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.

Posts Tagged ngo

The process of video making

As my previous blog post shows - we had a lot of fun in the process of making the final video for Project Community.
After 8 weeks of researching, organizing and getting to know each other, the time to summarize our work has came.
The last time to separate tasks as a group, and get things finished. We are only four people, some more active than the others, but that’s how a group works.
We started as creating a storyboard, on which the presentation and handout were built, in the end I had to edit the whole information and come up with a video.
Believe me, editing needs a lot of time and effort, because sometimes the software used is not working properly and you have to start all over again. However, we made it! The video is done.
All in all, I’d like to conclude that the purpose of this course was really interesting, I just hope that next time the support level inside the group will increase, the activity as well.
Looking forward in helping our NGO and, fingers crossed, that we succeed.

Thanks to our lecturers, their tips and advices, we’ve found the right way to our goal. Thank you!

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Posted in Community, Group 10, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: RIGHT ON TARGET

Finish Line/”Opposites attract”

 biSince the start of this course I militate for this idea that the force for an NGO is given by the connection with big business; and a sustainable relationship can be with a company. I had this idea for the last blog post and I did some research to find out the pro’s and con’s. A very good explanation was on the IISD’s website, where I found also the title for this post (I find it very inspirational). Check the website here: https://www.iisd.org/business/ngo/opposites.aspx

I agree with the fact that social networks helps an NGO evolving, but its not a reliable and safe source. On the internet a subject can receive major interest today and tomorrow everybody will forgot. Social networks are like a circle made by information which orbits always. Think about the IceBucketCheallenge which was a huge campaign on the internet one month ago and now almost everybody forgot it. This applies for PAGE too. My opinion is that the more people involved the better. I am not saying that they should neglect this aspect at all, but it’ll be prolific for them if they will try to establish connections with business and companies with the same core values as them.

An NGO and a company can help each other. The company can be a donor or a source of human resources but maybe you think “How the NGO can help a company?”. For example, my beliefs for PAGE are that they can be a source of advice and guidance. The cause for this NGO is not a world wide issue so they have to act on the local region. I did some research and in less than five minutes I found 9 big companies in the Asheville region. So there are possibilities to ask for help. 

It is not necessary to give money to the NGO, they can give them products or helping them in another ways, which will be also helpful. One of my idea busted when I found a stationery factory, close to their region. PAGE can create a brand which can be sold and part of the amount can go to the NGO and the other to the factory. Many factories practices that. In this way the factory will ear the trust of the customers. 

Another idea can be based on a change. Because everywhere is a leak of workforce and also people hardly find a job, the companies can help the girls to develop strong knowledge and then help them and give them a job. This will be helpful for the girls to create a future and also for the corporation because they will have well-prepared people.

Is still hard to say what will help PAGE , but I am sure that a real contract between them and a company/ factory will be a major aid in their development. it is a marketing relationship in the end.

With the team we tried to cover all the possibilities and give PAGE a large view of what they can do. I am happy that I worked with a really great team and we completed each other and the result will be useful for PAGE.

imageTo show you one example, this is one of the branding thing that I thought and created for PAGE and also a sneak-peak for what will be in the final video. 

Bye, guysss!

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Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Laura Lezeu (Project Community 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

Targeting the problem… and it is high time to do so!

So, this is the last week, and we have so many other things to do. Which is why it is useful to post a blog entry: so that later, after the madness is over, we can read and reflect on our raw experiences we are scribbling now.

Luckily, so luckily, we have two awesome, creative multimedia people in our group: Claire and Stefan. I think if we had more time, more of us would want to be involved in the video and learn how to make one, but due to time constraints it is more practical if the experts do it. I think this is a challenge that “real” companies also have to solve: always make the competent employees do a task (meaning that the others will never get to that level) or let everyone learn, at the expense of time efficiency.

However, we are by no means missing out on the whole process. After many meetings and a lot of tiptoe-ing around the problem, we drew a conclusion, carefully at first, but then we realized that we were on the right track. Our NGO does not really have a problem, at least not with their activity, and not with technology either. BouwQuest is prospering, and it is very active on several online community platforms.

BouwQuest is not in the need for financing either, so crowdfunding does not apply to them. They are really only spreading a non-controversial idea of insulation and passive houses, which makes our task easier and harder at the same time. They are not asking people for money, quite to the contrary: we want to show them a way how they can save on heating. Unfortunately, this is not something people would gather behind: it is not an exciting enough idea.

What BouwQuest has is a marketing problem, which Carl-Peter summarised as “make insulation sexy”. Therefore it is most connected to the last topic of the course. The reasons for this are several: the fact that the idea is not captivating enough in itself, the widespread misunderstandings related (eg. passive houses are much more expensive than normal houses, making them unaffordable for most people), and the fact that BouwQuest doesn’t have a well defined target audience, even though it would be possible to do so.

The way I see it, the online communication of BouwQuest is suffering from a bit of an aesthetics problem, as well as a consistency one.

Let me explain. Here:

This is our client’s website. Based on what I’ve found out, my suggestions would be:

1. The website of BouwQuest is not really visually captivating, also it is exclusively in Dutch, meanwhile, they would like to appeal to the whole of Europe. This is one thing that could be fixed.

2. The other is that the visitor really has to look around on both the website and the Facebook page to find all the activities of BouwQuest. Carl-Peter met Al Gore and he posted a picture, saying Al Gore mentioned him “in his speech”. I looked for that speech all over the place, but I couldn’t find it. This is something anyone reading that entry would be interested in!

After some research, I found out that they are actively participating in something I was planning to propose: open days at passive houses. But this is not properly communicated either. I know many Hungarian companies, even small ones, who share something on their Facebook every second day for the sake of sharing, and this results in many likes, therefore they will always be present in many people’s feed on Facebook. In this respect, it doesn’t even matter if the content is connected to their activity, as long as it is within their values.

3. In BouwQuest’s case, I would also make use of some branding, because neither his vision nor his values are properly communicated. Along those values, he could then expand his network and collaborate with other organisations.

4. In the case of most NGO’s, there is never enough time to do the communication, because the employees’ energies are - very correctly - dedicated to the core activities. However, it is worth considering asking someone, even maybe students, to keep the website and Facebook updated. BouwQuest has so many pages that I would even suggest they should shut down a few of them and concentrate on the ones that can really be filled with content and can attract visitors. In the issue of passive house promotion, for example, they could work together with other related organizations and create a really strong campaign.

My team mates share a lot of these ideas and therefore we will incorporate them in a video as well. The concept is that we will narrow the challenge (the “hook”) down to one question, present the NGO and passive houses (we are trying to make this part informative enough so BouwQuest can use it to promote passive houses), and then we will BAM! the end with our ideas at a solution. I am confident that our team will make the most of the limited time and the never enough knowledge flow from our tutors (wink wink Nancy), and we’ll end this course with a resounding success.

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Posted in Community, Group BAM, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Project Adventures by E.Chrobacsinszky

Show me your website, and I will tell you who you are.

Hello my potential readers!

WELCOME TO THE ONLINE WORLD        

Welcome to the Online World, my friend. Internet has changed the world. Thanks to it we can, in a very fast way, reach people and data from all over the globe. Online communities and networks become more and more important. It gives a lot of new possibilities for innovative designers. Some of the products exist only online.

The Online World became a place to be for innovative designers. If you don’t exist in google, it is very likely that you don’t exist at all. Thanks to Internet the world became much smaller. Designers can reach their customers without any go-between. The Online World give them also bigger freedom to create for any target group they like. They are not limited by preferences of their compatriots.

I have learnt a lot about the importance of online communities and networks during my work on the project for NGO. These communities are extremely significant in everyday life of such organization. The engaged facebook page or twitter profile can be crucial for NGO’s popularity. This how you present yourself online, is a visit card for many potential donators or customers.

FUTURE

As a future designer, it is really good for me to know how online communities and networks work. I was always unhappy about this that now everything is happening online. We waste so much time just scrolling facebook. But thanks to this course I have understood that it can be a great of importance for my future career.

Internet is a great place to start with. At very this moment I can do something to interest somebody with my work. Although I don’t have a specific plan ready. But what I can do is to collect my works and start from a portfolio. And maybe somebody would feel interested in my works.

COCA COLA

One more thing which I have learnt during this week, came from the TED talk video of Melinda Gates. Gates gives an example of Coca Cola company and how well their marketing strategies work like. NGOs, individual designers and even government should learn from this company. If Coca Cola can reach everybody, why condoms or toilets can’t follow this success?

Myself I am interested in social design and this quite new approach for developing ideas. We have to realize that world is so beautiful, because it is so different. We can’t apply the same thing for everybody on the globe. First we should understand people and region where they live, and then we can design. First we should know for whom we design. 

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Posted in Community, Group 11, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Karolina's thoughts on Project Community 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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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is the online gathering of a group of people to share knowledge and wisdom to build a better product.

Crowdfunding

Same as crowdsourcing, only that the community involvement moved into the financial arena.

Useful or not?

I find tools for raising awareness of your *insert here whatever you want to raise awareness to* very effective if you actually know how to use them to the purposes you want to achieve. In the particular situation of an NGO, this tools can be of huge help to raise awareness and money coming from donations, you expend almost no money and you have a platform full of donators to see in which project expend their money next. For that, of course, the proposed project that is target for donations should be attractive and beneficent for the donors and for the causes they share with the NGO. I am not saying that depending on your cause is the success of your campaign, but it kinda is, because if you are doing a stupid thing that works for nothing and benefices no one, well, it’s more likely you will get no donations at all, but of course, like everything in this world, things get weird and maybe those projects can be successfully founded or known.

I think most of the work is done when the project or cause is fixed and the branding (or whatever they called branding) has been done. If you have a relevant cause combined with a nice, clear way of explaining to people why is this important for them, and for you, you’ll certainly have you project/cause funded within no time.

Design and crowdsourcing

When it comes to design, I think crowdsourcing is a very good way to have feedback on your product/project and to make it better from that feedback. A lot of good things can develop from crowdsourcing as a designer, like having a previous backup before you launch your product, people will want it before it actually exists; improve your product based on users critics; gain awareness for your product; and helps shaping the way this product is going to be born in the outer world. On the other hand, there are also bad things that can happen when crowdsourcing, like having your work stolen and made by someone else that saw your idea, and had the means to do it right away, and since you have no rights on the idea because it’s barely complete, then you will have to let a maybe great idea go away.

I am personally selfish with my ideas, and I don’t tell a lot of people about them, because I am really afraid that someone will steal them. Maybe my ideas aren’t that great and maybe I really don’t have to worry about them getting stolen, because they are like an ugly child no one wants to kidnap, but still I have lived it before, and from that moment on, I decided that won’t happen to me again ever, so that has shaped me as a reserved person. I don’t have boundaries when creating, but I do have boundaries when sharing the ideas (where am I sharing them and with whom).

Apart from my personal experience, I say thumbs up for crowdsourcing and their money equivalent, crowdfunding. Why? Because this kind of platforms are the ones that make great things possible.

Thanks for reading.

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Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A glimpse into Isabella's mind

An alternative to a bank robbery

YEARS OF CATERPILLAR FLU

Fellow designer, the new century has just begun to show us its modernity and its progress with an impressive rate. We just discovered computer viruses that could destroy technology, islamic fundamentalism that could destroy western technology, bird flu that could destroy human society, swine flu that could destroy human society, Apple iPhone that could destroy human society, etc… By the way, I predict that this year’s flu will be caterpillar flu, just to keep you informed.

CROWDFUNDING

Now, in a world in which huge companies, viruses and groups are fighting each other how can we imagine to stand out with our tiny, nice product? Well, a bank robbery could seem a great idea but there are definitively easier and softer ways. One of them is crowdfunding, that for designers is very simple. You have a product, you need to create your company to build and commercialize it, you go on internet and you gather money from people donating giving them back, maybe, that product. They pay it less and have it before all the others and you get enough money to start your business. It seems heaven isn’t it? Well there are some limits, and they are really important.

First, it is not enough to create your campaign on Kickstarter. People need to know about it, you will have to use all your cyber-power: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, “Friends”, “Relatives” (important social networks), you have to spread the word. You know, it is not like making people aware of your ideas. If you write a status about the next caterpillar flu and 1000 people read it, well, you did it, 1000 people know what you think about it. If you make 1000 people know that you are gathering money for something, you will have a final effect of 30-40 people donating, that is a good achievement but is not enough, so you will need to reach 10.000 people and you will have great possibilities (well, if you find a cure for caterpillar flu you would probably reach 10.000 people donating, scared by newspapers and TV shows).

Second, you have to be sure of your results. You can’t make people donate for something you have to develop and you are not sure to achieve. If you want to design a flying chair be sure you can do it! Otherwise you will have lots of cyber-addicteds really angry with you.

DEVELOP YOURSELF

There are other ways to gather money, similar to crowdfunding but deeply different. When I write “Develop Yourself” I mean to change your perspective. While with crowdfunding you develop your product with startups you can develop yourself and then your product creating a stronger result! There are a lot of websites as microventures that can make startups and investors meet. Here you can create your own small and wonderful company in order to come out with a lot of new products and ideas. Sure, the limit is that you will have investors but in “normal” crowdfunding is not that different. Moreover governments are investing a lot of money in financing startups and you have special spaces like “hubs” where you can increase your awareness about this new magical world. In Italy we have some great experiences in Piemonte and in Veneto regions in which these hubs are working very well, not being affected by the economic crisis (and that’s an unbelievable result in Italy!). That’s way I think that this investors finding system for startups is the best mean to stand up in design world. After that entering a startups hub is another way to "stand up together" that is easier than trying to do it individually.

OUR NGO WILL DEVELOP ITSELF

That is why we suggested our NGO to create a startup, to think itself as a startup. It can give a service: providing new environmentally and socially sustainable spaces for companies and people. In the Tiny Houses community we can create a great opportunity for individuals and companies to make each other better. People can join this community to learn and try new experiences both on the working and on the living side. The workers of that companies would work in a relaxed green place, with trees and fresh air. Inhabitants of this community would gather money and experiences from companies. Moreover a startup won’t have any legal problem with the government that would be able to finance it. For them it is easier to start on Microventures than on crowdfunding campaigns.

WHAT TO DO NOW

As a group we defined the economic part of “having a real community”. Now it is time to define how can this NGO/Startup make people aware and how they can develop their calendar and activities to make the community work. We are thinking to a sort of internal regulation for the Tiny Houses hub, internet cafè and events. Stay connected for the next week post, now I have to see the first episode of American Horror Story 4, so I will leave you with a picture of your worst enemy this year! Bye!

image

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain

~CARETAKER TINSY~

care·tak·er

 noun ˈker-ˌtā-kər

 : a person who gives physical or emotional care to someone (such as a child, an old person, or someone who is sick)

 

  Today we saw the video about teamwork. I think we should have seen it on our first lesson, because it was really helpful and gave us clearer idea how to separate tasks. Anyway, our next exercise was to talk with each other within the team and see if we are following the ‘teamwork’ steps. And after we had finished deciding who is going to do what, we discussed it with the whole group. It turned out that our group is not feeling very comfortable as everyone was like: “Yeah, we had 2 meetings with the NGO, 1 meeting with Nancy, did that and that and that…”, and we were like: “We have a…plan?” We are currently trying to fix that, we’ve already divided tasks and put a deadline. We will meet more frequently and build up a friendship environment, and I think at the end we’ll have great results!

  Now…let’s talk about the post title. It’s supposed to be something that expresses me and the content of my post. My title is “caretaker” – a word with different meanings, but as you see I’m focused on one specific. That’s because I really, really want to help our NGO, so in that way they can help the children of Mexico. My group is working on the social media part. They only use Facebook and Twitter. I did some research on Twitter to see if that is their best option, or they need another social platform. They don’t really update their account, and their last post was one month ago:

Going through other NGOs twitter’s accounts, you will see that it’s actually one good social platform for NGOs. Of course if you know some valuable tips how to write posts, what catches people’s eye, how to gain more followers, etc. The same goes for Facebook, too. Basically, when you open Children of Mexico’s Facebook page, you can’t actually understand what it is about right away, and for that it doesn’t really provoke sympathy. Let’s check UNICEF Facebook page:

You are able to understand what they stand for at the very moment, without reading a single word. And now let’s check Children of Mexico’s Facebook page:

It’s not the same, is it?

  I realize that it’s an organization and there are a lot of things to be done. But at the end, I hope we DO help them, not just aim at passing the course.

Best regards,

Tinsy

Sources: https://www.facebook.com/; https://twitter.com/

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Posted in Community, Group 12, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Tinsy's Blog