Schenectady County DMV service leaves much to be desired

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe Schenectady County Department of Motor Vehicles should be ashamed of itself. The lines are constantly out the door here compared to Troy, which also has a high volume of people. The new building is great for the people who have to sit in there for three to five hours, where for most part other departments are not only quicker in what they do for a living, but seem much more polite than the individuals who have their heads in their laps texting while dealing with you. Their operation moves slow and the workers are constantly leaving their desks for 10-15 minute bathroom breaks from what I was told. Along with that, there are 11 teller windows, but only half of them are being used. It makes no sense to me or other people that these windows don’t have employees working them. Common courtesy is one thing, but when you’re blatantly texting while a customer is in front of you, I find that to be rude and a waste of time. While recently visiting the Schenectady County DMV, a friend of one worker came in, and not only did the worker come out into lobby to meet and greet their friend, she advanced her number so she was called within five minutes of being in building. The friend of the employee walked out all in smiles, while the rest of the people in the place were pondering whether their number would ever be called. That smile was the only one I saw in my three hours at your local DMV.Nicholas SilverioNiskayuna More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectlast_img read more

Indian Premier League Ashton Turner’s duck tales in IPL 2019 give Rajasthan Royals a big headache

first_imghighlights For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: Ashton Turner is best remembered for his match-winning 84 against India in Mohali. His knock Australia chase down 359 in the fourth ODI, which is the highest successful chase by a visiting team ever in India. His miraculous knock played a massive role in Australia’s resurgence as they won the five-match ODI series 2-3 and became the first Australian side to win a series from being 0-2 down in India. Prior to his knock in Mohali, Turner was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for his base price of Rs 50 lakh during the auction in December 2018 and many expected him to perform great feats.However, in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League, Ashton Turner’s journey has been a nightmare. In his debut game against Kings XI Punjab at the same venue where he had scored his miraculous 84, Turner mistimed a lofted shot off Ravichandran Ashwin to be caught at long off for a golden duck. In his next game against Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on Saturday, Turner was cleaned up by Jasprit Bumrah for yet another golden duck but unlike Mohali, Rajasthan Royals won the match by a close margin. Turner’s two ducks in his first two games put him in an infamous list as he became just the second player after Jesse Ryder who also was dismissed for ducks in his first two games playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2009 which was held in South Africa.  However, Turner’s woeful form in Twenty20s is actually longer. The dismissal against Mumbai Indians was actually his fourth consecutive duck in the format. Prior to the two matches in IPL 2019, Turner was dismissed for a golden duck in the final game against Adelaide Strikers for Perth Scorchers. In the first Twenty20 International against India in Vizag, Turner was dismissed for a three-ball duck by Hardik Pandya.Turner would be determined to overturn the rut and score a run and hopefully help Rajasthan Royals achieve a spectacular turnaround in the IPL. Rajasthan Royals are currently in seventh in the points table and will need to win their remaining games to stay in contention for the playoffs. Rajasthan Royals are still in seventh spot in the points table.Rajasthan Royals defeated Mumbai Indians in their previous encounter.Ashton Turner has now been dismissed for four consecutive ducks in Twenty20s.last_img read more

Former Red Sox team up to lead Giants past Blue Jays

first_imgClick here if you are unable to view this gallery on a mobile device.TORONTO — A stereotype exists that suggests Canadians are among the nicest people on the planet.After a trip to Toronto, the Giants just might believe it because the Blue Jays were overly gracious hosts this week.The Giants walked into the Rogers Centre and played some of their best baseball of the year, earning a two-game sweep while making the Blue Jays appear overmatched in the process. A “welcome back” tribute Toronto …last_img read more

Statement: State Security says no immediate threat to US interests in South Africa

first_imgSouth Africa’s Ministry of State Security assures that there is no threat to U.S. facilities or interests in South Africa after law enforcement agencies investigated warnings of a possible attack by “extremists”. This comes after the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Pretoria alerted its citizens on Tuesday, 8 September, of such an attack on South African soil.The Ministry of State Security has noted media reports relating to the statement issued by the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa relating to security concerns.We confirm that there has been an interaction between ourselves and the U.S. authorities on this matter. At this stage we can confirm that after verification of same by our law enforcement agencies, there appears to be no immediate threat or danger. We will however continue to monitor the situation, working with everyone including the U.S. authorities.We also wish to reassure the public that government will continue its efforts to ensure the safety of all citizens and residents.We reiterate our resolve to work with members of the international community in creating a safer and secure world and to ensure that South Africa remains a safe destination for anyone who wishes to travel here.last_img read more

The seven (or nine) things everyone wants

first_imgMark Rovner and I have been working on a little project – maybe it will turn into a book. We test-drove some of the content at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, and the NTC conference attendees were brilliant and contributed much to our thought process! The session was received warmly enough that we were asked to type up a little summary for the NTEN newsletter. I wanted to share that (it’s below), as well as the official blog for this topic. We welcome thoughts, comments, additions — any input at all!Here’s what we said:The NTC in New Orleans was full of fantastic, sparkly, shiny new technology tools. And then there was our session. No winsome widgets, no witty Twittering, no Dopplr-found Doppelgangers.And that was the point.Which is this: What makes technology tools great is not the technology. It’s the people behind them. Successful technology is about bonds, not wires. It’s human connections that matter. “Social media” is about “social” more than it’s about “media”. If you missed our session, we summed it up in the title: The Seven Things Everyone Wants: What Freud and Buddha Understood (and We’re Forgetting) about Online Outreach. Some very human principles make or break the success of absolutely everything you do online. These are the kind of truths Buddha or Freud – explorers of the deepest recesses of the human mind — talked about. To achieve true marketing “enlightenment,” you need to tap into fundamental human needs with your technology – rather than hoping technology can inspire alone. You may think this sounds a bit like Maslow – and it is – but with a twist: Maslow was uncovering human needs; We are showing how his and other deep needs can be employed to foster a more humane world. There are at least seven of these fundamental needs, and that’s what we covered in our session. We threw out a need, and the folks in the session talked about how they’d met it through online communications. (Hat tip to Britt Bravo for capturing the examples so well in her blog.) There are other human needs – we’d like to add simplicity and humor to the list of seven – but this was a start.Here is a taste of our discussion. But the conversation is far from over. Please help us continue it – we’re headed toward a book of some kind, we hope. Talk to us at our official blog for the topic.PLEASE: Don’t just read this article, tell us your story.Need 1: To be SEEN and HEARDMaking someone feel seen and heard is the most powerful thing any of us can do with online communications. On the other hand, not listening is the root of most problems, personal (just ask your partner!) and professional (just ask your co-workers!).Examples of great listening:•Teen Health Talk engages youth to talk about health issues rather than lectures at them.•Oxfam has used Flickr petitions successfully in several campaigns. Two of their staff members recently returned from Darfur and are putting together a video to raise awareness about it. They are collecting questions from supporters to include. The bottom line: See to be seen, hear to be heard.Need 2: To be CONNECTED to someone or somethingPeople are sociable creatures, and they want to find other people that share their interests. That’s what fuels Facebook or Twitter or any number of examples. In fact, one could argue that connecting people to each other is the highest and best use of technology.Examples of great connecting:•BeliefNet has prayer circles where people can share prayers for specific people.•March of Dimes’ Share Your Stories allows families of babies in the NICU to share stories. The bottom line: Engage by connecting to what your audience (NOT YOU) wants to hear.Need 3: To be part of something GREATER THAN THEMSELVESWe need to lay out the grand, inspirational vision of our cause. We should show how together we can leave the world a better place.Examples of vision:•18Seconds.org shows the cumulative effect of everyone changing their light bulbs to CFLs.•The MoveOn “endorse a thon” for Barack Obama is only the latest in a long line of creative, uplifting and inspiring efforts.Need 4: To have HOPE for the futureForget doom and gloom, finger-wagging campaigns. People hate them.Example of hopeful messaging:•Earth: The Sequel has been up for 2 weeks and has received 15,000 views.•The Yes We Can Obama video. The bottom line: Ix-nay on the apocalypse. Persuade through inspirationNeed 5: To have the security of TRUSTPeople are starved for a sense of trust. That’s why we glom on to authentic messengers. Examples of authenticity:•76% of givers according to Cone say they are influenced by friends and family. SixDegrees allows people to create widgets that feature a photo of themselves and 250 characters of text about why they support a particular cause.•The Packard Kid Connection site helps kids get ready to go to the hospital. It builds trust because it looks like Club Penguin (Club Penguin is a social network for children), and it has videos of children explaining how things work at the hospital. The bottom line: Cut the crap. Your authenticity is everything.Need 6: To be of SERVICEThe #1 reason people stop giving to a nonprofit is that they feel like they are being treated like an ATM machine. They want to help, but they also want to be of service and to have different ways of serving. That need is not being fulfilled if all they hear is the unimaginative drumbeat of dollars. If you are reading this, you already understand – and embody – the deep need to be useful and of service.Need 7: To want HAPPINESS for self and othersThe core of Buddhism is that everyone wants happiness and to be free from suffering. The more you want happiness for others, the better it is for you, and them.We wrapped up the session with the following happy dance. Remember, it’s about people. People who want to be happy in this world.last_img read more

Five-Minute Facelift for Your Website

first_imgThis is product placement, but it’s a well-intentioned plug: If you’re not already signed up for Network for Good’s weekly fundraising and marketing tips, I encourage you to do so here. Here’s a sample of the types of tips we feature from editor Rebecca Ruby: Why isn’t your website performing better? Where are all those online donors? Is this creating the urge to completely revamp your site? You may not have to start from scratch! Here is a way to give your website a five-minute facelift: Make your Donate button easier to find. Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button. If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position. Make it central to the page. Make sure it is above the fold. Make it big. Make it colorful. Make it impossible to miss. Here’s an example of an easy-to-find Donate button. Frame the Donate button in a more compelling way. Now think about why someone should click on your Donate button. Your financial needs are not enough. Create an appeal around the button that is focused on donors, their interests, and what they get in return for their donation. What tangible change will result if they give? How is that tangible change relevant to them personally? Will it feel good to make the donation? Is clicking on the button fun, touching or compelling? Here’s an outstanding example of framing. Add a sense of immediacy. You want to inspire someone to give right now, but that can be hard to do if it’s not December or if there’s not an urgent crisis to address. Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible. Here’s an example of bringing a sense of urgency to an appeal by making it clear what the donation does (it buys a bed net) and tying it to a popular show. Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation. While you want someone to donate right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate donors. Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with them and turn them into donors in the future. Think beyond a newsletter sign-up. Here’s a nice example of an innovative approach to capturing emails. Tweak your DonateNow page. (This is step is particularly easy if you have Network for Good’s service. Yes, NFG is my employer, so I’m biased!) Take a hard look at your donation form/page. If you are asking too many questions, potential donors may abandon the form. This page may also need some increased messaging and reinforcement of why and how donations are important. Remember: This page has the last copy a donor is going to read prior to actually giving you money–you don’t want to lose them in the home-stretch!last_img read more

Must read: the changing US consumer

first_imgThere is a great piece in Advertising Age online today from Peter Francese, founder of American Demographics magazine (registration required to view the article). He writes about the changing face of consumers. Like me, they’re getting more wrinkly and set in their ways by the day.Here are a couple of the highlights (warning: sweeping generalizations ahead), along with thoughts on the implications for us. You can read the full article here (with registration).OLDER: A full 80% of the growth in US households in the next five years will be from those headed by people over age 55. Yep, that’s right — EIGHTY PERCENT. The average age of the US household is already only six months shy of 50. The first boomers hit 65 in less than three years. So what does that mean? The older set (65+), says Francese, tend to be risk adverse and inflexible in their attitudes. That means clever marketers will play to this world view with messaging about guarantees, safety and experience. Warranties, corporate history and testimonials work. So, nonprofit marketers, emphasize your organization’s storied history and great performance with these folks. Don’t be too cute or flashy. Meanwhile, the second fastest growing segment is folks 25-34 – a group that is increasingly diverse ethnically. The bigggest spending, best paid group — those 35 to 54 – is shrinking. Groan.ALL OVER THE PLACE, IN EVERY SENSE OF THE EXPRESSION: As you read this, I suspect you’re having the reaction that I did – sheesh, how are you supposed to reach such different groups? It gets even more challenging when you consider geographic segments. The West is getting younger and more multicultural while the Northeast is getting older and whiter. (I told you there would be generalizations – this is demographics, after all.) The answer? Segmentation of course. You’re going to need different positioning for different audiences — AND different message delivery vehicles. The latter is actually good news – it’s easier to target your message when not everyone is getting your messages the same way and when people are clustered into certain locations. There are people who live online and on their phones, and there are folks who stick to the newspaper. You need to look not only at the age of your audiences, but also where and how they live so you know the best way to reach them. Fancy marketers call this ethnographic research. Throw that into your next convo to look extra smart.last_img read more

The economy may be down, but online giving is up

first_imgThe economy has been sluggish for over a year, but the financial crisis on September 15, 2008, shook consumer confidence and set off another round of corporate layoffs. Recent numbers show that unemployment is at its highest since 1994. Many of our clients have been asking, “What does this mean for our online fundraising program?”It’s a great question—and one that we couldn’t find a good answer to, so we decided to do our own analysis. We looked at online giving for five nonprofit clients during September and October, including Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity International, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oxfam America, and The Wilderness Society. To control for external factors such as online fundraising campaigns, we compared online ‘white mail’ – unsolicited gifts via the organization’s main donate page. We looked September and October of 2008, and compared those results to the same two months in 2007.Our analysis showed:The amount raised during this period was 34% greater in September of 2008 than in September of 2007.  But when comparing October of 2007 to October of 2008, the amount raised increased by only 5%.The number of gifts went up by more than 15% in both September and October of 2008, as compared to September and October of 2007. Despite the economy and the possible distraction of the election, a significantly larger number of donors gave in these two months in 2008 than they did in 2007.However, the average gift size appeared to drop off in October of 2008 as compared to October of 2007. This may be a sign of the weakening economy, as many donors continue to give online but in smaller amounts.Overall, the news is good; despite both the financial crisis and the elections, nonprofit online fundraising grew in both of these months as compared to the previous year.Why has online fundraising continued to grow while many other forms of fundraising have declined in the current economic climate?Nonprofit direct marketing was on the decline even before September 2008. Many nonprofits saw lower-than-average growth rates starting in 2006, with a more severe slowdown occurring in Q2 of 2007, according to the Target Analytics Index of National Fundraising Performance. Nonetheless, online fundraising has continued to grow for most nonprofits, as seen in the most recent e-Nonprofit Benchmarks Study published by M+R and N-TEN, which found that online fundraising grew by 19% from 2006 to 2007.Online donors tend to be younger and more affluent than direct mail donors, as found in the 2006 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarks Analysis. This may account for the steadier online returns, as younger donors – with more disposable income, less significant savings invested in retirement portfolios, and so on – may feel less vulnerable to the volatile market and thus may not be adjusting their giving to reflect the downturn.Despite the relatively good news for online donations, we have to warn nonprofits not to get complacent about online fundraising. Many economic analysts predict the current economic crisis will continue to worsen before it gets better. And the fact that growth was slower in October of 2008 may be a sign of things to come.What are other nonprofits doing to stay the course? One M+R client recently tested two versions of a special appeal: One simply stated the need for funds for many reasons, but did not make mention of global financial crisis. The other appeal led with a brief sentence stating that the current global financial crisis has made the need even greater. Both email messages had identical open rates, but the email with the mention of the financial crisis received 20% fewer click-throughs, and a 12% lower response rate than the email that did not. The lesson learned? Reminding your constituents of the current economic crisis, even when it is topical and strengthens your case for giving, does not make donors more likely to give, and may actually turn them away from giving.For this reason, in order to maximize your online fundraising results in a time of economic uncertainty, we recommend keeping your message focused on your mission and on the compelling reasons to give to your nonprofit. We’ve found that focusing on the basics continues to yield the best results. Using urgency, making a compelling case for giving, and even throwing a premium into the mix can all help boost returns.Nonetheless, nonprofits may want to lower their expectations for end of year fundraising. This is a time of year when donors traditionally make larger gifts, but given the decline in average gifts across the past two months, it is possible that many donors will continue to make their gifts online but will scale back the dollar amounts.We’d like to thank the five nonprofits who generously shared their data for this study: Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity International, National MS Society, Oxfam America, and The Wilderness Society.ABOUT M+R STRATEGIC SERVICESM+R is dedicated to helping our clients advance their missions in order to bring about positive change. We do this by helping organizations and campaigns we believe in develop smart and effective strategies, hone their messages, mobilize their members, build grassroots support, raise money, and communicate effectively with the media, the public and decision-makers, both online and offline. www.mrss.comlast_img read more