Welcome to the new ChangeEverything.ca!

ChangeEverything.caLadies and gentlemen, I introduce you to the the brand new ChangeEverything.ca.

This has been a long time in the works. Since we launched two years ago, we have identified new functionality we wanted, usability issues we wanted to resolve and design enhancements we wanted to make. With this relaunch, we got almost everything we wanted.

The site revolves much more around the people now, and not just around text. It’s easier to use. And it’s pretty too.

This project would not have been possible without Kate Dugas, who has animated this community in an amazing way. This relaunch is a testament to her vision of what our community could be.

I want to thank Currency Marketing for designing such an amazing site. And Affinity Bridge, an amazing development shop that understands how to harness technology to build community.

I hope you enjoy.

Social Media Marketing Best Practice: Community Engagement

About a week ago, Morriss Partee blogged this: Social Media Marketing Best Practice: Use multiple media.

In this post, he tagged me, along with a few others, to continue a topic of Social Media Marketing Best Practices started on the Twist Image blog by digital marketing guru Mitch Joel.

He asked me to continue this thread by adding my two cents, so here goes.

My Social Media Marketing Best Practice is Community Engagement:

I used to call it Web 2.0, but that seemed to focus too much on technology. So I started calling it Social Media, but I think that focuses too much on the tools and leads us to jump to solutions before we fully grasp the issue we’re trying to address. Now I simply call it Community Engagement. The most important thing is to never lose sight of our core objective: People. We need to keep the people we’re trying to engage in a conversation front and centre, and develop a plan to inspire participation around a relevant topic, event, issue, brand, product or service.

I hope this thought furthers the conversation a little.

Thanks Morriss!

Vancity and the Microfinance wiki.

I am so pleased to announce the new wiki Vancity has launched. It is for the Microfinance community in Canada, and lives at microfinance.ca.

Why did we launch a wiki? Well, in short, we are a longtime Microfinance practitioner wanting to expand knowledge amongst those who are involved with Microfinance in Canada.

We have a product called Circle lending, in which a peer group takes out very small loans together, and help each other to succeed in what are usually home-based businesses to repay their loans together. It is an amazingly transformational product, designed to help lift people out of poverty and give them a new chance.

Additionally, we have a Microcredit Toolkit, which is an open source peer lending model so any institution can replicate it. We were incredibly honoured that Muhammad Yunus, who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, personally endorsed our toolkit a couple of years ago.

As you can see, we are deeply involved with the Microfinance model in Canada, and wanted to create a place where we could take the open source concept a little further. So we created and are hosting a wiki where anyone can add information as a practitioner, researcher or follower of Microfinance in Canada, with the aim of growing and evolving a central knowledge repository about the subject.

I think it’s a great example of a very inexpensive solution to create affinity within a specific community. Now let’s see if people find it useful.

I want to recognize the amazing Catherine Ludgate, who manages Vancity’s Microfinance programs, and without whose support this never would have been launched. The second I came up with the idea of a wiki to bring together the Microfinance community, Catherine was enthusiastically on board. If you want to know more, here’s a great article about Catherine.

I also must thank Tim McAlpine and Currency Marketing for creating a wiki that doesn’t look like a wiki. See the screenshot below to see what I mean…

Oh, and PS: Colin Henderson at CommunityLend, I am hoping you’ll be the first to add yourself to the wiki…

microfinance.ca