Articles by Month: May 2017
My passion for purpose began the day I met one of the Lost Boys of Sudan – Majier Mamer Deng, otherwise known as Nico. I met him nearly ten years ago through Cuyahoga Valley Church as he was sharing his heartbreaking yet inspiring story of surviving the Second Sudanese Civil War that broke out in the 1980s.
During the war, the Sudanese government turned against Sudanese villagers, displacing thousands of boys and girls. At the time, Nico was just nine years old and was forced to walk hundreds of miles in the scorching heat facing dehydration, starvation, wild animals, and an armed militia.
Thousands of young boys lost their lives on what felt like never-ending walks to different refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. When the children finally made it to the camps, they stayed there for years living off small rations. Nico desired to become educated and stop civil wars from happening in his country. He was chosen by the United Nations Refugee Agency to be resettled in America during the early 2000s to gain a higher education. He achieved his goal and touched thousands of people with his unforgettable story along the way.
After meeting Nico, he quickly became a member of my family as we did anything we could to share his story and change the lives of others. My family fundraised for Nico to see his mother in Sudan after 21 years of being separated. We helped speak to schools across Northeast Ohio to share his story. We even took him on his first-ever vacation at the age of 30. He changed my perspective on life and inspired me to always share motivational stories that had the potential to change people’s lives forever. I didn’t even know it at the time, but I was falling in love with public relations and storytelling at a young age thanks to the time I spent with Nico.
From my experience with the Lost Boys of Sudan, I knew I wanted to combine my passions of storytelling and philanthropy into a career. I spent an incredible four years studying strategic communication, marketing and social media at Ohio University. Now, I am actually living my dream of working to make a difference. Thanks to my internship at Prosper for Purpose I’m helping some amazing organizations, including the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and 1% for the Planet.
My story has come full circle and I am beyond excited to see what is in store for me at Prosper this summer!
Every year, Prosper for Purpose receives dozens of requests for free consulting and services. Our 12 Months of Giving campaign is our way of being able to respond to more of these organizations to help them share their stories and achieve their goals. In this blog post I will introduce the organizations that we were honored to work with in the first quarter.
Our January pro bono client, May Dugan Center, was named as a tribute to May Dugan and her lifetime work as a one-person counselor and advocate for her neighbors in need. The mission of the Center is to help people enrich and advance their lives and communities. The May Dugan Center does this by providing in-house education and resources, as well as health care and food bank opportunities, to people of all ages. During our consult, we helped members of the board and staff review their key stakeholders and messaging.
Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, our February organization, just recently launched a three-year initiative to fully rehab 100 Cleveland homes with a ten-house initiative in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood. Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just build or rehab homes, they fortify communities and revitalize local neighborhoods, something Prosper was really excited to get behind. Our time focused on creative ideation of strategies and tactics to grow awareness and support.
In March, our focus was on Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County, which serves underage children who are abused. The nonprofit has wonderful attorney volunteers who make sure kids are receiving the best legal assistance they can get. The Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County provide training for the guardians assigned to the children, and have volunteer coordinators who make sure the children are appearing at court while also maintaining contact with the child and family. They advocate for the kids—the volunteer and guardian’s sole duty is to support the child’s best interest. We made recommendations on how this program could grow and serve more children.
Although our time was brief with each of these organizations, we were so impressed by the work they are doing and enjoyed our time with each of them.
On April 21, members of #TeamProsper attended The 10th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State University to learn about developments and trends in social media and digital communication.
The conference opened with speaker Greg Josken, digital marketing and social media manager for Disney Theatrical Group, who talked about Disney’s social media strategy now that we’re 10 years into the social media “revolution”.
As Greg walked us through a few of his extraordinary projects, one particular lesson stood out: When applied correctly, social media can be a successful and cost-effective tool across all levels of engagement with your audience, from awareness, consideration, and conversion to loyalty and advocacy.
It was pretty crazy to think about where social media was just 10 years ago. Some major social platforms were still fairly new at the time.
- MySpace launched in 2002
- LinkedIn began in 2003
- Facebook launched for students at Harvard in 2003
- Twitter was born in 2006
Even crazier is the fact that online social networking has been around for more than 30 years. Check out this infographic by MarketingDirecto.com for neat facts about the past few decades of social media.
At “The Evolving Social Media Landscape – Pay to Play” breakout session, we learned how to make our ad dollars go further. Given the many changes to the Facebook algorithm and the decline of organic reach, approximately 80% of posts are not seen! So how do we ensure our message is reaching our audience? Through very targeted and affordable social media advertising. When developing content, it must be engaging, measurable, and have a purpose.
Another trend we must take into consideration when planning our social media strategies and advertising plans is the use of mobile. Mobile is taking over. Research shows that “57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.” It’s time to invest in mobile and the first step you can take is to make sure your website is optimized for mobile usage.
An afternoon session focused on the future of social media and interactive tech. How will virtual and augmented reality technologies impact social media and communications over the next 10 years? What’s the difference between the two?
Augment.com breaks it down for us:
“Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing.
“Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed into apps and used on mobile devices to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance one another, but can also be told apart easily.”
Some examples of AR and VR already being utilized today include Target’s Cartwheel app and Facebook Spaces.
So, how do we prepare for what the next 10 to 30 years will bring to social media? Be agile, be ready for change, and always remember that people want to do business with people. It’s important for brands to remain and be increasingly engaging and authentic on social platforms.
What does your future social media strategy look like? Email us if you need help or have questions!