March 17, 2010

We Stopped Blogging and Got Serious About Our Future

It's been over four months since we last posted to this blog! While it breaks our heart to have been out of touch for so long, we had good reason.

You see, our blog is run by volunteers of the Literacy 'n' Poverty Project. LnP is a social initiative I started that addresses multiple aspects of literacy - health, reading, writing and financial - to empower the poor and low-income adults to lift themselves up out of poverty.

But, if you've been keeping up with our blog which we know you all have :), you can see that adult education has not been the focus. And rightfully so.

How We Got Started
Make Social Change A Reality was created as a venue to discuss various issues concerning the broader concept of social change from the environment to women's issues to healthcare to youth development. As a startup with goals of becoming an international social enterprise, we felt that y'all deserved a place of your own to learn, engage and share information and resources to help each other create change in your own special way, in your own community.

Our volunteer writers and guest bloggers have posted such interesting, thought provoking and even controversial topics. Your readership encouraged us to keep on pushing! And it still does, but in a different way.

Without all of your support, we couldn't have come to the place we are now. It's a place in our mind and heart that says it's time to GET SERIOUS about LnP's future, if not for our own sake then for the sake of our readers. You deserve better!

If you look back at our 2009 Goals post, we talked about the strategic planning process and used three simple questions that make up the process to develop our blog strategy. We've had some failures, successes and even a few A-HA moments. Here's two:

Success at Cabrini Ministries
Sometime last year, we received an email from our friends at Cabrini Ministries telling us that a reader of our blog was able to help them secure OVER $1,000 in medical supplies for the poor all the way in Swaziland, South Africa. And all we did was post a message about their efforts during our December Giving Drive in spirit of the holiday season. How awesome is that?!

The A-Ha Moment (a breakthrough long overdue)
After reading and studying several blogs, we noticed that our readership began to stale. No decline, no growth. It just sat there like a lump on a long. Something wasn't right, but what? A-HA! We're too big in scope. It was decided early this year that LnP needs a blog solely focused on improving adult education as a pathway for the poor to lift up out of poverty. That is, after all, the reason for our existence.

Fast forward to the present...it's 2010 and time for a new strategy. A new direction for our startup. A better, more focused and strategic mindset so we can create the big change we envision.

Moving Forward
As of today, March 17, 2010, we will no longer post to this blog. (tear...) The rest of this year we're going to be focused on creating a solid business plan, building our board of directors and conducting the due diligence needed to ensure that when LnP is ready and everything in place, we're entering the market with a bang. In a way, we're coming in with a bang rather than going out with one. That sounds much better, don't you think?

A New Space Created for You and By You
Without a doubt, we most certainly want to stay in touch with all of you. We even want to give you a space that allows for more learning, sharing, networking and organizing around the causes most important to you.

We're relying on the support of volunteers and agents of change like you to make this community all that it can be. You'll find a few discussions already started for you. Please don't hesitate to share your story with others. We want to hear it!

One More Thing...
Lastly, we...no, scratch that (it's time to get personal). I, Chanelle Carver, creator of this blog and founder of the Literacy 'n' Poverty Project want to thank each and every one of you for the support you have given this blog over the past two and a half years. Remember our first blog post?

Social change is not an occupation you take up one day and succeed the next. It can take years or even decades of brainstorming, planning, taking action and evaluating outcomes to achieve big results. This blog was a step in the right direction. A step that brings us a little closer to creating lasting change in our communities.

If you are like me, you know the journey isn't over. Why? Because I never give up. I might be exhausted, burnt out, hair breaking off and in serious need of a vacation LOL, but I NEVER GIVE UP! Join me in my quest to change the world and let's never give up together. :)

With love and respect,
Chanelle

P.S. If you'd like to keep up with the Literacy 'n' Poverty Project's journey, sign up for our eNewsletter. Your name and a valid email address is all that's required. We look forward to staying connected!

(JULY 25, 2010 UPDATE: Well folks, looks like we're not going to have a community space. After much discussion between myself, advisors, and supporters of this blog, it was determined that we could best use our resources elsewhere and for now - while LnP is in transition - setting up a community space is not the best use of them. We're still undecided about what to do with the domain name and welcome your suggestions. Some thoughts: donate to another community benefit organization, sell it to a for-profit or an individual whose intentions reflect that of the nature of the blog, or just hang on to it until we figure out another use for it. Feel free to email your suggestion here. Thanks for your patience!)

(MAY 2010 Update: Just last week, Ning's CEO shares that the company is terminating its free service, affecting thousands of network creators some of whom may be nonprofits. This is the exact platform we intended to use to create your new space. We know free doesn't last forever, but didn't anticipate or prepare for this change so soon. Will it be cost beneficial to pay for the premium services or look elsewhere? We'll wait to hear more details from Ning.)