NGO advocacy, branding and public relations

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Practical tips for journalists covering development stories

Although this has been out on the net for a while, it’s worth a reminder that the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) offers a free, downloadable guide for journos covering development issues. The ten practical tips were put together by Edem Djokotoe, a Knight InternationalICFJ tips for journalists Journalism Fellow (Malawi, 2010 and 2011).

Djokotoe’s tips for creative, engaging and information-rich stories include: focusing on ordinary people, reporting from the field, and showing how these stories link to — and impact — current news events. He reminds us that journalists are writing for ordinary people – not development “experts”.

You can download the 11-page PDF guide for free, on the ICFJ website. You’ll also find it in the list of links on the Promote-Your-Cause homepage.



Social media tips from 2014 SOMA nominees (and winner)

beyond-zero-campaign-www.its254.com_-830x737More and more Kenyan non-profits are jumping onto the social media bandwagon. Like many businesses today, a small but increasing number of charities are using social media to connect with their target groups. The growing social media savvy of local non-profits was well reflected in a new “Best Use of Social Media for Charity” category at this year’s Social Media Awards (SOMA).

As the three nominees for the award show, Twitter, Facebook and other social media are more than just platforms to raise funds. These smart non-profits are using social channels to attract new supporters, raise awareness around important issues, and put pressure on politicians and big business.

Here’s how they’ve done it…

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What donors should know: A journalist’s perspective


The Women Living Postively group in Nyaoga . Photo credit: Give Us Wings

By Sarah Ooko for Round Earth Media

An aerial view of Nyaoga village in Western Kenya reveals a vast savannah of short trees, lush grass and occasional hills. Rectangular mud-thatched huts, with iron sheet roofs dot the horizon. Villagers from a distance seem to be tilling small pieces of land, roaming into different homesteads and going about daily activities.

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2014 One Africa Award submissions: One week left

africa-award-homepage-750x482A reminder to those of you working to advance the Millennium Development Goals in Africa.  The deadline for applications for this year’s ONE Africa Award is just one week away!

The US$100,000 prize is open to CSOs, NGOs, individuals, and other groups that demonstrate commitment and success in assisting Africans meet 1 or more of the MDGs through innovative advocacy-based programs  (see video below). Organisations entering the competition must be registered and based in a member state of the African Union. Entrants can be advocacy/pressure groups and think tanks engaged in governance activities such as the monitoring of flows of resources and/or watchdog bodies that hold governments accountable to commitments to MDG attainment.

For the 2014 prize, organizations that demonstrate innovative ideas and approaches to make popular the post-2015 development agenda in their community/country or region will receive up to 5 bonus points in the scoring of their applications.

Visit the ONE Africa Award 2014 website for more details and to download application forms. Completed applications must be submitted to ONE Africa via email or by post before 26 September 2014 so hurry, hurry!

All the best!

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Breaking bad news: Explaining budget cuts to staff and stakeholders

1671962-poster-buggin-out-1So apparently the American government will not be cutting back support to HIV/AIDS programmes in this country. In fact the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — which funds 70 per cent of Kenya’s HIV programmes — recently pledged to boost diagnostic facilities in ten counties. Great news given we have the 4th highest HIV infection rate in the world.

Still, it was a near miss with catastrophe. With insecurity still a problem in parts of the country, we’re bound to hear more grant-makers and donors talking about a “shift in priorities” and “budget re-alignments”. Already there have been reports of a significant scaling down of operations by the UN and USAID with staff being reassigned outside Kenya. Continue reading

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Easy ways to spice up your next report

aromatMost of us know the drill when it comes to report writing. We describe our project or programme, include testimonials, outline the financials, thank donors and stakeholders, and wrap up our narratives with a call to action. Following a reporting template is pretty straightforward.

What can be a little tricky, however, is getting your report to have the right tone and pitch so you don’t bore or upset your audience. You don’t want it to read like a technical manual and it shouldn’t sound like a marketing proposal either. What you want is a document that is interesting, engaging and clearly shows the impact of your organisation’s work.  Here are some tips that may help.

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