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  • Creativity of Thought and Ideas: How we can change the State of the Nation

    With the State of the Nation Address and the 2013/14 Budget speech behind us, we now more than before have a gripping awareness that the South African reality is one that will need a lot more input before it is what we as South Africans need it to be.
     
    We have made great strides towards equity and the sharing of wealth and knowledge but it has been staggered. This means that there are some areas that need more attention than others. One of these areas is youth development. I have always been passionate about the value of education and the attaining of skills because I understand that it empowers the individual as well as society, to improve. If we have knowledge and skills, our dependency on others will be less and we will be more equipped to be also self-sufficient, this is enriching in terms of dignity.

    As a political science graduate, I know from experience how difficult it is to break into the job market, especially into one's own field. We can see that the youth is battling to come to grips with the reality that there are simply not enough jobs for everyone. We cannot continue to look at the state to resolve the issue, although we know that we can depend on it for assistance. It is the accumulation of these ideas that have led me to get off my behind and give my input. However, it goes without saying that actions speak louder than words, so this is what I am working on. I was given an opportunity to write articles on politics, to be edited published on a website by Shari Cupido, a Brussels-based diplomatic, to keep the poolsci juices flowing while doing my daily job. Upon completing the two-month online internship, I asked Cupido whether we could partner with the Claremont Volunteer Centre so that future interns who do not have a day job can gain working experience and build contacts through volunteering, to which she agreed. I then approached the Volunteer Centre, since I cannot volunteer due to my working - I collect goods and donate to when I can; I spoke with Shahida who also was in agreement. Shahida arranges for local and international volunteers to come and assist those who are in need of working experience. She hopes to grow her base of international volunteers to a group of more than one hundred. Shahida has put forth the invaluable opportunity for young political science and international relations graduates to motivate the volunteers by means of talks, and to workshops or lectures, to discuss issues such as diversity and HIV/AIDS.
     
    The status of refugees in South Africa, as well as the more other issues such as how did the youth come to have a sense of entitlement and how young people can more broadly impact the community.

    We had had our first successful talk, focusing on the issue of diversity, delivered by Fazlin Fransman, a member of the South African Political Science group.

    It is our mission to give graduates a platform to gain the experience that they will need to put to use the knowledge that they have attained through their studies and allow them to polish real time ideas into articles on politics. The articles should speak to the contemporary issues as well as ultimately engaging in a broad-spectrum enrichment in terms of the actual volunteering and assisting of the administration of volunteering.

    This blog serves to show that creative though in the face of difficult circumstances can lead to the development of ideas that are able to address issue and empower us as the people of South Africa to make a difference in our own communities. It has also been to thank those who are involved in SA Pol-Sci and the Claremont Volunteer Centre for the amazing work.

    Please feel free to contact me on Facebook or Twitter @AnnekeScheepers

    Please follow @SA_PolSci on twitter or visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter

  • MXit, Leading Social Media in SA

    A study released by technology research organisation World Wide Worx  and online reputation management group Fuseware, has found that nearly a quarter of South Africa’s population actively uses social network, MXit.

    The study also found that Facebook appears to be losing some of its early appeal as the youth turn to BlackBerry’s instant messaging service instead.

    They say currently, MXit remains the most popular site by far, with 10-million active users.

    To read the article titled, “MXit leads the social media charge in SA,” click here.

    Source: 
    Business Day
  • 10 Tips to Give Your Charity A Digital Spring Clean this Spring Day

    Happy Spring Day!

    As we celebrate the packing away of winter clothes, heaters and blankets and look forward to the advent of Spring and warmer weather, isn't it time you gave your charity a much needed digital spring clean? Dust away the cobwebs with these 10 tips we've devised to revitalise your fundraising, both online and offline.

    1. Review your website

    Is your website design tired and your site cluttered? Could you be improving the flow of traffic from the homepage to the key pages that help you achieve your objectives? Could you rework your home page to make it more effective? Can it tell your story better? Maybe you could add some video, a picture gallery or just add social buttons, so people can share your content.

    2. Is your e-mail tired?

    Maybe your e-mail too could benefit from a refresh. Do you have an effective e-mail template? Do your subject lines need revamping? What about your database? Are you still sending e-mail to people who don't exist? Do you give them the opportunity to opt in to your e-mail newsletter or update their details via your website?

    Make sure too that you have an automated e-mail programme that welcomes new supporters too. There are a variety of ways you can keep supporters interested and loyal using e-mail.

    3. What conversations are you having?

    Do you get a lot of feedback when you post on Twitter or Facebook? Do you really have interesting things to say and do you know when to say them? Social media is not a one-way channel. Reinvigorate your pages or feeds by posing interesting questions and get to know your audience better. Post better content - content that is shareable. You'll reap the benefits of traffic and awareness.

    4. Is your database in no man's land?

    Do you have databases in different places? Isn't it time you consolidated and updated them? Not only does this save time and energy but your charity will benefit from having one source of truth. It doesn't matter where or what this database is (OK maybe it does depend what it is, but more about that later), just ensure that you have the data you need for you to create intelligent campaigns and provide brilliant service to your donors. Also de-duplicate your records to get a much more accurate picture of your supporter numbers.

    5. Purge the disinterested

    Do you have inactive donors? Query your database and if you have records for supporters who have never made a donation, never attended an event, haven’t responded to any of your efforts for five years, perhaps it’s time to purge their records and free up some space.

    6. Rotate your team

    Do you have fundraisers who would be better suited to writing content for your website? Could they keep your Facebook page or Twitter feed up-to-date? Or maybe they should be out with people, face-to-face fundraising. Do an audit of your team's strengths and weaknesses and look for opportunities where they could excel.

    7. Get some new links to your website

    There may be a huge opportunity for you to get links from your supporters’ corporate websites or blogs. Do an audit of who they are and what links they can possibly offer you. Then approach them to ask them for specific links to specific pages on your site with specific wording. Make sure you use keywords that are key to your charity. You will benefit from moving up higher in search engine rankings and the increase in traffic to your site that results from this exercise.

    8. What keywords do you want to be found for? Where are the gaps?

    Do you know what people are searching for when it comes to your website? Granted, the majority of keyword searches are brand terms but maybe you could be picking up more traffic around keywords that have high demand and are relevant to content on your site. Look at key themes of your site and try to find keywords with high searches and low competition. Create relevant content on your site to help drive more traffic to these pages. Make sure it's all in line though with your objectives. e.g. jumble sale. Create a page for promoting jumble sales for your charity. Give people clear instructions how they can host a jumble sale and pay the money earned into your charity bank account.

    9. Are you tracking everything online - end to end?

    Do you know how to measure awareness of your charity online? Can you tell whether a specific channel like e-mail or Facebook is driving revenue for your charity? Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website and work on a tracking plan to ensure all campaigns and activity on and offline is tracked. This will make the world of difference to your organisation!

    10. Refresh your skillset

    Sometimes charities ask for volunteers to work with them on projects. But maybe they have skills you could be utilising in-house. Ask volunteers to update your database, write content, collect supporter testimonials, film a video and keep audiences updated on social media. Sure they may need a little training, but keeping your charity fresh and relevant doesn't need to be a resourcing headache. Just make sure you always steer them according to the overall fundraising strategy and things won't come undone.

     

    **Feeling inspired or stuck?**

    Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you with some of these tasks. Or share some of your ideas in the comments below.



    **About Digital4Good**

    Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Digital4Good helps charities make the most of digital media so that they can embrace digital technologies to engage more with their supporters, increase awareness of their cause as well as achieve their fundraising objectives.

    With many years experience in digital charity fundraising working with top local and international charity brands, we can help you cut through the hype and use the tools that make sense for your charity. We are committed to positive results and ROI for our clients. Changing the world…one pixel at a time.

    Contact us at www.digital4good.com or like us on www.facebook.com/digital4good.

     

    Flickr image: 
    Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning
  • Twitter in SA Much Bigger Than Thought - WWW

    Recent research on the cellphone habits of South Africans shows Twitter is being used by a lot more than previously thought, with at least one million people believed to be using the service.

    World Wide Worx managing director, Arthur Goldstuck, believes Twitter will be bigger than MXit and Facebook, which has implications for cellphone companies, data providers and businesses trying to understand and better use new media to promote products.

    "We believed initially, based on people whose profiles identified them as South Africans, that Twitter had about 100 000 local followers, but the Mobility 2011 research project found that at least six percent of cellphone users surveyed used the service, and 23 percent said they will use it in the future," explains Goldstuck.

    To read the article titled, “Twitter in SA ‘much bigger than thought’,” click here.
    Source: 
    Business Day
  • Chavez Twitter Account Hacked

    Venezuela’s Interior Minister, Tareck El Aissami, says that hackers appear to have broken into the Twitter account of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.

    El Aissami states that the account had shown ‘irregularities’ since 22 September and at least three messages in @chavezcandanga were not written by the populist Venezuelan leader.

    "They entered it without authorisation," the minister says, adding that it is being fixed so that the president could keep sending messages, on the eve of key elections to renew Venezuela's National Assembly.

    To read titled, “President's account hacked,” click here.

    Source: 
    News24
  • Twitter Tweaks Website for Pictures

    Twitter is turning its text-messaging website into a multimedia showcase by adding a new pane that will make it easier for its 160 million users to check out photos and video.

    The redesign may compel people to linger on Twitter's website for longer periods and come back more frequently, making it a more attractive advertising vehicle.

    The facelift splits the website into two panes - one ne is devoted to the 90 million messages, or ‘tweets’, posted on Twitter each day, and the other features the images contained within the text.

    To read the article titled, “Twitter tweaks website for pics,” click here.

    Source: 
    News24
  • Twitter Tops 145 Million Users

    Twitter has over 145 million registered users and more people are using mobile devices to access the microblogging service. This is according to Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams.

    Williams also says that nearly 300 000 third-party applications have been developed around the service, which allows users to pepper one another with messages of 140 characters or less.

    "These new services help people get the most out of Twitter, contributing to user growth and new business opportunities - both of which are critical to the long-term viability of the ecosystem," explains Williams.

    To read the article titled, “Twitter tops 145 million users,” click here.

    Source: 
    News24
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