Have a look: Upcoming meetings

Connectors in Kampala, Uganda are planning to meet today. Here are more Teams with events coming up—you can join them if you’re close by, or get inspired to organize a meeting for your Team on your home turf!

***

Austin, Texas: Monday, April 21. 5:30 pm at the Dog & Duck Pub.

244709-sxsw-2012

Chicago, Illinois: Monday, April 21. 6:30 pm at the Harold Washington Library.

chicago-millennium-bean_orig_column

Accra, Ghana: Saturday, April 26. 10:00 am at the Accra Mall.

Ghana

Phoenix, Arizona: Sunday, April 26. 9:00 am at Paradise Bakery.

Phoenix-Arizona

Has your Team met recently, or do you plan to? Be sure to keep your page updated so everyone stays in the loop!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



Open question: How can we keep our Team motivated?

Connecting can be like exercising or healthy eating: we enjoy doing it and see the benefits, but it can be hard to maintain motivation and stay on track. How can we make staying active as Connectors easier for each other? Here are some ideas from Teams who are tackling this issue already.

Connector Kieve from Austin, Texas writes on her Team’s page that they’ll try a standing weekly meetup:

To keep us more productive and accountable to each other, we thought it was good to meet on a weekly basis. It’s too easy to have personal things crop up and forget something. There was a request for another day besides Saturday. So, we’re going to shoot for Monday nights at the Dog & Duck Pub at 5:30pm. They’ve got wifi and some good grub and beers if that’s your thing. If you can’t make it that early, no problem. We’ll plan to be there for a couple hours. As meetings evolve, they may become shorter or start later. We’ll see how it goes.

For the Bucharest, Romania Team, Connector Diana posits that staying in regular touch will be key to keeping her spread-out Team together:

Until now, we have had 2 online meetings and we plan to continue to organize weekly online meetings (every Monday). [Also,] we are planning to organize monthly meetings with the Team, having the objective to share lessons learned, as well as resources (people, ideas, materials).

We have agreed that it is very important to hold our Connectors team kernel together, because this will be the real support to build trust, encouragement and move things forward at our local level.

Nick in Atlanta, Georgia is not only a Connector—he’s also an Idealist Community Manager, helping to maintain our Atlanta Local Page. On the Atlanta Team page, he recently offered a couple of options for staying in the loop:

I have been hosting a very informal networking get-together on Mondays (except the last Monday of the month) from 6pm to whenever you want to leave… [And] I wanted to just throw this out there:

I will be at Dancing Goats Coffee Dancing Goats Coffee Bar tomorrow (Saturday, 3/22) at 2pm if anyone feels like meeting. There is no agenda. I will be wearing and Idealist.org t-shirt and am planting myself there for at-least 1 hr (longer if people show up) so we can get to know one another… I would love to meet the wonderful Connectors of Atlanta.

Has your Team started a weekly beer or coffee meet-up, or a regular online base-touch? We’d love to hear how you’re staying on track and motivated—please share in the comments below!

Tags: ,



Tech Tip: Taking advantage of your Team’s page

No doubt, you already know some of the ways your Team’s page can help you in your work as a Connector: you and your Teammates can share ideas on the discussion forum, post upcoming events, easily see everyone on your Team and link to their Idealist profile…

But your page offers a lot more than just those prominent features. Here are three other easy things you can do to source new connections, share resources and info, and grow your Team:

1. Find local organizations.

Scroll down to the middle of your Team’s page and you’ll see the heading “Network” on the left side. Click the “Local organizations” link below it and you’ll be taken to a list of search results for all the nonprofits in your area who’ve registered on Idealist. I live in Brooklyn, New York and just tried it: we have over 1,200 organizations right in our backyard!

Local orgs

*

 

2. Post a resource.

Been meaning to create that resource inventory for your Team? Want to start a reading list of interest to Connectors? Or maybe you want to create a shared document to hold your ideas for future meeting spaces? All you have to do is click the blue “Add a resource” button, give your link a name, and paste it in. Resource accomplished!

Resources

*

 

3. Meet more Connectors.

If you’re looking to beef up your Team, you’ve come to the right place. Also under the Network heading on the left, the “Connectors in the area” link will show you how many other Connectors live near you. If you see any who aren’t on your Team yet, you can message them from their Idealist profile to introduce yourself.

Area

*

How have you been using your Team’s page to get Connecting? Please share how in the comments!

Tags: ,



Next steps, and expectations

Before Action Groups go live, I wanted to give you some context for where we are now, and what’s happening next.

As of now, here are all the pieces we have in place:

1. The concept of Connectors, as people who want to inspire and ignite more action and collaboration around them.

2. Local Teams for Connectors to support one another in doing this work.

3. An initial menu of Tools and Tactics for Connectors.

4. Personal profiles that allow any person on Idealist to share their interests and skills, and connect with others on the site.

5. Coming today or tomorrow: Action Groups – started and facilitated by Connectors – where people can share their intentions and ideas, and help each other act on them.

And of course all this is sitting on top of the 100,000 organizations that are already using Idealist to list their jobs, events, and volunteer opportunities.

So what’s happening next? Three things, in broad strokes:

1. Tying all these pieces together, in every possible way.

A small example is that when you visit a Team page now, you can see a link to all the local organizations listed on Idealist. But there is much more we can do. People and organizations in city X who care about issue Y should know when a relevant Action Group is launched in their area. And so on… This will be an ongoing process, and the more ideas the better.

2. Outreach to the Idealist community

Right now, 99% of the people who use Idealist every day don’t know that most of this is going on – and that’s OK. Before inviting more people to join us we wanted to have all these pieces in place, and we are almost there. Next steps: a new homepage for Idealist.org to reflect all of the above, and an email to our whole list to tell them about it.

3. Outreach beyond Idealist

Once a new home page is up, we’ll be ready to reach out more widely and start building this ecosystem of possibility all around us, day by day and step by step.

All of this will take some time, but if I think of where we want to be by March 11, 2015, we still have 47 weeks to go, and at this rate we’ll be in a good place.

Thanks again for your ongoing support and feedback!

Tags: ,



Tech Tip: How to discuss Tools & Tactics with your Team

We’ve been talking a lot lately about our Tools & Tactics—replicable templates for action that range from holding a 3Qs meeting to hosting a nonprofit career fair. Now it’s your turn!

If you’re feeling inspired by a particular Tool & Tactic and want to start a conversation about it on your Team page, here’s how to do it:

1. Start at the Connector Hub. In the top section, “Tools and Tactics for Connectors: More and Better,” click the “Learn more” button.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.52.43 PM.png

2. Scroll down until you find one you want to discuss. In this example, I clicked “Host a civic write-a-thon.” Notice the message on the right that says, “Want to try this? Talk about it with your Team!” The big orange “Start a discussion” button is just begging me to share.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.06.15 PM.png

3. So I clicked on the button and the discussion now lives on my Team’s page. Behold!

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.07.43 PM.png

4. At the same time, my Team page gets a Tools & Tactics section. Go multi-tasking! (Pro tip: Each Tool & Tactic has only one discussion per Team associated with it. So once someone in your Team has pulled a Tool & Tactic onto your page, you’ll be able to join the discussion and upvote comments.)

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.22.06 PM.png

That’s it. It’s a small thing, but we hope it makes connecting easier.

_

Sara Jensesn is a technical support representative at Idealist. Feel free to reach out to her if you need help or have questions: sara.jensen@idealist.org.

Tags: ,



Meet a Connector: AJ in Lima, Peru

Originally from Boonton, New Jersey, AJ Wildey is currently a graduate student at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru where she’s pursuing a Master’s in anthropology. Here’s AJ in her own words on why she’s a Connector.

“I know a guy”

After college, I reached out to a friend in Peru to see if he knew of any opportunities to work on a cacao farm in the Amazon.

The convoluted chain of contact that emerged was of a type very familiar to me: growing up, if you needed something—from an air conditioner installed to a pair of padded bike shorts—nine times out of ten you didn’t hit the White Pages to find the answer. You asked a family member or a neighbor. And nine times out of ten their response was, “I have no idea… but I know a guy.”

Several months after graduating, I found that this same “I know a guy” chain had landed me in the middle of the Amazon jungle on a cacao farm that belonged to the mother of a friend of my friend.

DSC03880

AJ in the Amazon!
(image courtesy AJ Wildey)

The beauty of connecting to accomplish something became bigger than just a Jersey thing for me. I learned that it’s human nature to want to get to the bottom of a problem, and that often the best solutions come by reaching out to someone else for help.

Also, sometimes the new relationship you forge in this process is just as good as accomplishing your goal. Those relationships can live on—and that’s how networks are built!

As I listened to Ami talk about facilitating these types of connections, I began reflecting on all the times a query I threw into the wind came back in the form of a solid connection that enabled me to act. There were so many! If joining this initiative as a Connector could help take the casual “I know a guy” way of forming connections to the next level, I knew I wanted to help.

How Lima could benefit

I would love to see a better network of contacts here in Lima—a real forum people know they can turn to for resources. In Lima today, there’s a lot of dynamism between the government, third-party organizations, and the people.

There are many energetic, passionate social justice movements going on, and when Ami presented his analogy of the apartment building, I couldn’t help but think Lima was just the same: a space filled with people and ideas that would benefit from better coordination.

A glance at the Team page for Lima doesn’t speak much to our efforts to connect here. But that’s ok for now. For me, one of the most important roles of a Connector is to adapt the standard model to the local context. Connectors need to be flexible and in tune with their areas—what works in one context might not in others.

In the case of Lima, Internet-based social movements are not the norm, so the number of online Team members won’t necessarily reflect how we’re getting connected, at least right away.

The first thing to do as a Connector here is simply to spread the word. After explaining the initiative to future allies throughout my own networks, I’ll encourage them to jump on board and keep the momentum going by sharing with their friends in turn. It’s important to remember that successfully connecting will happen in a more organic way here.

You can message or connect with AJ on Idealist.

If you live in or near Lima, join her Team! Or look for Teams in your area. If you’re not a Connector yet, learn more and sign up here.

Tags: , , ,



Field Report! Team meetings in San Diego, California

San Diego is on a roll!

The city is already home to 26 Connectors who have held two meetings. And so far, so good.

“Everyone was very enthusiastic, worked well together, shared their backgrounds, and came up with great ideas and questions,” says Lissa Tsu.

Fellow Team member Diana Osorio agrees.

“I feel that we all are going to work great together; we all have our minds and intentions in providing services and helping others. Everyone is interested in pitching in and helping,” she says.

20140405_100932

Four of San Diego’s finest
(photo courtesy Lissa Tsu)

So far, here’s what the Team’s been tackling:

  • Meeting spaces. The first cafe they chose was noisy and crowded, but the second had a large private lounge, free wi-fi, and was centrally located. (A lesson for Teams: if at first you don’t succeed…)
  • Paper handouts. “One thing that immediately came up was a lack of tangible advertising,” says Lissa. “We all see the need for some sort of card to distribute to people we know and meet describing the movement. It would be nice to post some flyers/postcards around our neighborhood.” Idealist is currently working on developing some handouts, but this Team is eager to start making moves so they’re drafting their own possibilities now.
  • Gender equality. “We noticed out of the first 24 Connectors here in SD, only six were men,” says Lissa. “So that may be a good place to focus our recruitment efforts!”
  • The whole Internet. In addition to maintaining a great Team page on Idealist, San Diego is using (or considering) Facebook, Hangtime, and Nextdoor to help them stay organized, connected, and spread the word.

What do they feel are their biggest challenges? Diana says:

San Diego, as any other city or community, has always many issues—so many that ‘it takes a village’ to make a change. But that’s precisely what Connectors are about: a big group of people involved and constantly growing to make things happen.

Our biggest challenge at this point is to be able to gather a large group to attend the Connector meetings and also how are we going to grow our Team. We haven’t been able to get a high attendance to our meetings so far, although we have changed the date and place.

We are hoping that by creating more massive advertising, we can get more people involved. [Connector] Janine and I, during our second meeting, found some local magazines and were thinking that it will be nice if we could get a press release or comment published about our Team.

All in all, we understand this is just the beginning and it will get better as time passes by. I am an eternal optimist and am sure that things will only get better.

Do you have advice for the San Diego Team? Share it in the comments or message one of their Connectors. If you live in the San Diego area, sign up to join them!

If you live elsewhere, look for a Team near you. If you’re not a Connector yet, learn all about it and sign up here!

Tags: ,



Meet a Connector: Diana in Bucharest, Romania

Diana Cocoru is a Connector in Bucharest, Romania who recently reported back on her Team’s first meeting.

“Connecting is my definition,” says Connector Diana Cocoru. “Although I didn’t know until recently.”

The 26-year-old Bucharest local makes a habit of knowing lots of things, though.

With three Bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees, experience working with the European Parliament and African social change network Kabissa, and proficiency in three languages, Diana brings a lot of valuable resources to her Team and community.

bucharest_victoryavenue

Bucharest’s Victory Avenue
(photo courtesy Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

Equally important, she’s coming to her work as a Connector with the right mindset: she wants to connect people while remaining impartial.

I have always been a conflict mediator in my family, and any team I have coordinated or led. Actually one professor in secondary school told my mom that never ever has one person managed to break into all the smaller groups in our class. It was not my purpose anyway—I was just asking and speaking with all people, not paying attention to the invisible borders between the groups.

I have bridged resources with those who needed it. I have learned diplomatic networking and saw how important it is to know that A is looking for something and B can give it and the satisfaction of bringing A and B together.

From my short experience on Idealist, people who surface through this [Network] are all very strong personalities with good resources. It is important to know when to let other Connectors organize, express, change, and not put your frustration in front of it. It takes maturity to do this.

For Diana, Romania has nothing to lose and everything to gain by becoming a part of the Network:

Romania is too closed as a nation, still lacking trust in the other. By getting involved in this initiative, perhaps people will get to know “there is another way.” Nowadays society doesn’t wait for the political people to act in their interest. Through Idealist, I see people confirming this phenomenon of “taking my life in my hands, because I can.”

Do you live in Romania? Become a Connector on the Bucharest Team! Live elsewhere? Check out Teams near you. Not a Connector yet? Learn all about it and sign up here.

Tags: , , ,



Open question: How can we get more youth involved?

There are some common threads emerging in the topics Connectors are starting in their Team discussion forums. To see the Team discussions, visit any Team page.

Here’s an example: How can Connectors help to get more young people involved in creating positive change? We found two Connectors in two different countries tackling this one.

DC

Wendy from Washington, DC

Toronto

Nao from Toronto

How to encourage young ones to step up?

One idea is the Semester of Service Tool & Tactic for kids ages 5 to 9 years old  and kids ages 10 to 12. Connectors who are teachers or school administrators by can introduce students to service with this engaging co-curricular activity.

Connectors, what do you think? How can we help get more youth interested in contributing to the common good?

Tags:



Meet a Connector: Elif in Istanbul, Turkey

Connector Elif Soykan has her feet in two worlds: Istanbul and Los Angeles.

She grew up in Turkey, where she studied sociology, but found herself drawn to Hollywood post-graduation where she worked at an advertising agency. Unfulfilled, she returned home after a few years.

Back in Turkey, Elif transferred her love of meeting new people from different cultures and backgrounds into a job as a cross-cultural consultant.

Elif hopes to use this training to its fullest in her new role as a Connector on both the Istanbul and Los Angeles Teams.

“As a cross-cultural trainer and a coach, I believe I can show people how powerful they are, how beautiful they are, and how much value they can bring to life to make it better,” she says.

pic1-1

Elif on her terrace in Istanbul
(photo courtesy Elif Soykan)

Elif naturally connects others in her social circles all the time, but admits that when it comes to herself, one of her weaknesses is asking for help.

With the Idealist Network, she’ll use this focus on others to her advantage and help Istanbul become better connected. There are a lot of nonprofits in the city, but bureaucracy, lack of consensus in organizations, and commitment on behalf of volunteers can be challenging.

Still, Elif is hopeful. Next week she’ll be meeting with another Connector in the city to talk about how they can best pool the city’s resources.

“Sharing is so valuable. I’m afraid that in this new era, we’re losing it,” she says. “This Network gives me hope to unite again for the ultimate goal: make the world a better place.”

Do you live in Istanbul or Los Angeles? Join Elif! Live elsewhere? Look for a Connector Team near you or start one of your own.

Tags: , , , , ,





Like what you're reading?

Subscribe and get fresh daily updates from Idealists in Action.