August 17, 2018 #NationalNonprofitDay

Louth United, disbanded in 2006
  • Yesterday the website ZDNet reported that researcher Sam Thomas speaking at the Bsides technical security conference in Manchester alerted attendees that WordPress has been rendered vulnerable to a bug for the entire duration of the last year.  While the situation hasn’t been exploited by attackers, Thomas sounded a concern with WordPress that will require a patch.  This is the first, I believe, that it has been reported, which is a fact, I suspect, that lends itself to the possibility that there could be an upset connected to this WordPress bug and the suggestion of vulnerability

 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/wordpress-vulnerability-affects-a-third-of-most-popular-websites-online/

 

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Photographer: Negative Space

 

In a different light on what’s happening in the blogosphere, I would like to say here that I think of myself as a reasonably well-informed individual.  I have an interest in being active with a blog, with Facebook, and with Twitter.

What’s come up is that the seventeenth of August, 2018, is a celebratory day for nonprofit businesses.  Despite the caveat at the start of the post, it can be said that if you’re unaware of the significance of August 17, 2018, it is that this is National Nonprofit Day.

I thought I would write something to mark the occasion.  I personally am part of a business that has a not-for-profit status.

About nonprofits, National Nonprofit Day recognizes people who contribute to organizations who generally rely on charitable funding to keep going.  There are a lot of needs that would be underserved if it weren’t for nonprofits.  Funding for not-for-profits helps with needs that otherwise would go unmet, which is great because it helps deal with active problems.

I help care for a not-for-profit cemetery that is small but pretty, named Maple Lawn.

Here is a recent photo.  Me, my dad Peter and his brother, my uncle, Dave, run the cemetery.

Louth United, disbanded in 2006
Formerly Louth United Church, St. Catharines

We don’t specifically receive funding for what we do.  We got involved a few years ago when Peter opted to take responsibility for a cemetery whose trustees no longer wished to care for it.  Since then we have opted to care for the grounds and to handle burials.

My dad worked for many years at the municipal cemetery in the city.  We generally attend to the cemetery grounds once a week, on Wednesdays, and we do additional work as needed.

There’s a church on the cemetery grounds.  The United Church of Canada congregation which filled it disbanded from this church of ours in 2006.  It may sound like we’re carrying out a selfless endeavor, but there are a few advantages, in addition, that I can think of.

Running the cemetery doesn’t require a huge amount of input or direction.  I am on hand to do some of the grounds keeping, and I also put it in time doing research and the like as the cemetery SMM.  My dad does a lot of the work that requires expertise tied to the particulars of operating a cemetery.

While many not-for-profits would operate on a fulltime basis, we write our own hours and we mostly look in our own pockets for what we need to spend.  I recently returned to the popular 4 Hour Work Week book by entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss for the third time now and you can view, if you like, my thoughts on it as the following blog post I wrote

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/07/24/pausing-to-read-the-4-hour-work-week/

 

We cover our costs and contribute to the cemetery if someone wants a grave here, or if a funeral needs to be conducted and we do this out of a sense of goodwill.

We have a Facebook page–https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited–and a website–http://maplelawncemeteryorg.ipage.com/oldchurchcemetery/

I remain partial to the notion that if I write a blog there will be a little additional interest in what I say.

I look at Twitter, https://twitter.com/findingenvirons …because of Twitter’s use as an information tool.  I don’t limit my interests on Twitter to what we do at the cemetery.  I explore a variety of interests outside what would otherwise be confined to a very limited niche.

Cemetery operation is too specialized, I think, to confine a Twitter account to that sole purpose.

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Photographer: Rawpixel.com

I don’t feel that time is lost carrying out service at the cemetery.  The time that’s devoted to being part of a small not-for-profit rather than working in a career in sales or the like is meaningful and, even better, enjoyable.  I feel that limiting one’s energy to a volunteer position is time invested in oneself.

With the trade-off of what might be a better living secondary to time invested in the cemetery, I feel like I have something personal to me that I do, although I know a lifestyle like this is certainly not for everyone.  I continue to look at the work from the standpoint that it is a lucky opportunity.  There are drawbacks but I don’t want to emphasize them here in this post.

Furthermore, I appreciate that National Nonprofit Day celebrates nonprofits, people who work hard to make a difference.  When Maple Lawn highlights for people what we’re doing, such as on our Facebook page for the cemetery, we often get positive responses for the care we take to keep the cemetery looking nice.  Visitors to our Facebook page reward us that way.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited
Photographer: Wilfred Iven

People who work in not-for-profits may not always feel that benefactors give them the credit that they deserve, but it doesn’t mean not-for-profit employees don’t find satisfaction in what they do.  I am sure that among not-for-profit personnel, many of them welcome August 17 and celebrate their work accordingly, and that’s what I’m writing about in this post.  I usually represent what we’re doing at the cemetery in positive terms, which is how I try to frame it.

That is to say, I think of myself as an optimist rather than as a pessimist, despite the solemnity of the atmosphere of a cemetery.  If you relate, you’re welcome to “like,” to “follow,” and/or to “comment.”  In November, I will try to respond specifically to the occurrence of Giving Tuesday, the day that charities work especially hard to raise funds.

I realize there may not be such a sense of urgency that a cemetery like ours needs additional assistance, but you never know unless you ask if there is some unknown avenue to improve the standard of work in our hands.  It is probably the right idea to look into getting additional help at the same time that similar organizations are delving into the same.  Autumn is the time of year for it.

I hope to continue working at the cemetery while playing the additional role of nurturing Facebook and Twitter, writing here on WordPress, and otherwise keeping a hand in at our not-for-profit.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

  • Please do not be alarmed by the idea that there is a bug in WordPress that could, in theory, render you in jeopardy if you maintain a blog with WordPress.  Actually, it has been kept under wraps for an entire year.
  • There have been no specific problems made aware of that ZDNet reported and there is no indication that the bug will actually be exploited in the name of enemy action, however so easy a target exists.  I know with this attention to the issue WordPress will respond with a patch.

10 Guidelines for Charitable Giving Facilitated by the Government

2018-06-17

I have become aware of new information about taking donations on Facebook.  While there was already Facebook features to take financial help through your business page, now you can receive recurring monthly donations thanks to an addition Facebook has recently introduced.

 

I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the existing structure for receiving donations when I published this post.  I meant to say that we don’t presently ask for donations on Facebook, because we are only a small page and we don’t have much of a budget with which to work–I am the SMM, which I do on a casual basis and to the best of my ability.

 

Perhaps in the future, we could bring onboard someone younger to help with carrying out our operations with the help of Facebook, but at the present I am aware of the mess Facebook has run into owing to its exposed dealings with Cambridge Analytica and what that has done to Facebook’s credibility as a social media platform and to its use for small business.  I want to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt that they will continue to improve their situation and remain effective as a tool for small business.  I am optimistic that it will remain a good idea to publicize our not-for-profit on Facebook.

 

Now is almost certainly not the best time to try to begin raising funds on Facebook, as the bad publicity is undeniable, I feel, but with Giving Tuesday still ahead in November I do want to keep my hand in the game in case the situation changes for the better.  A little more money could certainly serve our needs.  I am more concerned that Facebook will continue to grow to mean that the business page for our not-for-profit remains useful… https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Updated 2018-08-03

Source

Facebook Fundraising Tools Now Allow Monthly Giving

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Photographer: Rawpixel.com

I am involved with a small not-for-profit.  We operate a cemetery which otherwise has no one to care for it.

 

This blog is nominally tied to it, and also a hobby of mine.  I believe blogging is an opportunity to be involved with others who are similarly inclined to write blog posts.

 

I am the junior member of the nonprofit, and I help with grounds keeping.  I also assist work inside the disbanded church which is on the grounds of the cemetery, and provide some of the cemetery’s presence on the Internet (on Facebook, and also here:  www.maplelawncemetery.org).

2018-06-17
Peter and Linda

The senior operator is Peter.

 

Occasionally other volunteers lend a hand with the maintenance work.  We have had work done by my nephew Mack, by family friends Bill and Gerard, and by my father’s brothers Paul and Dave.

 

We began in 2012, six years after the church closed its doors for the last time.  The not-for-profit is a small cemetery, which means that there aren’t very many funerals, just a few.  We aren’t unlike volunteers, for a few reasons.

 

To write this post, I researched federal Canadian controversies over nonprofits.  LIVE WELL, DO GOOD‘s David McConkey has provided specifics about giving or receiving charitable donations.

What he is saying on his website inspired what I thought to post today about making donations.

 

  1. One of the reasons that we see ourselves a little like volunteers is that, although typically we would accept donations, we are not a registered charity.  In Canada, only donations to registered charities qualify for an income tax credit.  This means that there is less incentive for parties interested in what we do to bestow us with any kind of gift.

 

  1. This isn’t a big problem, as there isn’t a lot of overhead to go with maintaining a cemetery of this size, but it does make campaigns such as November’s annual Giving Tuesday affair somewhat troubled waters.  We can’t return the favor of a donation with a deduction.

 

  1. Statistics Canada has found that almost everyone (ninety-four percent of those fifteen years old and older) makes charitable donations.  Sometimes these can be valuable art items.
2018-06-13
Abstract expressionism
  1. Despite not being able to provide a tax break, I imagine we would consider accepting donations.  If all goes well, I will probably make some noise again about Giving Tuesday come November this year (like last year).

 

  1. I don’t like to spin my wheels, but nothing good comes easy.  Perhaps by repeating an interest in Giving Tuesday, I will start to unlock chains that keep us out of what works about Giving Tuesday.  We’re operating a cemetery, which demands solemn thinking and which is literally a retreat for visitors who miss their loved ones.

 

  1. Statistics Canada has found that donors who plan ahead give more than others.  As we are involved year-round with people choosing their final resting place or the resting place of their loved ones, perhaps this is something we could investigate if we were looking at how to raise funds for the cemetery.  That being said, to date we have not had a problem caring for the church and cemetery, so we are not under any pressure to need to strenuously keep up the maintenance of the place running smoothly.

 

  1. CanadaHelps.org is a registered charity that facilitates online donations.  They work with thousands of charities.  They issue receipts and forward your donation to a charity you specify, less a three percent transaction fee.

 

Source

Charitable Donations: Top Ten Canadian Tax Tips

 

David McConkey found inspiration in the pages of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, by Bill Clinton.  Three points specifically raised that David McConkey emphasizes are explained below.

 

  1. Most people on Earth live in a democracy.  Bill Clinton emphasizes that involvement in civil society is quite accessible to more people now than ever.

 

  1. Globalization and technology have made the fortunes of powerful millionaires and billionaires, Clinton writes.  These same individuals are frequently prominent philanthropists.

 

  1. The Internet is certainly steadfast in the opportunity to make civil action. Together, small donors can have a huge impact.

 

Source

Review of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

 

Although my dad is a senior citizen, I can foresee us working at this until any set point in the future.  I really don’t know at this time how far into the future we should project, but as helping with the cemetery is the best bet I have for autonomy and independence, I will do the best I can to keep working at caring for the cemetery and for the disbanded church.  I also intend to keep an active presence on Facebook, and here on WordPress.

 

Bill Clinton’s book helped inspire David McConkey’s thoughts on income tax credits and how to take advantage of them.  I invite you to visit us on Facebook.  You may also ask any question you might have of me here on WordPress, over on Quora, or on Twitter.

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Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

If you have a question which I might possibly be able to answer for you, I would be glad to help.  I appreciate that you took the time to visit and I hope that you had a terrific Father’s Day this June.

 

To visually illustrate this post, I have included a couple of shots taken myself, and in addition a stock photo intended to better illustrate some of the information, without being verbose.  Thank you for bearing with me.

Best to Sell Your Elevator Pitch

When my maternal grandmother was in her golden years, she tried to assure me, “Don’t worry!”

 

It hasn’t been that bad.

 

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word, “fret,” and it’s a timely choice by the folk at WordPress.

 

What’s being outlined by writers on tech around the world in the news and elsewhere is big trouble… the Cambridge Analytics scandal dealt with Mark Zuckerberg decimated trust in Facebook and cost Zuckerberg a fortune.  For someone like me, maintaining a tiny little Facebook business page to assist with the operations and goals of our likewise tiny little nonprofit, I am sure I am characteristically flabbergasted the same as so many other people struggling to market their brand on Facebook in the same boat.

 

It is potentially back to the drawing board for many.

 

Meanwhile Twitter, beginning the twenty-third of March, put into effect a change in policy that restricts marketers from tweeting the identical thing across multiple Twitter accounts, which is less a problem for me personally as I only have one Twitter account, but which is intended to scale back the impact that spammers and the like can have if they’re active on several Twitter accounts.  For example, there is far less risk that trending topics on Twitter will be launched by the dubious and artificial method of conflated Twitter accounts bringing to prominence a devious trend.

 

It is nonsense, though, because honest Twitter users who make Twitter part of their business model have far less freedom to market their brand.  It also comes on top of several months of other changes to Twitter that consistently kept people who love Twitter up in arms, like notably extending the famed hundred and forty character limit for a tweet to twice that, two hundred and eighty characters.

 

The little tweet was suddenly full on birdsong, and now, counterintuitively, restrictions are in place so that the social noise on Twitter is slowed down considerably.

 

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Photographer: Mahkeo

My little blog defaults to options to share a post on both Facebook and Twitter, and now both social media giants are mired in an unpredictable morass that quiets down an outcry that until this year seemed like just a normal part of using the social media leaders.

 

Could be time to shop around.

 

Twitter finally made a quarterly profit, it is worth noting, so the changes effected under the leadership of Jack Dorsey may continue to prove effective.  For Facebook, on the other hand, the steep increase in distrust of the formerly reputable social media giant will play out a drama that will see many Facebookers transmuting their internet profiles elsewhere, or at least becoming far more aware of what can happen to data once it is committed to the Internet.

 

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Photographer: Flo Karr

What’s happened with Facebook is only one page in the news-intensive deconstruction of all the trouble the United States is seeing given their leadership is so unsteady at a time when a strong technology industry is necessary for friendly waters in the face of the potential for major change in the near future when many players want as much control as possible over the cyber landscape.

 

There is every reason to fret.  Above and beyond prayer, it would be advisable to equip yourself with as much information as possible to ride the tide back to shore.  It is exciting to observe, and if you have a tidy niche from which to beam the perspective you want people to take, I’d recommend you do it with dedication and surety.

 

If you’ve read today’s post, I thank you.  Any like, follow or comment is welcome.

But Not to Automate Ad Nauseum

Well, the twenty-third of March came and went, and Twitter’s new policy on automated tweets across multiple accounts is on.

 

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word inefficient and it reminded me to post something to say a little what that did.

 

I take it Twitter’s idea is to reduce the amount of “noise” on it, which I understand to mean useless tweets, tweets that aren’t good information, or that redundantly reproduce what’s already being stated in tons of other places.

 

The change in policy Friday challenges Twitter users with multiple accounts to stop automating identical tweets across accounts, which can have the effect of trying to get a hashtag trending and thus visible, or otherwise convince people that a user of multiple accounts is relevant enough they should be followed, “liked,” retweeted, etc.

 

You can read specifics of the change in policy Friday here:  http://skepticreview.com/2018/02/22/twitter-rules-automation-multiple-accounts-must-compliance-march-23rd/

 

I only have one Twitter account and have no nefarious intentions to underhandedly capitalize on the troubled social media platform or otherwise take advantage of a good thing:  Twitter › @findingenvirons

 

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Photographer: Field Engineer

The shift on Twitter was subtle–I only spent a half hour on Twitter Friday, not long enough to see much more than a tiny glimpse of what should be a reduction in “social media noise” as accounts by multiple users become more subtle.

 

The world was changing rapidly anyway, with the gun control march in Washington, D.C. coming Saturday and that monopolizing a good deal of the conversation on Twitter this weekend.  Naturally, I feel that the march is vitally important given what happens from time to time when a loner takes it in his head to do something terrible.

 

It’s well known that the biggest reason to be on Twitter is more than likely to be in touch with important events happening around the world.  The idea that “noise” on Twitter needs to calm down is a bit counterproductive, as a lot is possible with Twitter, as people wanting lead generation have proven is possible, getting customers from the masses spread across the Twitter platform.

 

I just wanted to leave this note as I thought it might be useful information that the automation policy went into effect Friday.

 

Any comment is welcome.

Storytelling with Childhood Comic Books

March 9, 2018

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to reflect on the idea of storytelling, with one picture or a few.  Jen’s essay Story on the subject is lovely and if you are a photographer who blogs, perhaps you should look it over.

 

The idea of storytelling has more than one meaning.  The ancient idea of a story is a great deed, and, now in recent times, many variations on story exist including the marketing idea.  A brand should engage its audience by telling a story, by representing itself as sometimes a great notion that people can feel involved in what the brand is about and how it functions in the space of marketing.  If people trust a brand’s “story,” they want to be a customer of the brand as it belongs to the space understood by both the storytellers and by the consumers.

 

If you watch Stranger Things, you know that the Dungeons & Dragons player who organizes game sessions is referred to as the “Dungeon Master.”  Being a blogger is a little like being a Dungeon Master because you are organizing some kind of storytelling effort for other people to read and otherwise consume.

 

For this week’s Photo Challenge, I am telling a story visually with what is a popular visual form of storytelling, comic books.  They turned up in the kitchen of the church where I work and they belonged to family years ago, which I borrowed informally on the suggestion of my father, who noticed they were there.

 

March 9, 2018
Superhero Story for WordPress Photo Challenge

I picked a couple of these that I did read when I was a kid and a couple more that reflect the interests I had as a kid.  I hope you like the photo I have taken, and that if you see this, you relate to how it is to come across something from the past that is a nice memory.

 

Blurring a photo is a normal aspect of photography and the blur in this photo was done with the camera.  The photo hasn’t been blurred by software.

Attack of the Video Content

Do you have an inkling what influencer marketing is?

 

Influencer marketing, I guess, is when a brand with an expansive and powerful Internet presence helps a newcomer gain exposure by sharing the smaller brand under the umbrella of the major brand who is widespread across the world wide web on several channels.

 

When the Hulu video streaming service was becoming a monster, I know they experimented with following various Twitter peeps in order to help make themselves a household name.

 

November 28, 2016
Hulu among other Twitter followers

Now I see commercials on TV for Hulu that make it seem all the more like a juggernaut, but for some time they were most alive in my mind as the entity on Twitter that seemed to be joking around all the time waiting for all those people to start transplanting their attention to Hulu instead of all the other options for video entertainment that likewise wanted consumer dollars in exchange for a wild consumption experience of the most dynamite video to be found.

 

Hulu kept adding all kinds of classic TV shows to their roster line-up, and beginning with The Handmaid’s Tale began to fill its slot of originals with more and more series, like Marvel’s Runaways.

 

It felt to me like the underdog Hulu challenging the king of paid content, Netflix, for a portion of its subscriber base.  Who had the best originals, Netflix with its incredible budget and seeming out-of-control finger on the market with a business model set to break all records?

 

But what happened… this is surely a simplistic interpretation of what was actually experienced… the Harvey Weinstein effect rocked the entertainment industry and pretty soon many respected actors were back to the drawing board.

 

I am not an analyst, but are these two events connected in any tangible way?

 

Netflix established an extraordinary budget for its current and future programming, all growing from a point of origin that was one particular Netflix original that was historical for being the first there was.  It was House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey.

 

Spacey came under stern criticism and was let go, costing Netflix a ton and generating at least a little bad publicity.

 

With their very first entry as a Netflix original series becoming a distraction, I felt I was seeing Hulu rise up in response and setting their sights on becoming a major competitor in the wake of the scandal around Spacey.

 

It can’t have been that direct a transition, I don’t think, but I would infer that with the breakdown of Netflix’ House of Cards at a critical time, when Hulu was beginning to launch its new originals, I think it certainly meant the time was right for Hulu to begin to market itself more traditionally, rather than with its jovial influence marketing that resembled stunt tactics.  Maybe Hulu still does play with influence marketing, I’m not sure, but all of a sudden it seems like all the more professional a brand than it had been previously when it was a minor competitor to the juggernaut Netflix.

 

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale also demonstrated its penchant for winning many major awards and on top of that, it carried with it a feminist zeitgeist that was all the more effective in the face of the Weinstein effect that was leaving men everywhere clutching their walking papers.

 

November 16, 2017
A year later Hulu unfollows

These days when I see the TV ads for Hulu I smile.

 

I think the video streaming market is mad, but it is interesting to see that there have been many measurable changes in it in the last several months as Hulu grew into its mode of expansion and gained tons of credibility.

 

It will be interesting to see if there are more upstarts as entertainment continues to change.

 

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word inkling.

The Silver Screen in the Storm

2017-12-29

I am extremely late working on this free course from WordPress to help me get better as a photographer.  With the extreme winter, the busy holidays, and the relative difficulty of thinking how to proceed, at last, I am ready to make a post with the next exercise in photography at the ready and on the Internet.  Day Four of the beginner-level WordPress course “Developing Your Eye” asks participants to reflect with a photo about bliss–this is what I have for you.

 

2017-12-29
Landmark Cinemas at the Pen

One of the cool things I got to experience when I was a boy was watching a film, and for a long time, we didn’t have cable television in our house (I suppose it’s lucky we had electricity–joking, of course, we certainly did)… but I did get to visit the movie house and it opened what I expect will be a lifelong cycle of happiness creating memories that contain a component of elusive bliss.

 

I can remember without being aware of much else famous movie titles that I got to see, and I suppose the end result of a childhood like that is an adulthood rich with “geekdom”–that movies continue to light a casual passion in my life and I remember to enjoy them.  They light a bit of freedom that should be cherished amid the changing times that sweep by all.  The movies remain an institution of great cultural impact and richness.

 

My photo today is of the exterior of the commercial cinema in the mall in the other end of town, and, as previously mentioned, the winter weather so far this year is fierce–you can see the swirling snow.  I nearly came home with less clothing than I’d worn.

 

Blogging with WordPress is an amazing hobby–I am consistently impressed by the visitors who leave “likes” on the posts which are of a passing grade.  I hope that by the end of this course in photography I have improved as a photographer and I hope blogging takes me into 2018 with aplomb and continues to serve as a communication tool by which excellent connections are forged.  Thank you!