[AfH-Chapters] 2020/2021 Update from Action for Happiness Germany
tobias.polzin at actionforhappiness.de
Sat Jan 2 14:55:37 CET 2021
Dear Mark, Alex, national chapters,
I hope you managed to stay healthy and well in 2020 and found a happy
way into the New Year.
I would like to send you an update on the last 3 month's activities of
Action for Happiness Germany:
* Based on a amazingly moderated, online strategy-weekend several new
volunteers joined your coordination team and *refreshed our
* We offered monthly online-calls for people interested in
volunteering. The first zoom call with a 17 minute introduction into
Action for Happiness Germany was recorded and serves as a first
introduction on our webpage and for future volunteers. Every month
new volunteers joined in.
* From the strategy-weekend several projects emerged that showed
already some actions:
o *Online Exploring What Matters Courses*: We went through the
course book and identified a few spots where the content needs
to be modified or enhanced regarding the pandemic (New action
ideas, mental health studies regarding the pandemic situation,
working remotely). We reworded the course description page
(english google translate
to reflect that purely focussing on happiness feels awkward to
some people in the Pandemic (adding resilience, confidence).
o Additionally, as the UK EWM system is basically shutdown, we
translated the leader/apply/course booking forms, the course
leader guides, so that everything in the course registration and
*booking process is now in our hands and in German*! Still there
are a lot of things to refine and automatize, but we are
equipped to do the first prototyping and announce a "EWM course
for future course leaders" which is basically booked out after 3
o *IMPORTANT:* We changed the *payment description* for the
course. The previous "the course is worth 100€" was a inexact
term. Is it a donation or not? Donations have (depending on you
income) high refunding (up to 40%) in Germany so it is relevant,
if it is a donation or a contribution. We agreed with Alex to go
for the Karma Kitchen Style: "Your course has been paid, to
enable future course you are free to donate. AfH-Germany
calculates around 100€ for a real world course, 50€ for an
online course, for course book, technology costs, support from
Action for Happiness England, cross-financing for course
participants who can pay nothing or less or courses in other
regions of the world where the Course expenses do not come back
in". Well, the 50€ have not been discussed with Alex, but I
guess this is appropriate, as food and room expenses are not in
there any longer (google translated donation page
I will discuss with the tax office, if this is appropriate for a
legal donation. Even better would be a donation at the end of
the course (like in Vipassana Meditation Courses
<https://www.dhamma.org/>). But we have heard that is very
important to have some upfront commitment for the course,
otherwise it would be to easy to register for a free event and
dont show up.
o *Social Media Boost*: We have now a team that does social media
activities on facebook, twitter, instagram, pinderest, telegram
channel. In addition to the calendar quotes, which are now more
beautifully designed, we have an additional Daily Format with
interactive tasks and suggestions where one volunteer
contributes really amazing pictures from her personal library:
o *Happiness Hotline*: We initiated a support hotline with 3
volunteers with a background in coaching and positive
psychology, one hour a week. The first three weeks, it was not
used by anyone. We have some ideas how to improve the
presentation of it. (e.g. less thinking of what we can offer,
more thinking of "empathically connect with a fictive interested
person and think how would he/she search for such an offer and
how could he/she overcome hinderances", Testimonials, ...).
o *Community*: For one year, we have an online community tool
PeepSo included in our webpage. It is rarely used by external
people, but inside our active volunteers it's group
functionality makes it an easy collaboration support.
o *Volunteer Portals*: We announced AfH votunteering portals and
got some responses here.
o *Online Happy Cafe*: We plan our first online happy cafe 20.1.2021.
o *Weekly Plan:* Some volunteers prepare a weekly plan of online
events, possibly including events for other organisations.
* In Autumn we already printed the 24 pages version of the "10 keys
summary" in Germany and ship it over the homepage on a
* We created monthly newsletters. AfH International supported us with
mailings to their members in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We
ship to 2400 members from the UK database and to 1400 members from
our database. We conducted a survey on the content of the
newsletter. The calendar got 4.9 of 5 starts, the entire newsletter
In general, it feels like that we have *waited *for very long for the
world to become back to normal again, wanting the world to be different
than it is. And now *accepting *that for a longer time, the world will
be different and finding *creative ways to act* upon this insight!
*Thank you, volunteers, for all your contribution!*
* The number of administrative and organizational tasks grows. We find
volunteers to contribute in several ways, but still a lot of
organisational knowledge is focussed in me, Tobias. We have
basically given up "thinking bigger" in terms of preparing a
"massive volunteering administration" or looking for a Foundation
that would be willing to sponsor an executive director or something
like that. We make up ideas and actions as we encounter issues.
(Which is not the worst thing! :-)
* For me, personally, I have some "zoom fatigue" regarding online
activities, as a particular joy for me is the "bringing people
together" part of Action for Happiness and I have more than enough
online contacts with my normal work. Still, what AfH can offer is
very valuable, but not particularly for me.
* We are still basically invisible for classical media like magazines,
radio, TV. We are not experienced in contacting those.
Perhaps you are interested in our basic organisational structure, which
has changed in some details:
* There is a non-profit association with 3 board members that serves
as the legal foundation, but effectively does nothing. This year we
had the first legal checking of our non-profit status and we passed.
* There are now 7 people that committed themselves to participate in
the organisation for at least 6 months. There are around 10 others
that participate in separate tasks (translating the monthly
calendar, ...). We have mailing lists for translators and
supporters, but the activity here is rather low.
* Every 6 months, we arrange a weekend together, for revitalising the
contact. The last 2 have been only virtual and the next will be
* Every 3 months, we do a session of review (our past activities, to
celebrate), retrospective (what has to be changed in our processes)
and planning (what is the focus of the next 3 months) (adopted from
* Every week, we have a 30 minutes zoom webcall with a personal round
with "30 mindful seconds", "one good thing", "current internal
weather"; and looking at the active projects "celebrate success",
"appointments for next week", "impediments/difficulties/questions"
(adopted from Scrum "daily"), with up to 10 members.
*Dear national chapters, is there anything to report from you?* I would
find it nice, if you all report something about your current
achievements, difficulties, feelings, plans!
Ich werde versuchen, mehr Glück und weniger Unglück in der Welt um mich herum zu stiften.
(Action for Happiness Deutschland.www.actionforhappiness.de)
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