Around 800 participants in 40 courses: That is the result of this year’s Berlin Social Academy. From 21 to 24 October, many committed employees from various Berlin companies once again passed on their expertise to non-profit organizations and social start-ups. Among those were Zalando, Volkswagen, Scholz & Friends and Scout24.
Our Scout Thu Trang Ho, responsible for social media communication at Scout24, organised a two-hour workshop on “Social Media for NGOs”. Around 15 NGOs attended the workshop, including Wiebke Plasse from the Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V. (World Society for the Protection of Animals).
Here you can read how Trang and Wiebke experienced the workshop and which insights they can gain for themselves and their commitment.
Interview with Trang from Scout24
Why are you involved in the Berlin Social Academy?
Trang: I decided to take part in this year’s Berlin Social Academy because I want to help NGOs gain more awareness for their activities. I have huge respect for their work and strongly believe that Social Media can be a good communications tool for them to reach more people.
What did you do in today’s course?
Trang: Representatives from 15 NGOs signed up for my course “Social Media for Nonprofits” and all of them are already active on social media. However, the levels of the individual channels were so different that instead of a presentation with general tips, I preferred to take a look at the social media activities of each individual NGO. In doing so, we learnt from each other and I was very happy about our lively discussions. In fact, we exceeded time because we had many topics to discuss.
How did you prepare for this course?
Trang: Before giving the course, I screened the homepages and social media channels of the NGOs that signed up. In doing so, I was able to give each of them several individual tips and tricks on how to improve their social media presence.
Were you also able to learn something from today’s course?
Trang: Yes, absolutely. Since I visited their homepages and social media channels, I could learn a lot about their activities. I am very humbled by their commitment. I also learnt that it’s worth focusing on each of them instead of giving general advices even though it takes more time for me to prepare. Participating in the BSA was definitely an enriching experience for me.
Interview with Wiebke Plasse from Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V.
What is the Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V (World Animal Welfare Society) doing? What are the association’s goals?
Wiebke: The Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V., WTG for short, is committed to the protection of strays, livestock and wild animals in emerging and developing countries. Together with local partner organisations, we carry out mobile animal clinics as well as vaccination and castration campaigns in affected regions. We also support the rescue and care of animals and, in the case of wild animals, their reintroduction into the wild, and we finance protection centres. In all projects we always involve people through information work. Following our motto “Animal welfare starts with people”, we are currently involved in 25 projects in 18 countries on four continents.
When was the association founded? How many members does the association have?
Wiebke: The association was founded in 1998 in Bonn and was part of the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) network until 2013. For more than six years now, WTG has been operating independently and is based in Berlin. We are currently ten employees. In addition, we are supported by an intern and two volunteers.
How many times have you been to the Berlin Social Academy? Which courses have you attended?
Wiebke: I have been attending courses at the Berlin Social Academy since I first became aware of the offer – so for three years. The choice of courses has always been very different from year to year – from social media to video production to feedback workshops – I have tried to cover different focuses. We always divide the offered courses within our team and every colleague who finds links to his or her work is happy to take part. In this as well as in the last years I was mostly present at two to three courses.
How has your organisation already benefited from the BSA?
Wiebke: The input is indeed very different from course to course: some I have used as inspiration for new topics and ideas, others I have visited to deepen work areas. The Academy helps us as a non-profit association to follow topics and trends and to build new knowledge without spending a lot of money. In addition, I always find the exchange between the speakers and other course participants very valuable: the view from and to the outside is important.
What did you get out of the course “Social Media for NGOs” organised by Scout24?
Wiebke: I am grateful for the valuable input of our speaker Thu Trang. Instead of just guiding us through a presentation, she had taken the time to evaluate the websites and social media channels of all course participants in advance. Her input was great and gave me a whole bunch of useful tips that I can implement in the coming weeks.
Would you recommend the BSA?
Wiebke: Absolutely. The small fee of 10 Euro per course is more than worth the possibilities offered by the different courses. I can recommend everyone to check out the program and register.
What other form of social commitment does Berlin need?
Wiebke: In my opinion, we need more of this kind of social commitment. As the Berlin Social Academy has demonstrated, the exchange between the private sector and the non-profit one should take place much more intensively. We can and should learn from each other.