Category Archives: Communications

Today, I took part in a fundraising seminar for NGOs. This was the second work-related (fundraising) seminar in short time, so I’m really getting “educated”… Well, there’s still a long way to become a professional. But the subject is a very interesting, even if the NGO I work with doesn’t do fundraising and I work in communications, not in making people feel the urge to donate.

One of today’s sessions was very interesting. The lecture was given by Riikka Kämppi, the lady who lead the presidential campaign for Pekka Haavisto, of whom I wrote earlier in Is It Possible to Have a Gay President in Finland? In the end it wasn’t, as he got second, but the electoral campaign was an authentic success story.

Kämppi told us that they started the campaign in a desperate situation. The Green Party, Vihreät, had lost in the parliamentary elections, Haavisto’s support was at 3% (compared to the most popular one, the current president Sauli Niinistö, whose support was about 60%).

However, right from the start the goal of the campaign was to win – too much modesty is rubbish. Only that the campaign budget was 100 000€, so I guess many thought the idea was totally crazy.

Sounds familiar nowadays… Credit: Future Fundraisingnow. com.

Kämppi shared some valuable advice with us – and they are valid for many kinds of projects. Here some of them…

  • Be completely honest about your goals, especially internally. For example, everyone inside the Green Party saw the campaign Powerpoints and knew exactly about the campaign’s goals.
  • If your own means are scarce, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most people are willing and even desiring to do that, when asked in a right way.
  • If you have little money, target it wisely and leave out all the less relevant things. Even if people get angry.
  • Copy the best ideas from others – it’s perfectly fine.
  • Let people participate using and creating different ways and channels. And let them do it NOW, as things go by fast, epecially in social media, and our memory is short.
  • Wonderful ideas get spontaneously born among “your fans”. Social media played a key role in this campaign, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are very cheap and you can reach an amazing amount of people in short time. As the message spread, people started to make cookies, art work, signs in the snow or whatever with the significant number 2. They also donated a lot of money – the final budget was more than 700 000€!

This flashmob and video was independently created by supporters of Pekka Haavisto. Amazing! Finlandia is kind of a national anthem of Finland, a very meaningful song.

Last but not least, don’t be afraid of conflicts! Kämppi told us that now, when she introduces an idea to people and everyone agrees, she thinks the idea must be too lame. If something makes people strongly oppose, there’s probably something good there. 🙂

Tips for a great campaign

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Office work – more freedom, please!

Today’s 3 main topics have been volunteering, weather and – not that surprisingly – office work. (Well, I also had a great sauna, but more about that later…)

First, this morning I had a radio interview about volunteering for the national Yle Radio Suomi, as tomorrow we’ll organise an event where people looking for volunteer work and NGOs looking for volunteers meet. The idea is nice, and Finland actually is the promised country of NGOs – there is one for almost every purpose you can imagine!

The interview went fine, they said. Even if being in the studio and thinking of thousands of people listening makes you feel a bit strange…

All in all, Finnish people volunteer a lot, sometimes without even noticing: in NGOs, sports clubs, school associations, helping the old lady next door by bringing her milk from the supermarket. One in every four Finns volunteers and 50% of those who don’t would like to do something. Nice numbers, but there is still a lot to do – for a better world!

Cold and snowy Helsinki - this one is from 2010. Credit: Hannes Heikura, Helsingin Sanomat

Today’s second topic has been the weather. In brief, it’s -15C (or even colder with the chilly wind!) in Helsinki today. Luckily it’s also sunny and pretty with all that bright snow.

Stress Reduction Kit

We also have one of these at the office... just in case.

And then to the MAIN topic – work in the office! This evening I met two friends in a cafe of Ateneum Art Museum and we talked about work. We are all loaded with “interesting” tasks and projects. So we got some ideas to make our lives a bit nicer:

1. Office life. Do you know the UK series The Office? Well, it results that our respective offices (like I guess most of the offices in the world) have their “special character”. So, it would be great to film or at least record in the meetings and situations and maybe also to write a book about the a bit absurd aspects of office life. Unfortunately I guess we would be thrown out of the office before finishing the story…

Why not, if the work is done?

2. Working hours. Luckily my office is quite flexible and we are allowed to work from home – like I did today. But  we also have clock cards and our working hours calculated. It’s my first job with this system. After the initial shock I got used to it – even if I’m quite a free soul. Actually it’s nice to notice the hours slowly accumulating – and then you can have a longer weekend to compensate.

Anyway, why can’t it be so that when the daily work is done, you’d be free to go? People have different rhythms, some are early birds and some… well, are not.

3. Physical presence in the office. I’ve been seriously thinking about the necessity to stay in the office 8 hours a day. Why? I do no costumer service and all the information I need is online. So if there are no meetings, there are no real reasons for staying in the office.

I read a great blog (in Finnish) on how the sometimes archaic office rules should be updated. One of these rules is the physical presence of the employee. We would be a lot happier working from home, cafes, museums, parks, from a paradise island – wherever YOU’d want to! Especially for jobs that require creativity and concentration this is essential.

Well, maybe it takes some time to introduce these ideas but in many places they are already doing it… I really hope we’d get some changes before I get retired!


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Anxious about seminars – and social media

So very true!

Endless meetings, seminars, powerpoints, flipcharts… they discourage me. I’m a hands-on person, so this joke really has effect on me.

I didn’t use to be like this, but I guess I’ve become cynical? Sometimes I spend most of my 8 working hours in meetings. In most of them I think WHY?!? Are all these long gatherings worth the while or are they, like the joke suggests, mainly for feeling important, chatting about ones’ kids and eating those donuts (we don’t even have donuts). I would say yes, but at this point they don’t ask me.

This morning I participated in a seminar on Intercultural Dialogue and Media at the University of Applied Sciences, Haaga-Helia. (A place worth considering if you want to study a career in English here in Helsinki.) The title seemed promising but unfortunately most of the presentations didn’t offer new any new, interesting information.

One did: Mr. Tapio Varis, Professor Emeritus from University of Tampere specialized in media literacy, intercultural communications and “new humanism”. The PDF of his recent publication Media Literacy and New Humanism is published by UNESCO online. I wish I’d have time to read!

Mr. Varis brought out some interesting and critical points. In his opinion Google, Twitter, Facebook and such are all just a part of a big intelligence spying machine. We, very naïvely, believe that sharing our even intimate thoughts (and photos) in social media increases freedom of expression. Really, we donate our feelings and opinions to big companies, whose main aim is to make money. Somehow the scariest thing is that everyone seems to be happy: us and the companies – at least so far.

Of course it’s not black and white. Twitter etc. have been important for the freedom of information and democracy to the Arab countries these days. And here in Finland Twitter hasn’t even got popular yet! Not like Facebook, at least.

Anyway, you already know these are things, but when you hear them from the mouth of an expert in a convincing way they make you think where all this is leading us…

Would celibacy make you feel free?

Despite the worries, I’m addicted to social media. So it would be an interesting human experiment to have a social media celibate: let’s say for a week. That would mean no Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. NO sharing at all! Would it be like not existing at all?

Hey I even found The Anti-Social Media blog by Jay Dolan with some cool images!

Desperately seeking attention

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