3 Great Short Volunteer Opportunities

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Many people want to give back to their communities, but they don’t think they have the time to devote to a big project. They envision volunteering as a full-time situation that can require a substantial time commitment. In truth, there are plenty of ways that you can volunteer and do some good in your spare time.

Charity begins at home

While this is often used as a cop out, there’s really some truth in it. There are many ways that you can do good right from your own home. You can gather unwanted items and donate them to area organizations, or you can sell the items in a yard sale and donate the money to your favorite charity. Additionally, you can host a food drive for the needy or even a blood drive. Before you make plans, check with area charities to see what items are most in need. This can help you determine the best way to help.

Choose a single day

Some organizations want volunteers to commit a certain amount of time each month to the charity. For most people with modern lifestyles, this time commitment doesn’t work. We are all constantly busy with work, family, school, and other obligations. It can be hard to find time to commit a specific amount of hours to a new activity each week. However, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that last for a single day. Keep a look out for flyers or posts on social media sites about volunteering. Contact local organizations and see if any of them have upcoming events that they need extra volunteers for.

Volunteering in smaller ways

For quicker ways to do some good, take just a few minutes to sign a petition about a cause that touches you. You can also spend just a few minutes visiting hospital patients or signing get well cards. Brighten up a soldier’s day by writing a letter. If you’re looking to combine a love for the outdoors with volunteer work, help an elderly neighbor with lawn maintenance or with gardening. You might also bring a trash bag with you on a walk or run. You can stop to pick up litter along the way.

These are but a few of the part-time volunteering opportunities that await you. Whatever your specific area of interest, there are ways you can volunteer and give back to your community in your spare time. You might not think you have much time in your schedule, but you have more than you think.

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The Rise of Influencer Marketing

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To understand the rise of influencer marketing, it’s first important to have a grasp on what “influencer” means. Social media influencers are celebrities or simply those online users who have amassed a large following. Typically followed by at least 100,000 users, these individuals use their reach to promote the brands and products they care about and can often make a career out of this type of marketing.

Influencers are on the rise

Although they have been around as long as social media itself, influencers are really just starting to gain attention for what they can provide. Big corporations and even small business owners are partnering with influencers to help market their products or services. By way of an example, Cristiano Ronaldo partnered with Nike and helped the company generate almost $500 million in revenue.

How does Nike know it was Ronaldo and not just the popularity of their brand that generated that revenue? They tracked Cristiano’s activities and the responses he garnered. In 2016, he posted a total of 1,703 times. Those posts generated 2.25 billion responses in the form of likes, comments, and shares. Looking closer at those posts, Ronaldo mentioned Nike in 347 of them and those posts alone resulted in 447 million interactions. This means Cristiano provided Nike with $499.6 million in media marketing.

Every business can afford an influencer

While the partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Nike might be an exceptional example, there’s a social media influencer to fit every budget. From micro and medium-sized influencers to top name celebrities, everyone is getting in on this game. Since it benefits both sides of the partnership, it’s easy to see why it’s taking the place of more traditional methods of marketing and advertising.

An influencer is approachable, too. In traditional marketing, consumers get little more than a hard sell. In influencer marketing, however, the celebrity can interact with other users. He or she can explain why the brand they’re representing is their top choice and what they like about it.

The reason this works so well is because people emulate their idols and want to be just like them. If Ronaldo Cristiano wears Nike, so will his fans. Combined with greater accessibility, the ability to share a love for a product drives consumers to that influencer’s brand of choice. Even where they may not realize it, consumers are drawn to products promoted by people they admire. Compared to a system of pay per click advertising, it’s easy to see the big draw of contracting with influencers to sell your products.

 

Important Facts About the Facebook Issue and How to Keep Your Information Safe Online

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Recently, Facebook has come under significant fire for a data breach within the last couple of years. This issue is particularly concerning as more and more companies have their data compromised. Any business from a gas station, to a department store, to an online shopping center or site has experienced issues with hackers acquiring users private data. While some data breaches may be more serious than others, such as bank information or social security numbers being stolen, any invasion of private information is unsettling, especially with a company as large as Facebook, where many people feel safe using the platform.

What happened?

People in America and Britain learned that a political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, linked to President Trump’s campaign in 2016 was able to collect private data from over 50 million Facebook users. This breach of privacy is bad enough, but lawmakers learned that Facebook failed to notify users about the data breach.

The data firm was founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, both supporters of President Trump. The firm used the information it gathered to identify American voters for specific criteria and then influence their behavior in the 2016 election. Though it’s under debate how much these efforts actually influenced voters, the main issue is that Facebook failed to notify users that their data had been compromised. Lawmakers in Britain are currently looking into concerns of fake news and Russian interference that led to Brexit occurring in 2016 as well.

Facebook was already under scrutiny because of fake news and trolling by Russian sources, so this coverup of the data breach is only adding fuel to the fire.

What steps are being taken?

As Facebook moves to make up for failing to release the information on the date breaches, lawmakers are calling for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before Congress. Their initial silence raised red flags and brought the issue rapidly into the spotlight as more and more people demanded answers. People are searching for whose responsible for this error and other are even questioning the purpose of continuing to use Facebook.

Facebook higherups have begun breaking their silence, but there are still plenty of questions about what happened and what needs to be done to prevent instances like this one from reoccurring. It remains to be seen what happens now.
How can you protect yourself?

As this issue becomes public knowledge and people and businesses are scrutinizing their own privacy and security preferences, it’s more important than ever before to make sure your personal information is secure, whether you’re simply using sites online or you’re running a business that holds others’ private information.

If you’re responsible for a business that’s storing private information, the best step you can take is simply keeping your security up-to-date and frequently check its strength. If you do not have someone in-house capable of this step, find a contractor or company who can do it for you. The investment is certainly worth it if it means it keeps private company and consumer information safe.

If you’re simply concerned about how to keep your personal information safe online, there are a few steps you can take. Remember to only give private information to sites that are labeled as secure and always use a secure browser. Avoid saving passwords or credit card information and regularly update your passwords for different accounts. Finally, monitor your credit score and accounts to detect any fraud early on.

5 Ways to Help Others During Natural Disasters

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The aftermath of natural disasters often breaks our hearts and many people look for ways to help those affected. There are certainly more than enough opportunities for people who want to give back to society, especially during these times. When whole communities are left without the basic necessities, anything you can do is greatly appreciated.

Donate cash

This is the most common way people help the victims of natural disasters and with good reason. No matter where the event took place, it’s easiest to send money and let area leaders determine where those funds are best distributed. Organizations like the United Way, Salvation Army, and American Red Cross are always looking for monetary donations to help the victims of natural disasters. It’s also a great way to help out since it can be hard to know exactly what supplies to send and where or what’s really needed in the area. Just make sure the organization you’re donating to is legitimate!

Get others to donate cash

If you’re interested in doing more, you can volunteer to help raise money for an organization. There are a few ways you can do this. You can ask family, friends, or co-workers for donations directly, or you might set up a donation jar in your workplace. If you work with the public and your manager is agreeable, you might set the donation jar out where customers can contribute. You can even start a fundraiser if you feel up to the challenge.

Donate your blood

Here is another way to help, especially if you feel cash is too impersonal. One of the biggest needs in any state of emergency is blood, which is used to help save lives. Particularly if you have a rare blood type, this can be the best thing you can do. People are often injured during natural disasters and hospitals can lose their blood supplies, so go ahead and donate.

Collect supplies

You can organize a food drive or offer to collect other needed items, such as clothing and incidentals. Be sure to check with organizations accepting these kinds of donations, because some items may be rejected. Otherwise, collecting necessities can help families cover their immediate needs, while they try to rebuild their homes and communities.

Volunteer to work

If you’re near the affected area, you might be more interested in getting your hands dirty. Communities hit by natural disasters are always looking for help, whether that involves passing out information pamphlets or helping to clear debris. In fact, volunteer opportunities in these areas are virtually limitless.

While you may feel helpless in watching events unfold on the news, there is much you can do to help. Contact organizations or the local governments in affected areas to find out more about what you can do. No matter how you help, your efforts will be appreciated.

3 Ways to Get Your Team to Work Together

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Teamwork is a skill that is sadly neither taught nor practiced well enough in the modern workplace. Some might argue it isn’t taught well enough to children in school either, which leads to issues in the workplace. This is an odd state of affairs given the obvious and proven benefits of good teamwork and the well understood principles of teaching and practicing it in all areas of life.

Unless you’re dealing with a group of wildly dysfunctional people, it is not difficult to get a group to work together, especially professionals who are being paid to do a job. Teaching teamwork is a combination of knowledge, leadership, basic psychology and will. Once you instill these ideals in your team, you’ll see a drastic improvement.

Camaraderie

Anyone who has watched an inspirational film or read a story about one or more characters facing difficult circumstances has likely experienced camaraderie. Those who have participated in any kind of ensemble activity like a team competition has as well. The battle cry of “we’re all in this together” is designed to inspire people to realize they won’t make much progress alone.

Instilling this sensibility in a group of people is the first step towards building a team.

Leadership

Selfish instincts must be replaced with regard for the people around the individual. The fastest way to make this happen is to identify strengths in each individual and require every person to teach their strengths to the others. This egalitarian approach to leadership forces team members to rely on each other instead of wandering off to look for a solution on their own. Teaching also encourages the natural leaders to step forward.

Rebuilding

One needs to only look at the armed forces to see this dynamic in action. A new platoon of recruits is broken down by the drill sergeant and then built back up. The key to the process is the fact they are all experiencing these dynamics together. They get stronger and more capable together. They earn the opportunity to take charge of the barracks, the gear, the weapons and the uniforms. Each recruit gets a chance to lead. This brings camaraderie and leadership together into a powerful mixture.

The measurable result of great teamwork is indisputable. There are decades of stories in team sports, military victories, and even academic settings that prove there are few things more effective in any environment where goals are set and achieved. Teaching teamwork is therefore one of the most generous and powerful things anyone can do.

5 Benefits of Having an Internship

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More and more degree programs are requiring students to complete internships as part of the curriculum in order to gain useful experience for their future careers. Even if the program doesn’t require an internship, many students find internships very beneficial and learn valuable skills that are not taught in class. Here are five benefits of having an internship.

Self confidence

Starting a new job can be intimidating even if an employee has completed their education. They want to impress the boss and have confidence in their ability and knowledge and do the best they can at their new job. Internships help potential employees feel confident that they know what they’re doing, which results in less training time required and leads to better job performance.

Work experience

Many employees earn a degree without obtaining real work experience, which results in the employee knowing what needs to be done, but unclear on how to do it. Internships are generally completed under the supervision of professionals who work in the field, so students are learning how to perform the duties correctly and gaining work experience, which will be beneficial when applying for a job and while on the job.

Informative

Completing an internship also gives individuals the chance to see how much they’ve actually learned in the classroom and if they’re prepared to put it to use in a job. Internship candidates can also see where their strengths are, where their weaknesses are, and what they need to improve. Learning how to do something is slightly different than actually doing it.

Learning the industry

They say there is nothing like good old fashioned work experience, and that is very true. An internship gives an individual the opportunity to not only obtain hands-on training in their chosen field but also to learn more about the specific industry in which they’re working. For instance, a potential restaurant manager can gain work experience through an internship, but will only really learn the industry by completing an internship in the specific restaurant he or she wants to work.

Bonus on a resume

When applying for a job, potential employees often find that the resume is still a very important part of finding employment. Although degrees and training are important, employers like to see that the applicant has some kind of work experience on their resume. The more work experience an individual has, the less time will need to be spent on training. A resume that indicates the applicant has completed an internship can prove very helpful.

5 Challenges Facing Philanthropies that Prevent Their Success

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No matter what cause a philanthropy works toward benefiting, there are very real challenges the organization will face while trying to help others. Many people want to help out specific causes, yet it can be difficult to launch a charity and have it be successful. In order to better prepare yourself and your philanthropy for the challenge that comes with striving toward success, here are five challenges faced by philanthropists that prevent their success.

An endless battle for survival

It is always problematic for some philanthropies to take a step back and relax when they have minimal reserves and there is a need, often desperate, for more money. Nonetheless, it is of the essence to break the cycle by finding time to step back and breathe and then plan ahead. Thinking about the future and planning for it at present would help them overcome the same battle over and over again.

A reasonable time frame to consider could be five years for instance. In this duration, they should imagine where they want to be after the period elapses and what difference they want to make in the community. Once they have established their destination with clarity, they can work out how much money they need to fund their activities and work backward to create a strategy that won’t fail and can prevent future worries about money.

Limited time to commit to philanthropic activities

Frequently, it can be difficult to find enough time to spend dedicated to philanthropy. Naturally, one can not do everything, so no one should try and you need to pace yourself accordingly. However, they should try to stay focused on specific areas they can make a major impact. It is always better to do a few things well, than try to do a lot of things and then do them poorly. Learn to manage your time well so you can do as much as possible.

Lack of enough money to invest

Philanthropic ventures cost money and need money continuously invested in their causes. Philanthropists that are starting up often face a dilemma over where to place their limited resources and what aspects make for the best investments. It may be necessary to take any spare funds on investments to generate more money to fund the activities.

Developing skills

Sufficient training for small philanthropists can be challenging to achieve. With limited time and funds, it can be difficult to get workers and volunteers the training they need to do their jobs effectively. It’s important to set aside enough time and resources to properly train those working with your organization and then focus on continually develop their skills.

How to be unique

There are too many philanthropies that are doing more or less the same thing. Therefore it becomes a crowded marketplace that makes it tricky to attract support. It is essential for philanthropies to focus on sectors that make them stand out from the crowd. Before starting a philanthropy, make sure there’s a need for your organization and that there’s something that makes you different from other charities.

7 Questions to Ask Before Changing Careers

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If you are considering a career change, you are not alone. Many people change careers more than once in their lifetime and for various reasons. However, if you want to make sure you make the right choice, there are seven questions you should be asking yourself before making this major decision. If you do not take these questions into account, you might make the wrong decision and waste time and effort in a career that doesn’t satisfy you when you could have been working toward something better. So go through the steps below before jumping ship and then decide what path you’d like to take.

What

You have to define what it is exactly that you want. Without this, you will be fluttering in the wind without a direction. What is the ideal outcome that a new career will bring you? Evaluate the types of tasks you enjoy doing and figure out what you definitely do not want to do. Then, search for careers and jobs that best fit your preferences.

Why

Once you’ve defined what you want, it’s time to hone in on why you want it in the first place. If you want more autonomy for example, it might be because you want room to grow. So therefore perhaps a company that is young and rapidly expanding would be a good choice. Understand the reasons behind why you want to change careers or why you’re looking for a specific job can help you determine what steps are the best to take.

When

Without a timeline, dreams die. Don’t think you will do it “someday.” Schedule your move and stick to it. Learn to manage your time effectively and force yourself to work hard and get through the monotonous steps to finding a new career. Do you need more education or to speak with a mentor? Give yourself clear steps and deadlines and it’ll  be easier to transition.

How

Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get there. What actions do you need to take? Do you need to upgrade your resume? Buy a new suit? Answer this before the next step and you’ll be better prepared to move to a new career.

Who

There is probably someone who has done what you want to do. Try to get their mentorship. At the very least, read about their story for clues. Talking with someone who has more knowledge and experience than you can be incredibly beneficial and help you avoid any major missteps.

When it comes to changing careers, it can be overwhelming at first. After all, you are completely shifting gears. Your old routines need to change. And most of all, you have to ask yourself the seven questions above which can take some time and energy. But don’t worry, if you go through the right process you will be able to find your ideal career and succeed in a way that fulfills you for the long term.

Tips for Creating a Successful Morning Routine

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It can be difficult getting up in the morning without the aid of a helpful routine to get you started and motivated to get out of bed. Feeling tired and slightly moody isn’t uncommon. The temptation to crawl back into bed and get more sleep is certainly real and often overwhelming. Before you give into it though, you can try these special tricks for establishing a successful morning routine and jumpstart your day.

Prepare your body

For some, rolling out of bed is deemed a huge success. Once this has been accomplished, it’s time to take a nice, slow stretch. This is believed to increase blood flow in the body and will have a person feeling wide awake within minutes.

These days, cereal with milk is a popular breakfast choice. The problem with this food is that the focus is on dairy, rather than on protein. A couple of pan-fried eggs or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich are both good options instead of, or in addition to, cereal. Because of their high protein content, they’ll give a person the fuel and energy he needs to get through his busy day.

Besides these, an exercise routine comes in handy. During a workout, the body actively engages in various, quick movements, and a person will be left feeling more awake and energetic.

Get the mind ready

Drinking water is good for bodily health, but the simple act has exceptional benefits for the mind, too. It can improve a person’s mood in no time. A grueling, drawn-out morning routine that leaves much to be desired, can make an individual feel like he’s practically homebound. He can skip his usual morning shower and take it the night before instead. Also, he can save a few extra minutes in the morning, by setting the timer on his coffee maker then, as well. That way, the coffee will be brewed and ready to go the moment he gets out of bed.

That innocent looking snooze button on the alarm clock is supposed to be a friend. In reality, though, it’s the enemy. Not only does it interrupt your sleep, it makes it more difficult to accept the fact that the day has, indeed, begun. The snooze button is like the part of the brain that keeps trying to deny it.

By changing the usual, tedious morning routine, anyone can become a morning person. Getting the mind and body both on board may just be the key to the new one’s chance for success. It doesn’t hurt to try.

3 Reasons You Should Use an Open Coworking Space

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We’re used to the traditional layout of offices where people working for a single company share the area and are placed in different offices or cubicles. Now, a new trend is growing; coworking spaces. Coworking spaces act just as dynamic and flexible as the people who work in them every single day. When a business owner gets into one of these spaces, they soon see that they will get a lot of functionality and malleability from performing their daily work tasks in them. Coworking spaces operate as a viable option for many businesses because they are a lot more affordable than the average commercial space and also make collaboration more of a reality.

Company owners that don’t have the means to lease commercial space, this article gives them three reasons why they should move their team into a coworking space.

The offices have a central location

If a business owner needs their clients to meet them at their office, this won’t act as a problem as most coworking spaces are located in some of the most populated cities in central locations. If entrepreneurs think they might want to rent an office, a downside to this option is that they will probably have to sacrifice getting a prime location if they want to pay a lower rent amount every month. When entrepreneurs and freelancers have a shared office, their office will sit in a key area. If they work in centrally located coworking spaces, people also have access to other amenities also located in those areas.

The offices have a low cost

Coworking spaces let entrepreneurs and freelancers do their work in a professional setting without needing to rent expensive office space. When they get a shared space for their company, they can do their work without needing to pay for equipment, different types of insurance, monthly building rent, and a lot of other expenses.

Even if a company made enough money to rent their space, the time they will spend talking to contractors, buying office furniture, and obtaining all of the licenses that they need would not be worth it. Renting a coworking space takes that task off their to-do list.

The offices give people an opportunity to network

When a freelancer or business owner do their work in a coworking space, they are surrounded by hard-working people with a lot of achievements under their belts. Every day, they have the opportunity to network with these hard-charging, interesting professionals. They can explore potential partnerships, invest in the projects of their space mates, and outsource some of their work to freelancers in the office.