Okay, Jade and I had our meeting today with the New Sudanese Community Association! It was a very pleasant meeting–great atmosphere and super nice people. The Executive Director, Abraham Malok, greeted us warmly and gave us a brief outline of issues he thought we might be able to address. He wanted us to primarily work on modifying and updating the webpage. I thought that this was a very natural initial reaction–if I was the director of a non profit and I heard some students from an Internet-related class were going to help out, I’d instinctively think: “Great! Time to upgrade the website!”
Mr. Malow was extremely nice and receptive to our situation. We told him that we would be comfortable possibly updating documents to go on the webpage and modifying a few things, but that we were going to try to focus on utilizing social media in order to connect the NSCA with other organizations and people–basically, we were going to make it a Networked Non Profit. I thought it offered a great opportunity to critically reflect on the difference between someone who is a web developer (dealing with code, design, etc) and someone more network-mind (dealing with connections and external publicity).
Importantly, we figured out that the NSCA has no problem attracting and retaining Sudanese citizens in the area. The premiere issue would be to attract other people in the Fargo-Moorhead area and the online community in general. Mr. Malow seemed excited about the prospect of expanding the general outreach, especially because the NSCA has so many cool resources to offer, such as adult tutoring, after-school programs, free internet/study space, organizing training, and celebrations. It seems like a very vibrant and warm atmosphere at the non profit, and I imagine it shouldn’t be too hard to connect with other people both in the real and digital world.
For now, Jade and I are just going to brainstorm on our strategic plan. One idea was to assess how much “web developing” ought to go into the project. If it is considerable, Jade suspects that we might be able to entice a web design major to lend his or her time (whether for school or simply to volunteer). Certainly, it is not worth connecting and networking until the website is up to par. They were also interested in creating a quarterly newsletter, which Jade and I thought could possibly benefit from being a type of “blog.” Or, Jade thought, the website itself might operate as a kind of blog.
Additionally, we are going to get a bunch of resources from the non profit, such as pictures to upload and add a strong visual image, as well as some history of their organization in order to create a strong and engaging organization-bio. Jade and I thought that it would be very beneficial to create a Facebook page, even if it is geared towards volunteers and donors. Obviously, one of the most important things will be to know what the target audience is for each media. Plus, we will need to create connections and network platforms with an eye toward sustainability.
Overall, it was a great meeting and I definitely plan on going back soon just to hang out and see what materials can benefit Jade and me. Look for more information to come!