My name is Casey Spanitz. I am 22 years old from Virginia Beach and I am a senior here at Mary Washington. I am currently a communications digital studies major hoping to one day start off by working with a non profit to use all of my skills to help raise awareness about who they are and maybe one day start my own non profit! This blog will be more of a journal with the work I have completed over this semester and throughout my final year. Enjoy!
A digital project I have worked on in the past was when I worked for a non profit called Operation Smile. I was in charge of updating their student programs page. I was to redesign to make the layout more organized, remove unnecessary content as well as create blogs of the students interviews. I was to create the student programs blog daily to keep the students updated as well as their parents. I used WordPress to log and update everything. This project went smoothly due to the fact I had to check in with my advisor daily and watch her fix the little errors I had.
Reflect upon this week’s readings from The Digital Plan:
How I have approached brainstorming in the past is really making a mock plan as well being up to trial and error.
My first approach to project planning is really making sure I have a good set of questions on how i’m going to approach the project. I normally don’t get overwhelmed by a hard project I just have to know to start somewhere and take risks.
The impact I would like to have with the digital work in this class is really making a difference whether it be for the organization i’ll be working with in getting their message out there or to help someone out with whatever need be.
A digital project I have once worked on was a daily newsletter for a leadership conference I covered over the summer. I was to capture pictures, videos as well as interview of the students that were in attendance. A few basic goals I had in the beginning was to at least get three interviews a day and take as much pictures as possible. These little goals were set in right from the beginning and I continued to stick with this plan. As the days began I found the students were not to shy away from the camera at all but when I started to interview them they found it was awkward. This was hard for me because as stated my goal was to at least get three interviews. This is where trial and error came into play. I had to not give up or act like I was not sure what to do or I knew my daily tasks wouldn’t be successful. I continued to gather these interviews and as I would do one after another that’s when I began I have to make it more like a conversation. When I came across this realization that’s when the students were more comfortable and began to open up about their stories. From there on I continued to make sure I would make the interview more friendly and conversation based. I was still able to gather all the information as needed. What I gathered from this was to be able to allow yourself to be up for trial and error because although you might get stuck you will learn from it along the way.
Last week we had our client interview with Carol from e3kids and it went great! I got to learn all about e3kids and who they are. I am super excited to be getting to work with this non profit. The projects are going to be very fun and a great learning experience. I think the hardest challenge might be organizing the footage we are sent while Carol is in Guatemala and not knowing the story behind these photos. I am ready to face this challenge because it will be great to know how to organize these projects especially communicating to Carol while in Guatemala. This is also going to help me when I am in Vietnam this summer working for a non profit I have to send footage back to headquarters every night so they can then organize my footage I sent so they can publish it on their social platforms. W
Three personal goals for this class would be:
- Gain as much experience as I can
- Grasp all the information and skills learned to use now and in the future
- Enjoy and have fun!
These goals are really important to me because I feel I can take a lot away from this class and not many college kids get the opportunity to take a class working with nonprofits while they’re in school. One day I hope I can work with a nonprofit to help them gain more skills in the area I am practicing now as well as maybe start my own non profit.
This week we met with Julie at Starbucks. We discussed our up coming projects and planned what and how we were gonna accomplish our first project. I felt so much better after this meeting because I can say I finally feel like we are on the right track with getting the information and items we need to start. I am personally going to be in charge of the social media post like Instagram as well as help out on the website. I have already had so much fun learning about who e3kids really is and what amazing things they do. It has inspired me to maybe look into going on a mission trip with them one day.
This week in class we continued to start our main projects with our non profits. We also did a few in class activities that I thought were very helpful. Martha our professor went around the room to each group and we were to pick any number and then from there she would give us two random words and by random I mean random. With our words we were to create a list on the white board with the word creating why people should donate to our cause. So we had to use these random words and basically create a slogan to “why donate.” This really allowed the groups to open their minds up on all the different ways you can try to get others to donate even with a random word.
This week we created our Guatemala page proposal for our clients. This was a 7 page write up on our plan for the different things we were going to add to their website. We included new images, stories, and different ways people can donate. Our main focus while writing this was to try and get more recognition to what really e3kids does and how they give back. We then went over the important facts to e3kids and got the information on these different stories so we could produce them. This was a very important document that we created so we could then meet with our clients to discuss what they liked and what we needed to change.
This week we met with Julie to discuss our Guatemala page proposal. We showed her the different stories and projects we added as well as the new images. We gained very insightful feedback from her and were really pleased with most everything we had brainstormed worked out. We then removed content that was necessary and added some little key facts we missed. It was extremely helpful to meet with Julie that way we were able to finalize our planning and then begin to make it official and publish it on the website!
This week our group met with Carol and Julie. I however was able to attend due to my car breaking down and having to take it into the shop. The group informed me with what we had discussed and I was told we went over how Carols trip was and received some footage that she got while she was there.
Woohoo! This week we finally got our content that we have been waiting for because Carol returned home from Guatemala. We received a hard drive where we each had to download the needed content for our projects to our computers. Once the content was downloaded on my laptop I got the task of going through the pictures and editing them and just seeing how special these pictures were. I wasn’t even on the trip and these pictures were so beautiful they made me feel like I was on that mission trip. From here I began to pick out the images I was going to use to publish on the e3kids Instagram.
This week was a fun one! We all continued to work as a group to plan and discuss our final goals to complete before Week 14. We got all of our content published on e3kids official website as well as the suggestions we made like changing the font color and sizing of the pictures all got fixed! That was a big accomplishment for us as well as starting on the official videos. I continued to plan out the Instagram content. On Tuesday we had a HCC room reserved for 5pm to invite people in to watch a slide show of the recent coverage Carol brought back from Guatemala and help us make water bead bracelets for the UMW multicultural fair. This was actually really special to our group as well as Carol and Julie because these water beads help e3kids raise awareness and money.
Week 13 we continued to finish up our assigned projects for e3kids. We met with Carol and Julie in the HCC to discuss where we were and if they had any last minute things they needed help with. This meeting was really important for me because I got to sit down and discuss my part of the project with everyone. I created a guide on the key tips about Instagram as well as created content to be published in the future. It almost reminded me as an Instagram guide for dummies! Since I did not have access to e3kids Instagram I decided to just make a google doc that Carol could return to and download the images as well as have the caption already there. I also discussed the ins and outs of the platform Sprout Social for her to think about purchasing in the future to have these post sent on a regular schedule. Overall Carol was thrilled with the captions I had created and loved the helpful tips I gave her.
This week we wrapped things up as a group. On Tuesday we went around as a class and shared where we were with our projects and discussed any problems or accomplishments. Overall our group was mostly finished we just had a few videos to wrap up for Thursday. Durning class we worked in our groups on any work for our project that needed to be completed. Our group in particular decided to write our final letter to our client and debrief everything we had completed for them throughout this semester. A good thing about this letter is that the clients will have this as a hard copy/ reference to go back to once our time is up with them. I was really satisfied being on task all semester and reaching our goals.