New-look Google Reader Is Stunning!

first_imgTags:#RSS Readers#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… richard macmanus Google Reader, Google’s web-based RSS Aggregator, has had a re-design and I amimpressed. It now has a look n’ feel very much like Gmail, which I believe is a pointerto this product being prepped for mainstream promotion – and/or merged with Gmail.Probably a bit of both, as a standalone RSS Reader is always going to be needed. You’llrecall that the new Yahoo Mail Beta has RSS integrated into its email experience –and the reason for that is quite simply to reach the 250 Million odd people that have aYahoo Mail account. What better way to make RSS a mainstream experience than to integrateit into the web email platform. So I expect Google to follow suit.Google Reader List viewYou probably know that I am a huge fan of Gmail, so this new Google Reader interfacewas immediately a pleasure to use. I love that it automatically marks items as ‘read’ asyou scroll. I also like the List view (very much like email), for quick scrolling, andthe ‘Expanded’ view feels much more natural to use now. The ‘sharing’ functionality isexcellent too – a shared clippings blog similar to Bloglines; and ability to share viaemail.The new features:Expanded view and list viewSimplified sharing functionalityImproved read-state managementInfinite scrollingUnread countsMark all as readI remember trying out Google Reader back in the Web 2.0 Conference last year, when itwas launched. I was underwhelmed at thattime, but this new design – with its Gmail-like interface, features, and speed to match – ismuch more impressive. LikeNiall Kennedy, I hope they also integrate blog search into the Reader at some point – as well as tie into other Google services. But otherwise, Google has upped the ante in the online RSS Reader space. And also gone along way towards matching Yahoo’s email/RSS integration.Expanded ViewUpdate: Marshall Kirkpatrick at Techcrunch points out that Google is emphasizing the email tie-in: “Think of Google Reader as your inbox for the web.” Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Mary Kom lands a counter punch on detractors

first_imgBefore leaving for Mongolia for the Women’s Asian Championships, the much talked-about topic in India was whether five-time world champion Mary Kom will cope with the challenge from the Chinese boxers.Mary Kom’s toughest rival has been China’s two-time world 51kg champion Ren Cancan, who defeated her in the semi-finals of the 2010 Asian Games. But not only did Mary Kom avenge her defeat, beating Cancan at the Asian Championships in Mongolia, her victory was also a fitting reply to her detractors who had doubted her ability to perform consistently at the top level. “People used to say I am ageing, I am short and I can’t play up to the rising standard of the women’s boxing. But I always believe in hard work, so I remained silent and worked hard on my weaknesses. This victory is a reply to all those who doubted my ability,” Mary Kom, who has won her all three Asian titles in the 46kg category, told Mail Today. “People have blamed me for killing youngsters’ chances in the camp. But I am a supporter of fair competition and I say it again that if anyone can prove she is better than me, she has to first beat me in the ring,” she said.The standard of women’s boxing, which will make its debut at the Olympics this year, is on the rise. Like a champion, who realises the changes quickly, Mary Kom understood the importance of improvement after her defeat at an Olympic test event in London last year. She changed her base from Patiala to Pune to focus harder on individual training. The mother of two worked on her defence and learned the technique of landing punches in bunches.advertisementShe said the training played a major role in her success at the Asian stage. “The decision to shift to Pune helped me the most. Since I trained alone in Pune, I could focus on my defence in a better way. Since I am short, I sparred against tall boxers in order to cope with the height problems. These two aspects help me put up an improved performance in Mongolia,” she said.With the medal, she also boosted her chances at May’s World Championships – the solitary qualifying competition for the London Olympics. “The main thing about my victory is that I achieved it in the 51kg which is an Olympic category, and beating a two-time world champion has also boosted my confidence. I want to cash in on the momentum at the World Championships since playing and winning at the Olympics is my ultimate goal,” she said.last_img read more

Delhi University’s Open Days to settle students’ doubts

first_imgOver 500 students aspiring to take admission in undergraduate courses at Delhi University flocked to attend the first of DU’s ‘Open Days’ counseling sessions where university officials answered queries on the best-four policy, sports admissions and additional eligibility criteria.University officials cautioned students to not fall in the trap of agents who claim to help applicants in getting admission in any college by paying extra money. “Be wary of people who claim they can get you admission in any college if you pay money. There is no management quota, no NRI quota in Delhi,” said J.M. Khurana, dean students’ welfare.Most of the queries from students were around the best-four policy for cutoffs and admissions for Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) and sports quota. Khurana said the best-four calculation will include one language, two academic or elective subjects and the subject in which admission is being sought. “In case a student does not include the subject, in which he seeks admission, in his best four percentage, he or she will face a deduction of 2.5 per cent,” he said.The ‘Open Days’ sessions will be held till May 30 from 10 am to 1 pm, except on Sundays, at the varsity’s conference centre.last_img read more

Are you as “social” as other nonprofits?

first_imgInterestingly, these numbers put nonprofits ahead of their for-profit counterparts in the small business world: “Ninety-six percent of nonprofits said they were on Facebook vs. 90% of small businesses. And 80% of nonprofits on Facebook reported posting on the site multiple times per week, vs. 66% of small businesses,” says eMarketer. Nonprofits said they were increasing their marketing spend on social media by 10% this year. Though to put matters in perspective, that may not be a lot in real dollars. Studies last year found 43% budget $0 for their social networking activities (aside from staff time).I think that the embrace of social media is wise for nonprofits for several reasons. While it may not drive big return on investment in fundraising dollars, it’s a relatively inexpensive and effective way of raising visibility, generating social proof around a cause and inspiring future actions in support of a cause.At the end of the day, most people come to learn and love a cause via friends and family. Through social media, nonprofits can facilitate and amplify that natural word of mouth. No wonder droves of nonprofits are doing just that. While nonprofits may be behind the curve in some matters, we’ve done a swift job of adopting social media. As I’ve noted here before based on past surveys, the vast majority of nonprofits are actively using Facebook and Twitter.Some new research featured in eMarketer bolsters that view:last_img read more

How truly great fundraising can flourish

first_imgOver the past year, researchers Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang have sought to answer the question, how can truly great fundraising flourish?It’s a timely question given that half of fundraisers want to quit – and a quarter of bosses said they fired their last fundraiser.The report – commissioned by the firm Clayton Burnett Limited – is out, and I wanted to share the findings. (You can get the report and executive summary for free at the firm’s website – just give a it a day or two for them to email it to you.)One answer was that organizations with incredible growth in fundraising have achieved that with the right people. Successful organizations have strong fundraising managers who achieve desired change through a combination of will and personal humility. They “devote considerable attention to what they regard as the critical building blocks of success, namely building an exceptional team, structure(s) and culture.”I’m going to highlight here some of the ways high-performing organizations built their teams. For additional findings, check out the full report.1. The manager built or retooled the fundraising team members and focused on a few, small early wins. This led to “improvement in confidence and morale, which became self-sustaining as individuals began to recognize their own potential to succeed. Technical expertise on the part of team members was important, but so too was conscientiousness, a willingness to support others, and a propensity to engage in appropriate levels of risk-taking.”2. The researchers note this shift in culture addressed turnover woes. “After the right team had been built, none of the organizations we examined suffered from the high turnover rates that otherwise pervade our sector. Being a part of a successful team appears to engender high levels of loyalty and our all our leaders were personally invested in their teams. The loyalty thus cut both ways. It was also interesting to note that those who defined their team more broadly, to include external agency personnel also exhibited a high degree of loyalty to that agency. Some were maintaining relationships with suppliers that had existed for over a decade.”3. Once a strong team was in place, they focused on the big picture in the right ways. Says the report: “We also found evidence in goal setting, that our outstanding leaders aligned their organizational metrics with the longer term drivers of donor value. Their objectives were couched not in the short-term minutia that typically pervade our sector, but in the standards and behaviours they identified would add value forsupporters and thus pay-back in the longer term. Their appraisal and reward systems were similarly aligned, to focus team member ambitions on the things that mattered most to longer term growth.”That said, the researchers also emphasized the system in which these people work: “Great systems are often more important than great people. A well-designed system filled with ordinary but well-trained people can, according to academic research, consistently achieve well above average performance.”I wish we saw more of these approaches. What works at your organization? Which of these ideas resonate with you? Who are your people and what are your systems?last_img read more

Three Ways to Humanize Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Outreach

first_img(Credit: United Way, Source: Peter Panepento/The Chronicle of Philanthropy)Social media is a fantastic tool to make your presence known online. But are you using it correctly? Many nonprofits are using it to promote themselves, but often in the wrong ways, said Peter Panepento, assistant managing editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, at the Washington, DC, edition of the Social Media for Nonprofits conference. He often sees nonprofits tweeting links to press releases or posting them on their Facebook page, trying to hijack their social media pages as an “official communication channel.”“Don’t use social media to be bureaucratic,” Peter told the conference. Social media is the perfect tool for PR, but only when the emphasis is on personal. Nonprofits should put a human face on everything and use social media to humanize your organization.” “You don’t need a big budget or to be particularly photogenic,” Peter said, you just need to be human. Here are three rules we learned from Peter on how to humanize your social media and tell a great story:1. Think like a reporter.Use your social media accounts to feature someone in your community that your group engages with such as donors, beneficiaries of your work, and local businesses that support you. Seek out someone that can answer the question, “Who cares? Why should this matter to me?” Remember that stories are about people, so feature the people who matter to your cause.2. Share your #fail.In 2010, the organization charity: water posted on Facebook for its September Campaign Live Drill. From Central African Republic, they produced a live broadcast when they attempted to drill for clean water-and failed. Peter highlighted charity: water because instead of trying to hide that something went wrong, they made it public, even writing a blog post about it. For every success, there is failure. “Followers really responded to seeing things that don’t work, you seem more genuine to your followers.”3. Give your supporters the megaphone.Think about how your supporters can help tell your story over social media. Invite them to talk about your work just like the United Way did for their 160th anniversary (as seen above). You can even encourage volunteers to be reporters by rewarding them: retweet them, call them out, and thank them. If you bake it into the volunteer experience, Peter said, “you’ll get more genuine language from people than you could otherwise compose.”For better social media engagement, follow these tips from Peter to humanize your organization. “If you can show the work that you’re doing and the people you’re serving, even if it’s not in a mud pit somewhere in Alaska but at your desk, that can be really helpful.”The Social Media for Nonprofits conference is coming to Austin, TX on August 13, 2013. Check out the conference agenda, and follow SM4Nonprofits on Facebook for the latest updates. Heading to Austin? Use our “N4G” discount code to save $20.last_img read more

Amplify Your Fundraising with Recurring Gifts

first_imgDoes your nonprofit offer donors a recurring giving plan? If not, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table and ignoring some very dedicated supporters. Small monthly gifts can add up to a hefty sum at year end—maybe as much as four times your current donation rate. If you’re looking for a path to sustainable income, setting up a monthly giving program is the ideal way to get there.What is monthly giving?Also called recurring gifts, monthly giving plans simply allow donors to give a specified amount every month. It’s common in Europe, where donors are comfortable with the idea of “subscribing” to charities in the form of an automatic monthly credit card charge or electronic funds transfer (EFT). European nonprofits typically have 80% of their donors on a monthly giving plan.In a recent Nonprofit 911 webinar on recurring giving, only 24% of participants said their organization has a monthly giving program. We have a little work to do here, but recurring gifts are starting to gain momentum.Who are your monthly donors? Typically, monthly donors are what we’d call small givers, as in $100 or less per year. Unlike once-a-year donors, however, they’re super-committed and really care about your organization and its mission. They give automatically and usually with no end date. In fact, some organizations have monthly donors who’ve been giving that way for 20 years or more.Recurring gifts are great for reaching smaller donors who want to make a bigger difference but can’t write that $250 check. Many are happy to give just $10 or $20 per month, which is like writing a big check but shows even more commitment.Why is monthly giving so important?The primary benefit to recurring gifts, of course, is having regular income to sustain your nonprofit’s mission. You can count on a certain amount of money coming in each month and throughout your planning year. You’ll also get more money over time. Let’s say you have 100 one-time donors who each give $35. That equals $3,500 for the year. But when 100 people give $35 per month for a year? That’s $15,500 to benefit your cause. You’ve more than quadrupled your annual revenue!Another benefit: vastly improved retention rates. New-donor retention rates average less than 23%, meaning that only 23 of 100 first-time donors give again the next year. Of those 23 who renew their donations, you’ll typically retain only 61%, or 14 donors. Monthly giving programs, on the other hand, typically enjoy retention rates of 86% after one year and 95% after five years. The moral of the story: If you want to increase giving, build sustainable income, and improve retention rates, including a recurring gift option on your donation page is an absolute must. Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “How You Can Generate Long-Term Revenue from Recurring Giving” with Erica Waasdorp, president of A Direct Solution and author of Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant. Download the archived presentation.last_img read more

Maternal Health in the Mobile Age

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on August 8, 2012Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Earlier this week, the Huffington Post shared a story on their Global Motherhood Blog, Maternal Health in the Mobile Age, that tells the story of one community health worker, Pushpa, in rural India who was recently introduced to a new mobile-based platform that aims to help her meet the maternal health needs of the growing population she works with.From the story:She then travels for close to two hours, often walking about five kilometers by foot in the hot tropical sun, to pass this information down to a health facility. Over the years, as the number of families in Pushpa’s village increased, she had to walk longer distances, and check on more mothers. Now, Pushpa agrees that her job has become more challenging and that she sometimes forgets. She knows she needs another way to keep track of the numbers, and to make sure that she can still look after every mother. With the help of the Maternal Health Reporter, a mobile-based platform developed by Global Health Bridge, Pushpa is able make this hope a reality.Read the full story here.Learn more about Global Health Bridge–and their work to improve maternal health in Jamkhed, India.Share this:last_img read more

A Fresh Focus on WASH, Maternal and Child Health

first_imgPosted on March 4, 2013March 21, 2017By: Charles Banda, Executive Director, Freshwater MalawiClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Imagine giving birth, or watching a loved one give birth, in a mud-floored hut without access to clean water or a basic latrine. This is the reality for millions of women in Malawi and other developing nations.In Malawi, approximately 30% of people in rural areas lack access to clean water and more than half lack basic sanitation. Malawi is one of most perilous places for a woman to give birth, with nearly 40% of rural women giving birth at home. The birth rate is among the highest in Africa, at over 40 births per 1,000 people, and the maternal mortality ratio is also exceptionally high, with approximately 460 deaths for every 100,000 live births.As Oliver Cumming of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine pointed out at the Global Maternal Health Conference (GMHC2013) in January, but the vast majority of home births in Malawi take place in a home that lacks improved water and/or sanitation facilities. Changing this will require taking on many challenges. For instance, upwards of 80% of Malawi’s inhabitants live in rural areas, so distance to health services is a major challenge. The geographic proximity to emergency obstetric care is a key factor in determining the risk of whether or not rural deliveries will be safe, but even in the presence of medical care, lack of access to a clean water source and sanitation facilities can lead to severe risk of infection for both women and babies. However, efforts are underway to improve conditions for birthing mothers in Malawi.Her Excellency, Dr. Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi, has recently sanctioned the President’s Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood to address barriers faced by women in rural areas to giving birth at a health facility. This is achieved in part through the construction of Maternal Waiting Shelters, which are built adjacent to birthing centers or health clinics, and provide a place where women can stay with an attendant prior to giving birth.The shelters will allow rural expectant mothers to make the long journey to medical clinics before the onset of labor, while providing them a space to wait until they are ready to give birth. The implementation of these new waiting shelters will reduce the risks that go with giving birth at home in remote villages with traditional birth attendants, often far from any medical, clean water or sanitation facilities.In order to further improve maternal health in Malawi, Freshwater Malawi together with its U.S.-based sister organization, Freshwater Project International, has developed an idea that is focused, but comprehensive it its approach. Our proposal is a pilot project that includes a community-driven, social work approach to the provision of a fresh water source (borehole) and sanitation facility (latrine) at a Maternal Waiting Shelter built adjacent to a health center/birth facility in a rural area of southern Malawi. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: The project will also include neonatal hygiene care/behavior change training and resources for healthcare professionals to implement with expectant women in the waiting shelters. A site-specific assessment study of the maternity ward at the health center and delivery of a 40-ft container of obstetric-specific medical supplies and equipment will be implemented by our partner organization, Project C.U.R.E.Monitoring of key health, social, environmental, and performance indicators will be used to quantify and demonstrate the benefit to maternal and neonatal health. The primary objective is to reduce incidences of infection at birth. The expected impact of the project includes a reduction in maternal mortality in the southern region of Malawi. This project is innovative because it utilizes a comprehensive, cross-sectorial approach to saving lives at birth through the provision of safe, sanitary access to WASH resources and further strengthens the obstetric capacity of the health centers. If the pilot project is successful, plans will be made to scale up the initiative at other Maternal Waiting Shelters throughout the country.For more on the WASH and Women’s Health blog series coordinated by WASH advocates, click here, or visit WASH Advocates.Share this:last_img read more

1000 Day Countdown to MDG Deadline Begins with Global Social Media Rally

first_imgShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on April 5, 2013March 13, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Today, April 5, marks the beginning of the 1000 day countdown to the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon sums up the current situation as follows:In the last dozen years, 600 million people have risen from extreme poverty — a fifty per cent reduction. A record number of children are in primary school — with an equal number of girls and boys for the first time. Maternal and child mortality have dropped. Targeted investments in fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have saved millions of lives. Africa has cut AIDS-related deaths by one-third in just the past six years.There are also Goals and targets where we need far more progress. Too many women still die in childbirth, when we have the means to save them. Too many communities still lack basic sanitation, making unsafe water a deadly threat. In many parts of the world, rich and poor alike, inequalities are growing. Too many are still being left behind.This, Ban writes, should spur global action in many areas, including renewed efforts to ensure that women and girls have equal access to services and resources, that draw on the energy of the  “government to grassroots” global movement that has helped spur progress so far.Taking up this charge, organizations around the world are taking part in the Momentum 1000 global online rally today. From Momentum 1000:April 5th marks the 1,000-day milestone until the 2015 target date to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a development framework to improve lives worldwide. On that day, a community of individuals, organizations, and institutions will come together to celebrate successes to date, reinvigorate discussion on the MDGs themselves, and begin to advance a post-2015 development framework that builds on #MDGmomentum.While many events will provide an opportunity to discuss maternal health in the context of the Goals, a few events focus specifically on MDG5 on maternal health. These include an 11:00 AM (EDT) Every Woman’s Right: Access to Family Planning at 11:00 AM (EDT), which will be hosted by the UN Foundation’s Universal Access Project, Family Planning 2020 and Every Woman Every Child; and the 11:30 AM (EDT) MDG 5: A Matter of Life and Death Twitter chat, which will be hosted by UNFPA. To join the rally or learn more about individual events, visit the Momentum 1000 website, or join the discussion on Facebook here, or on Twitter using the hashtag #MDGmomentum.For more on what the final 1000 Days means for maternal health and the other Goals, visit the MDG website for new fact sheets and ways to take action. In addition, visit the Lancet to read A Healthy perspective: the post-2015 development agendaby the heads of WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and other leading global health organizations, as well as the manifesto for maternal health developed at the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013.last_img read more