Spence-Chapin Brainshark Program: Conversation with Sabra Larkin

Spence-Chapin Brainshark Program: Conversation with Sabra Larkin

Created: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 posted by at 9:30 am

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Sabra Larkin

Sabra Larkin
Sabra Larkin, director of communications for Spence-Chapin, has been working with staff for the past 10 years to help implement Spence-Chapin’s mission of finding loving homes for children in need both in the United States and internationally.

Spence Chapin recently received a free Brainshark software license, as part of Brainshark’s Non-Profit Program, where Brainshark awards technology grants to non-profits on a quarterly basis. In this conversation, Sabra discusses how the use of PowerPoint and Brainshark helps them.

Geetesh: Sabra, tell us more about Spence-Chapin, and how technology in the form of PowerPoint and Brainshark helps you in your mission?

Sabra: Spence-Chapin is an accredited non-profit agency that has been offering quality adoption services for more than a century, and has placed more than 18,000 children with loving families. We provide services and support to birth parents, adoptive parents and their children, and programs for domestic/U.S., international and special needs adoption – as well as post-adoption support. Our team of professional and experienced social workers offers guidance and education at all stages of the adoption process.

Adoption can seem like a challenging and complex process to navigate, and the use of PowerPoint technology – and Brainshark in particular, where you can add voice to PowerPoint to create online videos – is one of the ways we attempt to demystify the experience. The use of audio and visual elements to explain and illustrate adoption requirements and processes increases both the knowledge retention and comfort level of our audience.

To date, our Brainshark use has largely concentrated on driving awareness for our international adoption programs. Using Brainshark lets the coordinators of our various programs speak directly to prospective adoptive parents who are interested in the process. We’ve created Brainshark presentations for our programs in Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Moldova and South Korea. We’ve received great feedback from adoptive and prospective parents, saying that the presentations have given them a warm, friendly look at countries they haven’t visited, and have made adoption from these countries seem like a real possibility.

And that’s what we aim to do. In all of our presentations, like the Bulgaria one below, we provide pictures of and information about the country and its history, culture, and landscape. We also describe the history of Spence-Chapin’s program in that area, as well as the type of children – including age, gender, special needs, medical risks, etc. – that are typically matched for adoption. Program requirements and eligibility, the wait for a referral, travel to complete the process and post-adoption services are also discussed.

Again, being able to put what might otherwise have been daunting information into Brainshark format – with voice, other audio, photos, and more, to make it more easily understandable and more personal – is a really great step to getting people better acquainted with our programs. We’re firmly committed to placing children from all over the world in loving homes, and think that these presentations are a great intro to the process.

Geetesh: What does the grant that you received from Brainshark mean to you, and how have you been able to use it for increasing exposure for your cause?

Sabra: We applied last year to Brainshark’s Non-Profit Program, which awards free Brainshark software licenses to non-profits every quarter. This lets non-profits like us take advantage of a professional communication solution while freeing us to focus our budgetary dollars on other mission-critical priorities.

As I mentioned, we’ve used Brainshark to effectively increase the exposure of and accessibility to our international adoption programs and to enhance our website with online video content. Other ways we plan to use Brainshark include communications with donors for humanitarian aid programs, and in our outreach and advocacy to hospitals and social services agencies.

We’re looking forward to our continued use of the software to promote our mission and would certainly encourage other non-profits to apply to the grant program as well.

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