Operating the only accredited co-educational school in Afghanistan presented unique challenges to the goals of our organization. Among those challenges were, "how to effectively reach the various audiences of our school, while maintaining security over what information is published." If you are reading this blog, you likely fall within an ideological category aligned with that of our organization. The majority of the families we are serving, however, fall within a dramatically different cultural and ideological background. That said, securing a technology provider for our on-line communication needs came with the requirements of finding a partner with the resources and capacity to allow us to fully manage a complex environment. From a project management perspective, this challenge became more than a "tall order" considering that things needed to happen yesterday and our budget for the project was less than the cost of daily coffees at Starbucks.
Thankfully, Donor Depot was available, capable, and truly motivated to help our school. The team members of Donor Depot have a first-hand understanding of managing a growing non-profit organization. We needed solutions that were affordable, easily managed, and driven by a robust donor management system. In order to gain the full value of communication tools on the Internet we also needed to remember that form and function are inseparable. If a website lacks a contemporary professional appearance, communication goals will fall dramatically short. The team of Donor Depot was able to satisfy each of these needs.
Almost overnight, our web footprint transformed from a static, "friend-of-a-friend" type webpage more than six year out of date - to a dynamic website complete with on-line donations, videos, integrated e-newsletters, and the capacity for event management. In fact, the more we tools we utilize with our new website, the more we realize how far behind the communications curve we really were. The great news is, this miraculous transformation is well on the way to paying for itself and we have only been live for less than forty-five days!
Over the past six years, the International School of Kabul (ISK) has been blessed with partial operational subsidies from USAID. With the U.S. mission to Afghanistan changing, fiscal support for USAID projects is also changing. In a stable economy the absence of partial government support would not present the level of challenges we are facing within the economy of Afghanistan. Abandoning the educational needs of nearly four hundred children, however, is not an option. Contemporary education provides a viable pathway of lasting hope for the future of Afghanistan. If we abandon the work of education in Afghanistan because of financial constraints, what does that say about the value we have placed upon the lives of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who died for this cause of freedom?
Transitioning our school from dependence upon USAID to a position of self-sustainability through the gifts and support of private donors has been made possible through the help of Donor Depot. Keep an eye on our website as we plan on kicking all the tires Donor Depot rolls off the technical rack.
If anyone is interested in participating in a Donor Depot Users Group, please let me know. Working together with similar goals and needs will make us all more effective.
John "Yahiya" Brown is the Senior Development Director for the International School of Kabul and has served in Afghanistan for nearly six years. The nickname "Yahiya" given to John is an Afghan reference to "John the Baptist." If you are interested in partnering with John you may contact John via email or phone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918.625.4860 and an easy reference to ISK's website is: http://www.give2isk.org.
Operating the only accredited co-educational school in Afghanistan presented unique challenges to the goals of our...