openTransfer Barcamps:Solve Social Issues Faster and Smarter by Connecting with Other Projects

Around the world, non-profit projects run by volunteers and activists solve common social issues. When these successful projects end, the experiences, knowledge and skills accumulated throughout the project often go to waste.

When someone else starts a similar project in a similar area, they don’t have access to the knowledge acquired by others and will have to start from scratch. That’s where opentransfer.de and a practice called “project transfer” come into play.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Project transfer is the process of transferring knowledge from successful pilot projects to bigger projects or similar projects in different areas. Often, a lot of the work that has been put into a successful project can be used in other projects, instead of starting those at square one.

People talking at a meeting
Exchanging knowledge with other project initiators makes it easier to grow social impact projects.

An organisation that specialises in project transfer is the German foundation Stiftung Bürgermut. Translated literally, “Bürgermut” means “civil courage”. The foundation researches activist-run projects that aim to solve common social issues. Stiftung Bürgermut then helps disseminate those functioning models nationwide.

One of Stiftung Bürgermut’s programmes is called openTransfer.de, a resource and communication hub for all those looking to scale their non-profit projects based on project transfer. The platform is aimed at volunteer project initiators, non-profit organisations and social entrepreneurs alike.

openTransfer Barcamps: Solving Problems Together

On top of the resources provided online, openTransfer also regularly set up so-called openTransfer CAMPS. openTransfer has been organising these barcamps, which focus on a variety of topics related to project transfer, since 2012.

In November 2015, a barcamp for refugee helpers took place in Berlin and in January 2016, Munich hosted a barcamp about social inclusion. Next up is the openTransfer CAMP — Refugees in Munich on April 30, 2016.

We took this as an opportunity to have a chat with Katarina Peranić, managing director of Stiftung Bürgermut about how they are using the #otc16 hashtag to span all the barcamp events openTransfer organises.

Katarina Peranić, Stiftung Bürgermut, at an openTransfer barcamp, Walls.io in the background
Katarina Peranić at the openTransfer CAMP Berlin in 2013 (Photo credit: Samantha Dietmar/Stiftung Bürgermut)

Could you tell us a little bit about the idea behind openTransfer and how you are using hashtags and your social media wall for the project?

The aim of the openTransfer programme is to help non-profit organisations replicate and scale their social impact. We believe that for most challenges very good solutions already exist.

We use social media, we have a blog, we organise around 5 barcamps each year and a dozen webinars, and we will be setting up a project marketplace soon. All activities are closely linked with each other. That‘s why hashtags are very important for us.

A laptop showing the social wall at an openTransfer barcamp in 2015
Walls.io at the openTransfer CAMP Refugee Helpers 2015 (Photo credit: Christian Klant/Stiftung Bürgermut)

Which hashtags are you using and why?

Most important is the hashtag #otc16. “otc” is simply the abbreviation of “openTransfer CAMP” and “16” refers to the year. The hashtag is short and only temporarily occupied by other Twitter users.

Where are you implementing the social wall?

At each barcamp, we set up a beamer in the main hall where everybody gathers. Participants can immediately see their own social media activities on the wall.

Moreover, we embed the wall on our website opentransfer.de and refer to it on Facebook and Twitter.

How are you promoting the hashtag?

We promote the hashtag before, during and after the event in all our communication activities. At the barcamps themselves, it has become part of our “instruction routine” to ask the people to spread the word and to let everybody know what is happening at the barcamp.

Barcamp opening instructions at the openTransfer CAMP Frankfurt in 2014 (photo credit: Andi Weiland/openTransfer)
Barcamp opening instructions at the openTransfer CAMP Frankfurt in 2014 (photo credit: Andi Weiland/openTransfer)

Why do barcamps and social media work so well for what you do?

We like the open setting of barcamps because we believe that the participants have a better and deeper knowledge than we, the organiser. It is up to them to influence what is happening on that day, what the agenda is like and what kind of knowledge they exchange.

Social media has always been an essential part of barcamps, and for us, it is the perfect channel to let many people know, share and comment on what we are planning.

Have you ever been involved with a non-profit project and seen your hard-earned knowledge go to waste after the end of the project? Have you heard about project transfer before? Have you been to an openTransfer barcamp? Let us know in the comments!

And just as a reminder: We here at Walls.io love barcamps. That’s why we offer them free Walls.io pro accounts. Check out our barcamp wall details or simply click on the button below and follow the instructions.

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