Working Remotely for the Foreign Service in Southern Oregon

Hi! Let me introduce myself. I’m a proud Advisory Board member with GlobalPDX. I love the idea of connecting with others who are interested in global affairs in any way, shape, or form! I’m breaking some barriers within the U.S. Department of State by being the first Foreign Service Officer to work remotely from Oregon! What’s that mean? It means that normally I serve overseas, in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but we have the opportunity /requirement to serve domestically from time to time and I found a way to work remotely from the beautiful town of Ashland, Oregon. That’s right, I have official government order to be based in Ashland, Oregon. My team is mostly in Washington, D.C. There are so many benefits to being able to serve remotely from Ashland, so I wrote this article that was featured in the Foreign Service Journal about some of the unexpected and continued benefits of my work here.

Why Should Your NGO Use Social Media

Something everyone has struggled with since the start of the pandemic is the how to connect with people. This is especially important for NGO’s, who often times rely on donations and volunteers from their community. Social media can be a strong resource when used effectively.  As someone who was technophobic pre 2020 I have grown to appreciate the power of social media,  but knowing where to start can be a headache in and of itself. While I would advise contacting a professional below are some good starting points and questions to ask yourself:

  1. Who is your audience? Different platforms attract different people, for example Tiktok and Instagram are where you will find a younger crowd and on Facebook you are more likely to find a older group. You do not need to pick one platform, but it maybe easier to start with a platform that appeals to your preferred audience first.
  2. Figure out how to simplify the goals of your organization. Social media is all about quick phrases and short texts (mainly). Shortening your goals can be pretty difficult after spending so much time picking your goals in the first place, but it is necessary. While you may want to info dump and that will be okay on occasion, you should keep it short.
  3. Establish brand colors. If you have not already created brand colors, start with 6. This will make your platform appear more consistent and professional.
  4. Look into hashtags that apply to your organization. Relevant hashtags are a great way to get discovered by new people. Organic exposure can be difficult to come by, so staying intone with trending hashtags can be very helpful.
  5. Decide if you want to invest in advertisements and if so what your budget will be. As mentioned above, organic exposure is harder to come by with all of the other competition on social media. A well done ad can double your followers. The information you will need is who are you wanting to attract, this will factor in age, location and interests. For example if you are a NGO working with students in Oregon you would set the age to 18-24 in Oregon who are interested in education. If you would like to dip your toes in, then you can start with a one week ad with a $35 budget and if you like your results you can grow from that.
  6. Do not forget that is it supposed to be fun. These social media posts are not blogs or articles they are something fun meant to engage with your community. Throw in some emojis and whitty comments.

Anything is better then nothing, social media gives your organization a platform to connect with people who would have otherwise never heard of your organization. There is no harm in trying.

“Advocating for Renewable Energy in the Land of Free Diesel” – Mohammad Pakravan

Without a doubt electricity is one of the most vital infrastructures for any development initiative. However, not any type of electricity source is appropriate or sustainable for development, especially in remote areas.

While many of the community members in the rain forests of Borneo have diesel generators that provide some electricity for TV or phone charging, the diesel generator comes with a big down side: it requires constant supply of diesel. Ironically, accessing a supply of diesel is not a considerable challenge for community members, because in the majority of cases diesel is provided for free by logging companies in exchange for easy access to their lands with no regulations, oversight, or whistleblowers. Communities are divided between those who support the logging companies and those who don’t. If you are against their logging activities on your land, you get nothing. If you support them, you get diesel, cash, food, etc.

So what does this mean for renewable energy development? That it is almost impossible to organize such a project within communities that support the logging companies, which perpetuates illegal and unsustainable logging activities in the region. The story of Bruno Manser, a Swiss environmental activist who spent years in Malaysian Borneo fighting against the logging companies only to mysteriously disappear in 2000, still haunts the elders in these communities.


View full piece here.

Metrics and Measurements for Travel Programs

By Caliopy Glaros, Philanthropy Without Borders

Every day there are nonprofits running travel programs for donors, board members, and volunteers, without having any metrics in place to determine the program’s success. We’re all very familiar with the metrics and measurements we use in our mission-related work (also called Monitoring & Evaluation), as well as the benchmarks and goals we set for fundraising (as outlined in the Development Plan). Yet travel programs, especially when they are not fully managed by one individual from one department, frequently fall into a grey area where they are not being measured.

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