The number one villain in the way of good decisions

first_imgOne of the worst things we can do when making decisions is to frame them too narrowly. This can lead us to the wrong thought process – and false choices.As Dan Heath puts it in his new book, “The first villain of decision making, narrow framing, is the tendency to define our choices too narrowly, to see them in binary terms. We ask, ‘Should I break up with my partner or not?’ instead of ‘What are the ways I could make this relationship better?’ We ask ourselves, ‘Should I buy a new car or not?’ instead of ‘What’s the best way I could spend some money to make my family better off?’”Or – to put this in nonprofit terms – we ask, “Should we have an event or not? Should we blog or not? Should we get rid of that board member or not?”Dan’s new book Decisive is all about this kind of problem. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work provides practical ways to beat narrow framing and other villains of decision making. Here are two of his tips (and I quote):1. Consider opportunity cost. If you are considering an investment of time or money, ask yourself, “What is the next best way I could spend this time/money?” If you can’t come up with any other combination that seems enticing, you should feel more confident that you’re making the right investment. 2. Multitrack your options. Always try to think AND not OR. Can you avoid choosing among your options and try several at once? For instance, if you’re deciding whether to invest time in Spanish lessons or ballroom dancing classes, do both for a while until one of them “wins.” Or, rather than hire one employee out of three candidates, could you give all three a 2-week consulting project so that you can compare their work on a real-world assignment?For more tips, join a free Network for Good webinar with Dan today at 1 pm Eastern. Register here.PS for fun, here is one of Dan’s great teaching videos on giving better presentations. It draws on his book, Made to Stick.last_img read more

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Lack of Public Trust in Charities and What to Do About It

first_img Since 2002, donors increasingly believe that charitable organizations “waste” money—on staff salaries, fundraising expenses, or other core costs considered administrative or not directly benefiting programs. Furthermore, nearly half of those polled were mostly concerned about how organizations use their money. This was also the top concern in the Money for Good study released last year. Since 2002, donors increasingly believe that charitable organizations “waste” money—on staff salaries, fundraising expenses, or other core costs considered administrative or not directly benefiting programs. You know what comes next: Donors favor organizations with low administrative and fundraising costs. In fact, 54% of donors like charities that get good ratings by validators like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau, which seem to reward the “lean and mean” organizations. And now we are squarely back in the thick of the Overhead Myth.Quite a bit has been written and discussed about the Overhead Myth and the charity “watchdogs” or validators, so I won’t add to that debate here. Without a doubt, the measure of nonprofit performance has gotten stuck on financials. This is only one part of the story of an organization’s effectiveness. Nonprofits that have the resources to invest in talent, systems, and infrastructure are more likely to be successful, which is directly seen in their programs’ impact and results.So, if we know donors are scrutinizing charities more than ever and questioning how nonprofits are using their money, how can we restore donor confidence? Change the conversation. Share your vision and plans for the future. Celebrate your successes, and be honest about your challenges and how you are addressing them. Quantify your results and impact, both in numbers and stories.If donors see that you are doing good work with visible results, then the “administrative” costs and how you spend money on staff and fundraising, for example, fit within a broader context of organizational effectiveness. It then makes sense that having the financial resources to pay competitive salaries to hire talented and experienced staff will lead to stronger programs and results. Fundraising expenses become part of your organization’s overall strategy for growth and reinvestment of revenue to create a stronger foundation for innovative and expanded breadth of services. You get the picture.Donor trust should never be assumed. It’s earned. While you may not be able to shift your donors from restricting their gifts to specific programs, you can inspire greater investment by positioning everything you need—from vision to staff to resources—to continue doing your work well. The 2015 Giving USA report announced that giving levels across the United States returned to record highs, finally restarting the philanthropic pause triggered by the 2008 recession.If donor confidence seems to have been restored and all is right in the charitable world again, why does a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy poll point to stalled levels of confidence in nonprofits? Of the 1,000 or so people surveyed, 64% said they had a great deal of confidence in charities. More than 50% is pretty good, right? So what’s the problem? Donor trust levels have stayed about the same since 2002, when Paul Light, a professor at New York University, started studying donor confidence.last_img read more

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How to Write Awesome Emails Your Donors Want to Read

first_imgWhen you want to contact your donors, chances are, you email them. And so does everybody else.Your donors, through no fault of their own, have inboxes that are constantly bogged down with messages from various organizations, businesses, stores, news outlets, and bloggers. And it’s a rare person who actually reads all of it.So, how do you “cut through the clutter?” Here are five tips to ensure your email reaches (and resonates) with your donors:Tip 1: Think Before You Write.Before you start typing, think about why you’re writing. What is the purpose of the email? Is it to get the word out about your nonprofit’s recent activities? Is it to invite donors to an event? Is it an appeal for donations? The most effective emails focus on one thing. In other words, don’t combine the invitation to join the peer-to-peer campaign with a program announcement and sign off with a donation request to fund a new roof.Sure, you have a lot of things to tell your donors, but unless this is your periodic newsletter (and formatted as such), keep each email to one topic. If the need is vital, it deserves its own email. Need help narrowing down your list? Write down what you want to say and prioritize the messages by need.Once you’ve finalized your email’s topic, it’s time to start an outline. “Outline?” you say. “It’s just an email. What do I need an outline for?” True – emails should be short – but again, we’re going for effectiveness here, and there’s nothing like an outline to keep your writing focused.Here’s what I’m suggesting: At the top of your outline, write the goal of this email (e.g. “get donations to the Spring campaign”). Then, jot down whatever supporting points or bits of information that you think will encourage your readers to take that action. Once you’ve got this bit figured out, you have my permission to start writing.Tip 2: Craft a Killer Subject Line.The hardest thing to write is always the first line. It’s no different when it comes to an email. And there’s a lot of pressure resting on this line, especially when 35% of people say that their decision to open an email comes from subject line alone. How do you write a subject line that convinces your donors to click?In the words of author Ann Handley, ask yourself: “WWYO – What Would You Open?”Many studies have investigated what makes a subject line effective, and they all seem to agree on a few key points:Keep it short, but on point. Too short and it’s not explicit enough, too long and you’ll lose your reader’s attention. Practically speaking, if the subject line is too long, it will probably get cut off in the recipient’s email reader. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 6-8 words.Personalization helps. People love reading their names. Use tokens to include your recipients’ name in the subject line, so it appears you’re addressing each person directly. And, in general, the subject line should relate to something that sets the sender apart or fits with a more narrow interest. For example, “How your dollars are making a difference?”Avoid sounding like spam. Certain words are spam triggers, and if you use them in a subject line, your donors’ email provider could move the message directly to the spam folder. Also, don’t use all caps in the subject line. Not only does it look like you’re shouting, but it also makes your message more likely to end up in the spam folder. Your subject line should relate to what it’s introducing.Tip 3: Make Your Copy Count.The writer’s classic, The Elements of Style, argues that every word of every sentence should serve a purpose, or be deleted. You don’t have to be quite so ruthless with your emails, but you should try to keep your messages short and succinct. Write no more (and no less!) than it takes to get your message across. Some studies show that the optimal email length is 50-100 words. Of course, some of your emails may need to be longer (like an appeal) but, the principle of brevity still applies.The email marketing platform in Network for Good’s donor management system has pre-built templates for appeals, acknowledgements, and more. Curious to see it up close? Click here to request a demo.And while we’re on the subject of your email copy, remember that you’re writing to humans. Humans have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be all business, all the time. If people find your emails warm, friendly, and even a little entertaining, they’re more likely to keep reading time after time.What else can you do to make sure your email is effective? Stay away from large “spray and pray” blasts to your entire list. Breaking your list into smaller segments allows you to write more effective messages. For example, the thank you message you send to recurring donors should probably be different than the one you send send to first-time donors.Tip 4: Have a Clear Call to Action.The body of your email serves one purpose, to draw your recipients to your Call To Action (CTA).Your CTA is what you want your recipient to do after reading the email. For example, if the goal is asking for donations, the CTA would be “Donate now.”Your email should always have one goal and one CTA. Let me repeat: it is always a bad idea to have more than one CTA. Why? Distraction. If you put multiple CTAs in an email, your audience is going to get confused and distracted. Worst of all, they’re not going take the action you want.Tip 5: Track and Tweak.How do you know if your emails are working? Your email marketing platform should show you two basic statistics: open rates and click rates. The open rate (what percentage of recipients opened your email) will tell you how successful your subject line was. The click rate will show you what percentage of recipients clicked a link in your email. To judge the effectiveness of your email copy, look at the click-to-open rate, which is the percentage of clicks from the people who opened the email.As a rule, always be testing. If that last subject line got a 20% open rate, see what you can do to bump it to 23%. If you had a high open rate and a really low click rate, review the copy and find ways to make it more compelling.There are a lot of options for email marketing systems, but only Network for Good donor management combines built-in email marketing with a personal fundraising coach to help you craft the perfect appeal. Develop targeted lists of donors from standard and custom filters. Then, draft your email from scratch or use one of our pre-built templates. All of the data from your email (opens, clicks, etc.) lives in your donor management, and your donor profiles are updated to show who got the email and how they responded. And acknowledgement tracking? That’s automatic. Click here to see it up close in a personal demo.last_img read more

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5 Tips to Make Events Donor Centric and Stewardship Focused

first_imgIt’s common for nonprofit board members and staff to express frustration with special events. Questions like “How does this event advance our mission?” or “Where are the major donors, new donors, and volunteers?” are typical.Many of these concerns are raised because your board and staff want to make sure donors (and potential donors) have the opportunity to connect with the organization at a deeper level and understand how they are supporting mission-focused programs.Instead of moving forward with the usual events plan this year, try focusing on these five things that will ensure your events are donor-centric and have a stewardship element.1. Give corporate sponsors opportunities for more involvement.Your event sponsors want to show they care passionately about the community.  They want brand visibility and recognition in ways they cannot secure through advertising. Sometimes they want to meet new people: ask them to sponsor tables at a gala or water tents at an outdoor event and place members of their team at those tables and tents. Invite the employees of the corporation to participate as event volunteers.2. Secure creative event partners.Think about co-promoting your event by featuring local artists or dancers as the entertainment. Ask seven chefs to be the feature of seven different food sites at the event. Ask individuals who have a wedding or reunion coming up to allow you to use the table decorations or flowers. Create centerpieces that reflect the mission or are made by clients.  Choose a venue that reflects the mission, perhaps a hospital main lobby after hours, a schoolroom, or a park where homeless sleep at night. Not only do creative partners help cut costs, these partners are given the opportunity to contribute to your event in a unique way. These contributions of a special skill or talent can be extremely rewarding or, it lets supporters make the event possible beyond a typical cash donation.3. Choose the right events for the right type of donor.Different events attract different personas. Think of the different donor personas that might be in your donor database as you are planning your special events for the year. The mission must be front and center to the “why” support the event. If the event is an auction, you need to ensure that the people invited to this event can afford the benefit items and expect high end items. If the event is a race, you need to attract people who can not only complete the distance and bring a competitive energy, but will also attract or influence others to support them, support your organization’s cause and follow their training and race progress. And for peer-to-peer fundraising events, these peer fundraisers must also feel comfortable sharing why they support and want others to support your mission.4. Leverage (and value) your board and volunteers.The board must be empowered to connect their network to the event to reach the goal. They need to be proud and excited to participate in the event and willing to speak to their personal “why” story. They need to make supporting your mission important to those within their circle of influence. Some friendly fundraising or guest count competition between board members can be motivating for some people. Facilitate, invite, welcome the board member ideas.Event volunteers must be a fun team, able to answer questions, and easily identifiable the day of. Making sure board and volunteers are happy and feel valued promotes leadership succession for your committees and continued involvement. To help make sure that event volunteering is a postive experience, think about why committee members and board members would expend effort in planning and executing the event. Instead of focusing on what you or the staff need people to do, stay focused on your volunteer and staff why to ensure the experience is a great one for those helping out.5. Plan for success.This means planning at the detailed level. Everything, from signing up for an event and buying a ticket online to paying for an auction item, reflects on your nonprofit’s brand. Instead of thinking about how this process can be made easier for staff, think about the process from the donor’s point of view. Use consistent wording on invitations, your gala program, and volunteer training notes. This is especially important when explaining the event’s mission impact. Receipts or reservation confirmations must be prompt and communicate what has been accomplished because of their vital support. If you’re doing an auction, items should be on display online as well as on the night of the gala to add to excitement and facilitate online bidding.Planning for success requires a communication plan that cultivates the guests and volunteers of the event. Many nonprofits are afraid of over-communicating the event. Don’t be! Part of this events communication strategy should include plans for cultivating volunteers, sponsors, event attendees and major donors after the event. Gather their feedback and thank them early and often. Have board members follow up with five new people they met at the event. And put their ideas to use: with these comments, prepare an even better event next year.Donor-centric events are stewardship events. You will find success with these events as long as you utilize them to bring new and existing donors closer to the mission and to thank major supporters of your cause. And remember to thank early and often: when buying a ticket, upon arrival at the event, upon departure and after the event is over. Remind them when the goal has been raised that the mission cannot be archived without their support.last_img read more

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6 Steps to Improve Your Year-End Strategy

first_imgIt may seem too early to think about your year-end campaign, but trust us…it’s not! The final two months of the year are a crucial time for nonprofits. The numbers speak for themselves — 30% of annual giving occurs in December, and 10% occurs on the last 3 days of the year. Now is the time to start planning how you’ll boost your fundraising efforts to attract the generosity of people who are focused on giving at this point in the year.The best way to create a strategic year-end plan is to base it on your donor data. Using this data will optimize your efforts, ensuring you don’t waste resources. In this post, we’ll share five steps for using data to inform your year-end strategy.1) Segment Your DonorsDonor segmentation is important for two reasons. First, it gives you a better idea of who your donors are, how involved they are in their chosen cause, and their giving habits. Second, it provides a way to deliver relevant, customized communications that will pique donors’ interest. The more personal you get with your communications, the more your supporters will feel like part of your team. Segmenting your donor list serves as the foundation of your year-end strategy. Use our Donor Segmentation Cheat Sheet to get your donor data in order today.2) Recruit Top Advocates, Participants, and Volunteers for a Peer-to-Peer CampaignPeer-to-peer fundraising (also known as social fundraising or simply P2P) leverages your network of supporters to fundraise for you. Social fundraising campaigns are most successful when the campaign has a firm deadline — which is why they’re perfect for year-end fundraising. You can tie your P2P campaign to the theme of giving thanks, the holidays, or plan one that celebrates the upcoming new year and ends on January 1.Once you’ve segmented your list according to the detailed data on your contacts, you’ll know who to recruit for your P2P campaign. Focus on those who are consistently involved with your work, whether they volunteer, contribute financially, or simply spread the word about your organization.3) Promote Your Monthly Giving Program Across All ChannelsThe end of the year is an ideal time to promote your monthly giving program. People are in a giving mood, and they’re setting resolutions for the new year. Make it easy for them by inviting them to join your team of active, monthly supporters. Make the most of your monthly giving program in your year-end campaigns. Feature it in your email and direct mail appeals, promote it on your social media accounts, make it the default donation frequency on your giving page.You can promote your program across all your channels in a variety of ways. The first step in gaining new supporters is to make them aware of the opportunity. Again, use your segmentation to send messages customized to each group of donors.4) Approach a Major Donor for a Matching GiftMatching gifts increase not only the revenue per solicitation, but also the response rate of campaigns. There are several reasons why matching gift campaigns work, not the least of which is the desire to be part of a meaningful movement.Year-end campaigns gives you a reason to approach a major donor for a matching gift. Again, this time of year is when people are already in a giving mood, and they’re looking for opportunities to get involved. If you present a major donor with an innovative campaign idea at this time of year, the chances are high that she or he will agree. Scan your data to see which major donors are likely to be open to this idea and focus on those donors first.5) Build Direct Mail and Email Templates Specifically for Year-EndSwitch things up by creating special branding for your year-end communications and donation page. Celebrating the end of the year will get people freshly excited as they see you making the most of this time of year. These banners and templates might include snippets of what you and your supporters have accomplished together throughout the year. Use your data to see which donors celebrate which holidays and customize your direct mail and email templates accordingly.6) Create a CalendarAs you’re brainstorming ideas and creating to-do lists, don’t forget to plan out your calendar in detail. Once you’ve decided what your year-end strategy will consist of, create a calendar that outlines the tasks associated with each campaign and tactic and specifies who within your organization will be responsible for each. From #GivingTuesday to holiday cards to major donor phone calls, assigning dates to the campaigns and tactics you intend to implement will ensure nothing gets lost in the hubbub. You’ll also be able to identify opportunities you missed by noting any holes in your calendar that could be filled. Schedule your social media posts, note which hashtags you’ll use, and include links to relevant materials.Be Sure to Send Your Thank YousStart the new year right! Follow up your year-end campaign by using the first week in January to send your thank yous, expressing gratitude for the role your supporters play in the work you’re doing together. These thank yous will reinforce the good vibes and motivate donors to continue their support.Close out the year with a bang by taking advantage of your donor data. Create a targeted, effective strategy by following the steps we’ve outlined and rest easy knowing that your strategy is based on a firm foundation.last_img read more

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Women in Philanthropy Profile: Janet Cobb

first_imgA native of California, Janet Cobb currently serves as one of Network for Good’s Personal Fundraising Coaches. She has lived and worked in Oregon, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, before finally calling Chicago home. Cobb has thoroughly enjoyed her professional experiences in the culinary arts, in the high school classroom, and in fundraising and development; not to mention the gift of being a wife and a mother to three children who have become phenomenal young adults.Coaching NonprofitsWhat’s involved with your coaching process?In my role, I work with small nonprofits across the country to help them strategize around their fundraising efforts, particularly through the effective use of online fundraising, donor management, and communication tools. Together, we coordinate an integrated communication and fundraising plan that is data-driven and right-sized to fit each individual organization’s capacity to implement. I offer strategic and practical advice along with encouraging and supportive accountability.How long have you been a fundraising consultant?I’ve engaged in various aspects of fundraising throughout my career in the nonprofit arena and transitioned into coaching and consulting in 2013.How did you get started in nonprofit work?I’ve been a “do-gooder” my entire life and have worked within the nonprofit industry—in programming, administration, and fundraising—in some capacity my entire career. Working primarily in smaller nonprofits and schools, the program staff was often responsible for fundraising efforts. I remember in the 1980’s, conducting a ‘monthly giving’ program via snail mail when our donors mailed in $1 bills each month, sorting bulk mailings by zip code on tables in the retreat house dining hall, and sponging stamps long before self-stick existed. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I was heavily involved with strategic planning and grant-writing focused on transforming outdated classrooms and libraries into 21st century learning environments. By 2004, I moved more directly into fundraising and development work. Since then, I’ve been responsible for donor communications, database management, special events, major gifts, strategic planning, and capital campaigns—sometimes all at once.What keeps you in the nonprofit sector?I believe in the power of empowering others. The nonprofit sector declares that “we” are all in this together instead of “every ‘man’ for himself.” I believe in the interdependence of the community that fosters the independence of individuals within that community.What do you enjoy most about coaching fundraisers?Through coaching, I get to work with so many fabulous nonprofits that do great work in their own corner of the universe—doing good to make the world a better place. Fundraising is about engaging in conversation with others who care about what you care about, so that the donor has the opportunity to make an impact in a way that is meaningful to them. I enjoy sharing the skills I’ve acquired with others to make a positive impact.What’s your proudest accomplishment with the organization?My proudest accomplishment as a coach is that I’ve been able to support the fundraising efforts of more than 150 small and early-stage nonprofits who have a passion for their mission but can benefit from encouraging and supportive accountability around fundraising. I get to help bring their vision to reality!Women in Philanthropy is an ongoing blog series in celebration of Women’s History Month, featuring some of the incredible women Network for Good has the pleasure to work with.Read more on The Nonprofit Bloglast_img read more

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Video: Segmenting Donors for Better Engagement

first_imgIf you’re just getting started with donor segmentation, or need new ideas on how to segment donors for better outreach, our Donor Segmentation Cheat Sheet offers great tips on how to generate donor lists by giving level, donation date, and campaign fund. Use the template to record your donor totals, date of list, and any notes for data analysis. Getting to know your donors takes a little extra effort; but you’ll see the benefits in engagement levels, donor retention, and ROI. Donor segmentation is an essential part of every fundraiser’s work. Segmenting is the first step to knowing your donors better. Grouping donors by certain criteria or segments gives you a better idea of who is in your donor management system based on giving habits, location, involvement, and more.Segmentation not only tells you who is in your system, but also helps you send relevant, personal communications to each group of donors. From your e-newsletter to your direct mail appeals, you can never segment your audience too much. The more personal you can make your outreach, the more your supporters will feel connected to your work.At Network for Good, we encourage the same approach in getting to know your donors, volunteers, and other supporters. Network for Good’s donor management system helps nonprofits quickly and confidently target their donors with the right appeal, and send it out at the right time. Read more on The Nonprofit Bloglast_img read more

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Uganda Policy Makes Protecting Pregnant Mothers From Malaria a National Priority

first_imgPosted on April 23, 2015June 12, 2017By: Allen Namagembe, Research Coordinator, PATH Uganda OfficeClick 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)As we gear up to celebrate World Malaria Day this Saturday, April 25th, we’ll be featuring posts that highlight work currently happening to protect women and their babies from malaria in pregnancy.Rachel Jocb, 28, who is pregnant with her second child, attends an antenatal clinic at the Kuje Primary Health Care Center. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/PATHFor any expecting mother there are many things to worry about – from ensuring her growing baby’s health to making preparations to welcome him or her into the world. Imagine if one of those concerns was malaria. For the 1.6 million Ugandan women who live in areas where malaria is endemic, contracting malaria while pregnant is a dangerous reality.Malaria in pregnancy, or MiP, significantly increases the risk of serious health issues for both mother and baby, including maternal anemia, miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity and low birth weight. Since 2001, the government of Uganda has been making strides to include malaria prevention for pregnant women in their health policies. In fact, they integrated a MiP policy into national malaria guidelines in 2011. However, the policies were loosely coordinated, not fully implemented and did not reflect the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2014 revised recommendations for preventing MiP with a package of key supplies and interventions.One of the WHO-recommended supplies is a simple, cost-effective antimalarial drug called sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine that is used for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, or IPTp-SP. In Uganda—even though 90 percent of pregnant women receive antenatal care—40 percent of those women do not receive this preventive treatment at the recommended level. WHO’s new guidelines increased the recommended preventive drug’s dosage for pregnant women from three doses to seven, creating an even wider gap in protection for expecting Ugandan mothers.A group of advocates, led by PATH and including WHO, Jhpiego, CHAI, and the President’s Malaria Initiative, knew that if Uganda’s MiP policy could be better coordinated and updated to align with global standards, it could help reduce malaria rates among pregnant women.The advocates sought to achieve these system improvements in three stages:Research and map MiP policies and responsibilities across government programs and departments to identify policy obstacles or gaps and identify key decision-makers and influencersForm an Action Group to develop a shared vision for MiP prevention across multiple governmental departments and define roles for MiP work within the Ministry of HealthConvene the government’s existing Maternal and Child Cluster working group to draft an addendum that would align Uganda’s policies across government ministries and update the recommended IPTp-SP dosage to match global recommendationsThe result of this advocacy work was a health triumph. The Ugandan government adopted this important addendum as national policy early this year. The advocates played a critical role by speeding up an otherwise lengthy process through active coordination and compiling and sharing evidence to convince policymakers that an innovative preventive treatment would improve health outcomes.The policy adoption makes MiP prevention a national priority and will ultimately help remove the burden of malaria among expecting mothers in Uganda.No woman should have to worry about malaria during pregnancy. Thanks to the Ugandan government, strong advocates and a simple drug with a complex name, Uganda is now on track to making that vision a reality.Learn more about PATH’s MiP advocacy efforts in Uganda here. For information about PATH’s advocacy capacity support, please visit sites.path.org/advocacyimpact.This post is part of the blog series “Increasing access to maternal and reproductive health supplies: Leveraging lessons learned in preventing maternal mortality,” hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition/Maternal Health Supplies Caucus, Family Care International and the USAID-Accelovate program at Jhpiego which discusses the importance and methods of reaching women with lifesaving reproductive and maternal health supplies in the context of the proposed new global target of fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 births by 2030. To contribute a post, contact Katie Millar.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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Global Leaders in Maternal and Newborn Health: Dr. Clara Menéndez (Spain and Mozambique)

first_imgPosted on November 23, 2016January 6, 2017By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick 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)In July 2016, global leaders gathered for the second annual Safe Mothers and Newborns Leadership Workshop hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) in partnership with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and The Aga Kahn University and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The participants represented 26 countries from five continents.Professor Clara Menéndez, one of the faculty leading the workshop, is a research professor at the Institute of Global Health at the University of Barcelona, and she was also one of the founders of the Manhica Health Research Center in Mozambique. She has spent most of her career studying how anemia, malaria and other infectious diseases affect mothers and infants. Having worked extensively in The Gambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, Professor Menéndez serves as a consultant for the World Health Organization on malaria control in children and pregnant women.S: Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.C: I’m the Director of the Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Initiative at the Institute for Global Health at the University of Barcelona. I also coordinate activities at the Manhica Health Research Center in Mozambique. I enjoy thinking about innovative, affordable ways to improve the health of pregnant women through clinical research in countries where their lives are at the greatest risk.S: What are the biggest challenges in maternal and newborn health? C: The biggest problem is coordination. There is a lack of coordination between researchers and the stakeholders with political power who can make a difference. We have the scientific evidence necessary to improve maternal and newborn health—that’s not the problem. There have been efforts to coordinate better, especially under the Sustainable Development Goals, but there is much to be done.S: Have you noticed a gap between research and practice in particular?C: Yes, I see that gap every day. There’s a gap between the guidelines that are published by large organizations and ministries of health and what is actually done in the clinic. There are many reasons for that: Health system fragility and a lack of resources are two big ones. Many guidelines or policies are evidence-based and nicely written, but they’re not implemented effectively. There are so many recommendations that aren’t being followed on the ground. Sometimes health workers don’t know which recommendations to follow because different organizations have different guidelines.S: What characteristics are important for good leadership?C: We need leaders with a vision who think globally and long-term. Capacity for dialogue and team coordination are also important.S: What would you like MHTF readers to know?C: Giving birth is the most dangerous time in a woman’s life. Equity in maternal health is crucial—all women should have the same rights, resources and chances of surviving delivery. Access to services is very unequal in many countries, especially based on socioeconomic status, ethnicity and whether a woman lives in an urban or rural area. Every woman has a right to have a skilled birth attendant. The disparities between the wealthy and the poor are actually increasing in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Mozambique. Politicians must realize that this is not acceptable. Improving equity is especially challenging in countries with weak health systems and fewer resources, but that’s not an excuse: All countries should work towards creating equity.—Check out the other interviews in the Global Leaders in Maternal and Newborn Health blog series.Read another interview with Dr. Menéndez about malaria in pregnancy on the MHTF blog.Learn more about the Safe Mothers and Newborns Leadership Workshop.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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Midwives on the Edge—Providing Essential Care in Crisis Settings

first_imgPosted on June 26, 2018June 29, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick 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)Sera Bonds, CEO/Founder, Circle of Health InternationalAcross many settings, midwives are key players in the maternal health workforce. The Maternal Health Task Force’s Kayla McGowan recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sera Bonds, Founder/CEO of Circle of Health International, for her insight into successes, challenges and the role of midwifery in crisis settings.KM: Please describe your background and work in maternal health.SB: I have an undergraduate degree in women’s studies. I went to midwifery school, direct entry—I’m not a licensed or practicing midwife, but I have training in midwifery. I have a Masters in Public Health; I went to Boston University where I focused my studies on complex humanitarian emergencies and reproductive health. I founded Circle of Health International in 2004 in response to a gap that we saw in the sector of disaster management and complex humanitarian emergencies—that midwives were not included and prioritized in those responses. That did not make a lot of sense given that outside of the United States, midwives deliver most of the world’s babies. And if you are introduced to communities through the midwives in that community, that introduction is embedded with a level of trust that really can’t be replicated for someone from the outside coming in. Midwives are privy to a lot of information outside of things like the number of pregnancies, how breastfeeding went, that sort of thing. They know [about intimate partner violence], who lives in poverty, whose kids go to bed hungry, they know family histories. When you know those people in a community, you know immediately so much more about their needs than you would if you just came in from the outside or went to the ministry or different folks in the community. We really prioritize midwives—that’s where we started in 2004.KM: Could you talk specifically about your work related to midwifery in crisis settings?SB: Over the last 14 years, the organization has worked in 22 different countries, and the crisis settings have ranged from acute conflicts—we’ve been working in Syria for seven years—to rural Tanzania where they have high rates of teen pregnancy and HIV as well as poverty. We have been working in south Texas on the Mexico border for the last four years supporting a refugee clinic, though most of the folks that come to the clinic are asylees or migrants. The clinic sees people immediately upon their release from border patrol, so we are their first stop.We’ve also been doing a lot of disaster work in America as hurricane seasons pick up and up and up. Our primary responses last year were Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Because of the populations that we work with, we also do some work related to human trafficking.We have been engaged in human trafficking advocacy and training for different social service agencies, medical schools, and clinics to help those who are working in clinical settings in places where there are high instances of human trafficking support survivors. The more you can know about a person—not just their clinical history—the better the care.KM: Can you describe the impact so far?SB: Over the last 14 years, we have reached over three million women and children with services or support either directly or through our local community-based partners. We have trained over 7,000 health care providers—including medical students—and we have provided well over one million dollars in supplies and equipment.We really try to have all of the work we do be informed and led by the people who are directly impacted. As part of our response in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, for example, we hired a local evacuee woman who had been relocated to Austin. She led our evacuee efforts on a short contract and has now become a staff member. We try to pull locally when we can. We try, when possible, to purchase everything locally, too.KM: What are some key takeaways regarding the role of midwifery in these settings?SB: So many of the world’s displaced people are women and children—with the majority of them experiencing some interaction with family planning, menstrual health and hygiene, domestic violence, sexual assault, pregnancy, breastfeeding or raising children, etc. Midwives are uniquely positioned to address and support most of those needs, and they’re cost-effective. A midwife’s scope of work could meet the needs of most women in these displaced settings.We are continually surprised with how little women in any place know about their own bodies. As we’ve grown as an organization, we have learned about all of the intersections we need to be educating about as well, such as sexual consent, menstrual health and hygiene, domestic violence, sexual assault, gender issues in conflict settings and others, so our work has taken on a nuanced hue. Midwives in humanitarian emergencies are unique and significant players that should be supported.KM: Could you talk a bit about the impact of your work on a global scale?SB: The biggest impact we have made on a global scale is the midwifery training work we have done in various settings, from Syria to Nigeria.Within the profession of midwifery globally, we have tried to identify and support local leaders who are trying to grow the profession. For example, we founded a program called Midwives for Peace that was a co-existence project between Israeli and Palestinian midwives, and it has been completely locally driven and locally run. We just helped to get it started. The goal of the project is to help each community support each other and fortify their profession in the context in which they work.KM: If you had an unlimited budget, how would you invest in midwifery?SB: We would double down on education. We have an online training portal, and we would make that available for free, provide scholarships for people to go to midwifery school. We have our first cohort of Nepali midwives graduating, and they’ll be the first professionally trained midwives to go back to their villages. We need more midwives trained, and then we need to support their inclusion in the health care system and work with ministries of health and governments to understand their strength, utility and impact. More local investment in local women.—Learn more about Circle of Health International.Watch a brief documentary about the work of two midwives, one Palestinian and one Israeli, whose project to raise awareness about the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns is an inspiring story of coexistence.—What is your perspective on the role of midwifery in crisis settings? We’d love to hear from you!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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Processing of Court Cases to Be Improved Through CISS

first_imgThe justice sector should see significant improvement in its processing of court cases, having implemented a Court Information Statistical System (CISS) in parish courts islandwide.The system allows for the tracking of matters as they move through the court system from initiation to disposition, which will result in faster determination of when a case falls into backlog.Statistics and Data Capture Consultant, Dr. Denarto Dennis, said CISS provides a mechanism which captures data at each stage of a case.“So the system would, for example, capture date of initiation, next date of hearing, reasons for adjournment, number of times the matter is mentioned, if a matter goes to trial and the dates that are set for trial,” he explained.Dr. Dennis told JIS News that the system is particularly effective in strengthening case management, as it captures the age of all matters active in the courts.“This means that at any given point you go on the system, you should be able to see the age, that is, how old each matter before the court is,” he said.The system was piloted in some parish courts beginning in July 2016 and was fully implemented by October. It was formally launched in January of this year.Ahead of the implementation, there was no electronic means of managing cases, except for the Half-Way Tree court, which had an older version of the system for a few years before. Cases were, therefore, being managed manually, which resulted in an ad hoc approach to tracking cases.“This system allows for a more centralised way of managing case flow and case progression. It makes the courts more efficient, in that we can now easily do historical searches for records, rather than having to scroll through warehouses and file inventory areas. CISS allows us to efficiently search for old cases, which helps in the day-to-day operations of the court and it being able to serve the public,” Dr. Dennis said.Parish courts have Case Progression Officers (CPOs) who work in tandem with data-entry personnel to monitor the progression of cases. The CPOs interface with the system, monitor the age of matters, monitor what is happening with the different matters, and then carry out the intervention necessary to get cases ready for court.Plans are under way to expand the CISS to civil courts. On June 5, the system was implemented for a pilot in the Corporate Area Civil Division. Following a successful pilot, it is to be rolled out islandwide in civil courts.“This programme adds tremendous value to the court system in the sense that what we will see in the coming years is a significant reduction in the length of time that it takes for cases to be disposed of,” Dr. Dennis said.This will be facilitated by the system allowing the courts to be able to better manage case flow and to inform the interventions necessary to strengthen the ability and capacity of the courts to handle their caseloads and to manage the readiness of matters for courts,” he added.Implementation of CISS is supported through the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) programme, which is funded by the Canadian Government.The programme aims to enhance the efficiency of case management and judicial processes in the court system.last_img read more

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Grande Prairie bomb squad finds firearms and an IED during search of

first_imgGRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – A Grande Prairie man is facing 23 charges after Mounties executed a search warrant at a home south of the Swan City over the weekend.At around 9:30 last Saturday morning, members of the Grande Prairie RCMP, Police Dog Services, and the local bomb squad executed a search warrant at a rural property in Grovedale, roughly 20 kilometres south of Grande Prairie.Police had obtained information that the home’s resident possessed a number of prohibited weapons that were kept on the property. During the search, police located four firearms, one of which was stolen, along with ammunition, a computer and thumb drives. An improvised explosive device was also found on the property, which was secured by the bomb squad.47 year-old Grande Prairie resident David Monette has been charged with 22 weapons related offences and one charge of possessing an improvised explosive device. Monette remains in police custody and will appear in court on Wednesday, March 21st.Police extended thanks the public for their efforts in order to help solve crime in the local community. Anyone with information about any crime, can contact the Grande Prairie RCMP at (780)830-5700. If you would like to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or on the Internet at www.tipsubmit.com. You are not required to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers, and if you provide information to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest(s), you may be eligible for a cash reward.last_img read more

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J&K: Over 55 security men already dead, 95 died in 2019

first_imgNew Delhi: It’s not even three months of this year and body count of soldiers has been steadily rising in Jammu and Kashmir to make it one one of the most violent periods in recent times.The Army alone has lost 10 men, five of them before the tragic car bombing in Pulwama killing 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers on February 14. Since Pulwama, five more Army men and eight other security personnel have died.Last year was one of the bloodiest for the security forces as around 100 of them were killed. The number has crossed 55 in the first two months of this year. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayBut the number of terrorists killed in operations is also rising. Till February 14, 28 terrorists were killed and another 16 have been eliminated after Pulwama.Reflecting in the tough times and extremely tense situation is the stark rise in ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC).There were 267 ceasefire violations before February 14 and since then 228 of such breaches have been reported, signalling that the guns have been blazing across the border. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penaltyComparisons are being drawn with 2018 which saw security forces scoring major successes against terrorists killing 260 of them, including some big names such as Lashkar-Taiba head Naveed Jatt. The number of kills in 2018 was the highest in eight years. The last major successful year was 2010 when 270 terrorists were killed.2011 saw 119 killing, 2012 saw 84, 110 in 2014, 113 in 2015, 165 in 2016 and 218 in 2017.The number of security forces killed in 2018 was 95 while 83 had died in 2017.According to south Asia terrorism portal, 56 security personnel have died in Jammu and Kashmir this year and 44 terrorists have been killed.last_img read more

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Culinary Art India: Budding chefs take the spotlight

first_imgOne of the most loved food-related festivals, Culinary Art India, is known for its thrilling competitions among the chefs. The four-day event saw over 500 chefs from across the country participating in various activities and competitions. It not only welcomed the professional chefs to showcase their creative culinary skills, but also gave a platform to housewives as well as students to put their best foot forward.First day of event saw 45 chefs demonstrating their culinary expertise and competing in Authentic Indian Regional Cuisine, Fruit and Vegetable Carving and Live Cooking category. Second day saw Petit Fours and Pralines, Artistic Bakery Showpiece along with Three Tier Wedding Cake prepration. On the third day, 57 chefs exhibited their artistic side in the categories of Artistic Pastry Showpiece, Plated Appetizers, Live cooking and Contemporary Sushi Platter. On the fourth and last day of culinary challenge, 82 chefs competed in three competetd in Three course set dinner, Plated Desserts, Mocktails and Live cooking. “The culinary art India has been in existence for 14 years and the objective of this event was to create a platform where students, fellow chefs, professionals, can display their culinary skills, and get rewarded. The festival give them the necessary exposure and groom them to compete at the global level,” said Davinder Kumar, President of Indian Culinary Forum, adding, “The response from the audience as well as participants has been phenomenal this year. We have witnessed a large number of entries by college students, who were confident about their work at such a young age.” A visual treat for foodies, culinary artistry attracted a lot of crowd across all ages, however, youngsters – with high ambitions of making big in the culinary and hotel industry – were seen at large throughout the festival. One such student of hotel management, who also won the first prize for ‘plated dessert competition’, finds solace in baking. Speaking about his love for cooking, he said, “I am a first year student of International Institute of Culinary art. Though I enjoy every aspect of cooking, baking is something that fills me with happiness and joy. I want to get specialised in the art of baking and learn as much as I can. For this competition, I tried to give my 100 percent and bring up something new for the jury. I got four ingredients with which I prepared four different recipes in the ‘Plated dessert competition’, and won gold for the same,” said 19-year-old student, Nikhil Bhatia.last_img read more

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Novoneel’s ‘Cheaters’ to be web series

first_imgA thrilling story from ‘Cheaters’ – a 2018 anthology of nine short stories on modern-day infidelity – authored by Novoneel Chakraborty, will soon be adapted into a web series, publishers of the book said recently. Chakraborty has signed the rights for the story ‘The Vacation’, which is about a person’s clash of loyalty and morals on social media, the publisher said in statement. Known for his romantic thrillers, the Mumbai-based author’s short stories on human relationships discuss a different shade of infidelity in today’s times. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainSaying that he is thrilled to be seeing “some exciting on-screen storytelling”, Chakraborty thanked the director, Srikanth Velagaleti, for his directorial vision. Velagaleti, who wrote the 2011 film Utt Pataang, himself finds the tales intimately relatable with today’s audience who “binge-watch web content”. The publisher said that books transitioning into films or web series is a seamless move, with the potential to engage with a larger audience, and added that Chakraborty’s stories are dark and edgy with a twist at the end. Before writing this crime, thriller and mystery novel, the author wrote and developed TV shows such as ‘Savdhaan India’ and ‘Yeh Hai Aashiqui’.last_img read more

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RJD releases manifesto, promises reservation

first_imgPatna: The RJD on Monday released its manifesto, titled ‘Pratibadhta Patra’, promising reservation for SCs, STs, EBC and OBCs in proportion of their population in the private sector and the higher judiciary.The ceiling – a 50 per cent cap – had been broken after giving 10 per cent quota to the weaker sections among the general category so the people belonging to these categories (SCs, STs, EBC and OBCs) should be given reservation on the basis of their population, party leader Tejashwi Yadav said while releasing the manifesto here. The apex court had fixed a cap of 50 per cent on total reservation and the Centre last month justified in Supreme Court its recent law granting 10-per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs), saying it was brought in to promote “social equality”. Advocating extension of quota for them in higher judiciary and the private sector, the manifesto also vowed to carry out caste-based census in 2020-21. Pointing out that the RJD, also agrees with the Congress manifesto, it said, the party “completely endorses” the ‘Nyay’ scheme of the Congress, which would be beneficial to states like Bihar. Tejashwi Yadav was accompanied by Rajya Sabha member and party’s national spokesman Manoj Jha, Bihar RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve and others at the release of the party’s manifesto. The RJD also demanded from the Centre to make public the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, carried out by the UPA government. Releasing the manifesto, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, also the leader of the opposition in the state, said that “it is not the manifesto of RJD, rather it is a ‘pratibadhta patra’ (commitment document) of the party”. A helpline number would be launched and a help centre set up in major cities of the country for the people of Bihar living outside the state, the manifesto said. The party would ensure that six per cent of gross domestic product be spent on education and four per cent on health, he said. “If our (party’s) government is formed in Bihar, then we will remove the ‘illegal’ tag on toddy and make it ‘legal’….The move to make toddy illegal has rendered many belonging to economically weaker sections jobless. “My father Lalu Prasad, when he was the chief minister, had abolished tax on toddy,” the RJD leader said. Replying to a query on his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav’s recent activities, Tejashwi evaded a direct reply, saying “the press conference has been organized for releasing the manifesto today”.last_img read more

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China to launch asteroid probe, calls for partners

first_imgBeijing: China plans to launch an ambitious asteroid exploration mission and has invited collaborators to put their experiments on the probes, space agency officials said Thursday. The 10-year mission will involve a probe sent to a near-Earth asteroid to collect samples, said Liu Jizhong, head of China’s Exploration and Space Engineering Centre. After the sample collection from the 2016 HO3 asteroid, the probe will return to Earth orbit where it will split into two. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USA capsule carrying the samples will return to Earth’s surface, while a separate module will approach and orbit the comet 133P. No timeline has been set for the mission. A similar call was made for the lunar probe Chang’e-6, whose launch date will depend on the success of its predecessor, Chang’e-5, which will launch by the end of this year. France’s National Centre for Space Studies said last month that Chang’e-6 would carry French experiments. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsOriginally scheduled to collect moon samples in the second half of 2017, it was delayed after its planned carrier, the powerful Long March 5 Y2 rocket, failed during a separate launch in July 2017. Two more moon missions have been planned, the Chinese space agency announced this year, with the ultimate goal of building a joint lunar research base. China has ambitions of achieving space superpower status and took a major step towards that goal when it became the first nation to land a probe on the far side of the moon on January 3. At Thursday’s event, data collected from Chang’e-4 was handed to representatives from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, who had installed instruments on the craft. China now spends more on its civil and military space programmes than do Russia and Japan, and is second only to the United States. Although opaque, its 2017 budget was estimated at 8.4 billion by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.last_img read more

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Bale admitted that he will probably leave to play regularly

first_imgGareth Bale managed to score two goals in yesterday’s final game but he claimed that it might have been his last game for Real Madrid as he needs to play every week.The Wales international was injured for the part of this season but even after that, he struggled to get enough game time and he admitted that it has been frustrating for him not to be in the starting eleven.The former Tottenham player spoke about his future as he said, according to Gianluca Di Marzio:divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“I’ve been disappointed about the exclusion in the first moment because I was playing well at that time. I deserved to be an important player, I’m a player and I know football is about the team so I got at my teammates’ disposal. I need to play every week and that didn’t happen.”“I’ve had an injury at the beginning of the season but I’m fine now. I need to talk with my agent to decide what to do about my future. Today’s finale is a dream come true. If I can’t play every week at Real, I’ll find somewhere else to do so. I now have a lot of time to think about my future and I’ll do so.”last_img read more

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