Moral socialization has an interesting caveat to that provides group-thinking to play a significant role in shaping an individual’s sense of integrity and moral attributes. The moral environment inherently plays a significant role in our actions as we grow from supervised children to independent adults. Personal behavior and moral socialization is intertwined as an individual becomes acclimated to his/her environments and correlating actions commence in line with one’s moral socialization process. Yet, the tendency to moralize one another’s behavior can be disadvantageous to shared identification purposes (Chris M. Bell 2008)

The capacity for personal humanity to be shaped by wisdom traditions and moral capabilities to be emboldened by societal influences such as religion, ethnicity, geographical factors and other variable factors is undeniable. The differentiating societies such as traditional societies, which may delve into a communal pattern can prove to contest in societies where the autonomy of an independent person supersedes the communal thought process. My personal upbringing within an immigrant family taught the importance of communal thought and I believe my family upbringing was my first true experience with moral socialization.

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Conscious Leadership

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Just because you are efficient in completing your job and are able to navigate information systems within your organization, it does not mean that you are qualified to be a leader.(Heifetz,Grashow, and Linsky, 2009) Instead, being a leader, especially a conscientious one, involves being able to first of all identify those priorities that carry real value to you. Then the challenge is to earn buy-in from others even if this means basic systems within the organization have to change. For example, someone with authority can train employees on how to use a new phone system, but someone who practices adaptive leadership can lead a change in culture where employees are respectful of each other in all their communications.

Leadership must also be ever vigilant. Systems that fail often fail because of issues with organizational dysfunctions, group dynamics, and individual cognition issues.(Martin, 2011) Leaders should always be aware of the strengths and weaknesses within their organizations. Proactively analyzing where problems exist is a continuous process, and only a leader who is truly engaged can stay on top of the shifting dynamics within their organization. Addressing problems in the group dynamic can alleviate the potential for serious problems. Examples of this can be seen in many of the errors that used to occur in operating suites (wrong arm taken off, for example). Running an operating room takes an entire team of people for just one surgery, and the dynamics were often such that the surgeon was treated as the king of the castle. As such, no one questioned his decisions or they faced social pressures such as belittlement and group strain. This culture was addressed and a new culture of safety was implemented in many hospitals across the country in the 1990s. Now team members are encouraged to ask questions and someone who treats others uncivilly will be the one who is ostracized from the group. As a result, near misses are caught more often, and hospitals have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of wrong site surgeries.

When a leader is not acting conscientiously, they often seem unengaged with their staff. This may be because the initiative or value the leader is promoting is contradictory to their own values, and the distance allows them some ability to rationalize away their own behavior. Also, the leader may not want to be confronted by staff who question the new direction the leader has taken.

One way to respond to challenges concerning your own leadership is to maintain an open and honest dialog with your challenger. It could be that the person who is questioning your integrity merely misunderstands why you have come to the conclusion you have. If your stance has changed on an issue, it is important for those you lead to understand why your stance has changed. They may or may not agree with the reasons for your change in stance, but your integrity will be more apparent than if you simply refuse to discuss the change. Others will view a submission (without reflection) to a contrary position as a flaw in your personal integrity, whether from weakness, ambition, etc.

Healthcare – A Universal Right

Should you get healthcare if you don’t have money to pay for it?

Who should pay for your treatment : the doctor? the hospital or the government ?

We have a right to healthcare without paying cash out of our pockets , but we have a duty to be able to pay for it, and this means having insurance. We also need to have access to affordable insurance .

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https://www.google.com/search?q=healthcare+for+all&biw=1239&bih=597&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjgkaKKkoPQAhVU6GMKHYv1AmIQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=R4Oa9S87V42kwM%3A

Window to the World – How to optimize your website design.

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Websites are still the Internet’s shop window. Despite the development and wide use of a range of new social media tools, your organization’s website (also called the static web) is still the main area in which you will have connection with your organization’s followers. Indeed the return on investment you see from your efforts in these other new media areas will be directly connected back to your website design and distribution list (Heather MansfieldImpressions).

As described by Everett’s theory ‘Diffusion of innovations’ we are in the late stages of adoption of internet. As such the majority of the population is deeply immersed in a soup of information overload.  As a consequence public tolerance for badly designed website with, for example poor navigation is very low. So putting thought into your website design is important.

Heather Mansfield’s book ‘Social Media for Good’ gives a good overview of some basic website conventions and best practices.  While bending the rules can make you a little different, there are certain characteristics that are worth sticking to, if for no other reason than to keep your visitors long enough to convey the information you wanted them to have in the first place!

1. Easy-to use Content Management System

Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and you want to start designing a website there are a lot of useful resources such as WixWeebly, Squarespace to name just a few which can offer up a range of predesigned templates at no to little cost.

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Many of these templates will be already populated with conventional website structures and you can add additional features such as subscription to e newsletters or social media buttons.

2. Good writing

Good writing is still the cornerstone of a great website. In this case good writing will not look like a ‘War and Peace’ epic but refers to the ability to communicate ideas and calls to action in succinct two-to three-sentence paragraphs. Believe it, short and sweet is the new literature.

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3. Well designed graphics and photos will greatly affect the visual impact you website has and catch the eye of site visitors.  Breaking up the text with strong or informative images will help your audience linger long enough to get information from your website. As mentioned above, simple and consistent navigation is a must for today’s busy web user.

With no previous experience, this is an example of a website I designed using Wix.

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Finally, here are a few examples of some of the best non profit websites out there.  Their high standard of design may not be within the reach of beginners like us, but they all display the best practices while incorporating imagination and can serve as inspiration as you go out to experiment. Click on the website images below to explore further.

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Simplicity is the Key

Phone bookOne thing I have found frustrating in the past is when I found websites difficult to navigate, especially when looking for a specific piece of information, usually a contact number or email. This may be a remnant from the past and growing up using phone books. An example that comes to my mind immediately is the Sutter Health website; several times in the past I have called the number I thought was the correct one, only to find out I was wrong. Sometimes the person on the end of the line can transfer me, and sometimes they just give me another number to call. It is somewhat maddening to find out the number you’ve just called is not correct when you’ve just spent several minutes trying to search for the right number, clicking through multiple loops of webpages. And it’s honestly even worse when you are trying to get in touch with your doctor because of a medical issue. Another anecdote is from the Verizon website. Recently I was logged into my account and on the phone with someone else logged into her account. I was trying to direct her to a specific link, but we eventually concluded that our user account pages displayed different things. Why would this be? It seems so needlessly complicated. Sometimes it makes me think that these companies don’t want me to contact them, and that is why their information has been buried.

Exploring the various website creation options available to us this week was quite fun and interesting. The sites everyone designed are simply amazing, and really speak to how anyone can create a good website these days. The tools to do so abound. I was especially impressed by the variety of information that was conveyed by everyone. I think it is critical to remember that the ultimate goal is to provide viewers with information of some kind. Even though multimedia posts are the most stimulating, sometimes plain old text is the best way to get a message across. Therefore, I’ve created the following list of tips I like to remember when designing pages, systems, and communication (which I actually do at my job).

  1. KISS – Keep It Simple, Short
    1. This is an oldie, but goodie. (Please, revoke my blogging license for using that phrase!) It’s a tip for school children that also applies to our work. Write what you want to say down, and then reduce it. Condense it. Pick your images, and then refine them to only the ones that best convey your message. You can use all this other material on your social media sites, but for your website, simplicity is the name of the game (how many idioms can I pack into this bullet points?).
  2. Minimize clicks!
    1. This is a major concern when we are designing and testing the software my agency supports. Consumers are not interested in anything that requires a lot of navigational effort. I should be able to get to the most important pieces of information (mission statement, contact info, donation button, staff) in 3 clicks or less.
  3. Design for Broad Appeal
    1. Don’t use a lot of website gimmicks. Too many scrolling pictures, gifs, buttons, galleries, etc. will dilute your message and clutter your page. If it looks like it could be from MySpace, you need to get rid of something. There is a reason that simple designs are enduring. They appeal to many people, are easy to maintain and make look good, and are less susceptible to fads.
  4. Mobile Matters
    1. Either design your site to be compatible with mobile devices, or create a mobile site. It is no longer acceptable not to have this.
  5. Create a Draft First; Constantly Revise
    1. It’s important to consider your website as similar to any written document you might also produce: a paper, resume, portfolio… When writing these documents you would go through a draft and revision process, and even then some of them are not static, but dynamic works. Your website is the same. Create a draft first, ideally several. Give yourself time to look at it, test it out, get feedback. And once it is live, make sure someone is regularly reviewing it and revising/updating it as necessary.
  6. Always Provide a Means of Contact 
    1. If there is one thing I have learned from writing code in a professional setting, it’s that the personal configuration of consumers wildly differ. It is virtually impossible to make sure your website and/or emails look exactly the same (or even fully work) on every version of every browser and in every email client in those different browsers. That’s OK. Recognize that some viewers might have technical issues, and provide them a way to leave you feedback and/or to contact you to get the information they need.
  7. Be Secure
    1. This should not be a huge issue unless you are doing everything yourself instead of using third-party tools like we did this week. Either way, you should at least know what steps have been taken to keep user data secure.

I hope this information is at least somewhat helpful to all of you! I know I’ll be referencing my list in the future when I need a reminder on best practices.

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How to make a website for your nonprofit in just 24 hours!

Web 1.0 has come a long way since the internet first began. Nowadays, every organization, business, and cause has at least a static website, and most go on to create social and mobile web applications as well. If you’re starting from the ground up with your nonprofit, you probably want to get out your website as soon as possible, and don’t have a lot of time, money, or knowledge to do so. Here are some tips and examples to help you get started quick!

1. Use a free website design tool. In Social Media for Social Good, Heather Mansfield makes it clear that you should not be afraid to invest time and money into getting your website looking professional and running smoothly and efficiently. However, you also want to get your message out as quickly as possible. There are many free and easy web design tools you can use to set up your website, with pre designed templates and themes and easy-to-use interfaces. Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress are just a few examples, but I personally prefer Wix. They have concise, informative introduction video tutorials to get help you navigate their tools, without long-winded cumbersome explanations. Below is an example of a mock website prototype I put together using Wix:

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Feedback is more than welcome!

2. Pick a color scheme and stick to it. While you want to get your website live as soon as possible, you want to make sure your message stand out and be memorable — and that means keeping things consistent. Choose a color scheme that best represents the tone you’re trying to convey, and keep it uniform throughout your website and other media platforms. Kaiser Permanente and Planned Parenthood are some good examples.

If you happen to have a main image you’d like to use as a central point for your webpage, Degrave is a great tool for choosing a color palette specific to a certain image.

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3. Use free stock photos. Until you have a good collection of personal images for your nonprofit, use free stock photos to add personality to your website. StockSnap is a personal favorite of mine. The featured image for this post was from their site!

4. Keep it simple: include only the essentials. With the rapid growth of social and mobile media, there are now various platforms through which you can reach a wide audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are the big 3 social media sites you’ll want to have, and you can use these different pages to share different messages in a variety of formats. Therefore, it is best to keep your static website simple. Include the following the information to start:

-Mission statement: what is the ultimate goal of your nonprofit?

-About the organization: summarize and highlight key information on what you do and how you do it

-Action needed: include a page where you outline how others can get involved and help, including a link to a donate-button page.

-Contact information: let people know where to find you!

Of course, once you have more time, you can always go back and add more information, such as testimonials, blogs, links to social media sites, etc. Social Driver posts an annual “top nonprofit websites of the year” summary, and getting featured on this blog for your well-designed website will only help spread your message. Check out this year’s winner, EveryLastDrop. Their website is sleek, interactive, and most importantly, simple!

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