Friday, May 09, 2008

Prepare for the Worst - Christian Aid week Machinima

Last year I've written a number of blogentries on NGO's getting into Second Life, such as the Red Cross, Disabled Sports, Flying Doctors, the MacArthur Foundation , Dance 4 Life and a few others. It's fundraising 2.0 time again, as I noticed a nice machinima produced by an organisation called Christian Aid.

At their blog the machinima is introduced:

This year’s Christian Aid Week advert highlights the work we do in helping people prepare for the worst. You can’t stop a hurricane, but you can help save lives by funding stronger buildings and installing early warning alarms. It’s just one of the ways Christian Aid makes a real difference to the lives of millions of vulnerable people across the world. Help us continue our work by supporting us this Christian Aid Week: please donate what you can.
I'm not sure in which virtual world this machinima is shot, but I like the way they've used a virtual world to show the impact of a hurricane, although right now one would probably use shots from Birma / Myanmar suffering from last week's disaster.

To find out more, visit the Christian Aid website / blog.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Virtual Healthcare 3: MS Island

Hidden between a number of ABN Amro employee islands I stumbled upon a simulator called "MS Island". As things go with synchronicity, this week seems to run a streak of hospitals and medication in the virtual and real world alike.

Probably the best way to describe the intended use of the build is by dropping the notecard which comes in Dutch and English:

This is the island of VU university medical center and the MS Center Amsterdam. This is a pilot project to see if a virtual world and community can have a positive influence on the wellbeing of people with MS.

This project is a cooperation of:

  • VU university medical center
  • MS Center Amsterdam
  • MSWeb
  • Dutch MS Research Foundation
  • Dutch MS Society (MSVN)
  • Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF)

In this building you will find more information about these organizations, a meeting room for people with MS and other interested parties, and a presentation and consultation room.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask one of the hosts.

The agenda contains the opening hours of the pub and presentations.

We wish you a pleasant stay.

The build itself is quite different from the slick Palomar hospital. The main venue is decently build and gives a lot of information on MS.

The rest of the sim is a little too unorganised in my opinion. A large part is set up as a stage (what's the use of a permanent set up if you only give a concert at the opening of the sim?) and is surrounded by a jumble of market stands and advertisements. Collecting money isn't a crime, especially not for organisations like this and it is admirable that residents donate their stuff to be sold, still it had a somewhat cheapy look and feel to it.

One of the lines in the introduction note was waiting to be answered:

This is a pilot project to see if a virtual world and community can have a positive influence on the wellbeing of people with MS.

Unfortunately, the sim has given me no answer, nor was there any greeter who could help me out. Because I could not find any answer to these project goals I was largely disappointed in this build.

However, please drop in and donate a few Linden Dollars to this good cause!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Best Practises for Non Profits in SL

A number of papers have been published recently with findings from the SLCC 07 conference. One of these papers is prepared by Rik Panganiban and is called Best Practices for Non-profits in Second Life.

This report is a preliminary examination of some of the best practices of non-profits active in Second Life, inspired by a series of discussions that took place during the “nonprofit track” at the Second Life Community Convention in August 2007 in Chicago. This past year Second Life has become a testing ground for exploring the possibilities of using virtual worlds for the social good. Given the fairly recent entry of many non-profits into Second Life – many
non-profit offices are under one year old – these findings and recommendations are very much subject to revision. Indeed, we consider this just the beginning of a much longer conversation about what is the role of civil society,
philanthropy, and the public sector writ large in the virtual world.

Download the paper here.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We believe in Children. Do you?

Through my good friend Aleister Kronos I was tipped that BBH (Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty ) and RRR (rivers run red) are bringing another Charity 2.0 event to Second Life.

Peter Rogers from the Ad Agency BBH let us know that each year BBH is sponsoring a good cause, and this year it's Barnardo's, which is a charity organisation that stands up for children in need.

"Bernardo's vision is that the lives of all children and young people should be free from poverty, abuse and discrimination. We believe in the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child. As one of the UK’s leading children’s charities this is our pledge. We believe in children – do you?"

By just becoming a dad again in Real Life, it's hard to turn away from organisations like these. A child's life is too valuable and some have to face such ordeals. so I quickly went over to the BBH island [slurl]

Here's some images of the venue:

"On the 1st of August 2007 the advertising company BBH will have a special day for one of it's clients. It's called the Barnardos day out or BDO for short. The goal is to raise as much money for Barnardos as possible. We needed a plan so got together with Rivers Run Red a company that helps us turn ideas into reality for Second Life and came up with a vending machine selling t-shirts, simple and quick to create.

RRR were fantastic they gave all their time and talent for free and it wasn't long before we had the wonderful washing machine up and running. There's a set of Barnardos t-shirts to buy and we also managed to commission Airside to create a unique design to go alongside. We're hoping that later there will be more special items from friends of Barnardos, so watch this space. " says BBH consultant Pete Rogers.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Fundraising 2.0

In the past few months I've seen quite a few NGO's enter Second Life, such as the Red Cross, Disabled Sports, Flying Doctors, the MacArthur Foundation , Dance 4 Life and a few others. This sudden onrush kept nagging me.

The Current Blogoshpere

When it comes to the Blogosphere there's two blogs that stick out when it comes to keeping track of these things: First of all there's Beth's Blog that has a keen eye on everything Non Profit and secondly the fabulous Ugotrade blog where Tara5 Oh (left) regularly posts real works of love and labour on Mixed Reality and with a good heart to the poor and needy of this world.

This post will probably be a work of labour and very Ugotradish in size and subject as well...

This past week I got spammed by the ElfenCircle for a Relay For Life building entry and that nagged me again. After rereading some of the entries on both the aforementioned blogs I started thinking on this post. When Al 'superscooper' Kronos blogged Virtuool and The Fight Against Cancer I knew this was a post I had to make.

Traditional Fundraising & The 21st Century Philantropist

It's actually a while since I've been giving NGO's much of a thought. We, the Dutch, have always been generous givers when it comes to relief aid and mission workers in Africa and Asia. In the past years this culture is slowly changing. It's not that people are getting greedy, but the way they want to spend their money has changed.

In the 20th century it was a natural thing to pick 2 or 3 (or more) non profit organisations and sponsor them annually. Many organisations organised themselves accordingly: You knew how much sponsors you'd have, so you know what next years'budget will look like.

The 21st century do-gooder has a different mindset though. No longer long-term commitments, long term sponsorship, but occasional, dedicated sponsorship, sort of hit-and-run style philantrophy.

This is causing traditional NGO's a severe headache since they see shaky budgets and worry about keeping all their relief aid workers at work. This isn't about 'huge disasters' those are incendent based by definition and a TV rally for Live Aid (1985) is no different than the Tsunami Fundraising a few years back; on both occasions dedicated sponsorship without long term commitment.

In short, generally speaking, NGO's need to find new ways of attracting long term sponsors: the 21st century calls for Fundraising 2.0. The question is: Is Second Life a good platform to expirment with.

Philantrophic Worlds

When it comes to actual fundraising, Second Life is surely a no-no. Tip jars containing L$ 1.600 dollars barely make up for a weeks rent. Virtual World Campaigns are not about raising enough money to fund a relief aid mission to Timbuktu.

As I mentioned in my blogpost on the Red Cross entry at Second Life, depicting a disaster zone, one way is to create awareness, convey a mood or show people the challenges in such areas. This awareness is much more valuable than the lousy linden bucks it brings in tips.

There is a thin line though; It is great to raise awareness but the cost is a consideration. The presence should be sponsored, not funded with sponsorship money.

A Bridge too far?

In search of awareness and commitment I think NGO's overstepped themselves a little. Virtual Worlds such as Second Life are to small to make a difference - yet. It's still a niche thing.

In my opinion the focuspoint of NGO's and Philantrophy should be at the heart of Web 2.0. Relief Aid in most cases is all about commitment. Commitment in small circles of sponsors that want to be informed. Web 2.0's social bookmarking and tagging is offering the ideal tools to create close range awareness. Think of Fair Trade and Relief Aid widgets for Facebook. Mission based YouTube or Flickr streams...

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dutch NGO Island

Yesterday saw the opening of a Dutch NGO island, called "Goede Doelen eiland" (good causes island). The island is a presentation of the Dutch Red Cross and the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. The island is sponsored by Dutch bankers ABN Amro and the Free University of Amsterdam (VUA) and was build by students of the VUA.

The island has 2 elements, a disaster zone build for the Red Cross and an athletics stadium to raise awareness for disability sports.

The intent of the Red Cross venue is to give visitors a taste of the atmoshpere in disaster areas, how hard it can be to reach a relieve post and thus try to raise commitment to the organisations work.

The 'fun' part of the island is the Stadium for the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. In the stadium it is possible to go for a wheelchair race. Both organisations are looking for new ways of fundraising and are looking into the possibilities in Virtual Worlds.


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Saturday, June 30, 2007

AMREF Flying Doctors

The coming weeks will see another Dutch NGO event. The Dutch Service Apotheek organises a sponsor event for AMREF Flying Doctors from saturday june 30 to august 12 at the "Zakelijk Nederland" sim.

There's a hangar with freebee t-shirts to promote the event, large paper-planes to fly with and a building contest. There are some things you will need to pay for, but the revenues will benefit the Flying Doctors.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Topmodel fundraising in SL for Red Cross

Last week we saw the MacArthur foundation and Philip Rosedale, Linden Labs' CEO talk on philantrophy in virtual worlds. Instead of talking, the Dutch are doing ;)
The Dutch Red Cross will start fundraising in Second Life today. Yfke Sturm, 0ne of the many Dutch Topmodels and Red Cross ambassador will be giving a pressconference today to launch the campaign.

A short press statement at SecondLife Blogo (in Dutch) says the Red Cross is an organisation which is very aware of the developments in the Real Life community and therefor is convinced that a precense in Second Life has to be established as well. Researchers and students at the University of Amsterdam have helped the Red Cross to establish themselves.

This week (june 24 to 30) will see door to door fundraising activities in the Netherlands.

From: Secondlife Blogo

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