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Information and discussion about how NGOs can improve public Engagement with their cause

Pictures without pity. Which image of Africa would you rather see: skeletal, abandoned child, or healthy-looking working family?

Pictures without pity

Most people would say the latter; certainly most of those in the aid sector – some of whom were discussing this at the recent PICS festival – now consider the starving child images not only unethical, but also unhelpful. They’re “not effective”, is the general view. 'Development' in the cinema - WB. The World's Best News. Telling the Good News Stories about Development. 02/07/2013 at 1:49 pm In September this year, the international community meets in New York once more, to “take stock” of the progress towards the world’s anti-poverty goals.

Telling the Good News Stories about Development

The “Millennium Development Goals” are set to be reached by 2015, and the good news is that the world has made great progress towards their achievement. Yet, you could be forgiven for not having noticed. Our image of Africa is hopelessly obsolete. The way it was: Bob Geldof in Ethiopia in 1985.

Our image of Africa is hopelessly obsolete

Photograph: Rex Features Think of Ethiopia and what do you see. Perhaps a starving child, flies in her eyes and belly distended. Painfully thin adults in raggedy clothes, staring balefully at the camera in a fetid refugee camp. Or possibly a famous self-declared saviour from the west, striding purposefully past the decaying corpse of an animal beside a dusty road. Think again. Few countries symbolise the disconnect between outdated western perceptions of Africa and fast-changing realities on the ground better than Ethiopia, the continent's second most-populous nation, whose long-serving leader, Meles Zenawi, died last week. Starvation Photography – The ethics of capturing human suffering. 23/07/2011 at 9:22 am The famine in the Horn of Africa has revived the debate on the ethics of famine photography.

Starvation Photography – The ethics of capturing human suffering

Here are a few recent contributions: Article in the Irish Independent: “The truth behind the famine pictures that break your heart” Long-term engagement with Development.

Social Media and Global Issues

Transforming our discourse on poverty and social justice. Transforming our discourse on poverty and social justice 02/08/2012 at 12:19 pm Thomas Geoghegan, Dóchas In a recent article, ‘Beyond Charity’, Martin Kirk, Head of Campaigns, Oxfam UK, summarised his thoughts on a lot of recent research and thinking on communicating development.

Transforming our discourse on poverty and social justice

While he speaks to the UK’s experience, our sector is a global one and there is much in this polemical article to challenge us here in Ireland. This blog summarises his contribution to the debate and draws some implications for Irish NGOs. What’s the problem? NGOs have a problem: the scale of their ambition is greater than their abilities to deliver their stated goals. To bring about these transformations, NGOs – in this case, the large UK NGOs – spend huge sums of money on fundraising and awareness raising – £165 million in 2009-10. Despite major global campaigns, for example Make Poverty History, the British public continues to perceive ‘aid’ within a ‘charity frame’.

Seven Tips for Shifting a Mindset in Your Organization - John Butman. By John Butman | 8:00 AM August 12, 2013 We're all fascinated by new ideas and how they can grab hold of us, influencing how we think and affecting how we take action. How does Atul Gawande (the checklist doctor) get inside my head, when others don't? Why does Gwyneth Paltrow make me adjust my behaviors, when others can't? In business, especially, we're inundated with new ideas—so many we can hardly process or evaluate them. If you have tried introducing a new idea into your organization or community—especially if it's an abstract idea like sustainability, diversity, or innovativeness—you know it's tough.

Still, when you have an idea you think is valuable and could change things for the better, some inexplicable force may compel you to "go public" with it. Communicating results. The UN just recently finalized its “Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities for development” which gives an overview of the priorities for operational reform of the UN’s Development work for the next 4 years.

Communicating results

(Here’s a link, but as both a politically negotiated AND technical document it is not an easy read). One of the major developments called for in this resolution is the strengthening of results and results-based management. Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages. Images & Messages - a human right. Code of Conduct on social media. Code of Conduct: Key Resources.

Do aid agencies skew the debate?

The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector. Many nonprofits continue to use their brands primarily as a fundraising tool, but a growing number of nonprofits are developing a broader and more strategic approach, managing their brands to create greater social impact and tighter organizational cohesion.

The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit brands are visible everywhere. Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, and World Wildlife Fund are some of the most widely recognized brands in the world, more trusted by the public than the best-known for-profit brands.1 Large nonprofits, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross, have detailed policies to manage the use of their names and logos, and even small nonprofits frequently experiment with putting their names on coffee cups, pens, and T-shirts. Branding in the nonprofit sector appears to be at an inflection point in its development. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, recently appointed Tom Scott as director of global brand and innovation.

Why Can't We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume? Sept. 14, 2012 8:57 p.m.

Why Can't We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume?

ET. Winning the Story Wars - The Hero's Journey (2012) The Smallest Nonprofits Should Have The Most Powerful Brands. (Product) Red.

The Smallest Nonprofits Should Have The Most Powerful Brands

Charity:Water. Toms Shoes. Finding Frames: New ways to engage.

Communicating Complexity

Public attitudes to Development (Irl & abroad) Lise Vesterlund: Why do people give. Africans as Animals in the Western Imagination.