and music it is so moving that many others and myself must change the channel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chapter 3 SCFN

     When reading this chapter I agree with the author in the importance of public opinion research in the target of specific audiences. By using polls we would be able to find what issues to focus on and what are the most important issues according to college students. As discussed in the chapter however, polls can be expensive, depending on the manner in which they are conducted. While it may be possible to reach students through email, I believe that a poll may be misconstrued as spam and would not receive a great deal of attention. I think that if we so chose to we could poll students somewhere on campus like the library bridge. In polling students we could find ways in which to better tailor our approach on this matter. I say students specifically in this because I believe that they would be our best target audience, due largely in that they make up the majority of Clemson. In order to get students to participate in a poll we would need some sort of incentive as well, this is relatively simple however and could be something as easy as candy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drink Night for Safe Harbor

When reviewing some of the ideas to raise awareness for safe harbor I liked the idea of drink night the best.
I think that the idea of having purple drinks was clever but I also think that there is a lot of potential for other ideas regarding this. I think that some of these could include ways in which we could raise money as well as raising awareness. Raising awareness would no doubt be easier, this could be done by simply placing a message on a coaster. I think that bars would be more inclined to this as well because it makes them look good and doesn't cost them any money. Raising money for our cause will be a little more difficult, especially since we are working with local businesses which will understandably look after there own well being first and foremost. A way in which we can counteract this would be by driving more customers to specific bars, while this cannot necessarily be guaranteed for bar owners we need to find a way in which they believe this to be possible. It will be tricky working out a fair deal with the bars as well, we should find a way to differentiate between the regulars at the bar and those whom had shown up in support of Safe Harbor. If we got people who had shown up for Safe Harbor to sign a sheet upon entry of the bar we could somehow factor that into the deal with the owner. All in all I think that the bar idea has a lot of potential and would be one of the best ideas for both raising awareness and money in order to help our cause.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SCFN Ch. 2

      This chapter entitled "Elements For a Strategic Social Plan" discussed ways in which the media should be handled and used to help further your cause. Some of the chapter I found to be self-explanatory while other areas offered some insight which I thought may help our cause. In the beginning of the chapter the book discussed the so called media chain by which stories move until they have reached national coverage. The reading emphasized getting your topic on all available resources in order to help broaden your horizons. If our topic, for example, were to be posted on online resources such as Clemson's website or Facebook, in combination with print such as the school newspaper, the amount of people we would be able to reach would be drastically higher than if it were just on one media source. The reason for this is obvious, with more people seeing it, the more likely the topic is to draw more people. This chapter also reiterated the importance of clearly stating the organizations values. This is best done through the use of some sort of catchy phrase seen in many advertisements today. This phrase can then be placed on all sorts of print media created by the organization, such as an information pamphlet. The book goes on to state the importance of factual data on items such as these. I thought that a good idea would be to create some sort of informational pamphlet like this with facts about domestic violence. In the beginning of class we were to blog on some of our findings about domestic violence. After doing so I know that many of us were shocked in some of the facts that we had discovered and I feel that other people would react similarly. One fact was that domestic violence occurs primarily in lower income areas. As a result it may be beneficial to tailor much of the campaign towards these areas. The book discusses the power of using media selectively towards certain groups. If we did this we may reach people that are experiencing the trauma of domestic violence.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Safe Harbor Trip

   While visiting the Safe Harbor shelter I began immediately thinking of ideas in which our class would be able to help. Some of my thoughts and ideas had shifted however after hearing Julie describe the situation which the shelter was in. First and foremost I think that advertising is very important. I believe that through advertising we will be able to not only gain support for our cause but also help to raise awareness leading others to start similar groups. I think that a good way we could go about doing this would be through a purple out at one of the Clemson football games, as discussed at the shelter. Purple is the color representing the fight against domestic abuse and if all of the student body was wearing purple it would show just how important of an issue this is. I think that another way to raise awareness for this cause would be to put on some sort of domestic violence prevention walk. If we were to promote making a donation at the walk it would help us to raise startup money which we could then put in to more advertising. The good thing about a walk is that people around Clemson would see many people walking leading them to ask why. This would in turn help to further raise awareness. I think that once we have enough support for our cause we can then begin creating ways in which we earn money. This is especially important after hearing Julie say that they do not have enough room to house everyone and so they have to turn people away as a result. I think that if enough people knew about this problem then we could potentially raise enough money to fund another shelter.

Ch. 1 of SCFN

          Chapter one of the textbook offered insight into the basic foundations of non-profit communications. I think that it is important to continue referencing this while our class tries to come up with ideas for Safe Harbor as our project is non-profit as well. Chapter one had pointed out that non-profit organizations can have several advantages. One of which is that people do not feel pressured as they would if an organization was trying to sway them for money. Another advantage discussed in the text was that non-profit organizations are generally trying to make the world a better place, this immediately casts the organization in a positive light. Accordingly a reoccurring theme in this chapter is to keep the organizations values in mind at all times. This helps to shape the goals that the organization will strive for and will serve as the backbone by which the group functions. By making these goals and values apparent to others the organization is better able to convey what they stand for and will help to gain others support for their cause. Another important factor to consider in the start up of a non-profit organization is the allocation of money. I believe that in order to make money you have to spend money and the best way to do this while starting up is through advertising. By advertising the organization the group is able to then gain more support from volunteers, policy makers, other organizations, ect. as well as raise awareness of the problem at hand.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Domestic Violence

  When I had begun researching domestic violence I was immediately shocked by some of the statistics which I had found. According to The Family Violence Protection Fund, 1 in 4 women have experienced domestic violence while in an intimate relationship. According to some of the other statistics provided domestic violence is becoming more prevalent. According to the group Futures Without Violence, there were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. After hearing this statistic I wondered whether this was a result of a growing population. I also thought that this could be caused by some sort of societal change like repeated exposure of violence through television or some other outward influence. Another fact that I found interesting was that domestic violence can have long term negative health effects. As stated by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, teen victims of physical dating violence are more likely than their non-abused peers to smoke, use drugs, engage in unhealthy diet behaviors. This further shows the urgency to prevent domestic violence as it can psychologically harm people for the rest of there lives. 

1. What are some of the leading causes for the rise in domestic violence?
2. Why is domestic violence higher in some countries than others?