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US push for new definition of sexual harassment in PSE sparks debate

July 23rd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Education, News and Updates

Debate rages over Obama definition of college sexual harassment. The Obama administration wants a broader definition of sexual harassment to encourage more incident reporting.

To hear the critics tell it, President Obama wants to restrict free speech at college, interfere with campus dating and “de-eroticize” university life. The reasons can be found in a single line of the May letter from the Departments of Justice and Education to the University of Montana, Missoula—a campus long plagued by sexual assaults and shoddy sexual harassment prevention efforts.

The letter asks the school to encourage students to report what they believe to be sexual harassment on campus, regardless of whether the harassment is creating a hostile environment for students. It also sets a broad standard for what harassment means. “[S]exual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,’” reads the document. “Whether conduct is objectively offensive is a factor used to determine if a hostile environment has been created, but it is not the standard to determine whether conduct was ‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’ and therefore constitutes ‘sexual harassment.’”

It’s a minor legal point, but critics say it could have big implications that could prevent teachers from teaching sexually explicit books and implicate everyday classroom flirtations. Historically, most colleges—including the University of Montana—have defined sexual harassment as conduct that creates a hostile educational environment. As recently as 2012, the Department of Education upheld the “hostile environment” standard in agreements with institutions like Yale University. Under current definitions, a “hostile environment” involves behavior of a sexual nature that is more than just “unwelcome.” It must be “sufficiently severe or pervasive as to disrupt or undermine a person’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services, or opportunities of the University, including unreasonably interfering with a person’s work or educational performance.”

The Obama Administration believes that should still be the criteria for identifying a hostile environment. But they want a broader definition of sexual harassment to encourage more incident reporting. “To ensure students are not discouraged from reporting harassment, the [Montana] agreement allows students to report when they have been subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct, and requires the University to evaluate whether that conduct created ‘a hostile environment,’” said Dena W. Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. Separating the definitions of “sexual harassment” and “a hostile environment,” says another Justice Department official, encourages victims to let the proper authorities know about questionable behavior.

Conservative politicians, civil liberties advocates, and academics have criticized the broadening of the definition of harassment. On June 26th, Arizona Senator John McCain sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder questioning the Obama Administration’s powers to unilaterally emphasize the broader definition of harassment. McCain also asked if “a student giving another student a Valentine’s Day Card” or “a student listening to music that contains content of a sexual nature overheard by others” could constitute harassment under the new standard.

Academic professionals have also joined the dialogue about the implications of the DOJ’s resolution agreement. On June 6th, Professors Ann Green and Donna Potts of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) wrote a letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali expressing their concern that “a broader definition of sexual harassment may limit academic freedom for the teaching of controversial subject matter.” In an email, Professor Green reflected that the most worrisome characteristic of the DOJ’s agreement is that it does not concur with precedent, which requires sexual harassment to be “evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victim’s position.”

“While I applaud efforts by the DoJ to make campuses more safe for women,” Green told TIME, “the elimination of the reasonable speech standard is potentially dangerous when controversial material is taught.” The AAUP has encouraged the DOJ to adopt their definition of sexual harassment, which requires the input of a reasonable, objective outsider and states that in the teaching context behavior must be “persistent, pervasive, and not germane to the subject matter” to be considered harassment.

In May, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights publicly responded to an email from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an academic civil rights group, by arguing that the definition of sexual harassment in the Montana case does not change the legal triggers for liability. “Our letter and agreement require that the University of Montana’s policies and procedures consistently articulate the University’s prohibition of sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment,” the response reads. “At the same time, it is important that students are not discouraged from reporting harassment because they believe it is not significant enough to constitute a hostile environment. Students will be allowed to bring complaints when they have been subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct, and the University will evaluate whether that harassment has created a hostile environment.”

According to Lucy France, general counsel of the University of Montana, that means you can report that the annoying boy who sits next to you in class is being creepy, but that doesn’t mean the school will do anything about it. “The revisions currently being added to university policy,” she says, “aim only to clarify the procedures for filing harassment-related grievances, to establish protocol for adequately investigating and responding to allegations, and to train the school community in identifying and addressing sex discrimination and violence.”

So what does the free speech crackdown in Missoula look like? Are flirts being handcuffed in the hallways? Do social events now look more like a scene from Footloose than from Animal House? In a word, no. First of all, the Department of Justice’s agreement was published the day before final exams started, so most students and employees are unaware of it or have not yet been effected by the news. Missoula looks more like a ghost town than a college town in early July, but Professor Beth Hubble—co-chair of the University’s Council on Student Assault—says there is a team of lawyers and educators hard at work on policy revision over the summer.

For students at the University of Montana, the Department of Justice’s agreement and the changes being made by the school this summer mean a few things. First, they mean more email. The DOJ’s agreement requires the university to inform all students and employees of policy revisions. It also mandates annual, anonymous surveys to be distributed to all students. Indirectly, alerting the school community to changes being made could facilitate a more open and interactive dialogue about sexual harassment and discrimination.

Second, despite the qualms of civil liberties advocates, Montana’s curriculum won’t change. Beth Hubble claims that online commentators are misrepresenting how the DOJ agreement will affect academic freedom at the university. “It’s not about what faculty teach, it’s about what faculty do,” she says. “I can and do teach novels that have violent scenes in them, that have sexual violence in them. And I’m not going to stop that.” She cites Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale” as an example of a text that could be construed to seem inappropriate under the Letter of Finding, but then points out that the use of that text would not be considered inappropriate unless it created a “hostile environment” that denied or limited a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s education program. Says Hubble, “You teach whatever you teach, you just don’t hit on the students while you’re doing it.”

Some students may also get a new dorm-mate this year. There will be a “Campus Relations Officer”—a representative of the Office of Public Safety—living in a residence hall, attending meetings of the Council on Student Assault, and conducting trainings on harassment. Other students will be forced to take part in focus groups conducted by the university’s new “Equity Consultant.” In a post created by the Department of Justice’s agreement, the Equity Consultant will evaluate and recommend revisions to university policy, and conduct an annual survey with recommendations for the school By the end of next school year, every single student and employee will have taken part in the training or will be required to do so in 2014.

According to Hubble, a number of other colleges have asked the University of Montana for permission to use and adapt their mandatory training. Though she sees their requests as encouraging, others worry that nationwide dissemination of the DOJ’s findings and recommendations may do more harm than good. AAUP’s Green fears the DOJ’s actions will “deaden lively intellectual discussion and rigorous debate.” Even though the Montana “blueprint” did not explicitly limit academic freedom, she contends that universities are more likely to respond to it defensively rather than critically, which “could have a silencing effect on classrooms.”

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh says his concern with the resolution agreement “is less about what’s going to happen at this one university and more what message other administrators get from this in other contexts.” Volokh has accused the Department of Justice of trying to implement “broad speech codes,” noting that while the Obama Administration does not require universities to punish all behavior that fits the definition of sexual harassment, it repeatedly expresses the government’s intention to “prevent”, “prohibit”, “eliminate”, and “not tolerate” sexual harassment. Volokh says such language sends a powerful message to public universities that don’t want the Feds poking around their campuses. “It is true that they’re trying to get it reported, but they’re not just trying to get it reported,” he said, of sexual harassment. “They’re trying to make clear it is unacceptable.”

The Department of Justice says that they are in the process of crafting responses to Senator McCain and the American Association of University Professors that will clarify the precedent set by the existing agreement. Whether or not they amend their position, the results of their investigation now loom over every discussion of free speech, academic liberty, and gender relations on campus.

By 

July 10, 2013

Read more: http://www.justice.gov/opa/documents/um-ltr-findings.pdf

Canadian youth involved in politics, just not at the polls, study

July 23rd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Canada

Young Canadians aren’t formally participating in democracy. New report shows how we ‘get political’ between elections.

A new national survey on the ways Canadians “get political” between elections contains good news and bad news about youth participation in democracy.

The good news is that, contrary to the stereotype, people aged 18 to 34 say they are more engaged in civic activities any other age group.

The bad news is that Canadians in general have become “lightweights” when it comes to political participation and that fewer young people bother to formally engage in the party system which, as the report points out, has the power to make the big decisions about how tax dollars are spent.

Young Canadians are more likely than older adults to have circulated, posted, re-posted or embedded political information or content on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blogs, discussed a political or societal issue face-to-face or over the phone, organized public events or meetings about politics or taken part in demonstrations in the past 12 months, the survey says.

They’re less likely than those aged 35 and older to have contacted an elected official, attended a political meeting, volunteered for an election campaign or belonged to a political party. They’re also less likely to vote. In both of the last two federal elections, only about one-third cast ballots.

“If a healthy democracy requires active participation, then Canada is on pretty shaky ground,” concludes the report. “This is most pronounced when it comes to formal politics, which appears to have lost—or failed to build—cachet with most Canadians, and most critically our young people.”

By Josh Dehaas | July 8th, 2013 | 11:48 am

 

 

 

Should vocational training be introduced at high school?

July 23rd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Education

Do employers belong in high school? Some countries say yes.

Prince Edward Island is a great place to live, for all the reasons Canadians who head there on holiday know so well: the ocean, the people, the oysters. Yet this week its provincial government announced that it will subsidize the salaries of all postsecondary graduates by up to 70 per cent, an effort to keep graduates at home and businesses hiring. New Brunswick announced a similar program this past winter.

Across the country, the unemployment rate for postsecondary grads is lower than for students who’ve only finished high school. That is true for PEI as well, but its college and trade grads face poorer prospects. So in PEI, the government subsidy is a response to its very particular labour market.

International comparisons of education and employment outcomes often glide over such particularities. Last month, Canada was lauded by the OECD for how its college system connects graduates with the labour market and leads to lower youth unemployment. In its annual global education survey, the OECD found that youth employment in countries where vocational training was strong fared better in the last recession and recovered faster.

Yet a bit of rifling through the report suggests that Canada is quite unusual among countries with vocational education: We wait a very long time to offer it. As a result, we are one of the few countries where more people graduate from postsecondary than high school. We think that having lots of graduates from higher ed is good. But what if it means that we waste an awful lot of time in high school?

Compare Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovenia. There, partnerships between business and schools start in high school and training continues throughout one’s career, leading to promotions and advancement in spite of the “lack” of postsecondary credentials. It is this model that is now being talked up as a possible solution to the problem of youth unemployment in Europe. Germany’s labour ministerhas even said that university should be an option only after some kind of vocational training is completed.

Co-ordination at this level would be helped by something we don’t have: a national minister of education. And educational institutions at all levels willing to talk to the minister and build new agreements that value employment outcomes. Canada is still debating the extent to which education can or should be insulated from the labour market – we are decades away from being able or willing to emulate the German system. Our more autonomous approach might yet prove to be the correct one. In the meantime, provinces go at it alone: thus PEI’s wage subsidy.

***

What varies less between countries are the differences between men and women’s employment and salaries. These are nowhere as predictable as one might expect. Even as young women now earn more postsecondary degrees than men, their employment rates are 10 per cent lower on average.

When it comes to salaries, however, most women between 25 and 34 earn more than their male counterparts. Women with recent university degrees have salaries between 10 and 50 per cent higher than the men who sat beside them in class for four years. That last number is intriguing enough to revisit next week.

SIMONA CHIOSE

The Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

 

A Simple Retention Calculation Packs a Powerful Punch

July 23rd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising

In my experience, often in fundraising departments no-one actually has the word retention in their job title. Not so for acquisition.  Retention often hides behind the skirts of other programs.  It’s hinted at in words like “direct marketing”, “special appeals”, “supporter services”, “donor communications”.

It’s symptomatic of our approach to retention.  We focus on individual program delivery. We do it in bits and pieces, here and there and then cobble it together.  An overarching strategy that looks holistically at how we are going to grow our active supporter base and increase the amount that base gives is more powerful than a piece-meal approach.

Start with the following calculation.  The dummy example below compares the performance between current rolling 12 month period to the previous period – but you could use other time periods.  This calculation allows you to understand the movement of your entire base so you can benchmark your current performance and build your targets from there.

Retention Calculation

In the above scenario, even if reached your acquisition target of 3000 it wasn’t enough to stop your active base from shrinking.    Umm time to put a good overarching strategic retention and upgrade strategy together. How am I going grow my active base by 5% in year 1, 10% in year 2 and 15% in year 3. How am I going to get a higher percentage of my active base giving more?

Set the targets

It looks something like this.  To increase income by x% I need to reactivate 8% of the lapsed supporter base, recruit 12% of the current supporter base, retain 80% of the existing supporter base and have 35% of that base actually increase their gift.  I need to make sure that no more than 7% of my active base lapses.  Build realistic but ambitious targets based on what you currently know about your performance.

Build your strategy

Time to start pulling your retention and development strategy together.  First understand in detail where you are weak and what aspects you need to focus on to have impact.

Map out your supporter journeys from the point of sign up right through to when a supporter lapses.  Look at this by segment and by channel.  I normally break the stages down into welcome, engagement, upgrade, loyalty, reactivation.  By looking at these relationship stages and developing an overview of what happens at each stage and what our performance is gives a good insight into strengths and weaknesses.

It may be that in order to retain 80% of your existing base you really have to have a much stronger welcome process that retains a much higher percentage of your first year supporters.  For large regular giving programs the biggest dip in retention happens in the first six months.  Does your welcome process demonstrate a cut in attrition in the first 90 days?

acqret

Maybe you need to work on your upgrade strategy at the same time.  Who are you calling and how are you increasing their gift?   Our research shows that even those supporters who say no to an upgrade call have higher retention rates than those supporters who are not reached.

Make sure you have a strong delinquency management process and reactivation program in place (remember you need to reactivate 8 % to meet your supporter growth target).  Call quickly as soon as they become delinquent – and if they cancel attempt to start getting them back six months later. Test it and find out.  The general rule of thumb is that the longer you leave it the harder it is.

I’m not even covering the basics here – but if there’s just one point (or several) I am trying to make, it’s this.  Look holistically at how your whole supporter base is migrating over a given period.  Work out what your targets are for each of these segments (% to upgrade, % to remain active in the same segment, % downgrade, % reactivated, % new and % lapse).  Map where you are weak and what areas will have the biggest impact and work out your strategy from there.  Make sure your whole team knows what they are responsible for and what their targets are.

Imagine a photo being brought to life in the developer’s lab…the shape starts to appear and this thing called retention actually comes to life as a proper, breathing strategy.  This way you will have a lot more power to drive your results.

BY ANITA LEE
ON JULY 8, 2013 AT 2:00 PM

StatsCan data confirms unemployment holding steady

July 23rd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Education

The youth unemployment rate has held steady at 13.8%, which is only .2% higher than in May and virtually the same as in June 2012, according to the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from Statistics Canada. The numbers are based on youth aged 15 to 24, and are seasonally adjusted, which means the results are adjusted by removing the effects of seasonal variations. StatsCan also released a study on “Changing labour market conditions for young Canadians,” which reports that both men and women under 25 years old experienced lower employment outcomes between 1981 and 2012, but that women fared better than men. Unemployment rates for women have only increased by .9% since 1981, while for men unemployment has gone up by 2.2%.

 

In June, employment was virtually unchanged and the unemployment rate remained at 7.1%. In the first half of 2013, employment growth averaged 14,000 per month, slower than the average of 27,000 in the last six months of 2012.

Over this 12-month period, employment grew by 1.4% (+242,000), and the total number of hours worked increased by 0.6%.

Chart 1
Employment

Line chart – Chart 1: Employment, from June 2008 to June 2013

Chart description: Employment

CSV version of chart 1

In June, employment increased in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while it declined in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Employment rose in professional, scientific and technical services, and declined in accommodation and food services as well as information, culture and recreation.

In June, employment was little changed among the major demographic groups.

Chart 2
Unemployment rate

Line chart – Chart 2: Unemployment rate, from June 2008 to June 2013

Chart description: Unemployment rate

CSV version of chart 2

Collection and estimates in Southern Alberta

Floods in parts of southern Alberta began after the June reference week for the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which was from Sunday June 9 to Saturday June 15. The flooding occurred towards the end of the collection period.

While collection activities slowed in the affected communities that were in sample, final response rates for these communities were within normal range. Therefore, it is believed that the impact of the floods on June estimates was negligible.

In July, questions on the impact of the floods on hours worked will be added to the LFS, with estimates to be released in mid-August.

Employment up in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

The number of workers in Manitoba rose by 7,300 in June, offsetting declines earlier in the year. This gain pushed the unemployment rate down 0.7 percentage points to 5.0%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up 1.5%.

Following four months of little change, employment in Saskatchewan increased by 4,300 in June. With this gain, the unemployment rate fell 0.8 percentage points to 3.7%, the lowest among all provinces. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province increased by 3.6%, the strongest growth rate in the country.

In June, employment declined by 5,200 in New Brunswick, returning to a level similar to that of December 2012. This decline pushed the unemployment rate up 0.7 percentage points to 11.2%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was down 2.2%.

Employment declined by 1,100 in Prince Edward Island in June, and was little changed from 12 months earlier. The unemployment rate was 10.9% in June.

Following an increase in May, employment in Ontario was little changed in June, as a gain in part-time work was offset by a decline in full-time work. The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 7.5%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up 1.6%.

In Quebec, employment was little changed in June and the unemployment rate was 7.9%. On a year-over-year basis, employment rose 1.2%, with all the gains in the last six months of 2012.

Gains in professional, scientific and technical services

Employment in professional, scientific and technical services increased by 27,000 in June. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment grew by 4.9% (+63,000), one of the highest growth rates among all industries.

In June, there were declines in accommodation and food services (-20,000) and information, culture and recreation (-15,000).

While employment in construction was little changed in June, it increased 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. Employment in this industry has been on an upward trend since the autumn of 2012.

Manufacturing employment has been little changed in recent months, following a decline of 71,000 during the first three months of 2013.

The number of private and public sector employees and the self-employed was little changed in June. Compared with 12 months earlier, growth among private sector employees was 1.2% (+137,000), with all the gains in the second half of 2012. At the same time, the number of public sector employees was up 1.5% (+55,000), with increases spread throughout the period. As for the self-employed, growth was 1.9% (+51,000), the bulk of which occurred in the first quarter of 2013.

Student summer employment

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market data about young people aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and who intend to return to school full time in the fall. The May and June survey results provide the first indicators of the summer job market, while the July and August data will provide further insight. The published data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons can only be made on a year-over-year basis.

Among returning students aged 20 to 24, the employment rate was 68.0% in June, up from 63.2% in June 2012. Their unemployment rate was 11.4% in June, down from 13.0% a year earlier.

The employment rate for 17- to 19-year-old students was 51.9% in June, similar to the rate observed 12 months earlier. Over the same period, the unemployment rate for these students declined from 17.3% to 15.7%.

Quarterly update for the territories

The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market information about the territories. This information is produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages. The following data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons should only be made on a year-over-year basis.

In Yukon, employment increased by 600 from June 2012 to June 2013, and the unemployment rate fell from 7.8% to 5.3% over the same period.

Employment in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories was little changed in June 2013 compared with June 2012. Over the same period, the unemployment rate was down 2.0 percentage points to 13.7% in Nunavut, while it was little changed in the Northwest Territories.

Direct Mail: 5 Ways to Save More

July 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising, Marketing

A perfectly-executed direct mailing campaign can do wonders for growing a business’s popularity. Even though electronic marketing has skyrocketed in recent years, studies show that 65% of adults in the millennial generation prefer to read something on paper (USPS Household Diary study).

If your mailing list is big and your mail is complex, direct mail campaigns can get expensive quickly. However, there are still plenty of ways to keep your direct mail fresh without breaking the bank. Here’s five.

Streamline Your List

Your direct mail campaign is only as good as your list. If you list is lengthy and not targeted correctly, you should be throwing dollars away as quickly as people are throwing your mail away. If your list contains residents who have since moved or even address that aren’t valid, you could be losing money.

  • Keep your list updated every year or so by reaching out to each household directly. Especially do this when creating a new campaign or adjusting your service.
  • Make sure each person on your list is part of your target audience. You should include only those who are likely to use your service or respond to your offer.

Adjust Your Vision

When formulating your new direct mailing campaign, design with budget in mind. If certain materials are more expensive to buy large quantities of, stay away from them. If some letter dimensions cost more than others to mail, choose a more standard size. Modify your campaign ahead of time if you know you will need to work within a tight budget. Be prepared to adjust multiple versions of your mail to cut down on production costs as much as possible.

Do It Yourself

One of the most obvious ways to cut down on direct mail costs is to take on more responsibility yourself, so you don’t have to pay for outside help.

  • Graphic designers can be relatively expensive, so try designing something yourself before hiring someone to do it for you. There are plenty of free tutorials online to coach you on making an attractive piece of mail.
  • Printing, packaging and mailing your letters yourself can also cut down on costs. Though it may be time-consuming, the latest developments in copiers and printing technology have made it easy to get professional-looking mail at a lower rate.

Save on Printing

If your mailing list is large and you do decide to hire an outside printer, be sure to opt for bulk discounts. Many companies offer discounted printing rates if you are looking to save some cash. Though they might not be the highest, glossy quality- getting your message out to everyone in your target audience is what’s important. You can also request an estimate from most printers, allowing you to shop around for the best deal before you decide.

Use a Postage Meter

Postage meters may seem expensive, but they can end up having your business a lot of money in the long run. If you frequently send out large direct mail campaigns, leasing out a postage meter could make your life much easier.

  • Postage meters allow you to print out your own postage labels and personalize them with each customer’s information.
  • They automatically calculate postage cost based on weight and dimension and save you multiple trips to the bank.
  • Once you register for a bulk mailing permit from the post office, you can use your postage meter to send out large amounts of mail at a discounted rate.

Your direct mail campaign does not have to be a huge investment. If you take the time to focus your audience and go through the mailing process yourself, you could end up saving your business time and money. However, you should be sure not to sacrifice quality for quantity or price, as your customers will likely be able to tell what corners you’ve cut by the appearance of your direct mail.

Posted by  on July 12, 2013

5 New Facebook Features Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About

July 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Marketing, Social Media

The landscape of social media changes so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up.

Social media giant Facebook has unveiled a slew of changes in recent weeks.

In order to maximize engagement on your Facebook page and use it to the best of your ability, it is important to stay on top of the changes.

Here are 5 new features of which you may not have been aware but could change the way you interact with your fans. Enjoy!

1) Yes, Facebook now has working hashtags!

What? Love them or hate ‘em, hashtags have been used for years on TwitterPinterestInstagram and most recently LinkedIn video-sharing site Vine.

Twitter’s Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. To put it simply, a hashtag is simply a way for people to search for posts/pins/tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation.

How? When you put the pound sign/hashtag # in front of a word of set of words with no spaces, a clickable link is created, and every image, post or tweet using that same word or set of words can be found all at once.

You can also conduct searches for a particular hashtag – example, #nonprofits#Socialmediatips – in the regular Facebook search bar.

Why? This is fantastic for getting exposure to new people.

For example, my business partner Jeannine and I went to Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle event in Woburn this week. We posted quite a few photos from the event to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine with the hashtag #sparkandhustle.

People also attending the event searched those platforms for #sparkandhustle, found us, and we increased our fans, followers and connections with like-minded women entrepreneurs.

Facebook hashtags work a bit differently. Unlike on the other platforms, when you click on a hashtag on Facebook, a pop up window will show you posts in order of popularity – which posts are getting the most engagement.

If you have already created a specific hashtag for your nonprofit or your nonprofit event, you can now list it on Facebook!

A great example is North Shore Medical Center and their annual NSMC Cancer Walk. They use the hashtag #nscancerwalk on all social media posts so they can easily find what they have posted in relation to the event and what others have posted (if the posts are shared publicly).

In addition, every hashtag live on Facebook has it’s own unique URL that you can link to – for NSMC Cancer Walk (#nsmccancerwalk) its: https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/nscancerwalk

Neat, huh?

2) Photos in comments

What? When you leave a comment on a Facebook post, you can now attach a photo with it.

The feature is being rolled out for pages. Currently I can only leave photo comments for personal profiles and not Facebook pages that I like.

How? When leaving a comment for a friend under something that they posted, click on the camera icon on the right hand side of the comment box and attach a photo. (GIFs, sadly, are not supported.)

Why? Why not? It’s fun!!

3) Instagram adds videos

What? When Twitter bought Vine last year, it was only a matter of time before Facebook invested in its own video-sharing platform.

The popularity of Instagram made it ripe to incorporate video-sharing. You can record a 15-second video clip or a collage of video clips, along with 13 custom filters to make your video a bit more snazzy.

How? You can take and post a video as easily as you can take and post a photo on Instagram. (If you find these videos annoying, you may want to disable the auto-play feature.)

Why? If you are already actively using Instagram, this is a much more attractive option than setting up and using a new platform like Vine.

Also, Vine doesn’t allow users to edit and delete clips in the video collage, and does not offer filters.

4) Facebook Insights are getting an upgrade

What? According to the Facebook Studio blog, Facebook has been getting feedback that their Page Insights tool needs to be “more actionable”.

In other words – how can businesses and organizations maintaining brand pages use the information in Insights to accomplish their social media goals?

How? The overhaul will:

Make certain metrics “clear and simple” – such as People Talking About This (PTAT) and Virality

Help page owners create and post more engaging content

Give you more detail about the people that interact with your Page content – this is so much more important than just an overview of the people who like your page, as they may never again see your posts.

Why? Page owners are constantly asking the question – Now that I have all the information about who is visiting my page and liking it, how do I use this information to build my business or organization?

The full details are here: http://www.facebook-studio.com/news/item/updating-page-insights

5) Replies to Comments feature

What? The “Replies” feature, enabled on your fan page, allows your fans to reply to specific comments made on a post.

How? Simple! Go to Edit Page –> Edit Settings –> Look at the bottom of the list of items, check the box that says “Allow replies to comments on my Page.”

Why? This is from Facebook: “Replies are shown below the comments, so it’s clear who’s responding to which comment. The most active conversations are shown at the top, and comments marked as spam are moved to the bottom. To view the most recent conversations at the top, click Top Comments and select Recent Activity from the dropdown.”

Previously, Replies and Comments were all over the map and not displayed in chronological order so it was difficult to see who was talking about what. (I never understood why this was, but I’m happy that they have corrected it!)

, June 27, 2013

When do costs matter?

July 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Marketing

When do costs matter? It depends

 

“There simply are NO reliable guidelines about how much it should cost to raise a dollar – no matter what the self-appointed charity watchdogs might tell you.” That’s Mal Warwick talking, after a lifetime spent helping charities all over the world with digital and multi-channel fundraising.

Is he right? The trouble is, of course, that any fundraiser saying things like that is vulnerable to accusations of self-interest. It’s rather like a doctor telling you there should be no limit on how much medical care should cost. But Mal, like every fundraiser I’ve ever met, is much more nuanced in his views than critics of the charitable sector might suppose.

“There are circumstances in which it would be embarrassing for an organization to spend more than a dime to raise a dollar – and those in which it would be worthwhile spending two or three dollars to raise a dollar,” he continues. “The only rule of thumb is, ‘It depends.’”

One size fits no-one

Imagine Canada and the Association of Fundraising Professionals agree. Their joint statement issued February 17, 2012 says, “Establishing a fundraising cost ratio is helpful but imperfect because it only measures a charity’s fundraising efficiency and cannot measure that charity’s overall efficiency or effectiveness. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer as to what an organization’s fundraising cost ratio
should be.”

It is advisable for all charities to take opportunities to explain that fundraising is an investment – not a cost – which requires resources up front.
– Institute of Fundraising Code of Fundraising Practice

If cost per dollar raised isn’t the yardstick, what is? And just how do we measure the true cost of fundraising? Does revenue from an event guest end with the gift portion of the ticket, or do we stop with the partial tax receipt for the ticket, or do we track the guest’s lifetime support and the new-to-us friends she brings to the next gala? How do you put a cost figure on relationship building? When donors hear the same message from direct mail, email appeals, newsletters and personal presentations, which outreach channel gets “the credit” that justifies its costs? What is the opportunity cost of using one more dollar for fundraising rather than programs? Or the time spent parsing and reporting on data rather than writing personal thank-you notes?

We don’t like to see our donations spent on advertising … How can we take market share away from the for-profit sector if we’re not allowed to market?
— Dan Pallotta

As expressed by the leaders interviewed for this newsletter, the focus must be on outcomes. How can we do the most over the long term with the money we raise?

The issue is not that we can’t raise a dollar for a penny’s worth of effort.

The real miracle is that in the midst of stretching every staff and volunteer hour and every dollar of revenue to respond to growing human need, we are still committed to finding time for this discussion.

Tracking our own mission results, comparing ourselves to peer organizations, sharing new approaches to measurement — these topics are on the agenda whenever fundraisers meet with one another, with supporters, networks and government agencies.

Do we demand to know what marketing firms are spending their money on? Do we demand that they spend a lean 20% on salaries? No, we evaluate them based on the work they accomplish. This is how we should be evaluating charities as well.
— Joel Bentley, Peer Giving

Even Charity Navigator, once notorious for equating low overhead with organizational worth, now admits that “mission-related results are the very reason charities exist!” Yes, they will incorporate measurements of effectiveness in their overall ratings of charities … in 2016!

It seems that even for an agency whose entire mission is about measurement rather than eradicating poverty, injustice or disease, it’s a huge challenge to measure mission results meaningfully. Its change of outlook demonstrates that charities are finally making a credible case for the supremacy of outcomes and the need for reasonable investment to achieve important goals. It’s heartening to see the conversation spreading, and the tide turning on this continent and abroad.

July 2, 2013  Janet Gadeski

US federal loan interest rates double

July 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Education

Interest rates on new college student loans double, but Congress could restore low rates later

College students’ interest rates are at the mercy of Congress.

The interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans doubled from 3.4 per cent Monday and could stay doubled unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns from the Fourth of July holiday.

Lawmakers from both parties, as well as the White House, vowed to lower that rate before students started signing loan documents this fall. But the rate now stands at 6.8 per cent — higher than most loans available from private lenders.

“In the grand scheme of all the loans that I already have, I suppose it’s not out of control,” said Angie Platt, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student who expects to graduate with at least $60,000 in debt.

“It’s just another thing to add on. It doesn’t help me, that’s for sure,” the Lakeville, Minn., native added.

Efforts to keep interest rates from doubling on new subsidized Stafford loans fell apart last week amid partisan wrangling in the Senate. Democratic senators and the White House both predicted a deal would be reached in Congress to bring the rates down again before students return to campus.

But if an agreement remains elusive, students could find themselves saddled with higher interest rates this year than last. Congress’ Joint Economic Committee estimated the cost passed to students would be about $2,600.

“It’s kind of surprising — that’s a big jump,” said Rebecca Ehlers, an Iowa State University senior majoring in math.

A $1,000 subsidized Stafford loan is part of her financial aid package and she said she’s reconsidering how she pays for school.

“I may work more or ask my parents for money rather than going through all that,” said Ehlers, 21.

She — like millions of others who use federal student loans to pay for their education — has some time before she has to make that decision. But not much.

“The only silver lining is that relatively few borrowers take out student loans in July and early August,” said Terry Hartle, a top official with colleges’ lobbying operation at the American Council on Education. “You really can’t take out student loans more than 10 days before the term starts.”

But that is little consolation for students looking at unexpected costs waiting for them on graduation day if Congress doesn’t take action before it breaks again for the month of August.

Students only borrow money for one school year at a time. Subsidized Stafford loans taken before Monday are not affected by the rate hike, nor are federal PLUS, Perkins or unsubsidized Stafford loans slated for the coming year.

“We’re telling members to advise students that interest rates are going up,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Subsidized Stafford loans go to needier students and often are coupled with other types of lending. Those loans make up roughly one quarter of all direct federal borrowing.

Both political parties tried to blame the other for the hike and student groups complained the increase in interest rates would add to student loan debt that already surpasses credit card debt in this country.

Lawmakers knew for a full year the July 1 deadline was coming but were unable to strike a deal to dodge that increase. During last year’s presidential race, both parties pledged to extend the 3.4 per cent interest rates for another year to avoid angering young voters.

But the looming hike lacked sufficient urgency this year and Congress last week left town for the holiday without an agreement. Instead, the Democratic-led Senate pledged to revisit the issue as soon as July 10 and retroactively restore the rates for another year — into 2014, when a third of Senate seats and all House seats are up for election.

At the White House, a spokesman predicted a deal could be reached before students return to campus.

“We are confident they will get there and that the solution will include retroactive protection for students who borrow after July 1 so that their student loan rates don’t double,” Matt Lehrich said.

Even when lawmakers return, there’s no guarantee there will be the votes to restore the lower rates. Efforts last week to reach a bipartisan agreement fizzled and there have been few examples of meaningful compromise in Congress.

___

PHILIP ELLIOTT / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JULY 2, 2013

Associated Press writers Ryan J. Foley in Iowa City, Iowa, and Stacy A. Anderson in Washington contributed to this report.

4 Canadian universities make CWUR top 100 list

July 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Education

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has released its 2013 list of the world’s top 100 Universities, and 4 Canadian institutions have made the list: the University of Toronto (29), McGill University (47), the University of British Columbia (58), and the University of Alberta (97). CWUR bases its rankings on the quality of student education and training, and the prestige and quality of the institutions’ research. The US has the greatest number of institutions on the list (57), as well as the top 2 schools (Harvard University and Stanford University)

U of T, McGill, UBC, U of Alberta among top 100 universities worldwide

Canada has four universities that made the list of the top 100 institutions for 2013, released by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR). The University of Toronto (29), McGill University in Montreal (47), the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (58) and the University of Alberta in Edmonton (97).

The top 10 universities are: Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Oxford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge, Columbia University, University of California Berkeley, Princeton University, University of Chicago and Yale University. The United States has the greatest number of institutions on the list (57) followed by England (six), Japan (six), France (five), Canada (four), Israel (four), Switzerland (four), Australia (two), Germany (two), Denmark (one), Finland (one), Italy (one), Netherlands (one), Norway (one), Russia (one), Scotland (one), Singapore (one), South Korea (one) and Sweden (one).

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the only global university performance tables that measure the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions. CWUR uses seven objective and robust indicators to rank the world’s top 100 universities:

1) Quality of faculty members, measured by the number of academics who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals

2) Publications, measured by the number of research papers appearing in reputable international journals

3) Influence, measured by the number of research papers appearing in highly-influential journals

4) Citations, measured by the number of highly-cited research papers

5) Patents, measured by the number of international patent filings

6) Alumni employment, measured by the number of a university’s alumni who currently hold CEO positions at the world’s top 2000 public companies relative to the university’s size

7) Quality of education, measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals relative to the university’s size

In addition to providing consultation for governments and universities, the Center for World University Rankings aims to provide the most comprehensive university rankings available, which are trusted by students, academics, university administrators, and government officials from around the world.

Rank Institution Country & Publications Influence
National Rank Score Rank Score Rank
1 HARVARD UNIVERSITY USA [1] 100 1 100 1
2 STANFORD UNIVERSITY USA [2] 99.41 6 99.93 2
3 UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD ENGLAND [1] 98.67 11 98.67 7
4 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY MIT USA [3] 96.25 16 99.59 3
5 UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE ENGLAND [2] 98.91 9 98.25 11
6 COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY USA [4] 97.93 13 98.32 9
7 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY USA [5] 99.16 8 99.22 6
8 PRINCETON UNIVERSITY USA [6] 72.72 58 71.91 35
9 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO USA [7] 80.42 37 88.73 21
10 YALE UNIVERSITY USA [8] 94.61 20 98.24 12
11 CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY USA [9] 80.33 38 87.88 24
12 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA USA [10] 98.89 10 98.32 10
13 CORNELL UNIVERSITY USA [11] 93.82 21 93.09 19
14 UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO JAPAN [1] 97.77 14 88.08 23
15 KYOTO UNIVERSITY JAPAN [2] 87.83 28 65.72 46
16 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES USA [12] 99.45 5 96.91 15
17 JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY USA [13] 99.52 4 99.36 5
18 SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ZURICH SWITZERLAND [1] 78.22 40 63.26 53
19 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY USA [14] 77.47 41 83.7 25
20 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO USA [15] 97.03 15 97.81 14
21 HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM ISRAEL [1] 55.81 >100 49.87 96
22 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO USA [16] 91.9 23 99.56 4
23 UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON USA [17] 94.7 19 77.47 29
24 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA CHAMPAIGN USA [18] 84.23 33 56.55 66
25 DUKE UNIVERSITY USA [19] 93.65 22 94.76 17
26 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AUSTIN USA [20] 76.58 46 52.7 84
27 IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON ENGLAND [3] 95.86 17 88.46 22
28 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY USA [21] 88.57 27 83.13 26
29 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO CANADA [1] 99.73 2 98.13 13
30 UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON ENGLAND [4] 98.46 12 95.9 16
31 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SEATTLE USA [22] 99.23 7 98.46 8
32 UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN USA [23] 99.66 3 94.53 18
33 WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE ISRAEL [2] 37.08 >100 52.57 85
34 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA CHAPEL HILL USA [24] 87.03 30 82.54 27
35 OSAKA UNIVERSITY JAPAN [3] 72.84 55 61.58 56
36 UNIVERSITY OF PARIS SUD PARIS XI FRANCE [1] 65.83 73 48.74 >100
37 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA USA [25] 60.29 89 51.55 91
38 PURDUE UNIVERSITY USA [26] 66.47 71 42.54 >100
39 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA USA [27] 72.81 56 63.58 52
40 SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY SOUTH KOREA [1] 74.59 48 41.85 >100
41 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER USA [28] 64.3 75 55.42 68
42 UNIVERSITY OF UTAH USA [29] 59.76 93 58.8 61
43 RUTGERS STATE UNIVERSITY USA [30] 77.3 43 60.53 58
44 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TWIN CITIES USA [31] 95.69 18 75.12 31
45 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH SCOTLAND [1] 73.38 52 71.13 36
46 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER DALLAS USA [32] 48.8 >100 78.13 28
47 MCGILL UNIVERSITY CANADA [2] 84.06 34 67.6 42
48 PIERRE MARIE CURIE UNIVERSITY PARIS 6 FRANCE [2] 86.76 31 64.76 50
49 ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY USA [33] 27.32 >100 72.03 34
50 PENN STATE UNIVERSITY USA [34] 87.41 29 62.39 54
51 CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY USA [35] 39.14 >100 33.86 >100
52 OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY USA [36] 86.47 32 62.21 55
53 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS USA [37] 88.99 26 65.61 47
54 BOSTON UNIVERSITY USA [38] 73.13 54 70.52 37
55 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA USA [39] 83.65 35 51.29 92
56 UNIVERSITY OF GENEVA SWITZERLAND [2] 52.78 >100 53.44 78
57 TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY ISRAEL [3] 61.65 83 46.92 >100
58 UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA [3] 90.3 25 69.73 39
59 UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND COLLEGE PARK USA [40] 74.52 49 53.62 77
60 KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE SWEDEN [1] 69.88 64 69.99 38
61 VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY USA [41] 73.15 53 69.5 40
62 SAPIENZA UNIVERSITY ROME ITALY [1] 63.95 76 41.37 >100
63 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY USA [42] 82.9 36 92.02 20
64 ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE ENS PARIS FRANCE [3] 27.87 >100 36.43 >100
65 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE USA [43] 67.76 69 56.43 67
66 TECHNION ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ISRAEL [4] 42.87 >100 36.38 >100
67 UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH GERMANY [1] 68.05 67 65.55 49
68 UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN DENMARK [1] 77.31 42 67.16 43
69 UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH USA [44] 91.21 24 72.18 33
70 KEIO UNIVERSITY JAPAN [4] 29.29 >100 35.12 >100
71 UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA USA [45] 60.47 88 53.99 73
72 UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER ENGLAND [5] 76.5 47 57.87 63
73 ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY USA [46] 50.99 >100 43.73 >100
74 UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH SWITZERLAND [3] 72.65 59 65.58 48
75 KINGS COLLEGE LONDON ENGLAND [6] 76.8 45 66.14 45
76 UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER USA [47] 54.98 >100 52.36 86
77 BROWN UNIVERSITY USA [48] 53.45 >100 51.73 89
78 UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA USA [49] 72.58 60 61.27 57
79 RUPRECHT KARL UNIVERSITY HEIDELBERG GERMANY [2] 62.45 82 59.07 59
80 TEXAS A M UNIVERSITY COLLEGE STATION USA [50] 66.26 72 41.05 >100
81 UNIVERSITY OF OSLO NORWAY [1] 53.83 >100 45.84 >100
82 DARTMOUTH COLLEGE USA [51] 35.35 >100 44.98 >100
83 SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY LAUSANNE SWITZERLAND [4] 50.6 >100 43.31 >100
84 UNIVERSITY OF UTRECHT NETHERLANDS [1] 79.97 39 67.06 44
85 INDIANA UNIVERSITY USA [52] 74.48 50 54.23 72
86 ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FRANCE [4] 29.23 >100 29.97 >100
87 NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE SINGAPORE [1] 77.01 44 47.54 >100
88 UTMD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER USA [53] 60.08 90 73.75 32
89 STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK SUNY STONY BROOK USA [54] 43.33 >100 46.26 >100
90 LOMONOSOV MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY RUSSIA [1] 31.78 >100 30.27 >100
91 NAGOYA UNIVERSITY JAPAN [5] 49.17 >100 39.82 >100
92 UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY AUSTRALIA [1] 71.2 61 48.24 >100
93 EMORY UNIVERSITY USA [55] 68.23 66 67.98 41
94 RICE UNIVERSITY USA [56] 34 >100 39.4 >100
95 TOHOKU UNIVERSITY JAPAN [6] 69.2 65 44.45 >100
96 AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA [2] 50.29 >100 41.7 >100
97 UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA CANADA [4] 68.04 68 47.57 >100
98 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI FINLAND [1] 65.55 74 53.43 79
99 UNIVERSITY OF PARIS DIDEROT PARIS VII FRANCE [5] 53.87 >100 52.32 87
100 GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY USA [57] 58.54 97 38.18 >100