Don’t Waste Your Marketing Dollars on Social Media

This is an awesome article that really speaks to the heart of social media – it can be great if you have a plan, just doing Facebook, Twitter, blogging bc you think you should won’t get your company anywhere. Credit to James Fry of Earthwatch for forwarding me this.

Right now, there are a lot of blinking lights and distracting excitement surrounding social media. Businesses are throwing ad and management dollars into social with the broad hope that customers will come stampeding through their doors. For most businesses, this just isn’t happening.

Social media isn’t a magical way to gain new business with a few ads and aggressive networking (e.g., posting on your wall, tweeting about your business). Remember in the late 1990s when the Internet became widely adopted and businesses threw big money into hollow online ventures with no revenue model? The same will occur in social media without a true marketing plan.

If you don’t have a true marketing process attached to your business’s social environment, save yourself some time, money and headache and move your investment somewhere else. Why?

Social networks such as Facebook are platforms for people to connect with one another based off of their common interests, location, connections, and other personal attributes. Nobody I know goes to Facebook to see what ads are showing on their wall – they go there to connect with their friends and share their lives with other people they care about. I don’t log on and say, “I wonder what Ford Motor Company is talking about today.” I log on to see what new photos my family has uploaded or what movie my sister is recommending I see this weekend.

With the sheer number of marketing messages the average person is bombarded with each day, it is becoming progressively more difficult to capture someone’s attention long enough to effectively present your brand, especially when they are not focused on seeking out your brand in the first place.

When a business does capture a Facebook user’s attention, shouldn’t there be a process to draw them in and engage them in a way that moves them closer to becoming a customer? Shouldn’t it be fun, easy, and casual for the user? Yes. And yes.

I see many businesses on Facebook today making a major mistake. They spend ad dollars to drive potential customers to their wall, get them to like their page and then expect the conversational nature of Facebook to take over and provide free nurture marketing all the way to checkout. The number of fans you have doesn’t mean a thing unless it’s attached to a solid marketing environment – one that moves each fan closer to a sale.

Read the full article here:

One Company Sets Standard for Volunteering in Haiti

Thought I’d share parts of a paper written by by Andrea Atkinson, Urgent Service Director at Elevate Destinations. Their trip to Haiti won a Nat Geo Tour of a Lifetime Award in 2011 so below is a little about how they did it.

Is it time for everyone to open Haiti up as a destination? Probably not. But are there ways to do it effectively? Yes, see below as an example.

Effective Volunteer Travel Creating Relationships for Meaningful Service in Haiti & The Gulf

Volunteering and service abroad have become very popular for individuals and groups. Developing a volunteer program that both benefits a community as well as positively impacts volunteers is not as easy as just sending a group of people into a “community in need”. In order for one to two week stints of work to be effective and create meaningful change, it is important for travel providers to know how to create experiences that actually give back as well as provide a platform for travelers to serve in solidarity.

Effective Volunteer Program Components

Address sustainability: Understand the environmental, economic, and social benefit for communities. Sustainable development is a norm of the development world. When we bring volunteers into the service world – we need to prepare them for this direct contact. It is important to ensure that the work being done provides a well-rounded and aligned support of sustainable development goals.

Assess long-term impact and ensure that the programs supported have plans for positive impact in the long-run. There are so many programs that have been started and then abandoned by well-meaning volunteers and organizations. Find an organization with a long-standing commitment to the country and cause and find out what their long-range plan is.

Work with well-established organizations: Work with well-established non-profit organizations that have track records of success, transparency and long-term commitment to the community.

Help raise funds: Provide fundraising support to non-profit partners. Each of our travelers is tasked with raising $500. Some have raised over $4000. This has multiplied their effect in the program. Our initiative has raised over $30,000 for causes in Haiti and has engaged hundreds of small donors that now have invested in Haiti.

Employ and engage locals: Employ local labor, making certain that local jobs are not displaced. Volunteering to get something done that could be done by a local employed to do a job is not effective. Neither is bringing in an expert to get a job done and then not providing transfer of knowledge (ie not teaching a or many locals some of the skills to provide this service in the future as well as not learning from locals).

Work in solidarity not superiority: Working side-by-side with locals, learning from them and supporting them while maintaining respect for their culture and knowledge. Developing cross-cultural relationships is one of the most effective things that can come of a volunteer program. It is important to create introductions and work with locals to develop real relationships and create solidarity.

Haiti Case Study:
A year and a half after the January 12 Haiti Earthquake, Haitians are still picking up the pieces, making a new life out of less than the little most people once had. The emergency stage is over, and the long-term rebuilding has begun. Ensuring Haitians have the resources for education is one of the critical elements of long-term recovery. Community engagement in Haiti offers the opportunity to participate in rebuilding a nation, one school and orphanage at a time.

Programs we have developed in Haiti support the rebuilding of orphanages and schools as well as support youth empowerment and the environment.

Elevate the Gulf Case Study:
On April 20th, 2010 over 185 million gallons of crude oil began a three-month gush into the waters off the Gulf Coast of the United States. So began a national tragedy that not only affected marine and coastal flora and fauna, but an entire fishing economy, culture and ecosystem. The sheen on the water has dissipated, as has the media attention, but the long-term repercussions have only begun.

Programs we have developed in the Gulf are in partnership with The Ocean Foundation, to support an area of our country that has suffered economically, culturally and ecologically. Volunteers have worked on replacement or restoration of the oyster reef, seagrass bed and coastal marsh habitats has long-term benefits in helping to improve on-going problems in Mobile Bay.

Another Job Vacancy! Voluntourism is Booming

Looks like people are hiring, I keep getting a lot of job vacancy announcements (hmmm maybe supports my conclusion that business is up)! For those of you who run companies the vacancy probably wont interest you BUT it might be worthwhile to notice how other companies attract talent.

Volunteer Co-ordinator in Malaysia
Be part of a young and dynamic community conservation project based
in the village on the Perhentian Islands.  We are looking for someone
who is great with kids and loves to immerse themselves in culture.
The selected person will be expected to lead our international volunteers
in our volunteering programme including English, eco snorkelling and
environmental school clubs, beach cleans, composting and community work.
All staff members and volunteers live in the same house.  The Ecoteer
staff, interns and volunteer all live together in Ecoteer House. All
household duties are shared on a rota basis amongst the staff and interns.


Suitable for
A fun loving, bubbly person who is a good team player, confident
swimmer and good with kids.  Teaching experience or qualification
is preferred but not essential.  The volunteer co-ordinator must
also be approachable for all volunteers at all times.  The candidate
should want to teach children aged 8-11 years old and want to organise
programmes for the villagers of the Perhentian village.

Personal Specification
1) A team player.
2) Excellent communication skills and confident public speaker.
3) High level of organization and ability to meet deadlines.
4) Knowledge of the work of Ecoteer and marine conservation in Malaysia.
5) Teaching experience and comfortable working with children.
6) Competent in using Microsoft Office.
7) A flexible and adaptive approach.
8) Must be comfortable in accessing assistance for a demanding role.
9) A confident swimmer.

1) Free mixed dorm accommodation at the Ecoteer House in the Perhentian
Islands Village.
2) Share a monthly food budget of RM1000 with two other staff during project season (communal eating).
3) 1 day off per week and a block of 4 days off per month during the project season (February to November).
4) RM50 per head given for handling ‘groups’ from schools and corporations (NOT NORMAL VOLUNTEERS).
5) All work related expenses (NOT TRAVEL TO OR FROM MALAYSIA).
6) Shared internet via use of a dongle (not wifi).
7) Written reference letter upon completion of position.

Please visit our website –

Perhentian Islands Village. Malaysia.

Start Date

End Date
30th November 2012

Application process
Please email your CV/resume with a covering letter explaining why
you are suitable for this role to

1st April 2012

Is There a Need for a New Voluntourism Association?

I know, I know, don’t roll your eyes… This conversation has been had by many of you, many a time at many a conference. However, there is a real push now by a couple key players to start a new ‘Global Voice’ association that would unite folks like the ATTA, Year Out Group, BBC, APTA, WYSTC under one umbrella and address voluntourism issues on a global scale. All of the current organizations focus mainly on their specific niche or their geographical market – is there a need for an association that has a broader reach?

An association that wouldn’t just be a place you pay dues to every year but something that focuses on two aspects: 1. how to help you grow your business, 2. how to grow the industry as a whole.

There would be webinars on the latest marketing techniques/legal issues/country problems, opportunities to post job openings, regional conferences for in person get togethers, a leading media spokesperson to promote the industry, forums where people from all over the world can discuss issues, etc.

People have been talking about this forever and they’ve been rallying around me to start it as I’m ‘neutral’ and not associated with a big volunteer company. My question is… would this be useful or just yet another place to send dues in every month?

Feedback please!!!



Job Vacancy: School for Field Studies Searching for New President

This job vacancy came across my desk, seems like a perfect opportunity for someone working in this space. Have a look below and help spread the word so they can find the best possible match!

The School for Field Studies has launched a national search for a highly qualified individual to serve as its fourth President. Although the starting date is negotiable, we anticipate that the position will be filled during the summer of 2012.

The information provided below should assist potential applicants in evaluating the position and initiating their candidacies.

Office of the President

The President of The School for Field Studies is responsible for securing the organization’s mission and objectives and for advancing its interests across a variety of public and private arenas. He/she will provide leadership to the administrative and planning functions of the organization, and, in particular, for augmenting its physical and financial resources.

As SFS’s principal spokesperson, advocate, and coalition-builder, the President will be expected to make more robust the public profile of the organization. Related elements include forging effective educational partnerships, developing new sources of revenue, and strengthening endowment resources.

The President should project a compelling and visionary presence sufficient to negotiate the internal and external demands of a complex, international organization doing business in five time zones and eight countries.

Finally, at the SFS core is a solid reputation for providing innovative instruction, high-quality research and community engagement, and life-changing experiential education. Effective management of such an enterprise, with its many publics and significant cultural crosscurrents, constitutes a formidable challenge for executive leadership.

Ideal Experience and Qualifications

The President should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Proven executive-level leadership experience in college, university or research settings, study abroad organizations, environmental NGOs, or similar entities that incorporate international and cross-cultural perspectives;
  • Significant nonprofit fundraising experience, including a demonstrable comfort level with major gifts solicitation;
  • Experience managing an international, culturally diverse staff in multiple locations; preference given to applicants who have lived or worked abroad and have facility with multiple languages;
  • The skill, confidence, and diplomacy to work effectively with an engaged, passionate staff and Board of Trustees;
  • A reputation as a charismatic, compelling spokesperson, one who will represent SFS in an intelligent, vibrant way, both orally and in writing; and
  • A terminal degree in an academic field (e.g. PhD, JD, MPH, MPA, MBA, etc.) is preferred.

Personal Characteristics

The ideal candidate will also be:

  • Collaborative in nature, imparting credibility, trust, enthusiasm, and integrity, while motivating others in a similar vein;
  • Personable, social, welcoming, open, creative and energetic;
  • An organized, strategic thinker who can “do”: a leader who builds teams, sets goals and expects results;
  • Comfortable with the prospect of extensive domestic and international travel.

How To Apply

  • Letters of inquiry should be directed to:

The School for Field Studies
c/o Michael Teichberg, Human Resources Manager

100 Cummings Center
Suite 534-G

Beverly, MA 01915

  • E-mails should be directed to:
  • An applicant’s file will be considered complete when SFS has received
      1. A current C.V. or resume;
      2. A cover letter indicating one’s reasons for seeking this position; and
      3. An indication of salary requirements.
  • Deadline for initiating application: April 6, 2012.

Contact Information

If you have questions or would like to nominate a candidate, please feel free to contact either Michael Teichberg, SFS Human Resources Manager at 978.219.5107, or Jack Waggett, Interim SFS President and Chairman of the Search Committee at 978.219.5150.

What the BBC is Up to These Days

Just got this from Mark Lancaster, the new head honcho at the BBC, if you’re interested here are the cliff notes on recent developments:

“The past few weeks have been a very busy time for me and a host of colleagues in member agencies. Below is a short list of the many things that are happening to improve the BBC’s efforts to support the work of our members:

  • Revamping of the BBC Website so that changes can be made more easily to it and so that members can add their own events to the calendar on the website (soon I will contact all full members with your access code to the Ning site)
  • Reactivating all of the Working Groups.  Please watch for teleconference meeting dates for you to join in.  If you have never joined one of the working groups, please look at the website for one or more you would like to be part of. Look under “Our Work” for descriptions. You are welcome to email me to put you on the list.
  • The Effective Practices Workgroup, now chaired by Genevieve Brown of IVPA, has reposted the report of that group from last summer and asks members to look at it again to see how best it might be used. Also, this working group will be meeting to discuss possible options for the creation of “community impact tools” in the places that many groups are working.
  • Our board of directors met for the first time this week since my coming on board. The board will meet in a face-to-face retreat in April 2012 in Washington, DC to talk about how to move from our broad strategic goals and into very practical ways to support member organizations. If you have thoughts for the board in this regard, contact me or Steve Rosenthal at Cross Cultural Solutions
  • New board of directors positions will be available starting in October 2012 so if you want to put your hat into the ring, we would love to work with you.
  • Quarterly calls for members to return April 12 at 2pm, Eastern Time. Please look out for your invitation to join in on an all member call April 12, 2012.
  • June and December BBC Events. Please watch for announcement of a possible BBC event in June in Chicago, in conjunction with the Points of Light National Conference on Volunteering and Service. The December event will likely be in NYC around the international volunteer theme adopted by the UN and others.
  • I am working to call all members of the BBC throughout this year. If you have ideas you want to discuss until I get to you, please send me a note and I will make our conversation happen.”