Social Media Housekeeping Tips for Nonprofits

first_imgIs it easy to find you on Twitter and Facebook? Include links to your profiles on your website, email newsletters, and staff email signatures. Always include a short description about your organization and a link back to your website in your social media profiles’ “about” section. Think about social media as a way to open the doors of your organization to new guests and friends. But unlike hosting guests at your home for an hour or two, social media is open to guests 24/7. Because of the constant accessibility of social media, keeping profiles tidy all the time is a must. Here are some tips and ideas for social media housekeeping that you can tackle right now:Your social media avatar/profile pictures should mesh with your nonprofit brand and be recognizable to fans of your cause. Consider creating a special page on your nonprofit website that is solely dedicated to visitors from social media. Don’t let replies and comments linger—use them as an opportunity to engage your community. Set up alerts to use social media as a listening platform: @ mentions, hashtags, keywords about your cause, etc. Start tracking and planning your organization’s tweets. Programs such as HootSuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social can help you plan tweets in advance and monitor replies, mentions, and hashtags. Is your nonprofit’s Facebook profile picture just as good as your cover image? While this may be obvious, it’s worth stating that your Facebook profile picture will be seen more often than your cover image. Be consistent with your hashtags. One small typo could add your tweets to a hashtag conversation that you didn’t intend to join! Don’t forget to post pictures. Photos help your Facebook posts stand out on your fan’s news feeds. Use compelling images to make an emotional connection and engage more supporters with your cause. Encourage more likes, shares, and comments. More likes and shares increase the odds that your post will be seen by friends and friends of friends. Start analyzing the types of posts that get shared the most by exporting your Facebook insights and taking an hour or two to dive into the data.last_img read more

Facebook Ads – Are They Right For Your Nonprofit?

first_img1. What is my goal?Without a goal, your ad campaign will mean nothing and you will be simply throwing money away (and trust me, Facebook doesn’t mind taking it). A reasonable goal could be an increase in email signups from your website. When you create your ad, this will be called the “advertising objective” – it’s what you want people to do when they encounter your ad. Cody suggests (and I agree) that you pick a goal much more in depth than simple clicks to your website. Do you want to measure “website conversions”, which means that when people visit your website, they take an action and “convert”?A successful “conversion” could be signing up for your email newsletter, subscribing to your blog, or making an online donation. 3. Can I afford it? Much has been written recently about the changes in Facebook’s algorithm and its pay-to-play philosophy.Many nonprofits who spent years or months building up an engaged online community on the biggest social network are now seeing a dramatic decline in the number of fans they are able to reach with each post.If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering if Facebook Ads will help your nonprofit reach more fans and get more bang for your Facebook buck.At the recent Social Media for Nonprofits Conference in Boston, Cody Damon of Media Cause provided some insightful advice on whether or not a nonprofit should jump into the Facebook Ads ocean.Before you sit down and purchase a Facebook Ad for your nonprofit, ask yourself these three vital questions:center_img 2. Can I measure it?Whatever the objective, make sure that you can measure it. Just saying “raising awareness for my nonprofit” may not be enough, unless you have specific benchmarks in place to measure your progress.You need to know what success looks like. What will happen if your Facebook Ad is successful? What will have changed? Clients frequently ask me about the price of Facebook Ads. Unlike traditional newspaper ads or billboards, there is no set price for a Facebook Ad.You can set your daily budget, or “lifetime” budget, and you will need to choose a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click bid). You only pay for the impressions or clicks that your ad receives, and if they are targeted well, this can be very effective.If this all seems like Greek to you, you are probably not ready to run a Facebook Ad without outside help. Facebook has a great help center on their website, and there are many firms and consultants who can help you set it up and run it.General best practices for your Facebook Ad:It must be eye-catching and well-written. Do not use your logo and call it “Come to our website!”It must have a photo. For all ads, the best size image to upload is 1200×627 pixels,The photo cannot contain more than 20% text.If it directs to an outside website, it should direct to a specific landing page, rather than just the main home page of your website.For more on using Facebook Ads to build your online community and engage with your fans, read these great posts by Jon Loomer, John Haydon, Nancy Schwartz and David Serfaty.Julia Campbell works with nonprofits to help them raise money online, conquer social media, and become content experts. Her blog on nonprofit marketing is at www.jcsocialmarketing.comlast_img read more

Beyond Access To Respectful Care and Informed Choice: Reflections From the International Conference on Family Planning

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 13, 2013February 2, 2017By: Kelsey Holt, Senior Project Manager, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The third biennial International Conference on Family Planning kicked off this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with almost 3,000 attendees from all over the world gathering in the remarkable African Union building. Delegates are seeking inspiration from leaders in the field, youth, and colleagues, and an opportunity to share research and best practices related to the vision of “Full Access, Full Choice” in family planning. The speeches given during the opening session of the conference Tuesday on sustained political commitment emphasized family planning as a tool to reduce maternal mortality and protect women’s rights. The successes of Ethiopia’s health care system in reducing “unmet need” for contraception in a short period of time— in part thanks to an impressive health extension worker program— and the country’s commitment to reproductive health and women’s equality were celebrated widely. John Kerry and other world leaders also urged renewal of the various commitments made to achieving universal reproductive health access for all beginning in the 1990’s as well as the recent FP2020 goal of reaching 120 million new contraceptive users by the year 2020. Against this backdrop of political commitments and acknowledgement of the importance of family planning to women’s health and equality, the many subsequent conference sessions about quality of care hold much promise for real progress and action towards these goals. The importance of quality of care was described by Anrudh Jain on Wednesday in a session hosted by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation on quality of care as the “leaking bucket problem” whereby women who manage to make it to contraceptive services at least once do not always continue their relationship with the health care system after receiving sub-standard information, counseling, and method choice—or even disrespect or coercion. These women represent a substantial proportion of those with unmet need for contraception who are past users failed by existing methods and services.  The challenge of ensuring respect, dignity, and adequate choice for women receiving contraception counseling and services around the world persists. Moving beyond access to quality and a focus on respectful care and informed choice seems particularly critical in the context of new approaches reported on at the conference to increase contraceptive uptake through financial incentives to women, health workers, and health facilities, or goals for uptake of a certain volume of long-acting methods. If not done carefully, these innovative programs threaten to create perverse incentives for systems and providers to coerce women into methods that are not right for them and must be carefully studied to ensure we do not sacrifice women’s rights for fertility and contraceptive prevalence targets. As emphasized by Ms. Theo Sowa, Chief Executive Officer of the African Women Development Fund, in Wednesday’s opening plenary, we need to challenge ourselves to do things differently: “If we are complacent, we do not achieve the things we need to achieve in the time we need to achieve them.” Quality of care is one area where we cannot afford to be complacent—and this includes tackling the hard issues of ensuring respectful treatment to ensure informed choice during contraceptive care. The centrality of the issue of quality at the ICFP is promising for our ability as a global community to acknowledge the skeletons of population control in our closet and proactively move towards a future where women of all ages and backgrounds have access to high quality counseling and services to meet their contraceptive needs and contribute toward the fulfillment of their rights and the goals originally conceived of during the Cairo conference in 1994.Share this:last_img read more

3 Steps to Getting Corporate Sponsors for Your Event

first_imgFundraising events take a fair amount of money to produce, and it’s easy to spend more money on the event that it actually raises. There are a number of ways to keep this from happening (like setting a realistic budget and fundraising goal and having a data-backed plan to boost donations), but one of the most efficient ways to ensure your event is a net financial gain is through corporate sponsorships.So, how do you get corporate sponsors to support your event?Step 1: Identify prospects.To start, ask yourself: which companies should be targeted as sponsors? Ideally, you’d like sponsors that fit well with your mission, and whose target markets overlap the demographics of your guests. In other words, the people attending your event would also be likely to support your sponsors.Leverage your board’s personal networks and see if anyone has any connections that might be a good fit. Ask board members if they’d be willing to contact these companies directly, by signing the proposal letter and making a follow-up phone call after it’s been sent.Another method of finding potential sponsors is looking at your competitors. Which companies are sponsoring their events? Who are the competitors of those companies? It helps to check out event pages and websites to find out what kind of publicity your competitors are giving their sponsors.Step 2: Find out what matters to them.If you want to win over a sponsor, you need to speak their language. Formulate your approach with one question in mind: What’s in it for the sponsor?A corporate sponsor is looking for benefits like a new business, more customers, a halo effect with their customer base to encourage brand loyalty or visibility. When you approach prospective sponsors, listen more than you talk, and ask them about their goals and priorities. Then, show how it’s a big benefit to them to be in front of your audience.Chris Baylis at www.sponsorshipcollective.com has five great questions to ask potential sponsor:Who is your target audience?How do you normally engage in sponsorship?What does your target market value?What are your sales goals for the coming year?What would you consider to be the most important elements of a sponsorship proposal?While you’re communicating with various organizations, make sure you’re tracking your interactions. Use your donor management system to create an organization record for every company you approach. If you can’t easily track organizations in your current donor database, talk to us about switching to a system that gives you the option to make a company record.Step 3: Make them a winning offer.With all this background information, you’re ready to formulate a compelling proposal. First things first, your job is to sell the benefit to the sponsor. The cost of that benefit is your sponsorship package. Think of this way:Event Package + Promotional Package + Donation = Sponsorship PackageThat means you should lead with “Here’s what we can do for you – let’s make this win-win happen together,” not “Here’s our sponsorship package – please support us.” You need to demonstrate the value to them.So, how much should you actually charge your sponsors? A lot of it will depend on what you learn from your conversation with them. Also, get to know the market by looking at the competition. What do similar organizations in your region charge?Then, consider your own event. How many people will be attending your event? What kind of exposure can you offer for your sponsors? The answers to all of these questions can help you come up with a fair dollar amount.As you’re working to win over your sponsor, make sure you’re clear on what their role will be. It’s critical to establish clear parameters that are ethical and appropriate from the start.Once your sponsors have agreed to support you, follow-up with a contract – and create a plan to make you both successful. Involve the sponsor in planning and promotion so they feel like an integral part of your event – and so your event feels like part of their overall outreach strategy. The deeper the thought you put into the partnership, the deeper the partnership will be.Not only are corporate sponsors great partners for funding your event, but they lend your event more reach and recognition within your network. Knowing that a well-reputed business supports your cause gives your organization legitimacy in the eyes of a potential attendee or donor. Take advantage of this strategy for the long-term with your organization. Your sponsor’s for-profit savvy and business sense can be a powerful tool beyond your upcoming event.last_img read more

9 Super Scary Nonprofit Website Mistakes

first_imgYour website lacks details about your nonprofit’s mission and vision.Why is your organization the nonprofit to support? What are you doing that’s different from others? Simply put, what makes your nonprofit stand out? It’s important that the answers to these questions are easy to find on your website! By spelling out your mission and vision, donors can easily understand what their donations will accomplish. Your website doesn’t feature your nonprofit’s latest news.Create (or maintain) a place on your organization’s to share your latest news and examples of your most recent content, such as interesting articles, upcoming events, and special projects. This type of content works well on a blog and you can also link to this content on social media and in your newsletter. Your website doesn’t feature endorsements and third-party reviews.Make sure your website includes ratings from GuideStar and Charity Navigator or a testimonial from a stakeholder. The effectiveness of your websites’ messages depends on the messenger. Let others help build your case and show that you are trustworthy. Your website doesn’t have social media links or a newsletter sign up.Social media is a key way to connect and communicate with supporters. Be sure that all those hours tweeting and blogging don’t go to waste: Provide links to your social media profiles and make it easy for supporters to see your content and share on their social media channel of choice.  If a new fan isn’t the social media type, an email newsletter is a great way to help them keep in touch. That’s why it’s important that your newsletter sign-up process is simple and seamless. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly.Take a moment to evaluate your website’s usability for mobile users. Open your website on a mobile device. Are your donation page and website easy to navigate on a tablet or phone? Your website’s content uses too many words to demonstrate your work.As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures of people who benefitted from your services or volunteers in action can demonstrate your mission, illustrate the impact of your work, and complement your website’s text. Again, people’s attention spans are short. A compelling image will capture visitors’ attention and tell a story in a better way than multiple paragraphs of text.center_img Your website’s navigation doesn’t make sense.Your website should be organized according to the expectations of the people who come to your website. Instead of thinking how to present the information you want people to find, make it easy for your visitors to find the information they want. Back by popular demand to help you get ready for #GivingTuesday and Year-End -enjoy!Boo! That’s your website scaring you into reality. And the reality is that people’s short attention spans mean your website needs to provide visitors with easy access to everything in just three clicks. It must grab visitors’ attention, provide information, and spur visitors to action.Here are nine super scary website mistakes you should address before the year-end giving season is here and donors are too frightened to use your website!  Don’t wait…these website mistakes can result in the biggest horror of all: missing out on donations in December!Your website doesn’t have contact information.Make sure it’s easy for website users (and potential donors) to find your organization’s phone number, email address, or contact form. Also, make sure staff members know how to handle donor inquiries. Your website doesn’t have a clear ask for donations.Don’t be afraid to ask for donations on your website. Isn’t that the whole point of fundraising? Supporters will appreciate that you’ve made it easy for them to donate, so make that button shine! Network for Good always recommends you make the button big, bold and above “the scroll”. Plus, a smarter donation page will help you get donors to give, give big, and give again. Take advantage of our accredited Personal Fundraising Coaches to get hands-on help with your year-end fundraising activities. Schedule a call to learn more today.last_img read more

4 Fundraising Ideas to Develop Your Fundraising Plan

first_img“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryEmbarking on a new year—whether it’s a calendar or fiscal year (or both!)—is always an opportunity for a fresh start.  After all, that’s why resolutions are written at the start of a new year.  New year. New goals.  It’s the same with writing a development plan for your nonprofit, which you can think of as a business plan for fundraising. It helps you develop the discipline of looking at what you’ve done well and where you need to improve, setting your sights for the year ahead, and mapping out what you will do to reach your goals. Simply put, it translates your wishes to goals.Let’s pause for a moment to think about the 30,000-foot view. Fundraising is not just about raising money. The core of our work as fundraisers is as relationship architects between our organizations and the donors who currently or, we hope will eventually, support us. Our goal is to create two-way conversations that are not transactional or circular exchanges of asking and receiving money. We know this isn’t sustainable in the long-term. A development plan is more than just a set of lists, calendars, and activities.  It’s a strategic compilation of all the ways you can connect and communicate with your donors which, if done effectively, leads to increased revenue. It’s a competitive market out there. There are 1.8 million nonprofits in the US with about 75,000 new ones registering with the IRS each year. If you feel like the room is getting crowded, so do our donors. What makes the difference to them is if they feel valued by you and connected to your organization. If not, they’ll go somewhere else to give.So, your development plan should focus on four key areas:1. Balancing your portfolio:If your funding generally comes from one source more than others, it’s time to think about how to rebalance things. This might mean looking at how to welcome more individual donors instead of relying primarily on foundations and/or corporations. It could also mean thinking about others ways to build donor relationships besides the one major gala or one major direct mail appeal you do each year. Putting all your eggs in the proverbial basket is not sustainable.2. Setting the stage for major gifts:Every organization no matter how small can, and should, be raising major gifts. A successful major gifts program does not focus on high net-worth individuals with no connection to your organization. In fact, you probably already know who your major (current and potential) donors are. Your next major gift will likely come from one of these donors who has the capacity and who has been supporting you for a long time (and not at particularly high levels) and may also have been involved as a volunteer. Carving out a little time for more personal interactions with these donors will help you qualify those who can make larger gifts down the road.3. Creating greater donor engagement:It’s easy to become complacent and think that just because donors have chosen to invest in our cause, they will unconditionally support us and that when we ask again they will give. Nonprofits on average lose more than 60% of their donors each year because they haven’t figured out the right way to connect with their donors. Good donor engagement involves a regular calendar of touchpoints, updates, and communications that highlights stories of successes, progress, results, and even failures and challenges. Donors want to see, feel, and touch the impact their gifts are having. They want a donor relationship and an exceptional donor experience. You are most likely already doing it without defining these activities in that way: annual reports, newsletters, special webinars hosted by your key program leadership, holiday and birthday cards are all examples of ways to leverage communications to enhance your relationships with your donors.4. Laying the foundation for tomorrow:Without question, your limited bandwidth should be focused on donor retention because once you lose the donors who already opted to give to you, it’s hard to get them back. That said, it is still important to plant the seeds for the next pipeline of donors to your organization. The best potential new donor names are people who self-identify in some way or who are connected in some way to you. Perhaps it’s through a sign-up on your website, following you on social media, attendance at an event, or a visitor book if prospective donors can visit your facilities. This is also a way board members and other volunteers can play a key role in introducing your organization to their networks.  Every follower, volunteer, and the new name that crosses your doorway should be considered a potential investor in your work. Welcome them.For more thoughts on how to propel your nonprofit forward, download our free Fundraising Plan eGuide or hire Network for Good personal fundraising coach to Building Stronger Donor Engagement and Raising More Money, as we explore this topic in greater detail.last_img read more

5 New Year Resolutions Every Fundraiser Should Make

first_imgYou know what takes a lot of inspiration and a truckload of guts?  Fundraising.I learned this the hard way when I started a nonprofit in the living room of my apartment with just $500 and a credit card.  There were days when I second guessed myself but ten years later we raised over 10 million dollars and have been featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show.  Last year, Girlstart turned 20.  I’ve learned a lot since then, including how to get the absolute best fundraising results in the shortest possible time using scientifically proven methods.So what tips do I have for you to make 2018 your best year ever?  Lots!  Are you ready to ring in the new year raising more?  Here are 5 New Year resolutions I want EVERY fundraiser to make:1. Resolve to learn more about your donors.Why did they give to your organization – what connected to them? What programs do they care about?  What motivated them to give in the first place?  What was the best gift they ever gave and why?  Of all the organizations they support which one does the best job engaging them?  What are their top three philanthropic priorities?  What do they love about what they do?  How do they prefer to be communicated with?  You can ask some of these questions when you call them to thank them just for being a donor and others in a visually rich donor survey.2. Resolve to learn from your data.Do you know what your donor retention rate is? If you don’t know how you’re currently performing, setting goals to improve is meaningless. You can examine retention overall or narrow it down to first-time donors and/or major donors. You can calculate retention by the number of donors or gift value.  I personally recommend examining by gift value so you know exactly what your retention rate is costing your organization.  To run your numbers, decide on your 12 month date range (a calendar year or your fiscal year) and add the donor gift amounts by annual “class” i.e. the class of major donors giving $1,000 or more in 2017 (or the class of all 1st time donors in 2017) and then divide that amount by what those same donors gave to you the previous year, in 2016.  In other words, if you had 1,000 first time donors in 2016 and only 200 of those made another gift in 2017 your new donor retention rate would be 20%.  Why does retention matter so much?  Acquiring those donors cost you money, time and effort.  As Roger Craver, author of Retention Fundraising, advises, “Taking actionable steps to reduce donor losses is the least expensive way to increase your fundraising income.”3. Resolve to make your donors FEEL something.This is one of my biggest pet peeves in fundraising. Giving is such a joyous experience but so much of our communications can feel bland and lifeless. Does your appeal or acknowledgment make your donor feel great about themselves? It should. What we feel is irrelevant. What our donors feel is the only thing that matters. While we’re busy trying to educate our donors, or boasting about how awesome our programs are, our donor might be tossing our letter in the trash. Communicate in a warm, friendly, personable tone. Make the donor feel like gushing over what they made possible. If your autoresponders sound like a robot wrote them, it’s time for a rewrite in 2018!4. Set a revenue goal for every donor in your portfolio.Base your appeal goals on your donor’s capacity, inclination, prior giving, and interests.  Now you’re ready for your best fundraising year ever!  What’s more, when your CEO walks in and tells you about a budget shortfall you’ve got solid ground to push back on unrealistic goals.5. Resolve to dedicate 30 minutes a day to call and personally thank donors.Don’t start with the biggest and then fall off the wagon on this goal come February.  If you can, include new donors to your call list.  Be prepared with a few great discovery questions and opportunities for them to engage with you deeper.  Before you know it, your lower level donors will be major gift prospects.  The secret is you have to STICK WITH IT.  Put it on your calendar as a recurring appointment when your energy levels are at their peak.  Don’t forget to smile while you’re talking or leaving a message.I’d love to share more of my secrets with you – Download the NFG Masterclass Webinar Fundraising Strategy Series with “The Secrets of High Performing Fundraisers”.  Want more help?  I have OODLES of guides to make your fundraising EASIER.Here’s to 2018!Learn more about our guest blogger:Rachel Muir, CFRE transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers through workshops and retreats.  When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card.  Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Learn more about Rachel at www.rachelmuir.com or follow her at facebook.com/rachelmuirfundraising and on Twitter @rachelmuir.last_img read more

French online retailer Cdiscount owned by superma

first_imgFrench online retailer Cdiscount, owned by supermarket group Casino, has launched a Netflix-type OTT streaming service with the twist that it combines video, music and books for a single monthly price of €9.99.Cstream Video will offer over 300 movie titles and 1,000 TV episodes aimed at kids, with new content to be added each month, according to the company.The video offering comes via white-label video-on-demand specialist VOD Factory, which is behind FnacPlay, the on-demand player of electronic goods and music retailer Fnac. The video service is available via a native player, and is compatible with Google Cast. An Android TV version is in the works, according to Cstream.Cstream Music will be organised in 100 playlists, featuring what the company described as millions of titles for all occasions, personalized according to the taste of the listener.Cstream Books, the third leg of the offering, will include access to 50,000 novels, graphic novels, non-fiction and kids books from French e-books specialist Youboox, along with 30 magazine titles.The service will be available on PC, Mac, smartphone and iOS and Android tablets, alongside TVs for video content only, according to Cdiscount. Content will be available to download for offline viewing, listening and reading.The group said it was targeting the 90% of French people who have not signed up for a paid-for streaming service with a service that brought three media together in a single offering for the first time.Subscribers are being offered a trial first month’s subscription for €1. Users will not be required to commit to a minimum contract period.Cdiscount has about eight million active users in France, with an annual turnover of about €2.7 billion.last_img read more

Patients receiving individual doses and conventional breast radiation experience similar side effects

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 30 2018In a 10-year study of women who received radiation therapy to treat early-stage breast cancer, those receiving fewer, larger individual doses experienced similarly low rates of late-onset side effects as those undergoing conventional radiation therapy. Findings from the multi-institutional U.K. FAST clinical trial were presented last week at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).”This study says it’s possible to find a regimen that would allow early-stage breast cancer patients to be treated only once a week over five weeks rather than daily over the same time period,” said Murray Brunt, MD, a professor of clinical oncology at University Hospitals of North Midlands and Keele University in the U.K., and lead author of this study. “Findings should help doctors discuss risks and benefits with their patients for various courses of radiation therapy and inform shared decision-making between physicians and patients.”The study is a long-term report of the FAST (FASTer Radiotherapy for breast cancer patients) trial, which was designed to assess changes in healthy breast tissue following conventional radiation treatment compared with two shorter regimens that delivered higher doses of radiation in fewer sessions. The trial, led by The Institute of Cancer Research, London, enrolled 915 women with early-stage invasive breast cancer at 18 centers across the U.K. from 2004 to 2007.Initial trial results of the FAST trial,”These results support treatment options that are more convenient for patients, resulting in fewer hospital visits and less expensive health services, without increasing the risk of long-term side effects,” added Joanne Haviland at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and the study’s senior statistician.Patients in the trial were randomly assigned to one of three regimens of whole-breast radiation therapy following breast-conserving surgery: conventional treatment with 50 Gray (Gy) of radiation delivered in 25 daily, 2 Gy fractions delivered over five weeks; or hypofractionated treatment with one of two doses: 30 Gy delivered in five, once-weekly fractions of 6 Gy each, or 28.5 Gy delivered in five, once-weekly fractions of 5.7 Gy each. After treatment, patients were evaluated annually for effects to healthy breast tissue including skin reactions, hardening of the breast and changes in breast conformation and size.Rates of moderate or severe long-term effects to normal tissue were low across all treatment groups. Severe effects were observed in 13 of the 774 women (1.7 percent) with follow-up data at five years, and nine of the 392 women (2.3 percent) with follow-up data at 10 years. No changes or minor changes in normal tissue were observed in 88 and 86 percent of women at the five- and 10-year marks, respectively.Late normal tissue effects were not statistically different between the conventional therapy group and the five-fraction 28.5 Gy group at five years or 10 years following treatment. Moderate/severe late effects to normal breast tissue were higher, however, for patients who received the five-fraction, 30-Gy regimen. These patients were two to three times more likely to experience moderate/severe instances of breast shrinkage (p<0.001), hardness (p=0.004), fluid build-up (p<0.001) and spider veins (p=0.02).Related StoriesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsLiving with advanced breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerAmong patients on the conventional, daily-fraction arm, physicians observed normal tissue effects in 7.5 percent at five years and 9.1 percent at 10 years. By comparison, rates for the five-fraction 30-Gy arm were 18.0 percent at five years (p<0.001) and 18.4 percent at 10 years (p=0.04)."The profile of adverse effects to normal breast tissue was similar between the 28.5 Gy and 50 Gy groups, but rates were higher after 30 Gy given in five fractions over five weeks," said Prof. Brunt. "This disparity is rooted in differences between the two regimens in fractionation sensitivity. The sensitivity of 30 Gy delivered in five fractions over five weeks was equivalent to a total radiation dose of 57.3 Gy in 2 Gy fractions, while 28.5 Gy delivered in five fractions over five weeks was roughly the same as 52.5 Gy in 2 Gy fractions." Calculation suggests that 27.75 Gy delivered in five fractions over five weeks would be equivalent to 50 Gy in 25 fractions over five weeks.Researchers also assessed how the early-stage invasive breast tumors responded to surgery and radiation. The 10-year local relapse rate for all patients in the trial was 1.3 percent (95% CI 0.7, 2.3), with only 10 events reported in total, balanced between the treatment groups. The trial was not designed to test differences in relapse rates between treatment groups.Following these results, the research team is now investigating radiation therapy with five fractions delivered over five consecutive days. "As a next step, we want to investigate shortening the radiation therapy schedule to one week," explained Prof. Brunt. "A schedule like this would have significant clinical and practical implications, such as allowing radiation therapy to be integrated more closely with surgery and other therapies."Despite FAST and similar trials supporting the use of accelerated radiation treatment for breast cancer, large numbers of eligible patients in the U.S. are not receiving, and likely not being offered, shorter courses of radiation therapy. A 2013 JAMA study found an adoption rate of approximately 30 percent in the U.S., and a 2017 analysis for Kaiser Health News indicated that fewer than half of patients over age 50 with early-stage disease receive the accelerated treatment. The current ASTRO clinical guideline for whole breast radiation therapy, which was issued earlier this year, recommends hypofractionated therapy for breast cancer patients regardless of age, tumor stage and whether they have received chemotherapy.Source: https://www.astro.org/News-and-Publications/News-and-Media-Center/News-Releases/2018/Long-term-side-effects-similarly-low-for-once-weeklast_img read more

Theres a reason Siri Alexa and AI are imagined as female –

first_imgJust like in the movies, default real-life virtual assistants are often female (Siri; Alexa). But there is some promise of change: having announced in May that their Google Assistant would be getting six new voices, but that the default was named “Holly,” Google more recently issued an update that assigns them colours instead of names, done randomly in order to avoid any associations between particular colours and genders.This is a promising step, but technology cannot progress while the same types of people remain in control of their development and management. Perhaps increased female participation in Silicon Valley could change the way we imagine and develop technology and how it sounds and looks. Diversity in front of and behind the Hollywood camera is equally important in order to improve the way we present our possible futures and so inspire future creators. Marvel assistantsAt least since the demise of Stark’s sentient AI JARVIS in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2013), the fictional AI landscape has become predominantly female. Stark’s male AI JARVIS – which he modelled and named after his childhood butler – is destroyed in the fight against Ultron (although he ultimately becomes part of a new embodied android character called The Vision). Stark then replaces his operating system not with a back up of JARVIS or another male voiced AI but with FRIDAY (voiced by Kerry Condon). This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures Iron Man (Stark). Credit: Marvel 2016 Fictional male voices do exist, of course, but today they are simply far less common. HAL-9000 is the most famous male-voiced Hollywood AI – a malevolent sentient computer released into the public imagination 50 years ago in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.Male AI used to be more common, specifically in stories where technology becomes evil or beyond our control (like Hal). Female AI on the other hand is, more often than not, envisaged in a submissive servile role. Another pattern concerns whether fictional AI is embodied or not. When it is, it tends to be male, from the Terminator, to Sonny in I, Robot and super-villain Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ex Machina’s Ava (Alicia Vikander) is an interesting anomaly to the roster of embodied AI and she is seen as a victim rather than an uncontrolled menace, even after she kills her creator.The Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically the AI inventions of Tony Stark, and the 2017 film Blade Runner 2049, offer interesting and somewhat problematic takes on the future of AI. The future may be female, but in these imagined AI futures this is not a good thing. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Designing a chatbot: male, female or gender neutral? FRIDAY is a far less prominent character. Stark’s AI is pushed into a far more secondary role, one where she is very much the assistant, unlike the complex companion Stark created in JARVIS. Likewise, in Spider-Man Homecoming, Stark gifts Peter Parker (Tom Holland) his own super suit, which comes with a nameless female-voiced virtual assistant. Peter initially calls her “suit lady,” later naming her Karen. Peter imbues his suit with personality and identity by naming it, but you wonder if he would have been so willing to imagine his suit as a caring confidant if it had come with a older-sounding male voice.center_img Citation: There’s a reason Siri, Alexa and AI are imagined as female – sexism (2018, August 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-siri-alexa-ai-female-sexism.html Explore further Provided by The Conversation Karen is virtual support for the Spider-Man suit, designed to train and enhance Peter’s abilities. But in building a relationship of trust with her, Karen takes on the role of a friend for Peter, even encouraging him to approach the girl he likes at school. Here, the female voiced AI takes on a caring role – as a mother or sister – which places the Karen AI into another limiting female stereotype. Female voiced or embodied AI is expected to have a different role to their male-aligned counterparts, perpetuating the idea that women are more likely to be in the role of the secretary rather than the scientist.Blade Runner’s JoiAnother classic example of artificial intelligence can be found in Blade Runner (1982) and its bio-robotic androids, the Replicants. These artificial beings were designed and manufactured to do the jobs that humans in the future didn’t want: from colonising dangerous alien planets to serving as sex workers. Although stronger and often smarter than their humans creators, they have a limited lifespan that literally stops them from developing sufficiently to work out how to take over.The recent Blade Runner 2049 updates the replicants’ technology and introduces a purchasable intelligent holographic companion called Joi (Ana de Armas). The Joi we are shown in the film is Agent K’s (Ryan Gosling) companion – at first restricted by the projector in his home and later set free, to an extent (Joi is still controlled by K’s movements), when K buys himself a portable device called an Emanator. Joi is a logical extension of today’s digital assistants and is one of the few female AIs to occupy the narrative foreground. Credit: Pegasene/Shutterstock.com Virtual assistants are increasingly popular and present in our everyday lives: literally with Alexa, Cortana, Holly, and Siri, and fictionally in films Samantha (Her), Joi (Blade Runner 2049) and Marvel’s AIs, FRIDAY (Avengers: Infinity War), and Karen (Spider-Man: Homecoming). These names demonstrate the assumption that virtual assistants, from SatNav to Siri, will be voiced by a woman. This reinforces gender stereotypes, expectations, and assumptions about the future of artificial intelligence. But at the end of the day, Joi is a corporate creation that is sold as “everything you want to hear and everything you want to see.” A thing that can be created, adapted, and sold for consumption. Her holographic body makes her seem a little more real but her purpose is similar to those of the virtual assistants discussed here already: to serve often male masters. Subservient womenWhen we can only seemingly imagine an AI as a subservient woman, we reinforce dangerous and outdated stereotypes. What prejudices are perpetuated by putting servile obedient females into our dreams of technology, as well as our current experiences? All this is important because science fiction not only reflects our hopes and fears for the future of science, but also informs it. The imagined futures of the movies inspire those working in tech companies as they develop and update AI, working towards the expectations formed in our fictions.last_img read more

French firm refurbishes earnings via old iPhones

first_imgThis year, Remade intends to put 800,000 overhauled iPhones back on the market, at a discount of at least 25 percent off the as-new price.”An iPhone can have three lives, it can be refurbished twice, it’s the strongest product with the longest life,” says Millet.Cheaper Chinese smartphone brands have a stronghold in the developing world, and are seen as especially disposable. Apple and Samsung have been touting their environmental credentials, but the production process inevitably carries a cost.That include carbon emissions along with environmental degradation from the extraction of raw materials such as the metal cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries, much of it sourced from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Erwann Fangeat, an engineer at the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, praised operations like Remade. Boxes for refurbished iPhones at the “Remade” plant, where high-end mobiles are reconditioned, in Poilley, northwestern France. ‘Three lives’ Bigger, pricier iPhone expected at Apple event Wednesday One company in northern France is doing its profitable best to give an environmental makeover to smartphones, whose circuitry, batteries and plastics have become a polluting blight over the past decade. With their rapid life cycles and—for the cheaper brands—falling prices, many mobiles have become disposable items for consumers keen to move on to the latest model.But out of a large warehouse staffed by white-coated workers in Normandy, the Remade company is embracing a different approach, reconditioning thousands of Apple iPhones every day under the entrepreneurial eye of its 39-year-old boss, Matthieu Millet.He is “Matthieu” to his staff, wears jeans and sneakers, and has installed a piano in the company lobby, bringing a touch of Silicon Valley start-up culture to this windswept pocket of France facing England.Aged just 23, he bought out the TV repair business he worked for at the time and, in 2014, spotted the potential for refurbishing iPhones to tap into a market where even second hand, Apple products command a premium price.Remade—its avowedly English name another nod to US tech—reported turnover of 23 million euros ($26 million) in the first year it began overhauling iPhones.Last year that had swelled to 130 million euros and Millet is adding 200 jobs to the workforce of 850, banking on “very strong growth” this year. Remade, a company in northern France, is making a profit by reconditioning older iPhone models © 2018 AFP The new iPhone XS and XS Max costs upwards of $1,000/euros This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. “We know how to disassemble everything, reassemble everything. The product must not only work, it must work perfectly as intended,” he said. The old phones are shipped in from telecom operators not just in Europe but the United States, whose customers have upgraded to newer models.Environmentalists complain that the spent phones all too often get dumped in landfills in the West, or farmed out to regulation-light parts of Africa and Asia where workers are forced to breathe in toxic fumes as they extract and recycle the raw materials built into the devices.Since the first iPhone’s debut in 2007, 7.1 billion smartphones have been produced worldwide but less than 20 percent of all “e-waste” including phones is recycled, according to Greenpeace.That represents a business opportunity for the likes of Millet, who is cashing in as a new top-of-the-range iPhone XS series tops 1,000 dollars/euros. Explore further “The product life of a smartphone is at least five or six years but 88 percent of French people change their smartphone while the old one still works and has value,” he said.”The longer you extend the life of the product, the more it reduces its environmental impact because it delays the fabrication of a new smartphone,” he added, noting that refurbishing an iPhone emits 90 percent less carbon dioxide than making one from scratch.That offers Millet another way to cash in, via the European Union’s “cap and trade” emissions scheme, which gives greener companies a market to sell leftover carbon credits to more polluting concerns.He hopes to obtain 100,000 tonnes of carbon credit this year, translating into millions extra for Remade’s bottom line.”I’m not Greenpeace,” an unapologetic Millet said.”But it makes me happy to have this (business) model, to know that it’s good for people and the planet.” Citation: French firm refurbishes earnings via old iPhones (2018, November 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-french-firm-refurbishes-iphones.html The first Apple iPhone, launched in 2007 and the iPhone X, launched 10 years after.last_img read more

KCM returns to Congressled UDF after 2year hiatusKCM returns to Congressled UDF

first_imgPublished on Bonhomie Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala (facing away) greets KM Mani at the UDF meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. Congress leader Oommen Chandy and IUML General Secretary PK Kunhalikutty MP are also seen. – S GOPAKUMAR COMMENT state politics COMMENTS Kerala SHAREcenter_img Rajya Sabha SHARE SHARE EMAIL June 08, 2018 Several Cong leaders miffed with party’s decision to back KC(M)’s nominee to RS The Kerala Congress (Mani) formally returned to the Congress-led United Democratic Front on Friday, a day after the Grand Old Party announced its decision to back the KC(M) candidate for the Rajya Sabha election.The seat is currently held by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien of the Congress who will retire on July 1.The KC(M) had walked out of the Congress-led UDF in August 2016, ending an over three-decade-long association alleging it was being “insulted” by the party leading the alliance.Relations between the two parties had soured over the bar bribery scam, and the rift widened after Congress leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala attended the betrothal of the daughter of controversial hotelier Biju Ramesh and the son of Congress leader and former minister Adoor Prakash.Ramesh, the Working President of the Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners Association, had levelled bribery charges against Mani when he was the finance minister.On Friday, Mani attended a meeting of the UDF coordination committee, where he was received by Ramesh Chennithala, the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly; AICC General Secretary Oommen Chandy; and IUML General Secretary PK Kunhalikutty, who is also the Malappuram MP.Rumblings in CongressHowever, the Congress’ decision to spare the Rajya Sabha seat for the KC(M) candidate has not gone down well with a section of the party.Former State party president VM Sudheeran did not attend the UDF meeting, insisting the development would weaken the main opposition party and benefit the BJP.Soon after Congress leaders from Kerala announced the decision, after a meeting with party chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday, Sudheeran called it “suicidal”.Chennithala, Chandy and KPCC President MM Hassan had said the decision was taken to strengthen the UDF as part of the party’s resolve to bring together democratic and secular forces to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.“The RS seat was given to KC(M) as a special case,” Chandy said.Reacting sharply to the development, Sudheeran said, “The party should not have surrendered its pride to KC(M) to bring it back into the front.”Echoing similar sentiments, Kurien had said no discussion was held in the party or its election committee. “This is a surrender of the Congress,” he told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.Equidistance?After it snapped ties with the Congress nearly two years ago, the KC(M) had maintained equi-distance from the UDF, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, as also the BJP, which is trying to create a sustainable political space for itself in Kerala.The KC(M), however, extended support to the UDF candidates in all the three by-polls held in the State since it left the alliance.last_img read more