Blog Post 3: Technology for Community

After spending simply one day in South Madison at the Celebrate South Madison festival, I had so many thoughts and ideas running through my head. I plan on spending more time in that area to help spark ideas about what we can do in the future to form a bridging connection in that area.

At this festival, there were not many food vendors, and especially not the ethnic food vendors we plan on working with throughout this course. The food vendors included Pizza Hut, JD’s, Famous Dave’s, and one stand from the South Madison farmers market. I was pretty disappointed by this turnout, and hopefully we will be able to get in touch with the ethnic food vendors for future events. Our class needs to start going out to these restaurants and form relationships with the owners and customers to get them more involved in the community. Also, if we promote the restaurants and give directions on our website, it will be more accessible to get to. We need to emphasize that these restaurants are not expensive, which will definitely give people more of an initiative to try them out.

Many of the residents I spoke with made it very clear that they did not have high enough incomes to go out to eat, but if we explained that these restaurants are not expensive maybe they will give them a try. The people I spoke to about their lack of food and wealth also said they were not active on social media. They explained that they either don’t have access to these technologies or they do not know how to use them. We can post on social media daily, but if the residents do not know how to use social media it defeats our purposes. If we established a workshop to help these people understand how to use social media and also notify them of the public resources that are available, that would be one of the first steps to get people involved. Since many of these people do not know how to use social media and are not following our website because of this disadvantage, we should directly and physically go to them to assist them, because if we simply advertise our events and activities on social media many people will not be notified. Many of the residents in South Madison are economically underdeveloped and ethnically diverse. We need to continue brainstorming to help get these people into a bridging community, and part of this can be by establishing them on social media.

I think it is great that there are many organizations and groups trying to assist in the forming of a community in South Madison. Our class should definitely speak with the different groups and see how we all can work together to create an event or workshop for the residents of South Madison. If we can work together with other organizations, it can prove to the people of South Madison that they can bridge together, too. As Miller explains in Chapter One of The nonprofit marketing guide, nobody wants to feel like someone, especially a charity or group of people, is trying to trick or cheat them. There have been so many initiatives to try and “help” the people in South Madison, and I hope they do not feel like guinea pigs part of a new experiment. We need to offer opportunities and have constant back-and-forth dialogues with residents over time. Miller also explains that non-profits fail when the audience is poorly defined because of a generic message. We need to figure out exactly what our main goal is and how we want our efforts to be shown by the end of this course. If we combine our efforts with other organizations, it might not seem like we are all trying to “help” the people in this area. It will seem like we are all combining our efforts to form and bridge a better community.

Our guest speaker from the South Metropolitan Planning Council, Sheri, seems passionate and knowledgeable about the efforts to bring together this community. She talked about how they have been partnering up with other organizations, such as the Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation to help encourage women to open up their own businesses. She explained how the SMPC really takes the community members’ ideas into consideration, which I really appreciate. It shows how they are truly striving to better the community. She also mentioned that they are trying to form a presence on social media and have been developing their Facebook page. With the use of Facebook comes the need for media literate community members. We should help with these. With the use of Facebook comes the need for media literate community members. We should help with these media literacy opportunities in the South Madison area by helping to create a social media workshop that targets community organizers. After these people are comfortable using social media, they will hopefully allow children to use social media. If we continue using social media in a positive way and show the positive outcomes of social media techniques, the community will be able to increase their knowledge. Rather than having children become introduced to negative and dangerous forms of media on their own, we can show them the positive ways to use social media. At the festival I noticed that the people were very family-oriented and many people talked to me about their children. It is important that we incorporate the safety of their children using social media into any workshop. On our website we should continually post events, articles, and many pictures of food. Our website should serve as a gathering place to bring people to South Madison and start a bridging community.

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Blog Post 2: Celebrate South Madison

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My day at the Celebrate South Madison Festival was the first time I entered the South Madison area, and I really did not know what to expect. As soon as I walked to our tent, feeling a bit unsure about my surroundings, a young girl with a purple dress immediately ran up to me. She was so energetic and fun. She asked me politely if she could use my camera to take pictures, and throughout the day whenever I saw this young girl she looked at me with a large smile on her face.

After this initial encounter, I felt more relaxed the rest of the day. I was ready to have more interactions with the people of South Madison at the festival. I explored and took many pictures of the different booths and people watching the entertainment. I also took photos of the entertainment on stage, which varied from the Endtime Liturgical Dancers, to the Evolucao Dance Group, to the Davis Family Band. I spoke to a bunch of the Endtime Liturgical Dancers in this photograph. They were pretty shy at first, but after talking to them about dance they opened up to me. They were talking about how they love to pulse dance, and they were excited to perform that day. I found that once I spoke to many of the younger residents about topics they were interested in, such as dance, they were more likely to have a conversation with me. The girls in this photo were posing for me throughout the day and before they left they made sure to say bye to me so I was able to take one last photo. It seems to me that the people of South Madison are so dedicated to their children. If we were able to focus ideas that incorporate children and media literacy into our program to help this area, I think parents would be really appreciative.

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Besides walking around and interacting with interesting people throughout the day, I also met many people at our Savor South Madison booth. Many residents came over to our table to try the various Asian candies we provided, but before they were able to take a candy we asked them what their favorite restaurant is in the South Madison area. I was pretty shocked by some of the responses. Many people responded with their favorite places, and they highly recommended them to me. The people I spoke to really enjoyed food from Hispanic restaurants, such as Inka Heritage, La Hacienda, El Pastor, and Taqueria Guadalajara.

On the other hand, there were also a good amount people who told me they couldn’t afford to go out to eat. The first woman I spoke to blatantly said, “I can’t answer your question. I’m too poor to eat out.” After she told me this, I did not know how to respond, and she laughed at my reaction. I sat there after being silent for a moment of shock and said, “Well, you can take a candy from us.” She appreciated my sincerity and began opening up to me about some of the problems in the South Madison area. I told her all about Savor South Madison, and although she made it clear she is not on social media, she jotted down the name of our website and is looking forward to updates. I spoke to a few other people who had a similar reaction about not having enough money to eat out. I was surprised how open so many people were about this.

I also spoke to one man who could barely speak English. When I was explaining Savor South Madison to him, he did not understand what I was saying. He was unable to comprehend what the word “ethnic” meant, and I spent a few minutes helping him pronounce the word. He was truly trying to understand what I was saying, and after a while he just took a candy from our table and went to watch the entertainment.

After speaking with so many different and interesting people at the festival, I was able to better understand the culture and community that South Madison has to offer. Many people heard about Savor South Madison in the past, but they wanted a better explanation, which we provided for them. Although many people said they are not on social media, they still wanted to know about Savor South Madison and asked how they could find out more about our efforts. I truly believe that the people in this area will be open to us and allow us to help them form a more developed community. The people I met this day were all so friendly and warm. They definitely have a strong desire to better their community, and I know they appreciate our help so far.

The final act of the day was The Davis Family Band, which really brought the community together one last time that day. For that hour of music being played, it didn’t matter your race, economic background or age. Everyone was dancing together as a community.

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Case Study: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and its supporters host many events throughout the year to raise awareness and funds for life-saving research. With the use of various forms of social media, this non-profit organization has successfully promoted various events, and the organization has continued to succeed. Because the BCRF is so successful, the members do not just focus on one campaign. There are large events that take place in various cities throughout multiple months each year, but there are also walk-a-thons, bake sales, and auctions that contribute to the awareness. The most recent event, “Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink,” was a two-part fundraiser that began with an official World Paddle Association stand-up paddleboard race, followed by a Sunset Party in August. This event was advertised throughout various forms of social media.

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The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is very strategic with the use of social media. Besides posting updates daily, this organization also partners up with vendors and other organizations, such as Estée Lauder Companies, Delta Airlines and Target. Also, the main website is user-friendly and provides links to the alternate forms of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Every major event, and even smaller events, are constantly being updated and promoted. Before the “Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink” event, there were constant updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. One post from one month before the event was a photograph of volunteers that said, “Happy Friday! Here at BCRF headquarters, the team is busy getting ready for our Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink event next month.” The strategy for this event was to continue getting people excited about the event and publicizing the event to the public.

Since its launch, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has raised over $440 million to support clinical and translational research at medical institutions across the globe. With the new advancements in technology and social media, this foundation has been able to continually develop each year.