Last time I wrote about laying the foundations for the new Kabissa – today I’d like to tell you about some of the building blocks we are using to create the new structure.
To stay on track to achieve our funding goal, we need to raise $2500 by the end of September. We can’t do this without you. Please forward this update to 5 friends and ask them directly to make a donation to Kabissa. Consider the math. 86 of us donated in August. If collectively we welcome 125 people into our community and they each donate only $20, we will handily meet our goal.
Thank you for doing your part.
In gratitude and solidarity,
Tobias Eigen, Executive Director
Every Kabissa Group gets an email Discussion List Despite the increasing relevance of social media tools like blogs, twitter, facebook, etc, the fact remains that the best place to connect with people remains their email inbox.
When we launched our new platform in 2008, we moved “beyond email” and focused our attention on enabling Kabissa members to create Kabissa Groups for their organizations to connect around blogs, news, polls and wikis. This service has been very powerful and useful for some members, especially those already with a social media strategy and blogging skills. However, for the vast majority of members, their engagement with Kabissa has been mostly one-way. They received notifications of new blog posts via email, but comparatively few people contribute to the blogs and responses have been few and far between.
Now each group has an email Discussion List, which means that group members can participate directly by email. Write an email to a Kabissa Group email address. Respond quickly and comfortably by simply replying to emails received from others in the Kabissa Group. All posts and their replies are posted automatically on the site and distributed to other Kabissa Group members. Repost the best information being shared on the blog and shared through social networks and the monthly member
We anticipate that our new Discussion List feature will greatly increase the usefulness of Kabissa Groups for all of members, especially those at the grassroots that have limited time on the Internet and struggle to have their voice heard on the Internet.
Learn more about Kabissa Discussion Lists and the newly developed open source software that underpins them.
Monthly Member Newsletter to resume in October
In our 2007 member survey, 80% of respondents indicated that they read Kabissa Gong Gong, our monthly member newsletter. One member wrote, “I believe this is the most useful aspect of the Kabissa Community, and I have found it very helpful in sourcing for informations and resources.”
Due to lack of resources and, admittedly, our enthusiasm for blogging and social networking, we suspended the newsletter this past spring and instead encouraged our members to participate in the blogs. This approach, as also indicated above, has had mixed results. In particular, it put those Kabissa members working at the grassroots at a disadvantage, since they only have limited time to spend on the Internet and are not able to log into various websites on a regular basis. It also excluded people around the world who care about what is happening in Africa but are not actively trawling the blogosphere for opportunities to connect with and support African initiatives.
In October we will start sending out Kabissa Gong Gong again every month, featuring the best content contributed to Kabissa Groups. Our objectives with the newsletter are to:
* Connect African organizations and people with like minded
organisations and people in Africa
* Connect International organizations and people with like minded
organisations and people in Africa
* Give voice to the lesser known organizations in Africa
* Keep organizations and people informed about opportunities and
how to better use Kabissa.org
* Generate more discussions and interaction on the blogs
* Demonstrate the inportance/value of Kabissa
You can subscribe to receive Kabissa Gong Gong in your mailbox every
Membership Database Upgrade Continues
In the last update, I shared the news that we are spending $4,450 of the money raised in August on a crucial upgrade to our Membership Database platform. This work is continuing and we hope to have the new upgrade in place in October.
This much needed upgrade will fix bugs and bring improvements to the way community members can add and maintain their organization profiles on Kabissa. It also will provide new features such as a completely overhauled user interface for administering the database and new tools for managing membership, donations, mailings, reporting and more.
In addition, this upgrade lays the groundwork for projects we would like to carry out in partnership with other organizations next year to leverage the benefits of the Kabissa platform. This includes in particular adding social networking features tailored for African civil society.
Turning on Content Translation Tools
Another common request from our members in Africa is that we provide Kabissa content in French and in other languages besides English spoken in Africa. Over the years we have resisted due to capacity constraints, and Kabissa has remained largely a community for English speakers.
Now that we are a volunteer initiative, there is no reason not to provide opportunities for volunteers to begin translating content and taking charge of community outreach in their languages. The platform we use provides content translation tools that will enable members to take on translation tasks and site visitors to see content and interfaces in their preferred language.
Expect to see more news on Kabissa site content translation in future progress reports, as well as a menu to switch languages on the Kabissa website. For a preview, click here to see the beginnings of the French site.
- If you have not already done so, please FAVORITE Kabissa on Global Giving and LIKE us on Facebook. Thanks for all you do! **
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