Thursday, April 26, 2007

PSC Skills Build Workshop updates

April 21 - Nonprofit NGO PR and Outreach

This workshop focused on the various concepts surrounding PR and outreach campaigns used by nonprofit NGOs to garner support and participation for their events and projects. The reasons for necessity, the different forms that PR and outreach campaigns take, and the reasons for these different forms were discussed as an introduction to the topic. The workshop continued from this overview into a discussion of planning a strategy for a PR or outreach campaign. The importance thinking your scenario through carefully, and thoroughly adapting to the target audience was the tone of this discussion. Knowing yourself, your group’s objectives, your audience, and how to reach your audience with the desired information were the core discussion points. The group then focused on creating effective press releases and media advisories, and discussed how to best attract and communicate with people working in the media. Such skills may prove useful for any groups wishing to broaden the reach of their events and audience appeal.

April 24
An Introduction to Advocacy Techiniques

The fourth workshop in the April Skills Build workshop series focused on using advocacy to influence decision makers and mobilize the public to directly bring about tangible social change. The workshop began with a discussion of the definition of advocacy, and the requisites for an effective advocacy strategy. It then moved on to a more hands-on approach by breaking advocacy down into a series of steps, through the phases of planning an advocacy campaign, involving the development of a concrete issues, defining specific goals and outcomes, data gathering and fundraising. This was followed by an overview of interest analysis of supporters and decision makers as well as of those opposed to the campaign goals. In the implementation phase the project’s execution was discussed, and this included a review of specific tactics, volunteer training, public relations, and community outreach. Strategies for working with the media, and ways to persuade and apply pressure to opponents were introduced. The final steps, the evaluation of campaign effectiveness and monitoring of progress throughout the campaign were included in the final discussion.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Next Workshops

April 21 (Sat) 2-4:30pm Theme: Outreach for Nonprofit NGOs
at Jingumae Kumin Kaikan
* A review of issues such as audience identification for different types of pr and outreach as well as messaging. We will also discuss effective and ineffective means for getting people to join events and projects. It will be useful for participants to bring along examples of things like fliers or brochures so we can give feedback and help each other out in developing more effective materials. We will also spend some time reviewing how to make basic media advisories and press releases.

April 24 (Tue) 7-9:00pm Theme: Basic advocacy skills
at Onden Kumin Kaikan
*A review what advocacy is, will be followed by discussion on approaches to advocacy, and techniques used. Most of the session will focus on steps for advocacy plan development. We will also have some discussion on the importance of being involved in policy development to affect social change.

April 28 (Sat) 2-4:30pm Theme: Community organizing
at Jingumae Kumin Kaikan
*** An overview of issue development and strategic plan development involving stakeholders directly in the social change process. We will review the necessity for including the voiceless in bringing about improvements in peoples lives and making people aware of their own power.

Location - Harajuku/Omotesando area
Participation Fee: 3,000yen per workshop or 10,000yen for all 5 workshops
(half price for students with ID)
For details:

Jingumae Kumin Kaikan/Community Center (神宮前区民会館) is 5-8 minutes from Harajuku (JR) and Meiji Jingumae (Chiyoda Subway) Stations. You can find directions and a map at . You can also access the map from mobile phones by sending a blank email to .

Jingumae Onden Kumin Kaikan (穏田区民会館) is 5-8 minutes from Harajuku (JR) and Meiji Jingumae (Chiyoda Subway) Stations. You can find a map and access info: (English) or (Japanese)You can also access directly from mobile phones by sending a blank email to

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 14 workshop on educating for social justice

We held our second workshop on Saturday, April 14th and this time we focused on skills for educating about social justice. This can be a very broad topic and the workshop addressed not on the topics on which an educator can focus, but the ways in which an educator can improve the effectiveness and availability of materials and engagement of participants. The workshop began with groups introducing their own experiences in the area by focusing on issues, materials, target audiences and obstacles. Workshop participants reviewed nonprofit NGO brochures, and assessed how they might be used for teaching specific audiences. The participants also discussed media and material development for use within classes. This was followed by a discussion on judging the value and effectiveness of different types of materials when used in conjunction with diverse activities. Discussion focused on the importance of context, techniques for attaching a message of value relative to participants to help them internalize learning points.

Before the final groups activities, the facilitator presented ideas on creating fun and interactive activities in order to reach and “action point”. Instead of students shrugging off a problem as kowari-so, the aim is to get students involved in some way of bring the learning points into their own lives, such as through film or research projects. In the final activity, each group designed a lesson plan focused on a social issue for a specific audience. Plan presentations were followed by discussion on how each could be improved and developed further. Participants each came away with sample materials and new ideas.

Monday, April 09, 2007

April workshop #1 - report

On Saturday, April 7,People for Social Change held the first of its April workshop series. This session’s topic was volunteer management. Sarajean guided groups of participants through several activities related to an informative discussion concerning the issues new or old members of NGO/NPO groups would likely encounter while attempting to more effectively recruit and work with volunteer or interning members. A recurring theme during the discussion was how to be aware of the factors that may cause a new volunteer to gain or lose interest in working with a group. Participants discussed not just the practical factors that play into this part of the process, but the emotional as well. It is important to realize that in order for a volunteer or intern to work effectively within a group, they must develop a sense of meaning, or ownership in the work they are doing.

Sarajean’s discussion included an explanation of her two models of volunteer management, the proactive and reactive approaches. The prior was favored as being more effective and time-saving, as many potential problems and concerns can be circumvented by considering long-term possibilities ahead of time, but sometimes, due to the nature of the organization, it may be difficult to use much foresight, and a reactive system accepting of modification and reform may be necessary.

The avenues by which potential volunteers can be found and recruited were also discussed. Sarajean pointed out that while it may be easy to contact many people quickly by using internet mailing lists and the Western-style “speed-dating” event, perhaps the most important part of the recruitment process is the follow-up call, letting the volunteer know that you too are genuinely interested in them, and that their interest matters. People must be made to feel welcome. The workshop ended with each group using a group they had experience with as an example to go practice going through the process of designing a job description, recruiting new volunteers, and evaluating success. It was a good time and a valuable learning experience for all. We hope to see you at the next workshop!

The next workshop:
Saturday, April 14, 6-8:30pm
PSC Skills Build April Workshop Series - Theme #2:
Educating for social justice

Location: Onden Kumin Kaikan
Map and Access info: (English) (Japanese)
You can also access directly from mobile phones by sending a blank email to
Fee: 3000yen for one or 10,000yen for the series
Advanced registration requested - 4 participants minimum required by April 11.
To register, send contact information and workshop choices to