Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Facebook's Global Usage, ie, Egypt


You may not be aware, but for the last several months I have been following the political and social climate in Egypt via online news sources as I research for a nonprofit that I would LOVE to create. One thing that I found again and again was the huge influence that Facebook has as a medium for the youth of Egypt. In the US, we use this social networking site primarily to share photos, invite people to parties, and keep in touch with high school and college friends post-graduation. However, in Egypt, youth are using this site for the purpose of political mobilizations. As Egypt is Westernizing, with greater availability of the Internet and the spread of Western websites, they are using these means to try to enact change in their local spheres. I think it is awesome that these youth have such energy and creativity as they try to work for peace and positive change. The problem is, they are encountering some major trouble as they are doing so. For example, earlier this month a young man was arresting in the middle of the night for creating a group on Facebook called “April 6 Youth” that rallied up a huge group of young people who were ready to take action in order to reform Egypt. Similar events have happened as political groups, feelings, and activities have emerged by way of the site.

Lessons:

  1. The young people in Egypt clearly see the shortfalls of their fathers and are ready to enact positive change, which I think is both necessary and great
  2. The Internet is hugely promoting globalization and the young people of the world are leading the way in this movement towards greater global unity
  3. Egypt NEEDS my nonprofit!

Egypt’s Youth of Tomorrow

My brilliant fellow nonprofit students Kami & Lisa & I have this brilliant master plan. The thing is, I really think it could be feasible and we have a surprising amount of decent contacts here and there whom could help us pave the way towards social change and success. So the basic plan is that we have a Youth Center where local citizens can come and teach a couple of skills to junior high and high school students in workshops, for example, entrepreneurship, specific business skills, what you need to do to apply to college, and some other classes like sports, arts, and fun stuff to do with their fellow youth. The rest of the time after school that they are at our center, they will have the opportunity to create groups that will work together to plan community service projects. The incentive? They earn points every time they participate in and/or plan a service activity and after a certain amount of points, they will earn a college scholarship from our program. So we are empowering the youth with knowledge of what they can do in the world, we are teaching them skills including managing planning meetings and carrying out events, they are getting the chance to improve their communities which Egypt could really use, and they will be given the means to further their education! So great.

I love nonprofits.

The End.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sponsoring the arts and more


Linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKgBdrsqvjs

(Sorry to steal your thunder, Ariel, but I couldn't resist posting this!)

PLEASE click on the link above. It should take you to the YouTube version of a public service announcement from Americans For the Arts and other fine art-sponsoring organizations and foundations. My roommates Ariel, Rachel, and I saw this PSA on public TV after the BYU devotional and we LOVED IT! Not only is it absolutely hilarious, but they make a great mock up of normal cereal ads, and they actually got us to check out their website- now that's good marketing.

Now here comes the plug. As you may know, this semester nearly all of my classes are dedicated to my Nonprofit Management minor and I want to impart of some of my little tiny blobs of wisdom that I assume are floating around upstairs. First of all, nonprofit organizations operate on a foundation that is fundamentally different from organizations in the for-profit business world. Their bottom line is not revenue, it is lives touched. They work very hard in order to make their goods or services available to as many people as possible, but for this to happen, they need funding. Think about it, how could the Boys and Girls Club, for example, possibly be able to maintain their facilities, provide computers, sports equipment, and other materials to the kids they serve, as well as sponsor free events for families and pay their staff while still only charging a few dollars per year for kids to come and spend hours there everyday?! Unless you want to hugely jack up the annual fees for the kids, thereby making it so that many of them could not afford to go, it is NOT possible without outside funding. This includes funding from the government (which is justified because most nonprofits provide a public service that the government cannot but should, so the nonprofit sector is actually already doing the federal government a huge favor by working on behalf of the people in their place), corporate or foundation grants, and private donations.

Now, in case you are unaware, the economy is a bit iffy at the moment. And unfortunatley, this is really scaring the nonprofits who are expecting donations and grant monies (not to mention federal funding from our hurting government) to be on the huge decline. If this gets bad enough, many nonprofits will have to close their doors. The tragic truth is that they cannot give their public services without the necessary economic means. In this time of struggles, please do not forget your local and national nonprofits that have touched your life and that you feel should be helped to remain in existence. GM does not deserve your money for their bad business practices, but I think that Americans for the Arts, for one, does deserve to be sponsored for the good work that they do which may now be jeopardized because of the declining availability of grants.

I encourage you to think about who you can help and where you want to put your voice in the form of your donated dollars. Perhaps a local hospital that is a nonprofit or the Red Cross or a religious institution or maybe international education organizations or human rights groups. What do you care about and how do you show it? Maybe you cannot give your money, but you can give your time. I recently discussed how I appreciated President Obama's call for an increase in voluntarism. I still believe it. Make a difference and don't be afraid to give! Just bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of getting a drink from the vending machine everyday for one month and, bingo, there's 50 bucks for Amnesty International. In a time when money may be becoming tight, now is when we should be putting our money where our mouths are.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bailout Blahs


Alright, I've pent it up long enough. This is ridiculous and obviously NOT WORKING! We knew it would take a long time to recover economically, but now we are seeing an even larger decline. Some good this bailout is doing. The only positive thing coming from sinking the Fed's (and therefore yours and my) money into dying organization is the fact that it is saving many jobs, at least temporarily. But shouldn't those companies paying their executives millions of dollars and taking the entire board of directors to Hawaii every quarter and making risky business moves pay for their misgivings? Isn't the public punishing them for their unethical practices by saying "No, I will not buy your stuff/support you because I can't afford the extra that is tacked on to the price to pay for your Christmas bonus" or "No I will not invest in a company with unhealthy financial practices"? Isn't it the consumer's right to keep businesses honest by not patroning the ones who do not live up to our expectations? And isn't it just the way of free enterprise- you make money and thrive, or you lose money and die? That's just the way that our economy functions, so why is it suddenly such a big surprise? Maybe these corporations should have been a little (or a lot) smarter in their tactics and had a better rainy day fund and capped CEO salaries and been prepared for economic issues. We all saw it coming, didn't we? I can recall hearing doom and gloom over the supposed economic downturn that we were naturally overdo for. Unfortunately, no one listened. We all bought things we couldn't afford and now we're kicking ourselves. Honestly, what did we expect? I am disappointed in our lack of preparation and disappointed in the fact that all our leaders can think of to do is to throw money at dying, unwise corporations. I suggest we instead fund new vehicles of employment that are organized with smart economic and management tactics already in place, that way we won't have to waste time and money undoing the bad that has been done and can get right to work on what we have now learned needs to be in place for an organization to be successful and ethical in our current climate.

PS- just because a few American car companies go under DOES NOT mean that it would be the end of the world! I'm pretty sure most of us buy foreign cars anyway! Stop fretting!