Reini on making an impact on social media with creative writing

I have my reasons to volunteer at a non-profit

Why did I choose to volunteer as a Creative Writing Intern at Greenpop? Why wouldn’t I? What’s not to love, right? Greenpop is like a close community. Strangers who become friends who become family. An organization that leaves a legacy for future generations. Employees and volunteers who still care. Who want to make a change. Who want to protect and restore our planet, guard her resources, so there’s still green forests left for generations yet to come.

Practice active citizenship and meanwhile teach people how to reconnect with nature – and with each other. Because active citizenship and being part of the Greenpop family means living and working in a close community, in which people respect each other and make strong bonds. Just like trees in a forest, connected with each other through their roots, Greenpop members are connected with each other by their passion and goal: to make the earth a little more green, one tree at a time. How could I not want to be part of this?

In my view, Greenpop combines environmental, social and educational engagement. Caring for our planet and the environment: nurturing, protecting and respecting her. Helping our planet and the environment: by acting as active citizens and turning people into eco-warriors by broadening their awareness, showing them more sustainable ways of living, indicating them how their environmental abusing actions have consequences for everyone – humans, animals and nature alike – living now and those yet to come. Teaching this lesson to children is the most pressing task we have, as today’s generation are tomorrow’s leaders.

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Making an impact on social media with creative writing

During my Creative Writing Internship I’ve been part of the communications department and experienced first-hand how the Greenpop family expands through the world wide web, reaching out for people all over the world – and being supported by them. Although urban greening and reforestation projects are their main core, the communications department is the one reaching out for people. Informing their followers about their actions; inspiring them to active citizenship; asking for volunteers; spreading the word to schools, companies and organizations and help them to green their space; asking for donations;… All of this wouldn’t be possible without communications, or at least not on a wide scale like this. Like Paulo Coelho said: “Don’t use social media to impress people. Use it to impact people.”

Planning and scheduling creative content

Impacting people was one of my tasks. Planning and scheduling the daily Facebook posts, and writing most of them. There were several contents that needed to go out: ‘vegan recipe’ on Monday, ‘tree Tuesday’ on Tuesday, a post about the Zambia Festival of Action on Friday, ‘Sunday wisdom’ on Sunday. Different sorts of messages about the Platbos Fest needed to be posted on several days a week, just as posts about ‘sustainable education’ for which I was free to choose the content, and also posts to thank the people and organizations who donate for Greenpop on a regular basis, and posts about the urban greening projects and plant days in schools. Some of the posts required doing research, others just asked for my inspiration and creativity.

My favorite posts to write were those for Platbos and Zambia and the ‘Sunday wisdom’ since they allowed me most freedom. I loved searching for quotes and pictures that suited those quotes, breathing a certain atmosphere. It was so much fun creating these images! I also liked writing the Platbos and Zambia posts very much, and they were the most important ones too. I’ve tried to create a writing style that was both mysterious and arousing – to inspire people and trying to convince them to buy a ticket, but meanwhile also showing them the magic and uniqueness of the festivals. Since I arrived one month and a half before the Platbos Reforest Fest, I really felt the pressure and the importance of convincing people to attend the festival – and they did! The friends weekend was completely sold out, so my posts might have worked their convincing power.

READ MORE ABOUT THE CREATIVE WRITING INTERNSHIP IN CAPE TOWN WITH GREENPOP!

Online Community Management

Another big part of my daily task as a creative writing intern was to keep our virtual community alive. Going through all the likes of our followers on our posts, or inviting people to like the Greenpop Facebook page, reply on whatever private or public messages people sent,… It’s incredible how much time you need for this task, almost one-third of the day. And no matter how strange and futile it seemed to be in the beginning, I quickly came to change my mind and realized how important this actually is. Because by replying on followers and starting conversations with them, you create an interactive, virtual community where your followers are not liking and following a “dead” Facebook page. They’re interacting with a vibrant organization and its people, an organization that realizes how important her followers are, knowing she wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for them.

Volunteer to plant the seeds of hope

And then of course… There was Platbos. The Platbos Reforest Fest took place over two weekends in March. Both the family and friends fest was a gathering of like-minded people, coming together to celebrate nature and life. Two weekends of reconnecting our souls with the soil. Two weekends to remind ourselves how easy it is to live close to nature, how little we need and how easy it actually is to tread more lightly upon the earth. But also two weekends to remind ourselves how blessed life is and how much love there can flow from one person to another, how love and respect are the foundations of a close, caring community. That’s what Platbos taught me. That’s what Greenpop taught me.

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We stayed in the forest in between both weekends; camping, eating and living off the grid. Spending twelve days in the Platbos forest was both a bliss and a curse as we worked so hard to get everything ready for both weekends. Early mornings and late nights, long working shifts and hard physical labor made it really exhausting and asked everything from everyone, pushing our limits every day, until we thought we couldn’t handle it anymore but then pushed some more and kept going. It was hard, blood sweat and tears kind of hard. But if you look at the end result, it was all worth it.

Platbos Reforest Fest Family and Friends Weekend was unforgettable, beautiful, wonderful, enchanting, hopeful. There were love and laughter, singing and dancing, planting 8000 trees, it broadened our minds and healed our souls. It made us realize there are more people out there than we thought there were, people who still care about the future of our planet. People who are ready to tread more lightly upon our earth and treat her well, to live a more holistic life of balance and connection. There is still hope for the future. We are the next generation that will make this happen.

So why did I choose to volunteer and do a Creative Writing Internship at Greenpop? Because it’s not just about planting trees. It’s about planting seeds of hope. Offer the promise of a better, endurable world. A bright, sustainable, caring existence. Dig your shovel, hands, heart, and soul deep into the soil. Plant a tree and you plant life.