So why websites and social media?
Since January 2014 I’ve been the website and social media manager for a local (Mass/RI) non-profit group doing work in Liberia (Love Lights the Way). I have had a love for Africa for decades, I had some friends of friends involved on the board of LLTW, I contacted them through the website and the rest is history. It has been an amazing experience for so many reasons. Before that I had never touched the backside of a website and was (and still am) pretty modest in my own social media (mostly Facebook) posting, but that’s where their need was and I was like “Heck yeah, I can do that!”
I immediately educated myself on how non-profits should market and use social media for increased awareness and donations. There is so much available online: articles, entire organizations, lectures, free pamphlets, etc. on what works best to get the results that non-profits need. If any one is wondering how you find all this: let me just say “Google” will help you more than you can ever comprehend. And if you need more than that: it’s www.google.com and you type in whatever you want information on. It’s an incredible and brilliant tool. Try it. For everything. Including “what poison ivy looks like” or “how to get a set in stain out of a shirt”.
I also started following many organizations on Facebook who are doing somewhat similar stuff in the world and mostly in Africa. Some small organizations, some big. Watching what they are doing in their organization and also in how they are doing their postings.
I was an art minor in college, and have a decent eye for design and experience in some design software so I also used/use that in much of my work for LLTW.
I’ve known for a while (in Dec 2013 I said I “have to go”) that I wanted to go to Africa to help in someway. I found so many promising and interesting organizations looking for volunteers through workaway.info (I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone who wants to volunteer/spend some time anywhere in the world!). At the time, I mostly wanted to teach and get involved with both the primary and secondary education systems (elementary and highschool) and adult education programs. When I looked at their websites, my first thoughts were often “I see lots of ways I can help this site”. Especially if it was going to be a template type of site, like the one LLTW uses, I knew I could make a lot of easy improvements that would help their sites be more attractive and easier to understand for their prospective donors.
One of the organizations didn’t have a website at all and wanted me to help get them one. That was a big step up for me, because at that time I had only managed and edited a previously existing website and never built one from scratch. But I was like “Heck yeah, I can do that!” So I started to teach myself using lots of online tools, youtube tutorials, I enrolled in some awesome and very helpful all women coding classes (Women’s Coding Collective) and I started building my first website which is the one you are reading. And I’ve started working on my second site, which will eventually roll into the site for the African organization I mentioned.
And that’s pretty much the story. I think I have a lot to offer and there is so much I want to learn from the African organizations. Right now, my social media and web skills are the most marketable ones and I love doing it, so I can’t wait to see what the future holds.