NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2014) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

All Posts Published at: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

Chosen funding strategies

At the very beginning of our contact with the NGO we found out they had many unmet needs. The first one about zoning laws (concerning the minimun size a house should have); the second was about funding; and the third, about a certification program for tiny houses.

We chose to work with the second one, that was described by the NGO as follows:

"Funding: As a group, we need to be able to develop a company to invest in and manage a tiny house community. Purchasing an existing space zoned for small houses seems to be the way to go, but we have not been able to get it off the ground because there is not a central management entity.”

Therefore, the different kinds of funding was the topic we learned about that most fitted the needs of the NGO. Studying the case, we chose to suggest three funding methods to the tiny housers:

1 - Crowdfunding;

2 - Sponsorship;

3 - Rent of tiny houses for living and as offices.

Working with 3 different types of funding was our strategy to diversify the NGO’s sources of income so they are well covered in this area.

The first reason I find the funding subject interesting to learn is because we were able to get to know many different types of funding and, from there, choose which ones could be successful for the NGO.

The second one is that it is impossible to any NGO to survive without some kind of funding, specially in the case of the tiny housers, that had the wish to build a physical comunity. It was a must for our group to research and inform ourselves better on funding to provide them with good solutions for their challenge.

Finally, I have to say it makes me happy to know that with the knowledge acquired by the NGO in this whole process, they will be able to, after purchasing the space to create the community, maintain it and conquer more in the future, as other desires will appear when the actual community starts running.

P.S.: Thank you to my partners from “Most Wanted” group. It was an enjoyment to work with you guys. Very proud with the final result!

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

Learning marketing

Online communities are an indispensable tool for telling the world what that company, NGO or entrepreneur is doing or planning to do. What’s the first thing one does when is curious to know more about any subject? They google it! No business can afford to be out of the online environment nowadays.

It isn’t enough just to be there (just to have a website and a facebook page), you have to do it well. The “Theory of change” strategy I found to be an excellent way to work. It adapts well to that project’s purposes, what ever it is. In Tiny Houses, for instance, we defined the main goal of building a physical community. Well, to do that they need funds, so what can we do to raise money?

With this determined goal we could start to think about ways to achieve it - sponsors, partnership with companies, crowdfunding and creating a start up. Without a well known objective we would not have been able to conduct our work in this path.

Going back a little more in time, we wouldn’t be able to define the goal if we didn’t know really well the NGO we are working with and what they want to accomplish in the end. But also, and maybe more important (because that’s what is going to make the designer’s work stand out) is to figure it out what they need but they don’t know they need - or they can’t put in words to tell us. In a certain way, this is related to marketing - how does the NGO presents it self publically.

That made me want to get to know more about marketing itself. I believe marketing is the connection the company has with it’s costumers, i.e., how to build and maintain that relationship, giving the sense to your client that they can trust you.

To deepen your knowledge, there are many online platforms available that provide free courses on marketing and a broad range of subjects. I recommend futurelearn.com. The courses are provided by top universities, you get to network with people with the same interest, you get feedback and you can even talk to the teachers themselves. Have fun!

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

Is crowdfunding a good option for my NGO?


The Tiny House Enthusiasts have the main goal to build a community, where they could each have a lot to build their tiny houses plus shared facilities, such as a pool and an internet cafe. To accomplish that they obvsously need funding. Would crowdfunding be a good option for them? Let’s see.


First, it has to be considered that tiny houses are not a social cause per se, and for that, it does not have the emotional appealing that would make people donate. For instance, a campaign for helping homeless pets touches people’s heart, thus, they open their wallets.


Second, not so many people are familiar with the Tiny House movement, their cause, and their purpose. If people new why those people want to live in tiny houses, they would feel closer to the idea, because their are familiar with it.  If people knew that costs are much lower if you live in a tiny house and that it it environmental friendly, they would be much more willing to donate.


In that moment comes crowdsourcing. You have to let people know what’s happening, what is your project about and get them involved. A marketing strategy and a good website are indispensable.


The truth is each case has to be analysed individually. Approaching the characteristics of that particular enterprise will give a good answer of which kind of crowdfunding or IF crowdfunding is suitable for your project.
In regard to the Tiny Houses, there is a platform that fits really well the purpose of being a community. It is called “Tilt” and it works kind of a group crowdfunding, e.g.:
Imagine someone in the community has the idea of building a garden. Then they:
1 - Creat a webpage explaining the purpose of the funding. A deadline and the desired amount of money raised should be predetermined;
2 - Invite people to donate via Facebook;
3 - If, by the deadline, the goal has been achieved, donors will be charged in their credit cards. If not, it means the funding has failed and nobody will be charged. Of course the goal is not the limit, the donations can go above it.
In Tilt there is no reward like in traditional crowdfunding, but the benefit will stay in the community, so everybody wins (in this case, a new garden).
Nothing is perfect, so there is a fee of 2,5% charged as administrative costs from the website.

Between the pros and cons, I say crowdfunding well used is a great tool.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

Group size managing

Week 5 has come, 4 of actuall work and in my opinion we are doing pretty well. My group has a good diversity of nationalities: Brazil, Italy, England, Germany, Iran and Benim. That adds for the creativity part of our project. It’s good for creativity that we have an odd number of people: 7.

On the other hand, there is one aspect that we haven’t paid too much attention to, the size of the group. With seven people it can get difficult that everybody has time to speak and share their thoughts. Maybe we are loosing the benefit of divesirty because of the large size of the group. For the next weeks we will definitely separate ourselves into two smaller groups, of three and four so we can explore more our criativity.

Like every Wednesday, we had a hangout with Nancy and, as always, she provided us with a big amount of informations and sources that needed to be researched more deeply. This time we decided to try for the first time the one-person group task. Thus, we divided the themes, one by person. Each one will do their research and next week we will have a meeting to put it all together.

I believe this is a good strategie. Each of us will have the time and the focus necessary to make a good research and think about how we can implement that particular solution to our NGO and then bring them back to the group to be discussed.

The results from that learning process we will hopefully be able to pass on to our NGO as knowledge they can later use in their comunity.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

ME

That’s what I am regarding the use of online spaces. I’m the person who goes online to find information, but I rarely post on Twitter or Facebook. My Instagram is more active, but much more private - at the moment I have 34 followers.I like to keep my privacy and that’s the reason for the “viewer” behavior.

That is also true in working in real life. I prefer to work by myself and it has been a challenge to work on groups. Specialy because we cannot choose the group, the people we wanna work with.

In a group each person brings to the work their personality and their particular point of view. The good side is what the different perspectives can add to the final work. The project becomes richer and much more interesting if every member of the group gives his or her contribution. The donw side is exactly keeping the group motivated (and stay motivated myself) so we can all see our equal participation in the final work.

Those are the ME and WE work. The MANY is the wider network. That one is still on the way for me. I understand the huge importance of having a bigger network, where you can find just the help you needed for that project. Or you can stay tuned to what is happening in the design world.

Each one of the types of work (me, we and may) has its advantages. The best thing is to try them all. During the three years of IDE we certainly will have the three experiences. To actually insert one, two or the three of them in your professional life is going to depend on the kind of work you have and which way of working suits you better, according to your personality.

Lately It has become clear that associations between designers and professionas from other areas can contribute a lot for the final product. I would like to explore more this field. In a near future many companys will want a touch of design in their work. After all, who doesn’t? ;)

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

ME

That’s what I am regarding the use of online spaces. I’m the person who goes online to find information, but I rarely post on Twitter or Facebook. My Instagram is more active, but much more private - at the moment I have 34 followers.I like to keep my privacy and that’s the reason for the “viewer” behavior.

That is also true in working in real life. I prefer to work by myself and it has been a challenge to work on groups. Specialy because we cannot choose the group, the people we wanna work with.

In a group each person brings to the work their personality and their particular point of view. The good side is what the different perspectives can add to the final work. The project becomes richer and much more interesting if every member of the group gives his or her contribution. The donw side is exactly keeping the group motivated (and stay motivated myself) so we can all see our equal participation in the final work.

Those are the ME and WE work. The MANY is the wider network. That one is still on the way for me. I understand the huge importance of having a bigger network, where you can find just the help you needed for that project. Or you can stay tuned to what is happening in the design world.

Each one of the types of work (me, we and may) has its advantages. The best thing is to try them all. During the three years of IDE we certainly will have the three experiences. To actually insert one, two or the three of them in your professional life is going to depend on the kind of work you have and which way of working suits you better, according to your personality.

Lately It has become clear that associations between designers and professionas from other areas can contribute a lot for the final product. I would like to explore more this field. In a near future many companys will want a touch of design in their work. After all, who doesn’t? ;)

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

The internet book

The thing is, when it comes to online tools,I include myself in the “user” level. By that I mean I only use internet for fun - to post a picture, to send messages to friends or to listen to music.

As a former law student I was friends with the books (and still am). Coming from that path, the internet and the online tools look like a mess to my eyes. It is all so random, I mean, information can come from anybody, anywhere.

I wish that existed a book that gathered all important and selected information from trustable sources……. an “Internet book” - that’s the dream.

Besides the mess, there is also the avalanche of info on social networks. I’m currently on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. It is true that there is a ton of interesting stuff there, that can also be a source of inspiration to us designers, but in the end I just can’t keep up with all of them. And my friends still complain I’m not on Snapchat(!!!).

Well, while the dream book doesn’t become reality, I’m trying to make this road less rocky by learning to filter information, to be more focused on what is important - I don’t actually need to watch 10 videos of cute puppies. I’m also trying to get tips from friends and learn from them.

Once I’m done with the baby steps, the plan is to direct my knowledge to the online tools I like the most. I think this is a good strategy for the beggining, to start with what you feel more comfortable with. Then I can begin to familiarize with the idea of being a technology steward.

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

SpiderGram

Reality

Goal

Aaaaand…… our project continues! We are now on week 3 and today the subject that most caught my attention was a curious tool of work called “spidergram”.

On the beginning it was all so confusing… Both individually and as a group it took a while to organize on our minds the concepts contained in each one of these little words.

However, we were lucky enough to have a google hangouts with Nancy and talk to her about our doubts and our progress so far.

As we haven’t talked to our NGO yet, we are still juggling with ideas and toughts. At this point we are ansious to ask them:

-What’s your purpose as a NGO?

-What do you want for your future?

From then we’ll explain our possible projects and hear their feedback.

At the end of this process we’ll see a clearer horizon (or spidergram) ahead of us.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

First post ever!

image

Hi! This is the very first time I write a blog post, so please be kind.

Today at Project Communities course me and my fellow teammates of Group 1 (we call ourselves “Most Wanted”) learned that we are going to work with a NGO called “Tiny Houses Enthusiasts”. Their aim is to develop a community of tiny housers. In this process they are facing some obstacles - or challenges.

As a group we are going to choose one (or more) of these challenges and hopefully come up with a creative solution. In this quest I was entitled as the “Nancy communicator”. This will be my job during the project, taking as much information as can from Nancy and make her part of mine’s and my team’s network.

Soon we’ll have our first meeting with the NGO, which is what will essentially determine our future path. At the end I wanna hand out something meaninfull for them, a solution that they will actually implement.

That’s it for today.

See you soon.

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014