If you are wondering how to get involved with Dadamac in a practical way (possibly after reading For want of a nail" - Why a stronger Dadamac is urgently needed) these suggestions are for you. I've started with the smallest possible involvement, and end with a request for mentors and organisational support. Please share with anyone who might be interested. For more information contact me through the contact form.
Help with raising visibility on twitter or facebook
If you use twitter or Facebook then you could help us to be seen by more people. Please tweet, re-tweet, like our stuff on Facebook, tell others about Dadamac, and generally help to raise our visibility. You can find updates about us easily as most Dadamac.net blogs go out on twitter @dadamac and through the Dadamac Facebook page. I also include some stuff relevant to Dadamac in my tweets @Pamela_McLean and on facebook as Pamela_McLean.
I need help ranging from occasional re-tweets to active management of Dadamac's social media presence.
Keeping track of information generated in Dadamac
If you like helping to keep things organised you might be interested in some archiving or other administration. We generate a lot of information in Dadamac. It's not just what you see in the blogs. It's also the discussions that feed into the blogs, and much more besides. Some of our information from online meetings etc is well archived, tagged, annotated and easy to retrieve. Some is harder to find. You could help us to keep it tidy and findable (I'd teach you how to get started). You could work at a distance, keeping in contact by phone or Skype, or we could work together for a few hours at a time in Central London.
Little things that make a big difference
Some small things that don't take too long to learn can make a big difference, for example:
- Using the Dadamac search box to find a number of references (to support a blog post for example) and then preparing them as live links with brief explanations.
- Checking details from websites and posts that seem potentially useful to people in the Dadamac Community. This is to read the small print before passing information on to people so that we don't share anything that is a "tease" (because it looks great but the deadline is too close, or the eligibility criteria are too narrow).
Writing and reporting
Maybe you're good with words and would be willing to string some together for Dadamac. The information that appears on dadamac.net is only a fraction of what we learn and share within the Dadamac Community.
Nikki's blog is an example of what can be done. When she was with Dadamac she attended the weekly UK-Nigeria online meetings, becoming very knowledgeable about the people, places and ongoing programmes at Fantsuam Foundation. She became expert in piecing together the unfolding stories (without jumping to conclusions or making assumptions) and writing about them. The work she did in publicly sharing the stories of Fantsuam Foundation's integrated community development programmes has helped John Dada in his bids for funding, and made a real difference to the community in and around Fantsuam.
There are other rich streams of information from the Dadamac Community that never get shared. I think of the ongoing stories and information shared at First Thursday meetings, of various online meetings and discussions I get involved in for Dadamac, as well as Face-to-Face events. Much of it is worth sharing - but there is no-one to write about it.
It's not only bloggers that I need. There are lots of different skills related to "ways with words" that would be useful - copy-writing for instance - much of the information in Dadamac,net could do with an overhaul.
Visuals of all kinds
Maybe you're good at visuals. Dadamac's information is far too text-heavy. I'd love this site to be crisper and full of diagrams, photos, animations and video recordings - but I don't have the skills or supprt for that. (Writing is my accustomed medium, and even there I echo the feelings of whoever first apologised for sending too long a piece of writing - "because I didn't have time to write a shorter one".) I'd welcome help in breaking the dominance of text here.
Other skills and interests
Whatever your skills and interests there may well be room for you in Dadamac, as we expand. To begin with I'll need people who will be able to get started without too much help, or who don't mind doing fairly simple mundane tasks while they get to know the details of Dadamac. We may even be able to pay people at some point, if we get the right team helping to build us up. However, don't join us in anticpation of a paid job. There is no budget at present..
Volunteering expectations and realities
Volunteering in Dadamac has to work as a win-win, so I'll lay out some of the expectations and realities here for anyone thinking of joining us.
I can recommend volunteering with Dadamac because of its non-financial rewards. I'm also a Dadamac Foundation volunteer. I've let Dadmac things increasingly squeeze out my financailly-rewarded work in favour of giving my time to work that is far more attractive in two ways.
- I believe Dadamac's work is worth doing.
- I thoroughly enjoy its many non-financial rewards of interest, creativity, new ideas and knowledge, great people, new skills, and much more besides.
Flexibility I know that volunteers need to be able to be flexible in their commitment, especially if they do freelance work. I'm realistic about the need to pay the bills and prioritise paid work. I know people who volunteer may be time-rich one week, and then suddenly under pressure from something else that needs to take priority - a new contract for paid work, family commitments, health issues etc. It's possible to be both flexible and reliable, as long as everyone is clear and realistic about expectations.
Training I don't have resources for training volunteers to do unfamiliar work unless the work they do amply repays the time that I spend helping them to get started, so you need to either bring existing skills or be ready to start doing simple tasks that I can show you quickly. That may sound harsh - but it's a fact. I can only take people on who understand that, and also appreciate just what they stand to gain by joining me. This is supposed to be win-win - benefitting the volunteer in the long run as well as helpiing Dadamac from the start.
Developing a role The longer you stay the more I'll be able to teach you, and the more interesting it will probably get. The more you learn about Dadamac the more you will see opportunities for creating a new role around yourself, and your unique aptitudes. You'll also be encouraged to use your work as online evidence of your skills, interests and experience if you're work seeking.
Paid work - At present there is no budget in Dadamac for paying anyone. However this year, for the first time, I'm putting some of my time into promoting the work of Dadamac instead of simply doing the work of Dadamac. I hope this will lead to the possibility of recruiting a paid core team to do the work. Then I can hand over all the tasks I have done during the "test of concept stage" plus a lot of work that has never got started, and get it all done more effectively and on a larger scale. Maybe there will be someone in the volunteer team who can speed us towards being able to pay people.
Organisational expansion - mentors and helpers of many kinds
You may have the skills and experience that could help us with the leap Dadamac needs to take as an organisation.
To respond to the challenges we see, we need to grow, and that means learning new skills, changing certain structures and behaving in new ways. We'll need all the help and advice we can get from people who know about many facets of organisational growth and management. Maybe you, or someone you know, can help us.
Until now we have been working on a small scale. Dadamac has developed knowledge, networks, systems and structures that give a strong and proven foundation for something much bigger. Now we needs to do more - see "For want of a nail" - Why a stronger Dadamac is urgently needed
Getting in contact
Please share this with anyone who might be interested. For more information contact me through the contact form.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.