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Project details


Name: Communication of causes and activism in the online environment - DigiComs
Duration: 6 months (1.10.2020-31.03.2021)
Program: Competition for support of girls and young women 2020 of BFZ
Financing: BGN 5,000

Coordinator: VIA CIVIC Association

Partner: IMPACT DRIVE Foundation

With the financial support of the Bulgarian Women's Fund

 

Purpose of the project

 

Providing practice-oriented online training to develop the competencies of girls and young women in the field of digital communication, focused on causes, civic initiatives and activist activities.

  • Development of basic information, media and digital competencies and tools for effective social communication in the online environment

  • Providing opportunities for interaction with professionals from different fields, support through mentoring and consulting in the process of practical application of new knowledge

  • Supporting the creation of a professional portfolio demonstrating the skills of trained digital communicators

  • Providing space for networking between trained communicators and representatives of civil society organizations for long-term cooperation

Digital communicator - what kind of bird is this?

Digital Communicator is the solution we found in the first phase of the DigiComs project, implemented in 2019 by the Impact Drive Foundation, with the support of the Via Civic Association and funded by the Bulgarian Women's Fund. We have developed, tested and validated an innovative business model for social entrepreneurship aimed at girls and young women between 18 and 35. The idea is, on the one hand, to provide a training opportunity to develop additional knowledge and skills to increase opportunities of women, incl. from the vulnerable groups, for inclusion in the labor market (home office, freelance, etc. forms), and on the other - to offer an option to civil society organizations to use the expert services of trained professionals in the field of digital social communication.

With the launch of DigiComs 2, the idea enters its second phase, namely the creation of a specialized training program aimed at preparing competent professionals in the field of digital communication with an emphasis on communicating causes and working in the civil sphere. The design of the multidisciplinary program is based on the principles of good journalistic practice, PR approaches, digital marketing, management of social networks, etc., is aimed at broadening the horizons of communication from the standpoint of civil society organizations. The training is logically structured, practically oriented, with active interaction between participants, trainers and experts.

The online form makes the training accessible and convenient for participation, and the feedback, tasks, tests and additional resources will help the participants to actually apply the knowledge in practice. In the end, they will have accumulated a portfolio that could open the way to professional realization in the civil sector.

The role of the digital communicator in an organization is to build and maintain the digital profile and image of the organization and its presence in the online environment, to saturate the information flow with content that helps spread messages, advocacy and civic initiatives. It builds the "media skeleton" of the organization, shapes the flesh and vision, maintains the "blood circulation" through social networks and generated communities, so that the activity is visible, the messages are clear, the results are sustainable and the society is strongly democratic.

Organization without a communicator - a bird without a voice

The communicator is the key expert who wants to have any organization, but cannot always afford it. The limited resources and limited opportunities in which civil society organizations work force them to seek temporary solutions in terms of communications - they hire interns, volunteers or entrust the publication of information to someone from the team who often does not have the experience and competence to do so.

Communication is a key component in the activities of any organization. It informs, disseminates experience, know-how, good practices, connects individuals in communities, conveys messages, participates in decision-making, upholds rights, seeks responsibility, achieves social change. Communication is important at every level:

  • within the organization, between team members to be united in terms of vision, mission, goals and common activities;

  • outside the organization - with potential donors, supporters, professionals from different sectors, stakeholders - media, business, training and educational institutions, local government, the general public to get information on important issues, to attract causes, to change attitudes and to provoke active civic participation;

  • with the target groups - reaching specific group segments, incl. marginalized and at risk, to explore their needs and provide them with adequate support, to engage, motivate and empower to be included in every sphere of public life, to defend their rights, etc.

 

Civil society organizations rarely come into the media spotlight or, when they do, in the context of an escalating problem. The task of informing, disseminating results, implementing new social formulas and good examples and models of successful social interaction falls on them. They should be perceived as mediators of messages, which requires the periodic creation of quality and credible content, building channels for its dissemination and developing and maintaining interaction with established communities.

In the digital environment, the tools for this are many and varied, but can they be used adequately, in a clever media mix by the teams of civil society organizations?

Digital communicator - what kind of bird is this?

  • We received 40 applications for participation, which gave us a color palette of girls and women in different age groups and professions, with different interests, expectations and competencies.

  • 37 launched the online course on December 10, 2020.

  • The online course lasted 9 weeks entirely online. We tried a bunch of products for training and working online.

  • The participants went through 6 very intensive modules, which introduced them to the specifics of the NGO sector in our country, the communication environment in which organizations work, the intricacies of structuring a communication plan and image maintenance, tools, techniques, communication channels, audiences, messages, and etc. They tried to create scripts, work on different campaigns, various techniques for creativity, creative writing and storytelling. We worked in groups, looked at a huge amount of examples from practice, challenged ourselves with creative tasks and social campaigns that touched our senses and our activist breed.

  • We found about 32 applications of the paper clip.

  • The team set a number of tasks for independent work, which challenged the participants to try new approaches and tools, as well as to discover and offer new opportunities and their own focus on communication work. Some of the tasks were immediately used by the organizations whose representatives participate in the course.

  • We met with great experts working in the field of causes and communications and discussed details from the kitchen. We were motivated to continue to invest effort and energy.

  • 21 withstood the busy pace and reached the end of the course on February 18, 2021.

  • 9 participants developed the specially set wide-ranging final task. The task required the development of a communication plan, brand and set of materials for the development of an online campaign on specific cases of living life.

  • We did an additional workshop on "Creating Content", where we looked at our author's texts under a magnifying glass and unraveled the intricacies of writing texts for different purposes and audiences.

  • More than half of the participants are already developing the communication of non-profit organizations.

The final evaluation, creation and presentation of the portfolio of the graduates is forthcoming, as well as a live meeting to meet us and connect with a larger circle of non-governmental organizations.

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This project is implemented thanks to the financial support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. The website does not reflect the opinion of the funding organization and BFU is not responsible for its content.

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