[AfH-Chapters] 2020/2021 Update from Action for Happiness Germany

Mark Williamson mark.williamson at actionforhappiness.org
Mon Jan 4 12:30:44 CET 2021

Happy new year everyone! Hope you had a good holiday period despite all the
Covid restrictions.

Thanks Tobias for sharing this very helpful update about your great
progress with AfH in Germany - that's really good to see. Huge thanks to
you and all the local team for all the amazing things you're doing.

Here in the UK we are getting more "locked down" than ever - and so our
focus at AfH HQ remains on ways in which we can help to support people
online - and bring them together online - for example we are continuing to
focus on:

* Calendars <http://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars> - which have now
been used by over 20m people
* App <http://www.actionforhappiness.org/app> - which now has around
130,000 active registered users and an amazing supportive community
* Webinars <http://www.actionforhappiness.org/events> - which have been
attended live by over 80,000 people since the start of lockdown
* Groups <http://www.actionforhappiness.org/groups> - which are taking
place in over 100 locations with many thousands of attendees joining each

In addition we are also working on...
* Brand - refreshing the look/feel of AfH to help us engage a wider audience
* Website - designing/developing a new website with enhanced user journeys
* Course - developing a new enhanced version of EWM which can be run both
online or in-person

These are very challenging times for our global family but our actions are
needed now more than ever! And we know from lots of feedback that our work
and ideas are really helping lots of people.

Thanks for all you're doing - let's keep spreading our messages of hope,
positivity and possibility together in 2021 and beyond :)


*Mark Williamson*
Director, Action for Happiness

On Sat, 2 Jan 2021 at 13:55, Tobias Polzin <
tobias.polzin at actionforhappiness.de> wrote:

> 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 activities
>    tremendously*!
>    - 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:
>       - *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
>       <http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=en&u=actionforhappiness.de%2Fkurs>),
>       to reflect that purely focussing on happiness feels awkward to some people
>       in the Pandemic (adding resilience, confidence).
>       - 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 days.
>       - *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
>       <http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=en&u=actionforhappiness.de%2Fspenden>).
>       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.
>       - *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: https://www.instagram.com/actionhappinessdeutschland/
>       - *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, ...).
>       - *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.
>       - *Volunteer Portals*: We announced AfH votunteering portals and
>       got some responses here.
>       - *Online Happy Cafe*: We plan our first online happy cafe
>       20.1.2021.
>       - *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
>    Karma-Kitchen-Payment model.
>    - 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 amazing 4.3!
> 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!*
> Difficulties:
>    - 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 probably
>    too.
>    - 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 Scrum
>    methodology)
>    - 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!
> Best wishes
>   Tobias
> --
> 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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