The Right Materials for a Robust Business
NEW CHALLENGES in a NEW WORLD
Four recent world-wide factors drive Dunrovin's Mission.
The Covid-19 Pandemic exposed and amplified the need for meaningful virtual social interactions to address the negative physical, emotional, and mental impacts of loneliness on people across the demographic range, but most especially on those who are often homebound (seniors and people with disabilities).
The underlying business models and algorithms of the giant social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) can increase feelings of social isolation and adversely affect public well-being, democracy, and human rights. Public and government scrutiny is now focused on developing ways to mitigate the negative impacts of dominant social media platforms.
Addressing the ever increasing impacts of the global climate crisis is feeding political, economic, labor, and social instability. Membership in a meaningful virtual community can increase psychological resilience to such instability.
The pandemic pushed the world into becoming a blend of the physical and the virtual that will persist into the future. Place-based nonprofit organizations, such as botanical gardens, nature preserves, animal sanctuaries, zoos, and others now seek meaningfully ways to virtually interact with the public.
Factors One, Two, and Three point to a world-wide need for a safe and respectful virtual social engagement platform with an underlying business model that cost-effectively facilitates the formation of friendships.
Factor Four, together with DaysAtDunrovin experience and research relative to the psychological importance of place, points the way for Dunrovin to partner with other places to create a multi-national, place-based, safe and respectful virtual social engagement platform.
Dunrovin's Mission is to increase peoples' well-being by fostering
healthy virtual social interactions that lead to friendships.
The Dunrovin Benefit Corporation was created in 2018 to implement Dunrovin's mission. Benefit corporations are formed to codify their intent to create general or specific public benefits by requiring its directors to 1) prepare a statement relating the public benefit purposes of the corporation; 2) consider the impact of any action on specified constituencies; 3) annually prepare and disseminate a benefit report; and 4) describe the limited fiduciary duty and liability of a director or officer of the benefit corporation.
THE P6 BUILDING BLOCKS
Dunrovin's PURPOSE is to create a safe and respectful online place-based community ecosystem that promotes kindness, empathy, and understanding and fosters the strong social relationships that relieve loneliness.
D@D achieves its purpose through:
- using web camera broadcasts as portals to PLACES that serve as points of common interest around which people gather, spend time, and come to know the place and one another;
- offering live and recorded edutainment PROGRAMS that deepen bonds among people, encourage active participation, and provide shared experiences that lead to meaningful social relationships;
- employing PEOPLE to actively engage D@D members through collaborations, conversations, and curated activities that cultivate a culture of respect;
- maintaining a safe subscription-based website PLATFORM that incorporates the latest technology to maximize options for content presentation, member communication and participation, and creating social connections; and
- having a solid strategic PLAN to achieve profitability and sustain growth.
Purpose is everything according to both Deloitte's 2020 and 2021 reports on Global Marketing Trends. These reports explain how brands that authentically lead with purpose are changing the nature of business today and thriving in today's challenging world.
D@D's purpose from the beginning has been to stretch the limits of the internet to relieve loneliness through meaningful social connections. By doggedly clinging to its purpose, D@D steps outside the definition of a social media platform to be an authentic social engagement platform.
D@D's subscription revenue model reflects it purpose to form a user-centered community that offers the safe space required for friendships to form, gives members a sense of ownership and investment, and eliminates the need for advertising.
Purpose is not only important to an organization as a whole, but to its individual members and employees. Dunrovin mindfully cultivates a sense of purpose among its employees and community members.
The importance of a sense of place is lost in the cyber world (see the RESEARCH page). Most of the online world is space-less and place-less. Users may enjoy using, and may even be addicted to, Facebook or other social media. But these platforms are not places to which they bond. D@D's magic is its ability to create a sense of place that literally grounds it members and confers the beneficial feelings of well-being, self confidence, security, loyalty, and comfort.
D@D's use of multiple webcams with audio and infrared night lights at different sites within a single location creates a portal through which users experience not only the natural environment, but the people, animals, and activities that define a place. Dunrovin is a place of common interest like the village square or the local coffee house where people drop in to see what's happing, meet others, converse, and form friendships.
D@D intends to expand by creating an international network of webcam places and outposts, with places defined as having the same year-round 24/7 broadcast system as Dunrovin Ranch that is essential to creating a sense of place, and outposts defined as locations offering limited webcam or video streaming broadcasts in conjunction with curated programs such as Dunrovin's Awesome Osprey Program.
D@D uses its place as a backyard playground for members to enjoy such activities as the Tiny Traveling Christmas Tree that wanders around the property and has become a Dunrovin holiday tradition.
People are the backbone of any organization and define its culture. Individual experiences are painted by the people with whom they are shared. Emotions, attitudes, values, and perceptions are contagious.
Culture is a powerful force in dictating behavior. D@D's cultural norms of mutual respect, collaboration, and constructive problem solving grew organically from Dunrovin partnering with community members to experiment and jointly develop D@D's structure and amenities.
Strong social norms are far more effective than rules in establishing and maintaining the family-friendly atmosphere of trust and security essential to fostering meaningful social engagement.
D@D ensures close bonds to place and cultivates a community based on kindness, generosity, inclusivity, and respect by hiring people who naturally pattern that behavior and providing them with tools to reinforce social norms.
Hosts at each PLACE serve as members' "boots on the ground" to routinely converse with them, introduce them to the people, animals, and amenities within the place, share stories that are organically unfolding within the place, and bring them right into the place's daily activities. Hosts look for opportunities to use the place to actively engage members and create community traditions specific to that place.
Curators work collaboratively with members to develop, implement, and augment PROGRAMS that focus on specific topics for a specified length of time. Curators guide members by actively participating with them to address a specific topic or project.
Assistants are member volunteers who perform services for the community such as operating the webcams, leading discussion groups, organizing clubs, and serving on community committees (the Welcome Wagon, for example). Incorporating members into community operations is not only cost-effective, but increases members' sense of ownership and purpose.
Ambassadors are members who are contracted to represent Dunrovin during regularly scheduled visits to D@D members who reside in group homes and facilities (assisted care, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, etc.). Ambassadors use D@D as a point of common interest to meet and talk in-person with people they would not otherwise know.
Dunrovin hosts often wear a bluetooth collar with a cell phone connection to the webcam broadcasts so they can take D@D members right along with them during such fun occasions as guiding a visiting group of the Compton Cowboys on a surprise winter trail ride across the Bitterroot River.
Programs are a set of activities that focus on a single topic.
Through numerous programmatic experiments with its members, D@D has learned how to best use its place, technology, and people in programs that effectively create community cohesion, build communication bridges between different entities within the community, and deepen attachments. Examples include:
- Members get to know one another by participating in programs such as Google Earth Visits to members' neighborhoods and homes, On the Porch Swing Interviews with Dunrovin staff, or Fur and Feather pet storytelling and photo sharing.
- Dunrovin's holiday storytelling surveys ask members to describe their own experiences to celebrate such holidays as Labor Day, Memorial Day, or Thanksgiving.
- Members can suggest topics for Learning Adventures in which an expert collaborates with the community to explore such topics as Great American Criminal Trials, How Wildlife Adapts to Cold Weather, Photographing the Aurora Borealis, or the History of Cat Breeds.
- D@D invites members to participate in screen capture contests, games of Dunrovin Jeopardy, and Finding Freddy, a game of searching for the plastic farmer pig that hides on the ranch.
- Members can partake in D@D community projects that may involve collecting data from the web cameras for citizen science or submitting small pieces of art for collaborative art displays.
Every Dunrovin program starts with the question "how can we use our place and technology to pique members' interests and encourage them to participate and converse?"
Michael Academia, a graduate student from the College of William and Mary, served as the curator for the Awesome Osprey Project.
Platforms form the infrastructure for online communities.
The DaysAtDunrovin.com platform provides the tools that enable community members to interact with Dunrovin's places, programs, and people, both staff and other community members.
D@D needs a dynamic, well organized, ergonomic, secure, and complex website to incorporate all the desired functions for member engagement and a continuous stream of new content from places, programs, and members themselves.
D@D's current WordPress website only scratches the surface of what is envisioned. D@D intends to incorporate such features as in-site video conferencing (like Zoom.com, Circles.com, or OneClick.chat), identifying people with like interests within the community (like MeetUp.com), formal classroom educational programs (like CreativeLive.com), community radio talk shows, and members self-organizing (into groups) and content posting (like Facebook.com).
D@D intends to construct a website that creates an entire community ecosystem: places to visit, programs to enjoy, people to meet, work to perform, projects to assist, classes to learn, nature to relax and inspire, animals to love, and stories to share.
Dunrovin's strategic plan follows three parallel efforts.
ONE - Establish Validity through Collaborative Research: Working with researchers from the University of Texas in Arlington, Dunrovin is in the process of scientifically assessing the effectiveness of D@D to address social isolation and loneliness among seniors and people with disabilities. Please refer to the Research page of this website for details.
TWO - Focus on People with Limited Mobility: People facing social isolation because of limited mobility live in one of five different situations, each of which requires a different marketing strategy:
- Independent Living is possible for many with mobility limitations that do not prevent them from attending to their physical necessities, but may restrain their social interactions.
- Living with Relatives is a common arrangement for many people with mobility limitations. Caregiving relatives can also suffer from social isolation because of their caregiving responsibilities.
- In-Home Care Companies provide both short-term and long-term care services to people living in in private residences, independently or with relatives.
- Residential Communities provide a progressive range of services from independent living to full nursing care.
- Rehabilitation Centers provide short-term care services (the average stay is 12.4 days) during recovery periods.
THREE - Partner with Other Place-Based Entities: Partnering on a revenue share basis with a wide range of place-based entities, such nonprofit organizations as nature preserves, botanical gardens, and zoos, provides them with a new and exciting way to leverage their place-based amenities, incentivizes them to recruit supporters to subscribe to the D@D platform, and broadens D@D's content to appeal to a wider range of interests and demographics.