Muslim meatcutters in Colorado battle Cargill for right to pray

first_imgCargill, an international conglomerate with 155,000 employees in 68 countries, claims that “we help people thrive.” The 190 workers the company fired in December from its Fort Morgan, Colo., meatpacking plant would likely disagree.Workers at Cargill.Cargill employs about 2,000 workers at the plant; around 600 are Somali immigrants. Until December these Muslim workers were allowed to pray in the plant at the times prescribed by their faith — which vary depending on the season. They were not given any extra time away from their jobs as meatcutters, but were able to use their paid breaks and unpaid lunchtime to pray in the “reflection room” provided by the company.On Dec. 18 they were abruptly told, “If you want to pray, go home.” (Denver Post, Dec. 31) Not accepting what they saw as an affront, 200 Muslim workers, most of them Somali, walked off the job on Dec. 21. After refusing to return to work until their religious rights were restored, 190 workers, some with as much as 10 years’ seniority, were fired two days later. Under company policy they cannot reapply for their jobs for six months.This firing was a blatantly illegal act of religious discrimination. Employers are legally required to make accommodations so that workers need not choose between working and following their faith. Courts have ruled that denying such accommodations violates Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act. Title VII has meant, for example, that a Seventh Day Adventist cannot be forced to work on Saturday. Yet, according to the Denver Post, plant manager Michael Martin claims, “Accommodation is not guaranteed every day and depends on changing factors in the plant.” In other words, the company will respect your civil rights but only if its production schedules — driven by the profit motive — allow.Cargill claims to be “committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work.” (cargill.com) The company’s record, including this latest outrage, tells a different story. In 2002 Teamsters in Cleveland were forced to strike the company’s salt mine over egregious concessionary demands. The International Labor Rights Fund sued Cargill in 2005, along with Nestle and others, charging involvement in human trafficking and forced child labor in Mali. In 2011 Cargill was the subject of one of the largest meat recalls on record. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is negotiating on behalf of the fired workers to reverse the racist, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic firings.Where is the union?Workers at the Cargill plant are represented by Teamsters Local 455. Yet the local’s website has no information about this important workers’ struggle. There should be at least a grievance over the mass firings, first and foremost on the basis of discrimination. Most, if not all, union contracts prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin, among other categories. Even if only one or two union workers were facing discrimination, the union’s obligation would be to uphold civil rights and oppose divisive prejudice that threatens solidarity. At Cargill the issue affects about 600 Somali Muslim immigrants — over 28 percent of the workforce.There is another grievable matter: Were the workers afforded their legal right to have their union representative present when they were dismissed? The union could also file a “past practice” grievance, over the company’s sudden, arbitrary suspension of a practice allowing workers to pray every day in accordance with their beliefs. Past practices, unwritten but generally accepted by both parties, are legally binding under a collective bargaining agreement.If this multinational Teamster local challenges these illegal firings, it will strengthen solidarity and help the workers fight for better wages. Right now the average wage is $14 an hour, not enough to support a family. Moreover, this struggle could be the basis for a labor-community coalition against Islamophobia, jointly spearheaded by CAIR and the Teamsters. Whether it is Donald Trump or companies like Cargill that is the enemy, the labor movement must take a stand wherever bigotry raises its ugly head.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

As Agritourism Expands, Right to Farm Act Protects Farmers, Residents

first_imgBy Gretchen C. Van Benthuysen |FREEHOLD – For people who do most of their daily traveling east of the Garden State Parkway, it may come as a bit of a surprise that Monmouth County has 823 farms sitting on 38,961 acres.Also, that the market value of the agricultural products sold by those farms in 2012 was $84.4 million, with crops making up 80 percent of those sales and livestock 20 percent, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which is compiled nationally every five years.The idea of living next to a bucolic setting in a metropolitan area may sound like a good idea. But what happens when the farmer’s tractor kicks up clouds of dust or he turns his fields into a corn maze that attracts thousands of cars and people?That’s what the Right to Farm Act is designed to address. Signed into law in 1983, it resolves issues and conflicts between farm businesses and residential and commercial neighbors. The first seminar on the topic was hosted Jan. 31 by the Monmouth County Division of Planning’s Environmental and Sustainability Planning Section at Monmouth County’s Agricultural Building, 4000 Kozloski Road, Freehold.About 70 people attended, including Monmouth County Agriculture Development board members, municipal land use and health officials, owners of preserved farms, beginning farmers and participants in the Grown in Monmouth program.Harriet Honigfeld, from the Division of Planning, explained complaints must first be filed with the County Agriculture Development Board (CADB) or the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) before they can be taken to court.The county received more than 20 inquiries related to right to farm in 2017. Some were handled informally or directed to other authorities. Several resulted in public hearings that could be time consuming.She and speakers Brian Smith, chief of legal affairs for SADC, and his associate, legal specialist Alison Reynolds, all encouraged farmers to be proactive with their neighbors and for neighbors to talk about any issues with the farmer to avoid nuisance suits.“CADB’s job is to balance farming interests with nonfarming interests,” Smith said. “Farming can’t endanger public health and safety.”To be a commercial farm, according to the Farm Act, it must operate on 5 acres or more and produce at least $2,500 annually (482 farms in Monmouth County reported more than that in 2012.) Less than 5 acres, the annual production requirement is $50,000. Both must satisfy the requirements for farmland assessment.Approved farm activities include producing agriculture or horticulture; replace soil nutrients and soil tilth; conduct on-site disposal of organic agricultural waste; process and package the farm’s output; operate a farm market; solar, wind or biomass generation, equine activities, and beekeeping.Honigfeld said she receives the most complaints from Howell, Marlboro and Colts Neck for a number of reasons. Many are about business versus farm. Recently, concerns are special events and agritourism (activities that bring visitors to a farm, such as picking fruit or feeding animals).“Some of our farms have been proposing special events that potentially could be covered under RTF regulations, particularly if they are promoting and helping draw the public into being aware and purchasing products grown and produced on the farm,” she said. “I will tell you, since this has been coming up, weddings are not covered under the RTF regulations.”This month, she said, CADB will be reviewing its first request for farm-to-table events using produce grown on the farm. She declined to be specific because the case has not yet been heard.“This is a really big and burgeoning area for our farmers and municipalities, all over the state, in fact,” she said. “But more public interface on the farm itself brings all kinds of issues and questions when you have a lot of people for the evening or afternoon.”She cited health codes, waste water as well as bathroom and parking issues.“These all need to be addressed, but certainly it’s a direction a number of our farmers are looking to take,” she said. “We certainly have a lot of people moving into growing herbs and vegetables and all sorts of things that can be made into a value-added product to be sold and presented to the public.”Elaine Taylor, chairwoman of the Howell Farmers Advisory Committee and owner of Shangri La Farm where she grows organic vegetables, medicinal and culinary herbs on 5.3 acres, said her goal was to unite farmers.“I hope to take all this information and move in a positive direction,” she added.This article was first published in the Feb. 8-15, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more

10,000 DONEGAL HOMES WITHOUT POWER – AND GALES TO GET WORSE

first_imgThe boats in Burtonport Pier are taking a battering as Storm Rachel moves in across Donegal.DONEGAL is taking the full force of Storm Rachel with 10,000 homes without power – and ESB warning the storm will get worse.One large 38kv fault in Donegal is affecting 10,000 customers in Glenties and Derrybeg.Currently 17,000 customers remain without power with over 280 individual faults. In the remainder of the country, Galway and the South West have 2,500 customers without power with other smaller pockets of faults across the country.ESB crews are working to restore supply to customers affected. However the forecast is for increasing gale force winds to come ashore in the North West and West which may cause further damage to the electricity network and we expect the numbers of customers without supply to rise during the day.You can report a power outage by calling 1850 372 999. An Important Public Safety Message: If you come across fallen wires or damaged electricity network, never, ever touch or approach these as they are LIVE and extremely dangerous. Please report any damage to electricity infrastructure by calling 1850 372 999.Customers without power can check for updates on when their fault is expected to be repaired at: www.esbpowercheck.ie, via Twitter at @ESBNetworks or telephone 1850 372 999. Customers should have their MPRN available to access recorded information specific to their location. Updates will also be communicated via local radio.ESB Networks is reminding customers of the precautionary measures to take in the event of a power cut:never approach broken lines or damaged poles, and keep children and animals away – report damage to ESB Networks at 1850 372 999 and listen to recorded messages carefullyturn off electric cookers, ovens, irons, etc. if electricity supply is lostleave a light switched on so you know when power has been restored take extra care if using candles, oil lamps or other naked flamestest smoke alarms with fresh batteriesensure adequate ventilation if using gas heaters.Real time information on power outages and restoration times will be available at: www.esbpowercheck.ie Further information will be available at: http://updatesfromesb.com/ 10,000 DONEGAL HOMES WITHOUT POWER – AND GALES TO GET WORSE was last modified: January 15th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ESBhomesStorm Rachellast_img read more

Campsite management furious after holidaymakers dump rubbish in site

first_imgA well-known campsite in Creeslough has hit out after holidaymakers who came into their camp and dumped their rubbish.Management at Wild Atlantic Camp are furious after the visitors dumped the rubbish in recycling bins.A spokesperson said “We at Wild Atlantic Camp pride ourselves in being a sustainable Family run Glamping Business in the heart of Creeslough, providing much-loved tourism-focused Glamping accommodation and recreational facilities for our fantastic guests and for the local community. “Our ethos has always been community-led and community-focused and our main objective has always been the promotion of environmental awareness and sustainability.“As a result we have a strong policy of recycling our waste and rubbish at Wild Atlantic Camp.We encourage and promote this practice to our lovely staying guests and provide recycling rubbish bags, information and bins on our complex, (solely for our guests use).“Our guests are so positive about our environmental standpoint and we are proud to see that even our young guests are getting involved in our recycling and LEAVE NO TRACE promotion and practice onsite.” The camp spokesperson added that certain individuals, not guests at the site, felt that for some reason, they had a right to drive onto their Glamping Site and open their boots to dump all of their household and holiday rubbish into and beside our recycling refuse bins.When confronted, one couple actually admitted that they had disposed of their rubbish on the Wild Atlantic Camping site on a previous occasion.The spokesperson added “The other couple, were actually staying in another campsite in the area in their permanent caravan but thought nothing of driving into Wild Atlantic Camp on their way home to dispose of all of their Rubbish! (Not divided up for recycling, by the way!)Both CCTV footage and number plate recognition cameras are in operation at the complex.The spokesperson added “We pay our annual commercial refuse fees (which aren’t cheap) solely for the purpose of facilitating our staying guests to dispose of and recycle their refuse onsite. “What right does it give non-staying guests to freely drive into Wild Atlantic Camp and dump all their refuse in large black bags beside our refuse facility?“The disrespect is one thing, making us pay for and sort their refuse is another but more importantly, what is this teaching society in general and our younger generation who are growing up in a more environmental and sustainably aware culture?”Campsite management furious after holidaymakers dump rubbish in site was last modified: July 18th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Is There an Alternative to a Heat-Recovery Ventilator?

first_imgThe tighter the house, the more it needs mechanical ventilation. That’s become a rule of thumb for energy-efficient builders, and designers often turn to heat-recovery ventilators to get the job done. These relatively simple (but not necessarily cheap) devices use the temperature of outgoing air to moderate the temperature of incoming air, thus lowering the energy penalty for providing fresh air to the whole house.Cathy O, who with her husband is building a house in Climate Zone 5 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is familiar with the arguments in favor of using an HRV. But the cost of the unit was a problem, and as she researched their options she was told HRVs may not even work that well.“We want fresh air circulating in the house, to have a healthy home, and we’d also like to have enough air for the wood stoves to run,” she writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor. “A quote to install an HRV system was way too high for us, so my husband thought he could install the product the company recommended himself. But now when I’ve talked to other HVAC specialists, they say the products don’t even work that well and are a waste of money.” RELATED ARTICLES Each of the listed systems can be set up to comply with the most well-known residential ventilation standard, ASHRAE 62.2.One final performance distinction: the first two systems are not balanced (they slightly depressurize/pressurize the building, respectively), while the last two are balanced (the same amount of air goes out as comes in).I think the differences among these systems are more about preference than adequacy. When configured and installed correctly, each of the four systems improve the indoor air quality of an airtight home. And their performance differences pretty much follow cost: the least expensive system addresses the fewest aspects of performance; the most expensive, the most aspects.I think the appropriate system is much more of a performance choice than a safety one, and is likely based on the philosophical and marketing approach of the builder and budget and even sensitivities of the client. Air-to-Air Energy Recovery VentilationCathy and her husband are planning to build their house as tight as possible, sealing all the air leaks they can find and adding an inch of rigid foam insulation on the exterior.“Does the house need an HRV?” she asks. “Would a minisplit or two do the same work of providing fresh air and some heat? Should we just open the windows from time to time (as recommended by our chimney installer)?”An equally interesting issue is the advice that Cathy O has, or hasn’t, been getting from the specialty contractors they’ve met with. As much as she and her husband would like to build green, it’s not always easy making the right decisions when subcontractors are openly incredulous at some of their choices.Cathy O’s dilemma is the subject of this month’s Q&A Spotlight. Designing a Good Ventilation System Ventilation Choices: Three Ways to Keep Indoor Air FreshHRV or ERV?Are HRVs Cost-Effective?How to Provide Makeup Air for a Wood Stove GREEN PRODUCT GUIDE center_img Now, about that wood stoveCathy O’s house won’t have a central heating system, just two wood stoves. How they will work in a tight house?“Wood stoves that rely on conditioned space air for combustion aren’t a great idea in a very tight home,” Dana Dorsett writes. “There are many units out there set up to duct in combustion air.”A second problem is finding a wood stove that won’t blast them out of the house. “Also, in a house that small and well insulated, it might be tough to find wood stoves tiny enough to not turn it into a sauna if you’re burning it at a high enough rate to kick a non-catalytic EPA woodstove into secondary-burn mode (necessary for it to come anywhere near meeting it’s EPA emissions or efficiency ratings.),” Dorsett says.A house as Cathy describes probably has a heat load of less than 15,000 Btu per hour, which makes a ductless minisplit a good option, he says. They’re available in smaller sizes and work well with wood stoves.Dorsett specifically recommends a ceramic or soapstone stove with lots of mass. “An EPA rated steel or cast-iron stove will give you hot flashes getting it up the secondary burn temperature,” he says.He notes that adding a duct for combustion air shouldn’t be too difficult even if the chimneys already have been installed. Although it’s simpler to bring in air when the chimney is on an exterior wall, a fresh air duct can be routed from a side wall and in between floor joists. Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA technical director Peter Yost has to say:I think the hardest concept to explain to the building community, and especially the general public, is the need for mechanical ventilation: You mean we just spent all that time and effort to air seal the building and the very next step after that is to spend more time and money installing a system to bring outside air into that airtight building?The inherent problem is breaking the building’s performance down into separate issues — energy efficiency and indoor air quality — rather than understanding the performance as an integrated system issue.The differences between air leakage and mechanical ventilation are that mechanical ventilation is:1. Of a specified rate (cubic feet per minute);2. Within a set schedule (air changes per day).Some, but not all, ventilation systems are able to provide additional features, assuring that ventilation air is:3. From a specific source;4. Air filtered and distributed.Since we pay so much to condition our inside air, it would be nice to keep as much of that conditioning as we can as we exchange that inside air for outside air.Options for mechanical ventilation include an exhaust-only system, a central-fan-integrated supply (CFIS) system, an HRV, and an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV). So, what sort of mechanical ventilation options do we have and how many of the differences listed above (differences from just air leakage) does each system achieve? Ventilation yes, HRV maybe“A tight home always needs a mechanical ventilation system,” GBA senior editor Martin Holladay tells Cathy. That’s not to be confused with the “minisplit” she mentions. A minisplit is an air-source heat pump used for heating and cooling. It has nothing to do with ventilation.While ventilation of some kind should be on the couple’s must-have list, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a heat-recovery or energy-recovery ventilator, he adds. “There is nothing wrong with an exhaust-only ventilation system,” Holladay writes. “Plenty of people are quite happy with the performance of such a system. Exhaust-only ventilation systems use one or more high-quality bathroom exhaust fans (usually a Panasonic) controlled by a 24-hour timer. You want the fan to run enough hours each day to satisfy ASHRAE 62.2 requirements (but no more than that).”John Semmelhack suggests that both Panasonic and Broan make fans that can be set to a specific ventilation rate in increments of 10 cubic-feet-per-minute increments. “This should enable the fan to run continuously and would eliminate the need for a timer,” Semmelback writes.David Meiland is another fan of exhaust-only ventilation who thinks HRVs are useful only for extremely tight houses. “I would be hesitant to invest in a HRV unless I knew that the house was going to be very tight, I were in a very cold climate, and/or the house layout was such that remote rooms might not get enough circulation,” Meiland says. “Our house is very tight and operates fine with exhaust-only ventilation using a WhisperGreen fan. I am more aware than most of [indoor air quality] issues and pay attention to ‘operating’ the house correctly, but we don’t need more ventilation equipment than that. My experience of blower door testing many houses is that most people are not building tight enough to benefit from a HRV — there is already more than enough infiltration.”last_img read more

Kia signs up little known but ‘hungry’ players as part of ‘unconventional mentality’

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC After the Typhoon Part 2 PLAY LIST 05:18After the Typhoon Part 200:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ And the Picanto aren’t batting an eyelash over losing the chance to sign top overall selection Christian Standhardinger, after trading the pick to San Miguel in exchange for a pair of veterans in Ronald Tubid and JayR Reyes, as well as sophomore guard Rashawn McCarthy.They still ended up with a Christian in their team. Two, in fact: Chris de Chavez and Christian Geronimo.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWithout any picks in the first two rounds, Kia settled for drafting the wide-bodied Arvie Bringas of FEU, de Chavez from Ateneo, and little-known Geronimo of PUP as it continued to stockpile on prospects who they feel are eager enough to show their worth and accept their unique approach wholeheartedly.“We’d like to give hungry young players a chance to prove themselves in our team,” said Lipa. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kia is doubling down on the players’ desire to win rather than sheer talent alone, a method unheard of in any league.“The idea that were trying to develop has been proven in the past with the NCC and Purefoods teams before, but it takes years and a lot of dedication on the part of the players and the coaching staff to make it work. As we’ve said, we’d like to pay our dues,” said Lipa. “It may not be the conventional type of basketball people are expecting, but look at it as our little contribution and give us a chance to do something different.”Lipa also vouched for another Christian — Chris Gavina, that is — as the longtime deputy will now be given the steering wheel to anchor the Picanto this upcoming season as their new head coach.“Coach Chris is familiar with our philosophy with how we want to play the game. Our system is more of a system where everybody should fit into a role, and we believe that have the necessary tools to teach them how to play competitive basketball in the pro level,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Chris de Chavez was picked in the third round by Kia in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netTwo is better than one.That’s the “unconventional mentality” Kia is embracing as it embarks on a new beginning with team governor Bobby Rosales and team manager Joe Lipa leading the charge.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img 13 players show up as Gilas opens World Cup qualifiers buildup LATEST STORIES View comments Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohortlast_img read more

Change the World by Working in a Virtual One: Interview with Evonne Heyning

first_imgHow does your organization use Second Life?Amoration is a nonprofit studio developing ManorMeta, a futuristic TV/DVD series and interactive online network for families around the globe. ManorMeta’s growing architecture has quickly taken over our free time. ManorMeta premiered in early 2006 and quickly became a destination for world-changers and innovators in design, education, sustainability, artificial intelligence, and the arts. Our goal has been to produce a family media series built on a very fantastic new technological age.ManorTV is kid-friendly edutainment now in early production. Our virtual home has six foster kids, three adults, numerous animal and computer-generated characters, and is filled with music, humor, and technological magic. (Think: next-generation “Sesame Street.”)Amoration, our 501(c)3 organization, has produced media and developed new concepts for programming in the virtual world since December 2005. We have provided support on nonprofit projects such as Camp Darfur, producing crossover print and video machinima from our builds to compliment real world awareness events. The ZeroOne art show (a festival of art and digital culture that took place in San Jose, California in August 2006) increased demand for our rare designs and we opened two ManorMeta Mineral Matrix education shops to build a growing business in the virtual world.Why did you decide to do something in Second Life? After a fun job interview in the virtual world in the Summer of 2005 and encouragement from Sue Stonebender and friends from the Omidyar Network (a mission-based investment group committed to fostering individual self-empowerment on a global scale), I gave Second Life a test run in January of 2006. With the pilot for the ManorMeta series nearly finished, we needed a dynamic, collaborative building space that would help us develop our ideas on interactivity in real and virtual spaces. Second Life became a tremendous tool for set and character development and storyboarding – now, story ideas emerge from our Second dramas! We’ve successfully turned our early-adopter audience into active participants by starting our process in the virtual world.How was the project planned? What expertise was needed? We have had mostly positive results in presentations with potential partners, Amoration Advisors, and volunteers. The world is intriguing enough to gather interest, but few find they have enough juice and bandwidth to sign up for Second Life and join us in the virtual world on a regular basis. Those who meet us there and play often get very involved in like-minded projects! Some who cannot join us in Second Life still spread the meme through the Web; we provide them with a natural spotlight space with links and interactive content at no cost.Our first development award came from a key Linden partner so we did not worry that our investment in the platform would be considered wasteful. We found our virtual world meeting enhanced our work with Omidyar Network and other leaders from many different disciplines. We host some advisor meetings in-world (in Second Life) as a way to stay connected and integrated with our virtual space.The learning curve has been steep and it has taken us every bit of nine months to learn building, scripting, event hosting, and media production in-world. We have tried to do this without investing extra money into Second Life; instead of hiring scriptwriters and machinima producers, we learned how to do it ourselves.How did the project unfold? What were some of the challenges? What worked well? As a development platform, Second Life is an excellent tool. It works well for archiving drawings, ideas, storyboards, and movement directions. Of course, if you write about hackers and digital access, you’re bound to get hacked and “griefed” (the Second Life term for virtual harassment). As a networking device, it is clever and very sticky; it has tremendous potential as our computers and bandwidth catch up with the technology. Some of our primary mentors and advisors are unable to run Second Life smoothly on their primary work computers due to software and hardware restrictions, so we are not yet able to integrate them with our virtual-development process.How much time and money did you spend? To date we have spent less than $20 in Second Life. Our goal is to keep this project as sustainable as possible while providing financial stipends for the volunteer artists who have been working on this project for the last year. Amoration is a young 501(c)3 sponsored by the International Humanities Center; our staff has been working as volunteers for our arts education endeavors since 2004. We have approximately two dozen AMO Advisors who have given time and talent to help this project grow.How did you explain the project to organizational leaders or constituents? As an independent studio, we hold true to our organizational mission. We seek partners and projects that enhance a better world vision and we have made many new friends through the ManorMeta experiments.What are the benefits to your organization? The largest benefit to our organization is the interactivity, feedback, collaboration, and creative capital that we have exchanged in fun and captivating ways. There is so much potential as we build and bridge these new frontiers for kids around the world.What advice would you give to other nonprofits who might be interested? Write to us now at [email protected] We have found many tremendous pieces in this puzzle and we’d like to hear how you think they should fit together. If you have helpful leads for product and production partners for AMO Studio, please drop a line or introduce yourself in-world to In Kenzo, Common Cure, or any avatar from the ManorMeta group. We’ve been meeting tons of actors, stunt leads, musicians, and other talent and our team for this project is growing every week. We consider this to be a family and we invite people who want to create a culture of conscious compassion to tell us what you love to do.Copyright: CompuMentorSource: http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/internet/page5902.cfm?cg=searchterms&sg=second%20lifelast_img read more

Organizing Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan

first_imgA properly organized nonprofit marketing plan supports itself like a pyramid. For each goal, there are objectives; every objective has strategies; and each strategy has tactics.However, all too often the terms goal, objective, strategy and tactic are used as interchangeable ways of saying the same thing. Plainly put, they are not – and the resulting lack of precision can be problematic.GoalsA goal is a “statement of being” for the plan. While the completion of the goal signifies the end of your plan, the objectives, strategies and tactics are the means to that end.ObjectivesCompared to the goal, objectives are more focused and specific, and the best-formulated objectives express results as measurable outcomes. Think in terms of the awareness, attitude or action that you hope to invoke. Often there are multiple objectives in support of a single goal. Meaningful objectives start with action verbs and have four parts. They:Identify a specific audience being addressed,State a measurable outcome,Set an attainment level, andSet a timeframe.StrategiesStrategies are where the rubber meets the road. Rarely is one strategy enough to fully accomplish an objective. Likewise, it is not unusual for a single strategy to serve multiple objectives.TacticsTactics are the specific tools you use to implement your strategies. News releases, brochures, media pitches, e-newsletters, blogs, Web sites, surveys, focus groups, and videos are just a few examples that spring to mind. It is the truly creative part of the plan’s authors to decide exactly which tactics are needed to successfully implement the chosen strategies.In ClosingA good marketing plan is interlinked from top to bottom. Without good tactics, a strategy will not successfully complete an objective, rendering the success of a goal limited.A true marketing plan forces the authors to employ the right mix of experience with critical thinking. With this understanding of the key differences between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics, the end result is a plan that can be executed successfully.(Source: Arketti Group)last_img read more

Review of Recent Online Communications Benchmarks Studies

first_imgAs more and more organizations turn to the Internet to enhance and expand their fundraising, advocacy and communications work, a number of key questions have arisen, including:How does our online program compare to other programs?What are reasonable goals for list growth, response rates, churn rates, etc?How can we measure the success of our online work?Until very recently, little data existed with which to answer these questions. However, in the past year, several studies have aimed to establish the benchmarks needed to evaluate the performance of nonprofits’ online communications, advocacy, fundraising, and email messaging programs.We recently reviewed these studies: the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, the Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark Index TM Study, and the donorCentricsTM Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis, and we have provided a brief summary below of the main findings on which all three studies agree.SHARED FINDINGS The three recent benchmarks studies capture online program metrics from a variety of nonprofits that focus on a multitude of issue areas. Though the data differs somewhat among the studies, one point is perfectly clear: the Internet is the place for nonprofits to invest! 1. Online Giving Is On The Rise All three studies found that the amount of money raised online per organization is rapidly increasing. Though the statistics vary fairly widely, the studies reflect the general trend of growth in nonprofit online fundraising programs.The Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark IndexTM reports a growth rate of 27 % in median dollars raised from 2005 to 2006.The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study reports a 40 % growth in average amount raised from the year 2003-2004 to the year 2004-2005.The donorCentrics Analysis reports that the median cumulative growth in online donors amongst its study participants has been 101% over the past three years.2. Rapid Response Pays Both the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study and the donorCentrics Analysis note significant spikes in online donations due to giving after the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. All three studies emphasize the importance of nonprofits’ quick response to a natural disaster or other breaking news.3. Email Lists Are Growing The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study and the eCRM Nonprofit Benchmarks IndexTM both report growth in email list sizes. The former reports an average growth of 73% across the 15 study partners from September 2004 to September of 2005. The latter reports a median growth rate of 47% from July 2005 to June 2006. In addition, the Index Study reports that organizations with smaller lists (under 50,000) grew twice as fast as those with larger lists.4. Bigger Lists = More Money & More Actions The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study illustrates that email list size is directly proportional to the number of advocacy actions and letters generated. Simply put, the bigger the email list, the larger the number of advocacy actions generated.Likewise, the eCRM Nonprofit Benchmarks IndexTM split funds raised online by email list size to show the difference in amount raised by various file sizes and the trend of larger email lists raising more money holds true.5. Fundraising Messaging Metrics Holding Steady Both the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study and the eCRM Nonprofit Benchmark IndexTM calculated open, click through, response, and conversion rates on fundraising messaging from their data. These metrics have stayed consistent over the last two years.ADDITIONAL INTERESTING FINDINGS 1. Online Donors Versus Offline Donors The 2006 donorCentricsTM Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis by DonorDigital and Target Analysis Group reviewed data from 12 nonprofit organizations to compare online giving with offline giving. The key takeaways include:Online donors tend to be much younger and to have higher incomes than direct mail donors.The distribution of online donors is more evenly spread over age ranges while direct mail donors are heavily concentrated in the 65-and-older age group.Online donors tend to join at higher giving levels, give larger gifts, and have higher lifetime giving than offline donors.Only 4% of newly acquired online donors also gave direct mail gifts in their first year on the list, but 46% of them gave direct mail gifts in their renewal year.Multiple-channel donors have higher revenue per donor and higher retention rates than single-channel donors.Revenue for donors who gave online was 28% higher ($114 compared to $82) than donors who only gave offline.Donors acquired online tend to lapse at higher rates than donors acquired by mail. Some of this turnover may be attributed differences in cultivation strategies.2. Website Traffic and Site Visitor Registration Convio’s Online Marketing (eCRM) Nonprofit Benchmark IndexTM Study looked at website traffic and visitor registration across 16 client websites. The key points the study found include:The websites received an average of roughly 26,000 unique visitors per month.The groups had a median growth rate of 30 % in unique web visitors in the year studied.Groups with e-newsletters and member center registration had a median registration rate of 2.8 % per month.Recommendations for improving website sign up rates included consistently providing compelling content and incentives to register, optimizing the registration process, and providing multiple engagement opportunities.Source: http://www.mrss.com/last_img read more