By tapping into the #tigerblood hashtag, Zachary reported that tons of media outlets picked up on the story, resulting in a modest increase in blood donations.So what’s in it for you? Why should you consider making a meme? 1. Sure, memes can be just plain silly and fun, and but they can also humanize your nonprofit’s public image. Who doesn’t love an organization that embraces its humanity and sense of humor? 2. Memes can create connections and start conversations because of their two-prong premise: A meme is based on an aspect of popular culture and spread from person to person. 3. Memes give supporters an easy way to publicize and promote your cause. Once you create a meme, fans can quickly share it over email, social media, and their own websites.Want to create your own nonprofit meme to help build buzz for your cause? Check out our tips on using memes to spread your nonprofit’s message. (Image credit: National Wildlife Federation, Source: Avi Kaplan) You’ve seen them all over Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest: grumpycats,talking babies, even Ryan Gosling. Entertaining memes have exploded across the Internet. But have you also noticed an uptick in charitable memes, memes that are doing good? Many nonprofits are capitalizing on the popularity of memes to gain visibility and connect with new supporters.Nonprofits aren’t always great at piggybacking on the work of others, but that’s the key for a meme to take off. Senior Strategist Avi Kaplan of RAD Campaign has compiled some tip-top examples of nonprofit memes that worked because they borrowed a cultural phenomena, as did tech writer Zachary Sniderman.One of the best examples of nonprofit meme-jacking came from a 132-year-old organization, the American Red Cross. Capitalizing on Charlie Sheen’s 2011 outburst and proclamation to have drank tiger’s blood, the American Red Cross tweeted:We may not collect #tigerblood, but we know our donors & volunteers have fierce passion for doing good! #RedCrossMonth— American Red Cross (@RedCross)
Thanks to the most-photogenic NFGers for reminding us why it’s important to #beyourdonor on October 24th!Network for Good’s favorite holiday is this month. Although we do love Halloween, October 24this Be Your Donor Day and the reason why we celebrate big this month! Sometimes fundraisers are so caught up in the day to day that we forget how important our donors are to our organization’s success. Without understanding how our donors interact with our organization, what the donation process looks like from a donors’ point of view, and how donors are thanked for their gift, we can’t do much to improve (or overhaul!) the process.It takes more effort to bring in a new donor than to retain an existing donor. Once a donor starts a relationship with your organization, do your best to ensure that donor has a positive experience. That’s why we want all fundraisers to join in and celebrate this very important holiday. Block out some time on October 24th and do an audit of your donor communication. Make sure your all your fundraising activities are donor-centric. Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas:· Your home page’s Donate Now button should take less than 5 seconds to locate and donors shouldn’t have to make more than one click to get to your donation page. · Thank you letters should talk less about how much your organization does and should instead talk more about what a donor’s gifts does. · Your organization’s contact information should be easy to find on your website, letterhead, emails, and gift receipts. And when a donor does call, promptly answer questions.We recommend you download our complete Be Your Donor Day checklist and check out all your fundraising activities for “donor-centricness”. Be your donor on October 24th and be your organization’s fundraising superhero!
Posted on December 5, 2014December 3, 2015Click 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)Check out the following opportunities in Maternal HealthJobsResearch Fellow in Qualitative Methods for Impact Evaluation, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Deadline: Thursday, December, 18thResearch Fellow in Epidemiological Methods for Impact Evaluation, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Deadline: Thursday, December, 18thSenior Program Officer, Program Advocacy and Communications for Family Planning, Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationMonitoring and Evaluation Officer, PATH (based in South Africa)Communications Associate, Mobile Alliance for Maternal ActionProject Director for Fistula Care Plus, EngenderHealth ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Urban Health Conference ScholarshipSpecial Call for RMNCH Submissions for 12th International Conference on Urban Health, March 8-12, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Deadline: Friday, January 9th, 2015Scholarships are available for applicants from developing countries whose abstracts are accepted for presentationAreas of special interest include addressing disparities in access to maternal, newborn, and child health services, quality of services, and programs that target youth sexual and reproductive health behaviors to prevent unintended pregnancy. Abstracts that address reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health (RMNCH) in the urban environment, especially approaches that target poor women and women living in slums are encouraged.Questions? Contact Dr. Selmin Jahan, email@example.comSubmit your abstract at www.icuh2015.orgShare this:
How do you fund your mission?A healthy nonprofit has multiple sources of funding, including individual giving. Depending entirely on grants or public funding is risky, as either could be lost without any control on the part of the nonprofit. A robust fundraising program provides needed financial security, expands your community, and grows awareness for your cause.How do you make sure your fundraising is successful? The best way to get started is to sit down and create a plan.The Number One Indicator of Fundraising SuccessAccording to the Individual Donor Benchmark Report, which studies nonprofits with operating budgets under $2 million, the number one indicator of success is having a written fundraising plan.Nonprofits with a fundraising plan—even if they don’t end up using it—are more likely to be successful. Why? The act of planning—going through last year’s numbers, analyzing results, assessing your financial health and looking for growth areas—gives you a healthy foundation to grow your programs. It keeps you focused, helps you think critically about new fundraising ideas, and ensures your activities support your mission.Want more planning resources? Check out 8 Resources to Help with Fundraising Planning.We know that fundraising planning is important. So, are nonprofits listening?Network for Good recently surveyed 10,000 small to mid-sized nonprofits to learn more about how they depend on fundraising plans, and the results were fascinating, to say the least.Q1: Do you currently have a written, 12-month fundraising plan from which you are managing revenue-generating activities to balance your budget?On the surface, it seems like many nonprofits are already using fundraising plans. But what about those ones who aren’t?Q2: If you don’t have a fundraising plan, what is the leading factor that is hindering your ability to create and implement one?A lack of time is the leading factor preventing nonprofit managers from developing a written fundraising plan, followed by a lack of insights and strategic know-how.Of course, it takes more than just a fundraising plan to ensure success—the plan is just the beginning. Successful fundraising is predicated upon multiple factors: a written plan, an effective strategy and case for support, staff and board consistently implementing tasks, and technology to track and build donor relationships.Unfortunately that’s often a tall order in a small shop. Often understaffed and underfunded, how does a small nonprofit afford the time and strategic help needed to develop a plan and sustain their mission?A New Model for SuccessNetwork for Good has initiated a new strategy to help smaller nonprofits move to more diversified and sustainable fundraising. We have coupled access to a personal fundraising coach with simple, easy-to-use fundraising software to ensure small nonprofits can continue their mission and sustain funding for programs commonly dropped due to lack of funding.In particular, the software and coaching combination was designed to help small and medium-sized nonprofits accomplish everything they need to thrive, including:Engage their boards in fundraising activities.Craft compelling stories to reach donors’ minds and hearts.Plan a successful year-end fundraising campaign.Analyze data to better understand their donors and inform their plan.Sounds great, right? The question is, does this model of software and coaching really work?The short answer is YES.Participating nonprofits raised, on average, 27% more revenue without a net increase to their expenses.What’s a Personal Fundraising Coach?So, you may be familiar with Network for Good’s software: donor management (designed just for small nonprofits) and fully integrated campaign pages. But what about the personal fundraising coach?Participating nonprofits are matched with a fundraising expert who has experience within their cause area and whose expertise matches their unique needs and challenges. Organizations get the help they need when they need it, without the risk of hiring a full time fundraising professional.These individuals provide one-on-one strategic support in everything ranging from creating a 12-month fundraising plan to developing a successful event to crafting an effective appeal. Whatever individual challenges a nonprofit is currently facing, the coach is there to provide strategic guidance.Looking ForwardIn recent years, many small nonprofits have struggled to find ways to create a model for survival, let alone growth. Diversified funding, affordable yet effective tools, and the help of a personal fundraising coach have helped hundreds of nonprofits in the last year to build a more certain and sustainable future.Click here to talk to us. We’ll give you an overview of the software, strategy, and coaching that can help your organization thrive.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 17, 2015October 13, 2016By: Leela Khanal, Project Director, Chlorhexidine Navi Care Program, JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.Click 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 Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference holds for us a unique opportunity to come together and think of how to reach the sustainable development goal of ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths. One such way is by preventing neonatal infections using chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care. But just implementing interventions may not be enough; communication to providers and mothers can enhance uptake and effectiveness of these interventions to save lives.JSI’s Chlorhexidine cord care program (CNCP) is supporting the Government of Nepal to scale up the use of chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care. Chlorhexidine is applied on the umbilical cord stump immediately after cord cutting for both facility and home born babies. One three-gram chlorhexidine tube is distributed to a pregnant women either during her antenatal visit to a health facility or by her local Female Community Health Volunteer during the 8th month of pregnancy, with proper counseling.To increase awareness among the community people and thus improve demand and good practice, a behavior change communication program has been designed and implemented. The communication initiative, which started in September 2015 and will continue until September 2017, will use a variety of strategies to create demand for chlorhexidine. This social behavior change communication (SBCC) campaign will initiate message dissemination about the value of this low-cost chlorhexidine gel from both national and local radio and television stations.During the first 3 months of the SBCC campaign, messages about chlorhexidine application (both for health facilities and the community births) are being broadcast as public announcements from mainstream television channels. Messages have been placed during prime time news bulletins on Kantipur Television and popular programs on Nepal Television in order to reach a mass audience throughout the country. Radio airings of ad spots have also been placed with stations having a wide listenership; Kantipur FM and Image FM, with a priority given to reaching remote geographies and achieving effective coverage of targeted women, pregnant women, FCHVs and health workers. Branding of chlorhexidine (Navi Malam) has been incorporated into the sponsored radio programs that are very popular in remote locations, ensuring great coverage of messages.Realizing the strength of local and community FM stations in Nepal, JSI has emphasized mobilization of local FM stations in 30 districts during the first phase, to increase access to the chlorhexidine message in remote areas, not covered by national broadcasting. Other implementing partners—Save the Children, One Heart Worldwide, Care Nepal and ADRA—are also supporting the airing of chlorhexidine radio messages from local FM stations in 22 additional districts. JSI will do monitoring of these interventions and evaluate at the end of three months, based on a media monitoring and evaluation plan. Based on results of the monitoring and evaluation the way forward for the remaining period of time will be decided. A detailed broadcasting schedule of Radio and TV spots has been prepared and shared with the partners.Photo: “Testing newborn reflexes” © 2013 Rob Tinworth/Possible, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on August 19, 2016September 26, 2016By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, 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)Racial & ethnic disparities in the United StatesRacial and ethnic disparities in health status, health care access and quality of care have been well-documented in the United States. Black women are about three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes even after accounting for socioeconomic status and educational attainment. The preterm delivery and infant mortality rates for black mothers are also much higher than for white mothers. Racial health inequalities are not only unjust but costly, accounting for approximately $230 billion in direct medical expenditures. Nevertheless, the research on racial and ethnic disparities in perinatal mental health (and mental health in general) is lacking, and the majority of research in this area focuses on postpartum depression.Postpartum depression (PPD), which is defined as “intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent [new mothers] from being able to do their daily tasks,” is one of the most common childbirth-related complications, affecting about one in seven pregnant women in the United States; however, many women are not diagnosed and even fewer are appropriately treated. Depression or anxiety before or during pregnancy, recent stressful life events and poor social support are strong risk factors for PPD, and some research has also found low subjective socioeconomic status to be a predictor.The evidence is inconclusive on whether women of certain races or ethnicities are at a higher risk of developing perinatal mental health issues, but some research has shown racial disparities in treatment. One study found that black and Latina women were less likely than white women to initiate mental health care after delivery for PPD, and among those who did seek care, black and Latina women tended to initiate treatment later and were significantly less likely to receive follow-up care. There are a number of potential explanations for this disparity, including health system barriers such as challenges receiving referrals for mental health services and sociocultural factors such as fear of stigma for seeking treatment for PPD. The quality of care a woman receives when she is screened or initially treated for perinatal mental disorders may also affect the likelihood that she continues to seek care.In order to address racial and ethnic disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of perinatal mental health, we need to identify women at risk of developing not just PPD but other perinatal mental health issues.Neglected populations in low- and middle-income countriesPerinatal mental health issues are common in non-U.S. global settings as well. A systematic review of evidence from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) found an average prevalence of 16% and 20% of perinatal mental illness among pregnant and postnatal women respectively. Risk factors included socioeconomic disadvantage, unintended pregnancy, being young and/or unmarried and lacking support from intimate partners and family. Women who belonged to an ethnic majority and who had higher educational attainment, a steady job and a supportive intimate partner were less likely to develop these conditions. Another systematic review found that one in three migrant women from LMICs suffered from perinatal mental health issues. However, these results are based on research from a subset of countries; most LMICs around the world are not represented in global estimations of prevalence, which limits the ability to measure the scope of the problem and associated risk factors.Given the high prevalence of perinatal mental health issues in the U.S. and around the world, additional research focused on inequalities and neglected populations is warranted. Evidence suggests that certain women are at a disproportionately high risk of suffering from perinatal mental disorders, but the current body of research is insufficient for accurately identifying the most vulnerable women. Sound measurement and research is a necessary first step for identifying high-risk populations and designing evidence-based interventions to address inequalities in perinatal mental health.—Read the MHTF blog series on maternal mental health.Read the MHTF blog series on inequities in maternal mortality in the U.S.Learn more about racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. health care from The Commonwealth Fund, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.Check out the perinatal mental health series in The Lancet.Share this:
South Africa63.3% (2003) CountryEpisiotomy rate (year) Philippines63.7% (2005) India45.0% (2003) China44.9% (2002) ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: High episiotomy rates have been reported elsewhere, such as in Oman, Tibet and in several countries in Central and South America.In settings where episiotomy rates have declined over time, socioeconomic, geographic and racial disparities persist. In the United States, for example, the national episiotomy rate decreased from 25% in 2004 to 14% in 2012. However, episiotomies are more common among white women compared to black women, among women with private insurance compared to those with Medicaid and in urban hospitals compared to rural ones. Other research has found that certain types of health care providers are more likely than others to perform episiotomy.The way forwardWhile episiotomy can be beneficial in some cases, extremely high rates in many settings across the globe indicate overuse. Additional research to estimate the ideal population-level rate may help countries and facilities adjust their practices according to a specific evidence-based target.When an episiotomy is necessary, it is crucial that the procedure be performed in a way that maximizes outcomes for the mother and infant. Some research has found variation in episiotomy technique, which may be a result of inconsistent international practice guidelines.Ensuring that women are involved in the decision-making process in the event that an episiotomy might be needed is also critical. Performing an episiotomy—or any other intervention—without a woman’s informed consent is a violation of her right to respectful maternity care. Addressing the non-evidence-based use of episiotomy is key to improving maternal health and women’s birthing experiences worldwide.Key papersSelective versus routine use of episiotomy for vaginal birthCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews | February 2017Episiotomy rates around the world: An updateBirth | August 2005Outcomes of routine episiotomy: A systematic reviewJournal of the American Medical Association | May 2005Routine vs selective episiotomy: A randomised controlled trialThe Lancet | December 1993Practice bulletin no. 165: Prevention and management of obstetric lacerations at vaginal deliveryObstetrics & Gynecology | July 2016—Check out the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)’s mini-series, “The Global Epidemic of Unnecessary Cesarean Sections.”Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3Watch the webcast from “Too Much Too Soon: Addressing Over-Intervention in Maternity Care,” a discussion that took place in April 2017 as part of the Advancing Dialogue in Maternal Health Series.Subscribe to receive new MHTF blog posts in your inbox.Share this: Iran79.2% (2012) Thailand91.8% (2005) Indonesia53.5% (2005) Posted on May 30, 2017May 30, 2017By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, 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)Episiotomies—incisions made between the vagina and anus during childbirth—have long been a topic of debate among clinicians, researchers and advocates. Outdated clinical guidelines previously recommended the routine use of episiotomy to avoid natural vaginal tearing. Over the past two decades, a growing body of literature and increased advocacy efforts have led to a general consensus that episiotomy should not be conducted as a standard practice. Nevertheless, in many parts of the world, the majority of women still undergo episiotomy during childbirth.Current state of the evidenceEpisiotomy can be protective for women under certain circumstances. For example, a study based on data from several facilities in sub-Saharan Africa concluded that episiotomy was protective against anal sphincter tears and postpartum hemorrhage among women who had undergone type 3 female genital mutilation. However, used inappropriately, it can be detrimental to women’s health.A recent Cochrane systematic review examining the evidence on selective versus routine episiotomies for vaginal birth concluded:“Overall, the findings show that selective use of episiotomy in women (where a normal delivery without forceps is anticipated) means that fewer women have severe perineal trauma. Thus the rationale for conducting routine episiotomies to prevent severe perineal trauma is not justified by current evidence, and we could not identify any benefits of routine episiotomy for the baby or the mother.”Despite this recommendation, health workers sometimes encounter institutional barriers that pressure them to perform the procedure. Fear of a woman developing a third or fourth degree perineal tear and a lack of proper training can also contribute to high episiotomy rates.Global trends and disparitiesThe data on global episiotomy use are limited, especially in countries with weak health information systems. However, a paper from the 2016 Lancet Maternal Health Series reported prevalence estimates for several middle-income countries based on the most recent available data: Malaysia46.0% (2005)
Jamaica is already benefiting from Chile’s assistance in building capacity in the areas of trade policy and trade promotion. This is being facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for technical cooperation between the Export Promotion Bureau (ProChile) and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), which was signed last year. “On behalf of my colleague Heads of Government, I would like to assure you that these programmes are of great importance to CARICOM and make a significant contribution to the community’s efforts to boost its human-resource capacity and expertise in these critical areas,” he said. President of the Republic of Chile, His Excellency Sebastián Piñera, has expressed interest in entering into negotiations on a free trade-agreement with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Story Highlights President of the Republic of Chile, His Excellency Sebastián Piñera, has expressed interest in entering into negotiations on a free trade-agreement with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).Mr. Piñera said the Chilean Government, which already has free-trade agreements with more than 70 countries in the world, has been looking forward to starting this process “for a long period of time”.He was addressing the third plenary session at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on Friday (July 6), at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James.The Chilean President said his country has a history of being a very open economy and is of the strong belief that free trade is the best way to achieve development.Jamaica is already benefiting from Chile’s assistance in building capacity in the areas of trade policy and trade promotion. This is being facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for technical cooperation between the Export Promotion Bureau (ProChile) and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), which was signed last year.Mr. Piñera explained that under the agreement, both countries will organise an annual plan that will include training programmes and also aims to increase bilateral trade.ProChile assists small and medium-sized enterprises in their trade expansion efforts by leveraging the opportunities afforded by recent trade agreements, fostering public-private partnerships, and helping to position Chile in the international marketplace.The President also pledged to continue to strengthen his country’s scientific and technical cooperation with CARICOM as well as provide better assistance in mitigating the impact of natural disasters.In his remarks, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, thanked the President for his country’s continued cooperation on a wide range of areas, including technical assistance in the form of training courses in natural resources, agriculture, health and nutrition, international negotiations with diplomatic training and foreign language training for high-school teachers in trilateral cooperation with the Government of Mexico.“On behalf of my colleague Heads of Government, I would like to assure you that these programmes are of great importance to CARICOM and make a significant contribution to the community’s efforts to boost its human-resource capacity and expertise in these critical areas,” he said.Mr. Holness said CARICOM also appreciates the technical assistance provided through the various training programmes that have been offered in the areas of disaster management, and look forward to continued collaboration in this critical area.The Prime Minister said the Community greatly appreciates Chile’s understanding of the challenges facing small island developing states (SIDS), and thanked the country for registering its readiness “to stand by this vulnerable category of countries”.Mr. Piñera was specially invited to attend the meeting of CARICOM Heads which began on July 4 and ends today.The Conference of Heads of Government, which consists of the Heads of Government of the Member States, is the supreme organ of the Caribbean Community and determines and provides its policy direction.
APTN National NewsThe Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples will sit down with premiers at a meeting in Edmonton this week, but the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and Métis Nation (MNC) will not.The three leaders say they want an equal seat at the Council of the Federation which is made up of Canada’s ten provinces, and three territories. The group is meeting in Edmonton for the next three days.AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, ITK President Natan Obed, and MNC President Clément Chartier will hold a news conference about the meeting Monday in Toronto at 11 E.T.More to firstname.lastname@example.org
TBA4365+51.2 DET4044+10.0 It’s getting more and more crowded on baseball’s bleeding edge. As sabermetrics has expanded to swallow new disciplines and data sets,1The data generated by a single game has gone from mega- to gigabytes, with terabytes sure to follow before long. the number of quantitative analysts in MLB front offices has multiplied to keep up, producing an army of number crunchers, modelers and decision scientists who would have seemed out of place at the ballpark even a decade ago.Because we, too, are statheads at heart, we’ve mined the data and charted the proliferation of these numbers-savvy front-office staffers over time. Yes, there are more of them now than ever, and yes, they’ve had a demonstrable effect on their teams’ fortunes. But contrary to the “Moneyball”-era hand-wringing about battles between scouts and statheads, their rise hasn’t come at the expense of old-school analysis. Rather, the two main points of contention are how much the “Moneyball” mindset has spread from the game’s most frugal teams to the richest ones; and why the front-office hiring boom hasn’t helped its gender diversity.You’re gonna need a bigger budgetTo track the expansion of baseball’s R&D departments, we took three snapshots of MLB staffs by studying cached online directories and team media guides from 2016, 2012 and 2009 — the first year for which media guides are widely available from MLBpressbox.com — and consulting with current and former front-office employees. We limited our sample to full-time employees (sorry, interns and consultants),2Disclosure: One of this article’s authors, Rob Arthur, works as a statistical consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays. and tried to maintain a consistent, fairly strict definition of what constitutes a quant: a “baseball operations” employee who spends a majority of his or her work hours either directing a quantitative department or doing statistical research, data processing or programming to support the team’s analytical efforts.Naturally, our task occasionally required some informed speculation. “Analytics” and “analyst” are slippery terms, particularly because most front-office employees are multitaskers who contribute to more than one department. Many teams are also guarded in how they describe (or don’t describe) their employees’ roles and responsibilities. But even with all those caveats, we’re confident that we’ve arrived at a roughly accurate accounting of MLB’s quant army.And our numbers reveal that baseball’s analytical arms race is proceeding at a pace only slightly slower than Moore’s law. Although the analytical gold rush began before the period we examined, hiring has accelerated at an almost exponential rate over the last few years. In 2009, the first season of our sample — which was several years after “Moneyball” became a best-seller — a total of 44 team employees fit our “quant” definition, and at least a third of teams had yet to assign a single full-time employee primarily to statistical work. By 2012, the number had climbed to 75, and only four teams had no quants. Four years after that, the analyst count has more than doubled again, to 156, and nowadays no team operates without some semblance of an R&D department. 3Only one of those departments — perhaps predictably, the tightfisted Miami Marlins — is still a solo act. MIL3848+26.3 ATL3246+43.8 KCA3647+30.6 SDN3655+52.8 TOR3858+52.6 WAS2847+67.9% ARI4161+48.8 CIN4665+41.3 TEX3849+28.9 NUMBER OF FULL-TIME SCOUTING PERSONNEL MIN3546+31.4 LAD4361+41.9 OAK3840+5.3 CLE4148+17.1 SourceS: MLB, VARIOUS TEAM MEDIA GUIDES SEA6762-7.5 Nor is there any indication that we’re approaching a plateau. A number of teams told us they expected to add more analysts soon; we’re aware of at least 12 open positions across MLB. And because the litany of prerequisite degrees and programming languages seems to grow with each listing, it seems certain that the average analyst also has a more impressive résumé today than in the past.To the statheads went the spoilsThe biggest benefits of buying into objective analysis were probably reaped around the time “Moneyball” was published, when a lot of the low-hanging fruit was still attached to baseball’s most rigid branches. Simple lessons such as “on-base percentage matters more than batting average” still eluded many front offices, and numerous talented analysts whose work would later be exclusive to one team were still posting their insights publicly on message boards or sites such as Baseball Prospectus.Even though some of the initial rewards had already been realized by 2009, there were still significant gains to be made by semi-early adopters. To measure them, we built a model estimating how good a team was before its front-office hires, using the following factors for each team: its winning percentages over the previous three seasons, its payroll and market size and its Baseball America farm-system ranking. Using these variables, we generated an expected winning percentage for each team over the following three seasons, beginning with the two historical years for which we had analyst counts (2009 and 2012).The takeaway: It paid to invest in analytics early. Teams with at least one analyst in 2009 outperformed their expected winning percentage4As predicted by the model. by 44 percentage points over the 2012-14 period, relative to teams who didn’t — an enormous effect, equivalent to more than seven extra wins per season. That might be overstating things a bit — the precise advantage varies depending on how the analysis is structured — but over most permutations of the model we tried,5Including using different thresholds (by number of analysts) to determine a team’s analytical buy-in, and different periods of time upon which to judge a team’s on-field output. the effect was consistently stronger than two wins per season, particularly for the earliest-adopting teams, which got a head start by implementing analytics before 2009.Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that sabermetrics conferred such a first-mover advantage. As a thought experiment, let’s assume the typical modern analytics department contains five people (156 staffers leaguewide, divided by 30 teams). If the two most senior members of the department earn $100,000 a year and the remaining members make half that, the yearly price would come to $350,000. Putting aside overhead costs,6Which, admittedly, can be quite large (i.e., in the millions) for some front offices. But even with multi-million dollar overhead costs, the total price of an analytics department wouldn’t approach most free-agent player contracts of similar value. that outlay still lags behind the MLB’s minimum salary for a single player — chump change in a sport where the average franchise is valued at 10 figures.For such a relatively small expenditure on analysts, even the minimum estimate of two extra wins per year would represent a return roughly 30 times as efficient as spending the same amount on the free-agent market. (It would be like the Chicago Cubs signing outfielder Dexter Fowler not for the $13 million he’s actually making but for what it would take to pay a player who just made his big-league debut.) At that rate, there’s plenty of room for front-office inflation to continue before teams run into diminishing returns.The rich are getting smarterAlthough the big-budget Boston Red Sox were also one of the first teams to demonstrate that an analytics department could help win a World Series,7Boston may have even been the first to win with a dedicated analytics staff, though it’s also worth noting that the Oakland A’s won in 1989 with early sabermetric consulting from Eric Walker. a number of low-payroll, small-market teams — including not only the Moneyball A’s, but also the Rays, Indians, Padres and Pirates — were among the first to form quantitative departments and develop systems to house and display statistical data. It made sense: The more pressing a team’s financial imperative to stretch every dollar and wring out every win, the more likely it was to try a new approach.But that’s no longer true. Although the Rays, who rank 29th in payroll this season, continue to occupy the R&D pole position with a still expanding department of almost 20 statheads — fortunately, Tropicana Field has plenty of quiet, climate-controlled workspace to spare — baseball’s “haves” are no longer have-nots when it comes to statistical expertise. In both 2009 and 2012, teams with low-ranking payrolls tended to employ more analysts. But in 2016, the balance of analytical buy-in shifts toward big spenders, which might explain why the Rays are having a harder time separating their on-field performance from the pack.Not only are wealthy teams capable of outspending competitors for free-agent players, but they’ve also become more willing to outbid them for brains. The sport’s two heaviest hitters by payroll, the Yankees and Dodgers, are also the only teams aside from the Rays whose R&D departments have double-digit head counts.In addition to hiring a large crew of new number crunchers and programmers, the Dodgers have plundered talent from other franchises’ front offices, absorbing not only the former general managers of the Rays (Andrew Friedman), Padres (Josh Byrnes) and Blue Jays (Alex Anthopoulos), but also a former A’s assistant GM, Farhan Zaidi, who joined Oakland as an analyst because “Moneyball” made him want to work in baseball. In particular, LA’s brain trust has devoted its efforts to preserving player health, which Billy Beane has publicly labeled the sport’s most glaring inefficiency. In their quest to curtail injuries, the Dodgers have invested in both computerized systems and human know-how, as well as seeding a sports-oriented startup incubation program.Stats haven’t killed the scouting starIn the factious days after “Moneyball” was published, the book was often characterized as a prophecy of scouting’s coming extinction. That interpretation was mostly off base, but one passage did strongly imply that the competition for front-office positions was a zero-sum game. In a postscript titled “Inside Baseball’s Religious War,” which appeared in later editions, Michael Lewis wrote that “[J.P.] Ricciardi, the new [Blue Jays] GM, had done what every enlightened GM will eventually do: fire a lot of scouts, hire someone comfortable with statistical analysis … and begin to trade for value, ruthlessly.”Lewis’s postscript looks ironic in retrospect, for multiple reasons. The deputy he describes as “someone comfortable with statistical analysis” was Keith Law, who has since become ESPN’s lead prospect analyst and spends much of his time scouting players. Moreover, Ricciardi himself was fired in 2009 and replaced by Anthopoulos, who almost immediately embarked on a scout-hiring spree — and shepherded Toronto to more success than it had ever enjoyed under his predecessor.8Anthopoulos left the Blue Jays for the Dodgers after the 2015 season. Even Beane’s stat-inclined sidekick, Paul DePodesta, later became vice president of player development and scouting for the Mets before switching sports earlier this year. BAL3432-5.9 STL3944+12.8 CHC5160+17.6 NYM5246-11.5 PHI33330.0 CHW3246+43.8 TEAM20092016%CHANGE BOS5971+20.3 NYY4574+64.4 HOU5552-5.5 SFN5956-5.1 COL3644+22.2 ANA3448+41.2 PIT3948+23.1 MIA3843+13.2 Scouting staffs are also on the rise In fact, the recent expansion of analytics staffing doesn’t seem to have squeezed out other kinds of employees. By our count, big-league teams employed 1,246 full-time scouts in the first year of our sample,9Which in most cases dates back to 2009, except for the few teams whose 2009 media guides don’t have accessible scouting sections. In those cases, we used 2010 data. across all levels and specialties — pro, amateur, advance and international. This year’s media guides list 1,539 scouts — an average increase of almost 10 per team. Only five teams employ fewer scouts than they did in 2009, and of those, four were previously among the top five scout employers. No team has downsized by more than six total scouts or 12 percent of its previous force.Although the increased ability to access information remotely may have made some advance and pro scouts redundant — or transferred their responsibilities to new, stay-at-home scouts who prep for opponents using a combination of stats and video — any modest downsizing in those areas has been more than offset by increased amateur and international coverage. For instance, the Rays — who also devote a massive head count to scouting, trailing only the Yankees and Red Sox — assign dedicated scouts to 12 countries outside the U.S., some of which haven’t historically been baseball hotbeds.10Including Curacao, Germany, the Czech Republic and Brazil, where they’re trying to build an academy. No scouting position is permanent, but our survey uncovered scant evidence to back up claims that teams are treating scouts as obsolete relics. If anything, smart teams have learned to treat scouting grades as statistical data that can improve upon purely numbers-based evaluations, making the two perspectives even more tightly intertwined.Given baseball’s burgeoning economy, it’s only logical that additional jobs for statheads haven’t come at scouts’ expense. Ever-rising broadcast rights and franchise valuations have caused revenue to skyrocket, and the profit has to go somewhere besides under owners’ mattresses. As revenue sharing, luxury taxes, and limits on amateur and international spending lower the ceiling on some forms of spending and shrink the payroll gaps between teams, the best option for a cash-flush club is to direct dollars away from the field. Beefing up front-office infrastructure makes acquiring, storing and applying information easier, and it allows teams to get more bang for the bucks they’re allowed to spend.That said, there are still places where analytics hiring has a lot of room to improve. Out of 190 analysts who appeared on our list at least once, only five were female, and only three of those women are still active. Granted, the gender imbalance in baseball ops is actually less lopsided on the R&D side than in scouting, where women are even scarcer. But high-level playing experience is far from a prerequisite in R&D roles, which tells us either that teams are having trouble attracting female applicants or that they’re overlooking the qualified candidates who do apply. As Zaidi, who has since hired one of the three active female analysts, put it last year: “If I’m going to put my geek cap on, it’s a statistical impossibility … that the best candidate for every position in baseball is a middle-aged Caucasian male.”Of course, baseball’s broadcast bubble might eventually burst, reversing the rise in revenue and forcing teams to economize. In that event, some would likely decide that stats, video and tracking systems such as Statcast and Kinetrax make scouting positions expendable, although they would probably also slash the budgets and support for their R&D staffs. Barring that type of catastrophe, though, baseball’s front-office hiring boom is unlikely to slow any time soon, since the rapid ascendance of baseball’s new school hasn’t made many teams think “out with the old.” Instead, teams have learned to synthesize information from multiple sources; even the supposedly sabermetrics-defying Kansas City Royals were aided by a talented analytics department en route to their World Series victory last season. When it comes to the search for front-office smarts, all signs still say “help wanted.”Check out our latest MLB predictions.
In a hilarious new book entitled Pray the Gay Away, the Zakar twins have a chapter on Zach’s heartbreak with his first ever boyfriend, Lukas.The chapter tells the story of how the pair met, had dinner with Lukas’ family and then their eventual demise.Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: Warren Giddarie via zakartwins / InstagramZach told Gay Star News: ‘Lukas was my first serious boyfriend.‘You know in the gay community you have like 30 flings before one actually sticks. I fell hard for Lukas being that it wasn’t a relationship just based around sex.‘At the time, my life was still all over the place, to which I think Lukas understood but slowly distanced himself from,’ he said.Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: suppliedZach describes in the book his excitement about going to dinner with the guy he truly believed he’d be spending the rest of his life with. He even thought Lukas might propose to him that evening.As Lukas knocks on the door to pick Zach up for dinner, Zach has a basket of gifts at hand.Zach told GSN: ‘We had dinner reservations on Valentine’s Day, and out of the blue instead of dinner, I got a broken heart.’He insisted Lukas keep the basket of gifts, but his heart was broken.‘We like to think of our lives as one big shitty sitcom’In their book, Pray the Gay Away, they focus on their heavily Christian upbringing and their super religious mother.‘Our mom would shove it down our throats,’ Zach joked. ‘But honestly, we are who we are because of our upbringing.‘The message of Christianity – and any religion – is acceptance and love for all. For me, I find a large group of Christians miss and forget that point if a person is X, Y or Z,’ he said. eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Michael (left) and Zach (right) Zakar. | Photo: zakartwins / Instagram GAYSTARNEWS- Breaking up with someone on Valentine’s Day is probably the absolute worst day in the year to do it, but it was a sad reality for Zach Zakar. Michael (left) and Zach (right) Zakar. | Photo: theonlytonylowe via zakartwins / InstagramWhen the boys came out at the same time to their mother, she threw holy water on them. She also force-fed them holy grapes blessed by a priest to try to make them straight.They also attended a gruelling summer of bible study. But it didn’t stick.‘Growing up in a heavy Christian household, we slowly rejected it all,’ Zach said. ‘We like to think of our lives as one big, shitty sitcom.’Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: suppliedAnd as an act of defiance after coming out, Michael even got a tattoo of his mother on his thigh.Michael joked: ‘When guys blow me, they make eye contact with mom.’‘Our mom is a character within her own’Over the course of the book, Michael and Zach recount their tumultuous childhoods. They were always close, but grew apart in high school when neither knew the other was gay.They actually shared their coming out story on YouTube, in which they both hooked up with the same guy in high school.But because some people couldn’t tell them apart, a rumor about one of them being gay spread through the school when it was actually the other twin who got caught.[embedded content]But for most of the book, the Zakar boys and their relationship with their mother occupies a lot of the storyline.Zach said: ‘Our mom is a character within her own.‘She won’t change and we won’t change. It’s not to say that we haven’t grown a mutual understanding for one another – and she loves us, so that’s all that matters,’ he said.Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: suppliedThey also talk about having girlfriends, their first sexual experiences and hooking up at their sister’s wedding.Zach added: ‘We put our heart and soul into Pray The Gay Away. And we think our book is a must… but we’re biased.’Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . These Christian moms think loving their gay kids is exactly what God wantsForget a boyfriend this valentines day focus on loving your best gay selfBurmese actor comes out as gay, shares cheeky kiss with boyfriendRead the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-zakar-twin-boyfriend-broke-valentines-day/
We’re also on Facebook – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire. You’ll also find us on Instagram here . 14:53Usual congestion on A534 Crewe Green Road Eastbound before the roadworks at A5020 University Way (Crewe Green roundabout). 13:49Two seriously injured after masked men with machete and baseball bat raid houseBoth occupants were assaulted by the men, who were armed with a baseball bat and a machete. More here.13:49’Large’ machete and drugs recovered after police stop BMWMore here.12:51Nantwich By-pass reopensA51 Nantwich Bypass Westbound re-opened, traffic easing, accident cleared between Park Road (Willaston) and A530 Middlewich Road (Alvaston roundabout, Alvaston). Previous congestion to the Cheerbrook Roundabout. 11:41A51 Nantwich by-pass closed due to accidentA51 Nantwich Bypass Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to accident between Park Road (Willaston) and A530 Middlewich Road (Alvaston roundabout, Alvaston).Police are at scene dealing. (Image: Inrix)11:23Staffordshire man charged with murdering wifeHe will appear before magistrates later today. More here.10:47Slow traffic due to ‘police incident’ on M6M6 Southbound exit slip road partially blocked, slow traffic due to police incident at J15 A500 (Stoke-On-Trent).This is as you head down towards the Hanchurch Interchange. 10:39Another accident on M6Queueing traffic and one lane blocked due to accident on M6 Southbound between J17 A534 Old Mill Road (Sandbach / Crewe) and J16 A500 (Stoke-On-Trent / Crewe). Note change of details.Lane one (of three) is blocked. It was initially thought to have been a broken down vehicle but has since been confirmed it’s an accident. 10:04Heavy traffic on the A500Heavy traffic on A500 D Road Southbound around A527 Porthill Road (Porthill Bank). Travel time is seven minutes.10:03Drug dealer jailedHe was stopped after leaving the M6 near Stafford and found to be in possession of 48 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin. More here.09:55Heavy traffic on A500 Heavy traffic on A500 D Road Southbound around A527 Porthill Road (Porthill Bank). Travel time is five minutes. 09:23Slow traffic in Stone Slow traffic on A34 at A51. In the roadworks area. 08:49One lane shut on M6 SouthboundQueueing traffic and one lane closed due to an accident on the opposite side of the carriageway on M6 Southbound between J17 A534 Old Mill Road (Sandbach / Crewe) and J16 A500 (Stoke-On-Trent / Crewe). In the roadworks area. 08:34M6 Northbound shutMore here.08:23Full closure of M6A police spokesman said:We have a FULL closure on the M6 J16 to J17 ( Crewe – Sandbach) This is due to an RTC. Highways England are on scene. “08:12Congestion on A34 in Trent ValeUsual congestion on A34 Newcastle Road between Springfield Retail Park and A500 D Road (Hanford Interchange). (Image: Inrix)08:07Latest traffic round-up for Staffordshire, South Cheshire and major roads elsewhere in the UKNothing out of the ordinary at the moment. In Stoke-on-Trent there is heavy traffic on the A50 into the city from Meir Tunnel and on the A500 towards junction 15 of the M6.We also have the usual slow traffic on the D-Road near Porthill Bank, coming through Longport and on Werrington Road in Bucknall. Elsewhere in Staffordshire there is very slow traffic in both directions on the A50 near Uttoxeter – while over the border in South Cheshire there is slow traffic around Crewe Green Roundabout.Further afield there are severe delays on the M6 Northbound in Lancashire between junction 27 and junction 28 – this is due to an accident and oil spillage.The A36 in Wiltshire / Hampshire is closed southbound between the A27 (Whiteparish) and the A3090 (Ower near M27) due to a serious single vehicle collision near Landford. That road will be closed for several hours.The M25 clockwise has long delays this morning of at least 60 minutes between J22 (St Albans) and J25 (Waltham Abbey) due to an incident where a HGV has shed its load over the carriageway between J24 (Potters Barr) and J25. Three lanes closed. 08:02Slow traffic on A50 near UttoxeterVery slow traffic on A50 in both directions at A518 / B5030 (Little Chef Roundabout). In the roadworks area. (Image: Inrix)08:00Slow traffic in ChellSlow traffic on A527 Biddulph Road coming from Brindley Ford Southbound at A5272 High Lane roundabout. (Image: Inrix)07:59Werrington Road busy in BucknallA52 Werrington Road Westbound busy but moving before A52 Leek Road (Lime Kiln Traffic Lights). Travel time is four minutes. (Image: Inrix)07:49Accident and fuel spillage on M6 Northbound in LancashirePolice and Highways England are dealing with the accident between junction 27 and junction 28. More here.07:38UK Travel News: M6 Northbound: LancashireAccident and fuel spillage between junction 27 and junction 28 – confirmed by both Highways England and North West Motorway Police.Delays are building and traffic is only able to pass on the hard shoulder.07:34Heavy traffic on A500 near Porthill BankHeavy traffic on A500 D Road Southbound around A527 Porthill Road (Porthill Bank). (Image: Inrix)07:20Heavy traffic on A50 in Stoke-on-TrentHeavy traffic on A50 Westbound from Meir Tunnel towards the A500 D Road (Sideway Roundabout). (Image: Inrix)07:16Uusal congestion around Crewe Green RoundaboutUsual congestion on A534 Haslington Bypass before the roadworks at A5020 University Way (Crewe Green roundabout).07:15Warning after group of six seen taking photos of housesThe group left the area when challenged. More here.07:12Queueing traffic on A500Queueing traffic on A500 D Road Southbound before M6 J15. (Image: Inrix)07:00A500 busy but movingA500 D Road Southbound busy but moving before M6 J15.06:02Rain forecastThe latest Met Office forecast for the West Midlands region states:After a dry start, rain will soon arrive, early and heavy in Shropshire, but later and lighter further southeast. The rain will clear from Shropshire and Staffordshire in the early afternoon, but linger in Warwickshire until late in the day. Maximum temperature 18 °C” 05:46Good morningTom here to keep you updated with the latest news and traffic updates from across the area this morning. The video will start in 1Cancel Play now Watch Next We pay for stories! Send your videos to email@example.comHello and welcome to Stoke-on-TrentLive’s breaking news service bringing you all the latest updates from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire on Tuesday, September 11. Our team of reporters will be updating this live service with all the latest on the traffic and travel and weather updates – as well as news and entertainment through the day. We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates in our live news feed below. For the latest news and breaking news visit www.stokeontrentlive.co.uk Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. Follow us on Twitter @SOTLive – the official Sentinel account – real news in real time. 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