Camp Good Days and Special Times is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the lives of children and families that are affected by cancer. Camp Good Days and Special Time provide experiences to children through summer camp opportunities and other special events. The camp focuses on helping the children cope with cancer, and it provides the children with fun, memorable, encouraging experiences. Camp Good Days and Special Times residential camp is located on Keuka Lake. The camp is highly supported by the Rochester and Western New York region and is especially supported by St. John Fisher College.
According to Cognitive Surplus, a book written by Clay Shirky, there are several aspects to developing a strategy to achieve the organizations goals. The first is technology; technology aids in reaching out to those that can contribute or volunteer with the organization. It is important for the technology that Camp Good Days is using to be up to date and useful to their audience. According to Shirky, technology is an opportunity to surprise people and change their habits. Shirky states, “Given the right opportunities, humans will start behaving in new ways” (Shirky, 100). That opportunity is important for organizations, like Camp Good Days and Special Times, to take advantage of. With the new rapidly developing technology, Camp Good Days and Special Times can attract more donors and volunteers. Camp Good Days and Special Times does a commendable job in regards to their social media outlets, their Facebook and Twitter are booming and well used. Their website is up to date and is eye catching, it includes many links and information. In order to improve their technology usage I would suggest that they open a YouTube account and post regular videos about the cause as well as footage from the camp. There are videos incorporated on the website however the only way to access them is through their website, with a YouTube account these videos would be more accessible.
In chapter six, Dean Kaman, and entrepreneur and inventor, said, “In a free culture, you get what you celebrate” (Shirky, 176). This quote represents the value of civic value which can be directly correlated with cooperation. Cooperation requires the organization to reach out to other partners and collaborate. Camp Good Days and Special Times already cooperates with other organizations. An organization near and dear to Fisher’s heart is the Teddi Dance for Love 24-hour dance marathon. This marathon is sponsored and organized by St. John Fisher College students and the proceeds of the fundraiser are donated to Camp Good Days and Special Times. This cooperation is a good example of how to collaborate with the community. Camp Good Days and Special Times reaches out regularly to cooperate with the community, they provide a lot of exciting experiences for children. One of the outlets that the camp should reach out to is the American Cancer Society. If the camp were to cooperate and collaborate with the American Cancer Society, there is a good chance that the camp could use the American Cancer Society as a resource and an excellent publicity outlet.
Commons-Based Peer Production:
Chapter three highlights the third aspect, common-based peer production. According to Yochai Benkler, commons-based production is, “a term for systems that rely on voluntary contributions to operate” (Shirky, 78). A common-based peer production allows for the community to get involved through monetary donations as well as volunteering. It is important for Camp Good Days and Special Times to have both a solid community base in order to continue their mission. Camp Good Days has developed a sustainable and positive reputation in the community. The organization is a desirable one to be an active member of. The camp opens its doors to volunteer to be camp counselors and is constantly fundraising to send children to camp. A way for the camp to reach out to potential donors could potentially be through a well-made promotional video, showing the difference volunteers make in the children’s lives. The video should include testimonies from the children as well as volunteers. Another idea gain voluntary contributions, is through a phone-a-thon. If the current volunteers call people in the community for donations and to talk about volunteer opportunities, the connectivity and personal aspect of the call could encourage people to volunteer and donate.
Chapter 7 Rules:
Ask “Why?”: Asking people that interact with Camp Good Days and Special Times why they volunteer or contribute is beneficial (Shirky, 194). In order to take the idea further and integrate social media, the members of the Facebook group could be prompted on Facebook to share stories about the camp and why they continue to contribute their time and money. This would encourage others to invest time in Camp Good Days.
Behavior Follows Opportunity: Camp Good Days and Special Times can explain why the camp is so important and why people should volunteer, however, if there is no indication of how they will not see an increase of volunteers (Shirky, 195). Camp Good Days and Special Times needs to include information about volunteering and investing on every social media website as well as their own website. The information MUST be accessible and easy to understand.
Default to Social: Camp Good Days and Special Times, if at all possible needs to make the children that are affected by this cause available. On an anecdotal note, my favorite part of Teddi is when the children come for the last hour and dance with us, it is an immediate connection, and we are socializing with the children who we just spent 23 hours dancing for. Meeting the children is magical and helps to put in perspective why the organization is so important. The social value outweighs personal value, it is valuable to have people connecting and sharing on Facebook but that only gets an organization so far (Shirky, 196). There needs to be a social component with the children in order to invest in the organization.
Try Anything. Try Everything: “The single greatest predictor of how much value we get out of our cognitive surplus is how much we allow and encourage one another to experiment, because the only group that can try everything is everybody” (Shirky, 207). This quote describes the point of reaching out to the community through social media; it gives Camp Good Days and Special Times an opportunity to try things with those that invest in the camp. Camp Good Days should be developing a presence in popular social media outlets and encouraging people to share information and their pages with friends and family. If they continue to keep the group motivated and inspired, success will follow.
These rules and models provide an effective template and means to get people involved in the organization. Through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Phone-A-Thons, and interactions with the children Camp Good Days and Special Times will continue to grow and keep the spirit of the camp alive.