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Water Impact
24
Oct

ACOSA Website Fund: Advancing Macro Practice

By Rachel L. West
Advocacy & Community Outreach Consultant

I’m organizing a fundraising campaign for ACOSA’s new website. The campaign is off to a great start. If you haven’t contributed yet please do so, if you can. Even a little bit helps. If you aren’t able to donate or have already done so, help spread the word by sharing the campaign with your contacts. The campaign link is https://igg.me/at/KA4JhfzNwSQ

So why does ACOSA need a new website:

Formed in 1987, ACOSA is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, nonprofit administrators, community builders, policy practitioners, students, and educators. Back then, members relied on printed materials including a newsletter and eventually a scholarly journal and meeting minutes to tell the story of ACOSA’s successes.

Fast forward 30 years and communication in the world, including ACOSA, is constantly changing. ACOSA remains a member-driven volunteer organization seeking to advance macro practice strengths, theories, and practices in social work for the improvement of people’s lives and our society. Being volunteer-run with an international reach, ACOSA does not have a main office, nor are we large enough to hold regular chapter meetings.  As such, the ACOSA website, initially built around 2010, acts as a hub for ACOSA members, interested persons, and allies to connect and share information related to the organization as well as macro social work practice. Job postings, reports, board members’ and officers’ biographical statements, a statement of principles, photos, membership form, and a syllabus bank make up a large portion of the current website.

Let’s be frank, we live in a time of peril. At the same time, we are in the midst of vast technological change, with expectations of users of all ages, and learning about successes brought about by the resurgence of social action on many fronts relative to macro practice within social work. Our current website is vulnerable to hacks, does not have the benefit of feature flexibility, does not have the capacity to help us use this site to manage some of the business aspects of running ACOSA, and, is not easily understood by members for making timely updates. Our site seeks to be the “hub” of activity and action, it deserves to be!

To address these limitations in our communication power, over the past year ACOSA has put together a feasible plan for a new website that will enable us to grow and to better serve the macro social work community. This plan can be viewed at this link.

Imagine this. An MSW student visitor comes to our current site and, due to being easily hacked, finds a lack of access to the site. Perhaps they return but likely not depending on their interest level or patience level. Imagine a new untenured faculty member, maybe never teaching a “macro” class before, was referred by a colleague to our current site because she heard about our syllabi clearinghouse. However, when she clicks on the link there are just a few syllabi to review because our current site is not robust enough to help us categorize and store and have user preference expressed. Imagine further a macro practitioner, perhaps a field instructor hopes to connect with other practitioners or has a specific issue to discuss with others. Tooling about the current site, you would be hard-pressed to identify a means to have such communication except by communicating with a board member. Keeping such features updated requires more hands-on work than we can provide because our system is not user-friendly to update and modify.

We believe we can do MUCH better. If ACOSA does better for members, including practitioners, then they each do better for their students, neighbors, colleagues, and clients and when they do better, we are stronger – as people, families, communities, and maybe even our democracy! Yes, together, we work to raise the funds needed to improve the technology of ACOSA, freeing the board and members to build more relationships, hold more events, make more change, and, in general, really go about the business of compassionate social transformation.

We are asking that you donate what you can to help us reach our goal. Once you have made your donation please take a couple of seconds to share our campaign with your friends and colleagues. 

Photo Credit: By Roger McLassus (Own work by author.) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted by Rachel L. West

In addition to being the founder of The Political Social Worker blog, I am a consultant. My consulting practice offers advocacy and community outreach solutions to nonprofits, social good organizations, and private practitioners. Additionally, I offer career coaching to macro social work students and professionals.

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