The Japan Fundraiser at Moreland Little League complex, referenced in the previous issue of the Viodi View, was a success thanks to the hard work and dedication of the families and businesses associated with the Moreland MLL community. The boundaries of community, in this case, are not restricted by the lines of geography or even baseball, as individuals, Church groups and businesses from across town and across the country pitched in to pull off something that would have been much more time and labor intensive, even just 5 years ago.
Our cloud-based, open source solution, WordPress.org, was an essential tool for organizing and communicating information to a virtual team that grew and morphed in a very short time. Although we came up with the concept and had a general plan about a month prior to our event, we couldn’t do much until we received necessary approvals. The uncertainty limited our ability in promoting the event.
The cloud-based approach that WordPress offered, allowed for team members to give valuable feedback without having to attend a physical meeting; which is difficult to do, given all the Silicon Valley time-constraints of Little League, raising kids, etc. This feedback proved valuable, as it allowed us to quickly make mid-course corrections much more efficiently than otherwise.
Obviously, there are many other cloud-based approaches for accomplishing what we wanted to do, including WordPress.com, the commercial version of the open source software. In a word, the reason we ended up going the self-installed version of WordPress (wordpress.org) was control. We weren’t certain where this website was going when we started, so we needed flexibility in terms of shaping the site to meet the needs of the event. Also, this solution gave us data portability (granted, WordPress.com also has that feature). In many ways, it also served as an outline of our plan.
Over time, we added meat to the bones and, suddenly, we had a full-blown web site. We could have purchased a domain name, but felt it was better to send that money to Red Cross’ Japan Relief effort, where it is really needed. We were going so fast that there were cosmetic things that weren’t fixed (like a rotating banner that scrunches text), but it was felt that the content mattered more than glitz (although it is frustrating, as it is like the unfinished molding in a remodeled room).
Another advantage to using the cloud to document our event is that it provides a sort of virtual road map, easily accessible to anyone for future reference. This is important in a volunteer organization where institutional memory is sometimes short.
Social Media tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Craigslist were critical in driving traffic to our website and we could see the growth in traffic and its origination, thanks to the WordPress back-end. The ironic thing is that we tried to use old-fashioned print media, but it looks like the Amazon Cloud outage wreaked havoc with the electronic process of submitting our advertisement to the local newspaper; our ad never ran.
Google Docs and email were complementary and, combined with our WordPress site, it allowed for our 3 or 4 physical meetings to be more like brainstorming sessions (truth be known, our physical meetings were more fun than they were work).
And at the end of the day, the cloud computing technology and the broadband we relied on were more about facilitating relationships in the real world. One lesson learned was that this sort of real-world event can bring people closer and relate in ways that they would otherwise miss. And hopefully, we let our friends in Japan know, through our electronic communication, that they are part of our greater community and that they in our prayers.
More on the actual event can be found here.
P.S. – Thanks again to our sponsors!
- Muvee Reveal Video Editing Software
- Pinnacle Studio™ HD Ultimate Collection v.15
- Great Kat DVD
- Kidz Gear
And finally, a big thank you to a great supporter of local community organizations, Robinson Oil, also known as Rotten Robbie.