Shaping Our Worldview

Shaping our worldview: a story from the Texas/Mexico border

A story from the Texas/Mexico Border.

“We had no other choice.” Years later I can still hear these words loud and clear.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the honor to travel to over 30 different countries as a traveling photographer and humanitarian videographer telling stories of change, challenge, and hope. These experiences have proved invaluable in shaping my personal worldview and how GLBAL media as a company operates as a story-first creative agency serving nonprofits, ministries, and mission organizations.

In the winter of 2019, I was on assignment in the Rio Grande Valley (often referred to as “The Valley”) in south Texas documenting stories of immigrants and refugees who had braved the journey north to cross into the U.S. During this time tensions over border policies were at an all-time high, and I wanted to see firsthand what was happening.

Mexico sign

 

After spending the first 4 days meeting with families in The Valley, our team determined it was necessary to gain perspective from the other side of the border. We grabbed our passports and paid the $0.25 to walk across the bridge into Mexico. Once we crossed the border, we had no contact to meet up with or even a specific destination in mind, but we were on a mission to find a story that would help us understand why people were taking such great risks to come to America.

With the help of a translator, we started asking some of the locals in the market if they knew of anyone who had tried to cross the border recently. We were soon directed to a local church that was known for helping refugees. To our surprise, they greeted us with open arms and were happy to share about their ministry. They then offered to drive us across town to a partner organization that housed immigrants who were recently deported and had nowhere else to go. They provided a safe place for families to regroup and make a new plan.

As we walked into the facility, the looks on their faces told us that our unplanned arrival had raised some concern, and rightfully so. These men, women, and children had been through an array of difficult journeys, and many of them were wary of strangers and scared. Some had been recently arrested. Some had been deported and sent here from the U.S. Others had traveled long distances north only to decide not to go any farther, and some had their plans disrupted in other ways.

It took a little while to gain their trust and prove that we weren’t undercover border agents, but eventually, two teenage boys were willing to sit down and share their story on video with us as long as we promised to conceal their identities.

The Story

As their vulnerable story started to unfold, my preconceptions of immigrants and refugees were starting to shift. This was a story of survival.

Brian and Delmar were cousins who had traveled, mainly by foot, as part of a caravan of people heading north from Honduras. Their journey of over 1,000 miles led them to Mexico where they were kidnapped by members of a local cartel. Through tears they cautiously explained how they had been taken and held for three days, unsure if they would make it out alive, before eventually being released.

After listening to their story of hardship, we asked why they would take such great risks and leave their family and home country behind. Their response was in unison:

“We had no other choice.”

Back in Honduras, their family had lost everything after the local government seized their belongings, including all of their money. They were given the blessings of their parents and then left on the trip north in pursuit of a better life.

Everything they had gone through hadn’t deterred Brian and Delmar from their desperate mission. Even though they had been through so much danger, they were still planning to attempt to cross into the U.S.. Their dreams of the life they could make in America outweighed the peril they knew lie ahead. This journey for them was life or death.

Justin showing a young boy his photo

 

I would have done the same thing

As we left the facility, I kept mulling over the gravity of these two young cousins’ life circumstances. I couldn’t relate to anything they had gone through, but I had an overwhelming feeling that I would have done the same thing if I were in their situation.

You see, after having this firsthand experience in Mexico, my previous worldview had been shattered and new ideas were forming in my mind. Immigrants weren’t just a “those people” label that they had always been for me. Now they had names and faces. “Immigrants” now included vivid images of Brian and Delmar.

And while there is much work to be done surrounding immigration reform and the process as a whole, this experience made it personal. It was like looking in a mirror and realizing that Brian and I were so similar, just born in different places. Our roles could have been reversed just based on where we were born.

I share all of this not to make a political statement or even influence how you may feel about immigration, but rather to encourage you to go see the world, talk with people, ask questions, and realize that we all have a lot to learn.

You may not have the opportunity to travel to another country or sit down face-to-face with an immigrant or refugee, but the next time you’re at the park, the store, or a church gathering, take some time to talk to the people around you. Find someone who may look or act differently than you. Ask questions about their lives, their struggles, and how their life is different from yours. Truly listen to what they have to say. I believe that once we start to remove labels and generalizations, we will see the world start to come together in a new light.

You just may experience a shift in your worldview, too.

To learn more about GLBAL media go to our about page https://glbalmedia.com/about/

To learn more about our services for nonprofits go to https://glbalmedia.com/nonprofits/

2021 Compass of Design Trends for Non-Profits & Entertainment Companies

2021 DESIGN TRENDS

As we close 2020, we wanted to take a look ahead to 2021 design trends. Remote working is now in place for nearly every company and industry. This further opens the opportunity for businesses to use outside marketing agencies for their creative services in 2021, but not all agencies are the same. Staying aware and informed of the constant changing design trends, website standards, social media formats, and brand awareness is a must, and we have your 2021 Compass of Design Trends for Non-Profits & Entertainment Companies ready for your review. 

 

WEBSITE DESIGN

2021 Website TrendsAs we saw in 2020, Mobile-first designs will continue to take precedence. In 2019, 52.2% of traffic came from mobile phones, and continues to increase every year. In May, Google announced that Website load times will take a new precedent for google rankings. Page signals will be included in Google Search ranking and will measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.

 

🙂Emoji’s will continue to contribute to the mobile user experience as tech and mobile phone companies assign a symbol to nearly everything. Simple icons will continue to replace text and offer animation customization.

Live Streaming

SOCIAL MEDIA

As all industries try to adjust to COVID-19, Live streaming will continue to be a part of daily/weekly strategies for businesses, entertainers, musicians and churches. Quality audio, video, lighting, and the streaming platforms that content-producers choose to broadcast from will start to determine how audiences engage with virtual events.

 

SMS marketing will become more widely used. Over the past couple of years your phone number has often been used to create user accounts, loyalty programs, and more. It’s only a matter of time until those databases are accessed for direct marketing via text messages. in 2018, SMS open rates were as high as 98%! Compared to email marketing at an open rate of only 20%, SMS marketing blows email out of the water.

 

The use of geometric shapes and patterns will dominate bright upbeat designs, minimalist designs will continue to rise, moving away from photo heavy elements, and textures will replace gradients. “The benefit of this trend is that it allows foreground elements such as bold typography or evocative imagery to pop against a near indiscernible background.” – 99designs.com

 

Over the past year we’ve watched as racial tension has risen in the US. As a result companies have taken a proactive approach on inclusion. (Diversity marketing is a marketing strategy that appeals to and includes diverse groups of consumers, including groups based on race or ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual identity, religious beliefs, age and more.) Look for a demand of further diversity in advertising materials.

Apple’s proposed policy changes announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will impact your personalized ads on Facebook. Facebook Business responded saying, “The changes plan to limit your ability to effectively reach, understand and engage people on mobile devices and across the web. They will impact your ability to understand performance, control who sees your ads and make informed decisions about your advertising budgets. As these changes take effect, over time you may see an overall decrease in ad performance and personalization and an increase in cost per action.”

NONPROFITS

With travel bans limiting access to project areas, nonprofits will need to get creative in sharing new content from the areas they work in. Heavier digital presence (such as Facebook Fundraisers) due to lack of in-person events will become more vital than ever before.  We will see a shift to outdoor fundraisers (golf tournaments will likely replace dinners, festivals will replace arenas, etc.) due to the ongoing pandemic. Streamlined donation processes will become necessary components of a fundraising campaign because the average consumer has now donated online through a platform like Gofundme or Facebook fundraisers, and has become used to an on-page / one click experience. 
2021 Fundraising for nonprofits
Nonprofits should use 2021 to focus on donor retention since new acquisition will be down. It will be more important than ever to retain current donors, engage them with updates, and potentially even upsell them with additional giving opportunities. This is also a great time to focus on reengaging past donors. Falloff happens even during a “normal” fiscal year, and thankfully, many nonprofits have reported that donor retention has remained steady through the pandemic, but as the unemployment rate rises and the vaccine distribution slowly rolls out, donors may have to make difficult choices with their budgets, and normally, charitable giving is one of the first items to go. With new donor acquisition opportunities not available, nonprofits will need to focus on reengaging past donors who haven’t recently made a contribution. Finally, due to a heavier push for online donations, financial transparency will be at the forefront of donors minds to make sure that who they donate to is a legitimate organization, so err on the side of trustworthiness, updates, engagement, and accountability. 

Website Design for Maryland non-profit ECW Ministries

Maryland nonprofit Website

In 2016, I met with Vickie at a local tea bar in Westminster, MD to discuss concepts for a new nonprofit website. A fellow Marylander herself, I loved having the opportunity to meet in-person and hear her dreams for creating an organization that would serve both children and adults with disabilities.

We shared stories of traveling overseas and the different needs we had both seen firsthand.

Vickie knew that having a modern website that could accurately convey their cause was a must for communicating their needs to potential donors. We brainstormed ideas and design concepts for the new website and ways that the site could continue to grow with the organization. Focusing on global issues, this non-profit website needed to be user-friendly and accurately describe their mission.

Four years later, while we aren’t able to meet up in-person for a cup of tea because of the pandemic, ECW is still a valued client. In fact, ECW is currently making a difference in Ukraine and Zambia by helping hundreds of disabled children and their families have access to medical equipment, provide special education training and community-based support. They have also supplied sponsorships for orphans with disabilities to attend summer camps. Finally, while working with the local church, they have helped in providing wheelchair accessibility and supporting day/respite programs within the church.

About Every Child is Worthy Ministries: “Every Child is Worthy Ministries, also known as ECW, is a cross-disability national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to promoting health and wellness initiatives for children and adults with disabilities. ECW is dedicated to making a lasting impact upon the disability community with the Message of Jesus Christ.”

Please consider visiting www.ecwministries.org and getting involved in their work.

Here’s what Vickie from ECW had to say about working with GLBAL media to build their new non-profit website:

5 of 5 stars

“George and I are extremely happy with what you have done with the website.  We have had several compliments about it and I will send anyone that needs your services your way.”