Before you post, re-tweet or change profile pictures in reaction to news, consider these 7 ideas on how to take the “slacker” out of social media slacktivist.Continue Reading ›
How does my sponsored child’s family have cell phones, TVs or access to Facebook when they are struggling to meet basic needs? This is the kicker – the question I get over and over. The simple answer is that families in developing nations do not view cell phones and other technology as luxury items. They view technology as a needed tool for survival. And they can acquire these tools for much cheaper than we think.Continue Reading ›
Have you ever thought of how to use your Facebook for good? You can share encouraging posts. But here’s a way you can use it to change a child’s life!
We recently held our first impromptu Facebook Q&A Session. All your questions answered in one place on one spontaneous Friday afternoon. Here are some of the most popular questions – and a few of our favorites.
How long does it take to change a child’s life? Just. One. Minute.
As a child advocacy organization, we believe that children should be kept safe and protected in all situations, including online.
David Kinnaman, President of The Barna Group, recently told an assemblage of more than 100 Compassion employees, “Your business model is out of date.” He didn’t suggest it. He declared it. As fact. He didn’t say it might happen in the future. He said it’s here. He didn’t position it as his opinion to consider. He delivered this “truth” directly, firmly and respectfully. It was refreshing.
If you are contacted by your sponsored child outside of Compassion’s portals (e.g., by phone, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), please don’t respond, even to say “I’m sorry but I can’t talk with you in this manner.” And please let us know about the contact.
In all the time and through all the experiences you’ve had with Compassion, have you ever questioned whether the child you sponsor really needs your help?
Have you ever seen a photo of a Compassion-assisted child and thought, “That kid doesn’t look poor. Does he really need Compassion?”
If so, you’re not alone. Those thoughts even enter my mind – The Poverty of ME.
I have a preconceived notion of what abject poverty in the developing world should look like, and it doesn’t involve a DVD player, television or refrigerator.
My preconception doesn’t mean the child isn’t in need. It just means that the child doesn’t seem to be in the type of need that I feel as rewarded in fighting, when compared to other children’s needs.
To me, this is the same thing I face when I look at all the other needs in the world I’m not helping with — the homeless in America, the persecuted church in China, etc.
I can’t help with everything, so I have to make judgment calls based on something, and sometimes that something happens to be appearances.
So in light of this,
Would your child’s easy access to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. affect the level of poverty you perceive your sponsored child enduring?
In October, my crazy friend, Marc, and I will be running a marathon! To build the stamina to run 26.2 miles we started training months ago. I underestimated how much of my time and energy this consumes. We meet early mornings, usually around 5 a.m., for long runs.
Some mornings, it’s rainy. Or cold. Most mornings, my bed feels so cozy and the thought of hitting the pavement sounds ridiculous! However, I know in the end, the discipline will pay off when we cross the finish line.
In order to keep our minds off the pain of running, Marc and I usually talk about a number of our favorite things, but rarely do we talk about spiritual disciplines. Although lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fasting, which is weird since training for a marathon means I should probably be eating more food. 🙂
However, there are a number of different ways to fast – with refraining from media outlets andbeing quite common. But regardless of what the fast is about, they all make me uncomfortable. I told this to Marc, a relatively new Christian, and his response stunned me.
“Well, I don’t understand fasting. Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, and in return, I’m supposed to give up Starbucks? Seems like we’re missing the point.”
Whoa! Instantly, I was humbled.
When I fast, I usually chose something that won’t necessarily bother me too much… like abstaining from Starbucks or Facebook. Marc and I discussed the issue of fasting for the next couple of miles. We compared it to our marathon training.
I realize that much like my marathon training prepares my physical body for the task ahead of me, Christian fasting is a discipline for the soul. By fasting, I make a conscious decision to sacrifice comfort to draw closer to the heart of Christ. Fasting allows us the privilege of sharing in His suffering.
After a couple of miles, I realized that maybe my problem with fasting is that I was missing the point all along. As with all things that are difficult, such as fasting or marathon training, there is also so much joy to be found.
May we challenge ourselves today to pray about a way we can experience the discipline of Christian fasting, and in doing so, enter into the presence of our God.
Back in February, you, our fantastic friends, helped us win
the MySpace Impact Award. (This blog was just taking baby steps then, so
unless you were our friends on MySpace or Facebook, you might not have
heard our cheering.)
Well guess what? Another organization, The Love Alliance, has recently won
the MySpace Impact Award. (Congratulations, TLA!) And here’s the cool part
… TLA has chosen to use part of their award to buy mosquito nets through
our Malaria Intervention Fund.
The Love Alliance was started by a couple in Florida who have a heart for
social justice and want to raise awareness about issues and empower people
to take action. Seems they have a special place in their hearts for
Compassion. (Sigh … )
So first, to The Love Alliance and all those who voted for them, we’d like
to say thank you!
And second, when you have a few moments, visit The Love Alliance Web site
and find out what they’re all about.
So when you think Compassion International, the first thing you think is “technology” right?
What?!? You don’t?
Me neither. When I think of Compassion, I think of the three wonderful children my wife and I sponsor. I think about the first time I met Ana Maria, our little girl from the Dominican Republic. I think about the thousands of professions of faith Compassion reports each quarter and the amazing leaders emerging from our Leadership Development Program. I think about impact. About lives changed. About the chance we all have to eliminate poverty in my lifetime.
So yeah, I’ll admit it, I don’t think “technology” when I think Compassion. Not at first, even though I work in Information Technology (IT).
And that makes sense. Compassion is about releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. The goal of Information Technology is to support that goal, not replace it. Compassion has always expressed a great commitment to using technology in ways that support our mission, and the IT organization has enabled Compassion to fulfill its mission in countless ways.
And while that will continue to be true for many years to come, technology today is about so much more than servers and software and applications built by IT shops. In my opinion, technology in the 21st century is about community. About giving people a global voice. About connecting people across the city and across the globe. About enabling people to experience life lived beyond their borders.
Community. Now that’s right up Compassion’s alley.
And what amazes and inspires me the most about modern technology is how it enables you to do amazing things for Compassion and other causes around the world.
I look at Facebook, where Roderick Pitts, a student from Tupelo, Miss., created a cause page for Compassion. As of today, that cause has nearly 27,000 members and has raised almost $2,700 for Compassion. The cost to Compassion was zero, because Roderick found a way to use technology to fight poverty.
I look at the Uganda Blogging trip, now drawing to a close. Fifteen popular bloggers given an opportunity to see our work firsthand. These 15 individuals were changed by the experience to be sure, but their posts, pictures and videos have resulted in a change for thousands of their readers as well. Many of their readers have sponsored a child. Many now see poverty in a new light. Many will join Compassion to stand up and fight, because these 15 individuals found a way to use technology to fight poverty.
Compassion is by no means alone. Programs like One Laptop per Child (OLPC), Kiva.org and sites like Freerice are not just raising our awareness of global poverty, they are doing something more. They are doing something about global poverty by providing you and me with opportunities to join the fight.
And that’s how I look at my job in Compassion IT: using technology to fight poverty.
It’s a theme I am passionate about and one I hope to visit often as a contributor to this blog. But I need your help. I want us to dialogue together about technology and poverty. I want to hear your ideas and experiences.
Basically, I am asking for feedback, either in the comments of this post, or on your own blogs. How do you see technology being used to fight poverty? What ideas do you have for how Compassion can use technology to fight poverty? How do you use technology in your mission?
It’s a great time to be at Compassion. I’m looking forward to our dialogue.
Brandon Satrom is the Enterprise Applications Architect for Compassion. He works in IT evaluating both new and emerging technologies and helping Compassion IT make the best use of existing technologies.