Unapologetically Canadian Episode 15: Rishad Quazi Helps Non-profits use Technology

Listien to Unapologetically Canadian Episode 15 Rishad Quazi

What happens when a software specialist starts working for a non-profit organization that runs seniors homes?

If he’s Rishad Quazi, you get a clean website with Google analytics despite a few hassles setting it up plus a new board member and volunteer who serves lunches and dinners at resident events and during holidays.

Quazi has specialized in fitting-in to new environments ever since he and his mom escaped war-torn East Pakistan when he was only a-year-and-a-half years old. Since then, he’s lived in Scotland, Malaysia, Singapore, New York, Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver and elsewhere. Each time he moves to a new local, he makes friends, learns to fit into the community, and makes a home.

For years, he specialized in helping large companies use technology to build relationships among team members and with their clients. Now, he’s taking his expertise to the non-profit sector with his company Quazimodo.com. He helps them with whatever technology they need, which most often consists of a website and Facebook.

Facebook Strategy

I particularly tend to focus on Facebook just because of the sheer volume of users that are on the system across the demographic board,” he says. “I know certain campaigns tend to focus on different media such as YouTube or Twitter. Those types of things I’ve just found personally that most of my clients and most of their audience tends to visit Facebook the most.

First he trains them how the system works. He helps them decide the best way to present themselves on Facebook.

Do they want to be a personality? Do they want to represent themselves as a group or do they want to do both? I personally would recommend both.”

Minimalist Webpages

Each page on a website needs to be clear to ensure that users know what to do.

My personal approach to most design work is minimalism not too minimalistic but enough to get the user engaged, involved and make things stupidly obvious. That’s the neatest way I can put it. I see a lot of websites that are just way too busy. Yeah. Way too many things going on way too many little distractions and if it gives me a headache I tend to just shut it down right away.”

 

Quazi says that nonprofits need to respond to each and every query and ensure to filter out bad content or inappropriate posts and keep their page active.

Be Consistent

I think I was saying before, the most important thing that I try to convey to my clients is that they need to be consistent regardless of which platform they choose to communicate via. So in other words posting if not every day at least a couple of times a week. Post things that are focused and targeted towards your ideal audience or who your perspective leads might be.”

Welcoming Nature of Canadians Impresses Him

One thing that’s always impressed me most about Canada is the welcoming nature of the people. It is comprised of people from all walks of life from all different ethnicities and stories just like mine who’ve lived all over the world or have ties to places all over the world and you get a much richer sense of that in Canada versus my experiences living in different parts of the US. As you just walk down the street, you see people from everywhere whereas you may not see the same elsewhere.

For a person like me who’s grown up all over the world, that makes me feel comfortable. It makes me feel like I fit in like I’m not you know sticking out like a sore thumb. And even if I did, I’ve lived in places where I stick out. But you’re just a regular person. You are just treated like a regular person. You have the same rights as anybody else. Quite honestly when I travel abroad with my Canadian passport it just gets me a different level of acknowledgement and respect from people. And that’s a good feeling.”

Visit Rishad Quazi at his website.

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Amnesty International Write for Rights in Verdun

As part of the Amnesty Write for Rights campaign in Verdun last December, I wrote an encouraging postcard to Geraldine. Geraldine founded an Amnesty International youth network in Venezuela. The authorities then arrested her and she spent four months in prison. They released her with conditions. She can’t leave the country and could be arrested again at any time.

I also wrote to Amal Fathy. The Egyptian authorities jailed this young mother for posting a video about sexual harassment online.

Iranian activist Atena Daemi got a postcard from me too. So far, Daemi served five of her seven-year sentence. Her crime consisted of distributing anti-death penalty leaflets.

I also filled out a postcard to South African anti-mining activist Nonhle Mbuthuma. Mbuthuma runs a campaign to keep mining companies off the land that’s been in her family for three generations. She wants to pass it on to her children.

Will one of the women send me a letter back?

It’s possible, says co-organizer Micheline Vermette, but certainly not expected. Our goal is to support the women while making sure that local authorities know that the international community cares about these women

My postcard writing formed part of a local group participating in the annual Write for Rights Amnesty International campaign.

Many of us stopped by Baobab Café in Verdun last December to join in on the annual letter writing campaign co-organized by Vermette, Serge Ouellette and Jocelyn Talbot. Lorraine Bouchard handed me information about each of the women as I arrived.

“It’s inspiring because a lot of these women get released after they’ve been featured in the letter-writing campaign,” said Vermette, who was thrilled that the community supported the group in their efforts. “Serge and I did it along last year, so this year, we decided to invite the community to join in too.”

The group says that they’ll definitely organize another Write for Rights campaign in Verdun next December.

I definitely plan to participate again.

You can participate too, by going to the Amnesty website and adding your name to the list of people supporting each woman.

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Generating Gratitude for Business Success

Gratitude is the first video in my new series about the Canadian Creative Solopreneur Life. Every Sunday, I’m going to post a video about the way things have been going in my online business development.

This week we start at zero revenue and lots of expenses. I have hosting services for a WordPress blog, 10 domain names, a Thrive Themes membership, a Teachable membership, a YouTube channel and monthly coaching.

I’ve created an initial set of products–four courses to help genealogists create family history stories from their research into Canadian military documents, census records and travel documents. In a future video, I’ll speak about that process. For more information, visit the Notable Nonfiction Academy.

In my weekly discussion about my online business this week I’m going to be talking about gratitude.

Stop Wallowing in Complaining Out of Action Mode

I’m starting with gratitude because I’ve been generating gratitude to stop myself from wallowing in a complaining out of action mode, which I do quite a lot of, unfortunately.

So do you have had a WordPress site? If so, how is Gutenberg working for you?

Gutenberg Misery

I attempted to use Gutenberg for a full two weeks of misery before happily downloading the classic editor and then being very very happy. So my WordPress site is now faster.

I’ve had my own personal artist’s website write web website online since 1995 and I’ve always built it myself. The first one I built out of HTML code for the first four years or so.

I love WordPress and so when WordPress turned into the Gutenberg editor and it was very clearly not working for me, I was really wondering what I was going to do.

Process using Word, Evernote and Thrive

It’s not that I don’t like page builders. I have the Thrive Themes Architect and I actually love that when I need it but I don’t need it for most of the posts I do.

Most of the posts I do are I’m just writing something in another sought piece of software like Evernote or Word or whatever and then I just copy and paste it into the classic editor and then add pictures, change things to quotes or add headings if I need to, listen to Yost SEO and do whatever I need to do to make a decent blog post.

Gutenberg wasn’t working for me, so initially I thought that maybe it would work better on my phone but on my phone I couldn’t even see the squares let alone manipulate them, add to them or make a post.

Anyway, thank you to the WordPress community.

Yippee for the Classic Editor

Already, the classic editor has been downloaded a million times and Automattic, the people who own WordPress, say that they’re going to be supporting it till at least 2022. So I just am feeling so grateful for WordPress.

Now it feels like a gift actually putting me through this. After attempting to use this new piece of software that I really didn’t like and then being able to put the plugin, which I just put in yesterday and it works like a dream and it works exactly the way and everything works the way I want it to.

It’s like oh I love this. And again I get to stay a WordPress geek. Thank you very much.

I did hear one podcast of a fella who actually likes Gutenberg but most of the people who have been talking about it have not found it ultimately wonderful.

If you have a WordPress site, you can get a plugin. It’s just called Classic editor and it’s going to be supported until at least 2022. And even the comments say that it will be supported longer than that if needed. Obviously, WordPress has realized that a lot of its core users, the people like me have very simple blogs and they don’t need all that kind of stuff.

Grateful for 49 Technology Companies

Under gratitude for my business, it’s not just WordPress that I’m grateful for, but I’m also grateful for the 49 different companies that I use for my online work including Thrive Themes and Smarty Pants, my blog host company. I also have 27 different plugins including Akismet, which is the spam blocker, Teachable which I’ll be talking about in a couple of weeks.

I encourage every single non-profit that I work for to use WordPress, including Genealogy Ensemble on WordPress dot com.

It’s just a joy to use.

Anyway, I’m feeling gratitude for all of those companies that are supporting this online endeavour.

Grateful to Partners Offline Too

I’m also grateful for the offline people who support me. Obviously my personal family and urban agriculture people, such as the members of the Coopérative Abundance Urbain Solidaire (which is CAUS, the nonprofit Urban abundance Solidarity Co-op here), Grand Potager, Groundit, Compost Montreal, Ouishare, Sensorica, the borough of Verdun…there’s a heck of a lot of people doing things to try and make the world a better place in my local neighborhood. And I’m so grateful for them all.

The other thing that I wanted to mention about gratitude is that I’ve been able to actually use it when I can actually generate it, which I actually find very difficult.

When I’m starting to go into my little huff about how someone else isn’t doing things exactly the way that I’m doing things, if I can generate gratitude, then it can make things a lot easier.

So I’m expecting to spend a lot more time generating gratitude in 2019.

And I really hope that I’ll be able to work with you on that. So that’s where my business is this week.

Next Steps Online

Like I said I’m at zero revenue online. I’m working on setting up three different kinds of products that will be sold online including web courses and books.

Actually, when I think about it, I already have some books online already because Amazon sells my I Volunteered book and all of my Ulysses guides. Ulysses itself sells a bunch of stuff online. You can get the digital version of my hiking guide to Ontario.

So actually it’s only me who is bringing my work online personally. All of my partners have already started doing that so I’m really grateful for them as well. And I guess I’ll see you next week.

Thanks. Bye.

 

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