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.

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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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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Health Websites: Opportunities, Failures and Tips for Success

The world wide web provides us with a near infinite fountain of information on a day-to-day basis. The opportunity that this represents for the world of public health should not be lost on anyone. In fact, according to Cline and Haynes’ study entitled ‘Consumer health information seeking on the Internet: the state of the art,’ there are more than 70,000 websites that provide information about health and over 50 million people worldwide that use the internet to find health information. Health websites are a valuable resource for public health professionals and the public for a myriad of reasons, including near universal access to information, the ability to tailor information to specific individuals, the opportunity for interactivity, community building and support groups, and the ability to remain anonymous when it comes to private health issues and concerns (Cline and Haynes).

Despite these clear benefits, studies have shown that websites that cater to health are often not as successful as they ought to be. In one study, ‘Use of a Website to Accomplish Health Behavior Change: If You Build It, Will They Come? And Will It Work If They Do?‘ it was shown that of 7706 participants that were recruited to test the efficacy of an interactive health website, only 169 or 2.2% actually used it.

No matter how useful the information and features of a website are, it can only be useful if people engage with it. That is why it is important to make sure websites are as user-friendly and appealing as possible. Here are some tips for getting your website to be used actively by your target audience:

  • Keep it simple
    •  One of the number one reason that  websites fail is due to information or design overload (Cline and Haynes). Be sure to use headings and text with plain and understandable language, and to write short and sweet paragraphs. Do NOT over design your website and be sure to stick to dark text on light background, if not good old black on white.
  • Translate the site into the languages of your target audience
    • Many public health websites have a button on the top right corner allowing visitors to select their language. It is critically important not to leave out anyone in your target population due to language barriers! Here, Familydoctor.org not only offers a Spanish version of their website, but also offers a larger text version for the seeing impaired.
  • Make the site interactive
    • Adding ways for visitors to interact with your website in order to make it more personal to their needs is a great way to keep people actively engaged. Consider adding live chats, or features such as the ability to check off symptoms, or inputting  age, gender, etc to tailor information to specific users. Here WebMD allows visitors to check off their symptoms according to their age and gender in order to cater results to their specific issues.
  • Demonstrate your legitimacy
    • Cline and Haynes discuss the importance of establishing your legitimacy and authority on health issues due to the sea of information on the web and the difficulty the average user has with discerning between the good and the not so good. Be sure to have a fleshed out ‘About Us’ section, in which you state your credentials as well as disclose your mission and any possible conflicts of interest. You should also be sure to allow for feedback and peer review to ensure that there is a self-corrective mechanism for the site’s information. Finally, be sure to always cite sources when presenting news and/or research so users can follow up and feel confident in the reliability of your information.Follow this link to UNICEF’s Who We Are page for an example of a job well done.
  • Update continuously
    •  Finally, be sure to keep your site updated! If news, links and/or information appear outdated you will lose your audience.

Best of luck, and let us know in the comments if you have any additional tips!

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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