Posts by April Greene


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!

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

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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Field Report! Team meeting in Bucharest, Romania

Last Sunday afternoon, the Bucharest, Romania Team met in person for the first time.

Diana Cocoru tells us how it went:

We have finally made it! Two Connectors (Diana and Radu) of the Bucharest Team managed to meet face to face and discuss our way forward.

To let you know a little bit about the Idealist supporters registered in the Bucharest team: we currently are five passionate people, out of which only three are based in Bucharest. One is in the North of the country and one is based in Spain. However, we are happy that when we virtually get together, distance has no meaning and our common language is openness, motivation, acceptance and optimism.

Until now, we have had two online meetings and we plan to continue to organize weekly online meetings (every Monday), at least until Action Groups are launched. At that point, we plan to create and get involved in the Groups which will support several causes that some of us have already foreseen, in order to get from ideas to action and implemented projects.

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Diana and Radu meet face to face

We have also asked ourselves how would our Team function once the Groups are created and the Connector Team would risk to get fragmented and therefore lack certain coordination or cohesion. In order to avoid that, we are planning to organize monthly meetings with the Team, having the objective to share lessons learned, as well as resources (people, ideas, materials), which were discovered in each Group where we would be involved, and which could be interchangeable and useful to other Groups as well.

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

Meanwhile, we are still getting used to each other in our Team, knowing that we are different personalities and temperaments and we have also proved to have different work styles. But this is only an added value to our Team and we can definitely build a sustainable architecture on it.

Greetings from Romania,
Bucharest Team

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Diana. Thank you and we’ll look forward to your updates!

If you’re in Romania, check out the Bucharest Team page. If you’re not, look for a Team—or start one—near you. And if you’re not a Connector yet, learn all about it and sign up here.

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Slides from the Network launch

We’ve gotten a few requests to share the slides from the launch and we’re happy to oblige:

 

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Video shorts: Questions and answers from March 11

Our video team just made a series of video shorts (under two minutes each) of the questions and answers that came in from the Idealist community after the March 11th presentation. Check out the whole hand-picked selection of Q+As, like this one:

We’re also preparing g a highlights-reel version of the March 11 presentation that launched the Idealist Network. It will be ready for your viewing pleasure soon!

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What’s happening now

A big thank you to our whole community for diving right into this new network with us, and for helping us identify and deal with the issues that are bound to arise in any big new project like this. We’re so glad to be working with you!

We’re nearly a week in to building this network and here’s what’s going on:

  • More than 1,400 people in 94 countries have signed up as Connectors
  • Of the top 50 teams by member count, the majority have started a discussion, and many of those already have multiple replies. You can search for the team in your city here.
  • People have started conversing in their languages (check out Romanian and French!)
  • Several teams are planning in-person meetings, using the Event feature on the their team page

So what’s our biggest priority now? Clarity about the Connector role. The biggest thing we’ve learned so far is that there’s definitely some confusion about this, and therefore about the role of Teams.

Connectors are neutral facilitators and conveners, working to help build a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives, and where fewer opportunities for action and collaboration are missed or wasted. Specifically, their focus is on the three big goals that can bring us together across all our differences:

  1. Helping more people move from intention to action
  2. Connecting people, organizations, and resources in every possible way
  3. Finding and spreading good ideas—without promoting their own causes or issues.

Have more questions about the network? Visit our FAQ and ask a question, or comment on an answer that’s already there.

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