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Archive for February, 2008

Paul Tilley [second right], chair of TWIG Tarner Wide Internet Group and Helen Milner [second left], MD of UK Online, open the new computer room in a small community centre in central Brighton.
SCIP has been a partner in the development of a project which has helped set up and develop a number of similar facilities as part of UK Online Social Impact Demonstration project
Top news for local people in some of the hardest to reach groups

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Lots of people are talking about using sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook as a way for charities and campaigning organisations to link up with supporters. This may be a new channel for networking with existing supporters, or a way of recruiting new supporters, through recommendations and online connections.
Such social networks are free to the user, and can be appealing as a way of reaching a new demographic mix. As with online worlds such as Second Life the yoof that supposedly lurk in such sites are the donors of tomorrow and are like gold dust.
But what does it cost and is it a good use of your time? Even if you know what you’re doing you can spend hours keeping your profile up to date, adding news and chasing down new contacts.
Justin Perkins at Care2 has done some serious work on whether you can calculate the return on investment in time and effort. for many small groups it will best to find a volunteer to explore this option, but for larger charities, who are already investing heavily in online fundrasing tactics, this is a serious question, which weighs the short term costs of the time spaent against the medium and long term risks of NOT doing it.
Find out more and try the calculator at http://www.frogloop.com/social-network-calculator

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Last week’s workshop was a great success. Over 30 people from across the region attended the session that was held in Community Base in Brighton.
Mark Walker provided an introduction to the key issues when choosing a database, and 13 suppliers were on hand to show their products and talk to delegates about their needs.
Some of the key points made were:

  • the person taking a lead needs to be a senior manager, not a techie
  • a technical person can help with the detailed discussions, and could be a volunteer
  • be very clear about your requirements from the start
  • talk to lots of suppliers and ask to test their productsremember that the reporting may be the most important requirement – it needs to be easy to get informatioin out, not just easy to put it in.

A copy of the presentation is available from the SCIP website.
Given the success of the session it is likely to be repeated during the summer – please contact Mark Walker at SCIP if you would like to told when this happens.

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One of SCIP’s Directors works for Tactical Tech, an organisation based here in Brighton that provides information and support to NGOs around the globe.
It’s most recent publication is a great free guide to visualising information – how to get your message across in pictures. It’s not a techie guide but provides pointers and examples as the first step in preparing reports or flyers or posters.
You can download it from the Tactical Tech site
Visualizing Information for Advocacy: An Introduction to Information Design | Tactical Technology Collective

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Rural ICT Conference

Do you work with groups in a rural area? Please share this email with relevant organisations in your networks.

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REMINDER:: Rural ICT Conference ::

9.30am – 3.30pm, Wednesday 5th March 2008
Lackham Countryside Centre, Lacock, Wiltshire, SN15 2NY
The one-day Rural ICT Conference will provide practical advice and information about how to get the most from computers and the internet. Topics covered workshops will include:

  • Rural Barriers to New Technologies
  • Rural Broadband
  • Homelessness and ICT in Rural Areas
  • ICT for Development Workers

This event is funded by the ICT Hub, through Capacity Builders, and is supported by BT and South West Regional Development Agency.

Fees range from £20 to £50. Bursaries are still available and there are subsidies to cover accommodation costs.

More details, including a booking form, at the ICT Hub website

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Antony Mayfield lives and works in Brighton and has posted a couple of examples of YouTube videos to show the ways the internet is being used in the US elections. One of them is a great Bollywood cut and paste job featuring Obama, another is a cringy mockumentary about Hillary.
I know these sorts of activities can still seem very distant when it comes to grassroots community organisations but the technology needed to produce these videos like these now sits on many people’s desktop.
If the biggest political process on the planet has space for this sort of stuff then it can’t be long before we see more and more examples from activists campaigning about local issues.
Open (finds, minds, conversations)…: All the TechPresidents

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