Sunday, April 3, 2011

    One Egg, One Dream: Expat Outreach in Shanghai

    I was connected to the Shanghai Non-profit Incubator (NPI) by Dr. Fung and have since started working with them. I was asked to assist in reaching out to the expat community in Shanghai about the One Egg, One Dream (OEOD) project that Shanghai NPI was working on.

    OEOD was a project that was originally started by Google. The project gave money to a local NGO, which in turn gave rural children one boiled egg per day through their school in order to give them proper nutrition. The Google project was supposed to be just a one off project, but Shanghai NPI decided to continue and expand it once it learned about it.

    I have been asked to find ways to generate interest and fundraise for the OEOD in the Shanghai expat community. This is the quick and dirty about what I am going to do to get the project running.

    1) Translation

    The first order of business must be the translation of the OEOD literature from Chinese to English. However, there is a shortage of English speakers in the NPI team that I am working in, meaning I have to get creative about where to get translators. In the beginning I thought of asking the students in my UC program, but few of them can read Chinese. In addition, due to a lack of incentive or accountability, reliability and timeliness will be an issue.

    Recalling that Twitter and Facebook users translated their respective sites into different languages, I got the idea to try to crowd source the translation. If I break up the literature into bite size chunks and post it in an online community with Chinese and English speakers, maybe the community would translate it especially since it is for a good cause. Currently, the community I have selected is, a language learning community with many active users who are bilingual in Chinese and English.

    If Shanghai NPI can build a reputation on, it could reliably use the italki community to translate for their future projects.

    2) Social Media Infrastructure

    Despite being blocked, Facebook is still the best way to reach out to the expat community in Shanghai. Many expat events are still planned and publicized on Facebook. Having a Facebook page with a quick Paypal donation widget will make it easy for expats to find and donate to the project.

    A Twitter profile might also be created; however, the strength of Twitter in my opinion is its mobility, since tweets can be received via text. However, as Twitter is blocked in China that mobility advantage no longer exists.

    A blog might also be in order as Shanghai NPI has their local NGO partners for the OEOD project giver regular updates, albeit in Chinese. Regular updates would greatly increase interest in OEOD and build a following of repeat donors. If crowdsourcing translation works, a regularly updated blog could be a possibility.

    3) Event Planning

    After everything is set up, then the plan is to pursue the fundraising strategy that Shanghai NPI has in mind. In Shanghai, there are a large number of restaurants and bars that regularly host fundraising events for nonprofits. It should not be too difficult for OEOD to find a venue from which to fundraise.

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