Category: Fund-raising

Weekly roundup: Finally, a week without a new campaign

It was time, however, to close some campaigns. We closed the Hungary campaign, which had 7,298 supporters and which ran in 14 languages. The union wrote back to us saying “Many thanks – the thousands of signatures gave strong support to our colleagues!” We also closed the Nigeria dockers’ campaign, sponsored by the ITF. It had 7,680 supporters and it ran in 14 languages. We’re waiting to hear what effect, if any, the campaign had. We also asked for permission to close the DNO Yemen campaign, but were asked to keep it going a while longer.

Thanks to all the new campaigns we’ve launched recently, our mailing lists are growing much more quickly. This week we added 422 new subscribers; this number was just 268 last week and 183 two weeks ago.

We’re also looking for ways to encourage people to share our campaigns. Sharing our campaigns and news as Tweets on iOS devices (iPad and iPhone) has recently become problematic, though it works fine on Android and on the web. We’re working on a solution. Meanwhile, I’ve improved the “pass it on” feature which allows people to forward campaigns to their friends by email; it is now being tested in languages other than English, which I hope to roll out next week, one certain security issues have been resolved.

We continue to promote campaigns launched by others. This week, we helped publicize the IUF’s new Cambodia campaign on our news pages and social media. We also did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting a campaign on Bangladesh, organised by a Canadian union. We’re using our news pages as well to help promote union campaigns. Until this week, the ability to link to other websites’ campaigns was working in English and French; I’ve now extended this to all other languages. You can see a working example on the Spanish page (a link to the IUF’s Spanish campaign on Indonesia).

We’ve had a problem with Google indexing one of our petition pages, which is now password protected, but which allowed them for a time access to the email addresses of some of our supporters. We have tried repeatedly to get Google to re-index the site, which would clear this information from their servers, to no avail. I’ve asked friends in the online campaigning community for advice and have received some ideas.

We continue to focus on both internationalising and localising our news and campaigns. Our new UK LabourStart Facebook page, following a mass mailing to our UK list, jumped from 77 to 479 likes. And we now have a simple “photo of the day” feature working on our Brazil page (in Portuguese).

We’re very focussed on expanding our work in other languages, in particular those where we’ve already built a large mailing list. This week we made efforts in Turkish, German and Korean. I had a very productive meeting with two of our Turkish speaking comrades at the ITF, and we made plans to continue LabourStart’s expansion in the Turkish trade union movement, including a revival of our Facebook page in Turkish. Also, our German comrades have done an excellent job in clearing the backlog of untranslated campaigns and mailings. This is hugely important as not only is our German list a very large one, but we have an exceptionally high rate of response from it. And finally, one of our largest mailing lists is the Korean one, but we’ve not been receiving translations of our campaigns and mailings. I’ve written to all our current translators, and will follow up to a wider audience if this gets no results.

Last but not least, this week we were asked to submit formal requests to two unions in the UK and Norway who have offered donations.

Weekly roundup: It’s campaign season as we roll out four campaigns in two weeks

We launched one completely new campaign this week (Somalia), went live with another (Madagascar) and continued work promoting and translating other recent campaigns.

Our asbestos campaign grew from 5,728 to 6,530 supporters this week, a gain of 802.

Our Kazakhstan campaign grew even faster than that, going from 4,469 to 6,256, a gain of 1,787 — that’s a growth of 40% in one week for this campaign, which is encouraging. We attempted to give that campaign a big boost in French by tweeting an appeal to all 4 left-wing candidates in the French election, but to no avail. Nevertheless, we should consider tweeting at prominent individuals on the left and in the labour movement in future to boost campaigns.

Early in the week we launched our Madagascar dockers campaign which grew very quickly to 5,348 supporters.

And today we launched our Somalia campaign in English and Arabic, with a commitment to do our first-ever campaign in Somali as well (17 million speakers worldwide).

We asked for permission to close down the DNO Yemen campaign after 3 months, but were asked to hold off for a bit. We have a number of older campaigns on hold in this way.

We continue to promote campaigns and appeals from other organisations. These included a BWI campaign to protest redundancies in Spain, protesting the closure of labour web portal sendika.org in Turkey (could eventually be a LabourStart campaign), and a possible campaign in Morocco — we are waiting for them to clear this with their global union.

Our mailing lists continue to grow; this week we added 268 new subscribers in 22 languages, which is 50% more than we added last week, with a relatively large contingent in Russian.

We’ve been alerted to a problem with our share on Twitter link, which works fine on the web and on Android devices, but not on iOS devices. We need to figure out why.

We did a considerable amount of work continuing to internationalise the site this week. I made a number of fixes to both our news and campaigns sites in Esperanto, and drafted a message to be sent to Esperantists and their organisations around the world. This mailing list, by no means our smallest, has our highest response rate for campaigns, and a much larger list means many more supporters for our campaigns.

Kirill pointed out problems with sharing a campaign by email in Russian and these have all now been fixed.

We did the third mailing so far this year to LabourStart’s more than 600 correspondents. This time we discussed May Day, the new external campaigns feature, and helping us to fill in a black hole when one of our most active correspondents goes on holiday next month.

And finally, another global union, UNI, has made a generous donation to LabourStart this week.

Weekly Roundup: Massive growth in the number of Asian languages for our campaigns

Asbestos campaign: This is now live in more languages than any other recent campaign we’ve done, thanks to APHEDA’s helping getting translations of the campaign and mailing in Indonesian, Japanese, Hindi, Vietnamese, etc. We expect to add even more Asian languages as a result, including Urdu. Some of these lists are being mailed to for the first time in years. A number of global unions, including IndustriALL and the ITUC, have publicly called for a global asbestos ban this week. As of this morning, the campaign has 5,728 supporters and is running in 18 languages.

Kazakhstan campaign: This too went live in a big way this week. We have the full support of the ITUC and IndustriALL, and the IUF did a mailing to its Russian language list to promote the campaign. This morning the campaign had 4,469 supporters and appears in 6 languages so far with more translations on the way.

Madagascar campaign: This campaign is already running on the ITF site, but they have begun publicising the version on LabourStart. We’ll begin our publicity shortly.

Somalia campaign: The journalists’ union has asked for our help; expect a new campaign in the next few days.

UK: We went live with our new UK LabourStart Facebook page, publicising it on the social network itself for now; as of this morning it has 74 likes. One of the things we’ve been able to publicise there is a new podcast done by former LabourStart intern Edd Mustill. We’ll soon do a mailing to our UK list to promote this.

Mailing lists: I did two imports this week, adding people who support our campaigns, with a total of 304 new subscribers, mostly to the English list.

Publications: I’ve begun work to complete the new edition of Campaigning Online and Winning.

Publicity: We’ve begun work on a new flyer — it will be based on our 2014 flyer, with an updated text, to be distributed at union conferences this year. We’re looking into the possibility of creating versions in multiple languages.

Arthur Svensson prize: We’ve been invited to participate in this year’s ceremony in Oslo in June.

Fundraising: BWI has made a generous donation to LabourStart which arrived this week.

Weekly roundup: 1 new campaign, 3 old ones closed, and much more

I haven’t been doing regular updates to Inside LabourStart — but from this week, I want to start. Here’s a roundup of the last 7 days at LabourStart:

CAMPAIGNS

  • We had a problem – for the second time in 4 months – with McAfee blocking access to our campaigns site. After sending them an email (again), they removed the block within 24 hours. I shared the news of this block on social media and to all those (7 subscribers) who complained to me about it.
  • We’ve had a proposal from the Australian unions for a campaign on asbestos. It will go live today or tomorrow.
  • In one of our shortest campaigns here, we protested against the jailing (again) of leaders of Djibouti’s teachers’ union; they were freed on Monday night.
  • With the agreement of our partners in Ukraine, we closed down the campaign in support of Kyiv’s transport workers, which got 8,272 messages sent.
  • After 3 months online, we closed down the Brazilian campaign in support of workers at the University of Sao Paulo.
  • We did a mini-campaign in the UK to build support for the trade union education programme at Ruskin College in Oxford, at the request of the staffers there who have been made redundant. It’s not hosted on our site, which means it’s not the best way to do it, but we got a large number of people to show their support for Ruskin.
  • We helped the IUF promote its campaign in support of Coca-Cola workers in Indonesia – both with a mailing to our list and publicity on the website and on social media.
  • I made a small tweak to the campaigns page so that you are now required to choose a country, and you can’t choose the first choice, which is ‘country’. You must choose an actual country.
  • I’ve begun regularly weekly reviews of our campaigns and mailings, to see if we’re missing any translations in our most popular languages. The only one which is a persistent problem is German and I’ve written to our friends in Berlin in the hope that we can sort this out.

MAILING LISTS

  • We picked up 652 new subscribers this week.
  • Because we had almost 137,000 subscribers on our mailings we pay a lot of money every month to MailChimp. We can save some money by not keeping lists there which we no longer need, so I attempted to bring us below the 135,000 threshhold, which would have saved us $300 a year – but unfortunately could not.

NEWS

  • We now have the “external ActNOW” working – meaning any correspondent can add a link to an online campaign that’s related to a news story. As of this morning, this has been tested and works everywhere.
  • I wrote to all our correspondents telling them about our state/province field, asking them use it where it exists (USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, India, Canada) and if we don’t have it for their country, to let us know and we can add it. We recently learned that in Canada in particular, this is a very popular feature on LabourStart.
  • In addition to that, on all our country news pages for those countries named above, there’s now a drop-down menu for the first time listing states, provinces and regions. This should help raise awareness that we have this feature.

PROMOTING LABOURSTART

  • The British unions BECTU and USDAW offered to let us have a stall at their upcoming conferences and if we can’t attend, to distribute printed material for us.

BOOKS

  • I wrote to all members of the LabourStart executive committee urging people to help get our books, especially the newest one on migrant workers, reviewed on Amazon. This will help boost sales and I encourage everyone reading this to help out.

DONATIONS

  • Finally, we received pledges of donations from TUAC, UNI and BWI. I am sending out reminders to all global union bodies which regularly donate to us, and so far they are all responding affirmatively.

Our next book, new campaign, donations, and more

Books

Work is being done on our book on migrant labour which we hope to launch in Toronto. We have a cover and the inside pages are nearly done.

Campaigns

I’ve asked the KCTU and HKCTU for permission to close down the Korea and China campaigns, both of which have been running for a long time.
A new campaign in support of Turkish union GIDA-IS is about to go live.
The campaign submission page has a new field for videos so these can be incorporated into future campaigns.
I did the monthly review of translations into our major languages and identified some problems, especially with German campaigns.

Correspondents

Weekly mailings to all correspondents continue. One focussed on the use of states and regions in news stories; the other encouraged the 90% who’ve been inactive to get active.

Donations

We received a large donation from a branch of Unite the Union in the UK. The Education International and UNI have also made substantial donations to us.

News

Mahesh pointed out a problem with tweeting a news story with a apostrophe in the title.

Radio

I have submitted weekly programmes to WINS on the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the new crackdown on independent unions in Egypt.

Upcoming

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking on a panel with a leader of Unite the Union and Amnesty International’s Shane Enright on corporate campaigning, in London.

The last 37 days – a lot to report …

I had wanted these to be fortnightly reports — but it’s hard to keep that going with so much happening. So, apologies for the delay. Here’s what’s happened in the last five weeks:

CAMPAIGNS

  • We asked KCTU if we can close down their 3-month-old campaign; they’ve asked us to keep it going and we will.
  • Launched two new campaigns on one day (Iran and Morocco), both concerning individuals we’d already campaigned for in the past.
  • We closed three campaigns — Mastepan (Estonia), Nermin (Libya) and Ewado (Djibouti); we reported on both in the mass mailing that went out today.  We also heard very positive news about a campaign we did with WAC in defense of a Palestinian trade union activist.
  • We launched a very large campaign demanding justice for Giulio Regeni. This came at the suggestion of our Italian comrades, and was quickly followed by support from the IUF and a positive statement also from the ITUC.  This campaign soared to 10,000 messages very quickly and continues to grow.
  • We continued to support the ITUC’s Ratify the Protocol campaign.

RADIO

We’re now submitting weekly 2 1/2 minute reports to the Workers Independent News Service (WINS) in the US. This is in addition to our ongoing cooperation with Radio Labour, based in Canada.

FINANCES

We received a generous donation from Building and Woodworkers International.

EVENTS

I spoke at a meeting of communications staffers of European unions in Gdansk, Poland last week.

CORRESPONDENTS

We’ve resumed regular mailings to correspondents, which will take place every week — after a gap of nearly 10 months.

BOOKS

The complete manuscript for the next LabourStart book, The Strangers Among Us, has been received and we’re currently formatting it. We hope to have a book launch event at our conference in Toronto.

CONFERENCE

Speaking of which — we have a large number of workshop proposals and 371 people signed up to attend; there’s an organizing committee and an intern hired, and we’ll soon have an agenda.

PUBLICITY

At the suggestion of the British TUC, we submitted a nomination form for the SMK Campaigners Awards; they will decide by the end of February and their ceremony in the House of Lords will take place on 13 April.

TRANSLATIONS

We need a new Spanish translator as our comrade David has fallen ill; we got several dozen volunteers for the job.

Campaigns, conference, donations, mailing list growth – and much more

Campaigns:
We’ve asked the ITF for permission to close the Estonia campaign after 3 months. The campaign had over 8,900 supporters and appeared in 15 languages. Once this closes, we’ll only have 3 active global campaigns running.
As our Spanish translator has been ill, we need to find a new one urgently. I’m working on this today. None of our recent campaigns have appeared in Spanish, unfortunately.
We closed the Kyrgyzstan campaign after more than 4 months. The campaign had 7,752 supporters and appeared in 15 languages.
We posted translations our China campaign in several more languages. The campaign currently has just over 7,000 supporters and appears in 16 languages.
We publicized an IUF campaign (on Turkey) to our list, and used the opportunity to explain why we’d closed our recent Iran and China/Israel campaigns (with victories in both cases.)

Conference:
The conference opens in 108 days. We have 256 people registered from dozens of countries. In the next week or two we’ll have some details about workshops, topics and speakers and will do more publicity.

Donations:
UNISON in the UK has decided to donate £1,000 to LabourStart.
We’ve also been in discussions with the FNV in the Netherlands about joint work, possibly including a donation.
I will be following up with GUFs which have not donated recently.

Mailing list:
We picked up 624 new subscribers this month, mostly to the English list.

Publications:
Everything is coming together for our next book, edited by Joe Atkins, on migrant workers. We should have all we need by the end of this month, and the book should be available sometime in February (and of course for sale at our conference in Toronto).
I wrote to colleagues at the International Institute for Social History (where I participated in an all-day workshop in December) about collaborating on various projects, including a Global Labour Calendar.

Radio:
We’ve been asked by WINS (the Workers Independent News Service, based in the US) to contribute a 2.5 minute program every week and will do so. They’ve partnered with National Public Radio in the US and believe that their show will now reach an audience of 750,000 to 1,000,000. In addition to this, we continue to work closely with, and provide a weekly show for, RadioLabour based in Canada.

Ratify the Protocol:
We promoted this ITUC campaign to our mailing lists in English, Swedish and French, managing to crash their server in the process. Our efforts have more than doubled the number of people who’ve signed up. We also arranged translation of the campaign into several additional languages for them.

Twitter:
We had an exchange with a couple of senior staff at Twitter about a possible LabourStart involvement in their new Moments project; at the moment, this won’t happen but may down the road.

The last two weeks of 2015

Arthur Svensson prize: At the very last minute, LabourStart got nominated for this prestigious prize sponsored by a Norwegian union. Nominations came in from Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Sweden the UK, and at least three global union federations.

Campaigns:

  • Annual report – I’ve written a draft annual report and shared it with members of the LabourStart Executive and am waiting for their responses before releasing a public version.
  • Egypt – we’ve had a campaign request from the CTUWS; they need to edit their text further and we can then launch it.
  • China – we launched a major new campaign at the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.
  • Iran – at the request of the Education International, this campaign was suspended.
  • Kyrgyzstan – I’ve once again asked IndustriALL for permission to close this campaign after 4 months; they had earlier asked for an extension.

Fundraising: We received an additional donation from the FDHT in Geneva, and have submitted a detailed proposal to UNISON in the UK. We’re also following up with GUFs which have not donated for more than a year.

Global solidarity conference: See above.

International Institute for Social History (Amsterdam): I was one of three external “experts” brought in last month to discuss with archivists there the IISH’s collection of labour and socialist archives. Ways LabourStart and the IISH can work together were also discussed.

Twitter: The company has launched a new initiative called Moments which aims to reproduce something like the Facebook news stream; they are looking for content providers to act as partners. I made contact with a senior Twitter executive about this and we’ve exchanged a couple of emails about possibilities.

Wikipedia: LabourStart’s page is under threat. I’ve reported this to members of our Executive and hope that we can take the necessary steps to prevent its deletion.

Thunderclaps, social networks and how to grow a campaign

The last seven days at LabourStart …

Campaigns:

SF Leather/Mulberry: I sent out a followup mailing to the 70,000+ people on the English list who didn’t open last week’s message. This added a considerable number of new supporters. The campaign is now up to 8,432 supporters. Due to the very low response to our first appeal in Turkish, we drafted an entirely new appeal and sent that out as well. Still, response rates in Turkey remain low, with just 131 supporters for the Turkish language version of the campaign (plus another 90 supporters of the English campaign from Turkey).  I have consulted our Turkish comrades and we are discussing why this is happening and what we can do about it.

Esmail Abdi: This remains our largest current campaign, with 12,252 messages sent so far. The Canadian teachers-initiated Thunderclap was successful in the sense that it reached over 330,000 people, but it generated very few new supporters for the campaign. This confirms previous experience with using Facebook and Twitter to promote campaigns — their impact is much less than you might think, and email remains a far more powerful tool. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use social networks — of course we should; in fact, we’re posting more content than ever before to Facebook, reaching a larger audience.

IUF SABMiller campaign: Following the company’s attempt to block messages, we did a mailing to encourage support this IUF campaign.

Translations: I’ve improved an online form I created some time ago which will make it easier and quicker to deal with submitted translations of campaigns (where the translators are unable to upload the campaigns themselves). We’ll start using this from the next campaign we get.

Mailing lists:

We continue to pick up many new subscribers due to the campaigns. A couple of days ago, I added 256 new subscribers — including 44 new ones for our Turkish language list.
We now have a Sinhalese list, but only one name on it for the moment.

Apps:

Our Norwegian language app for Android is now available in the Google Play store.

Donations:

We’ve had 3 large donations from Canadian unions in recent days.