The Sambandha Initiative – Building a Follow-up System
By Pancharatna das
Sambandha is a Sanskrit term which means relationship. It refers to the relationships we develop which aid in reviving our Krishna consciousness. The Sambandha Initiative will use the Internet and expanding social media to cultivate relationships with new contacts through a coordinated online system.
Every day there are new people coming into contact with Krishna consciousness. They meet devotees face-to-face through book distribution, speaking programs, cultural events, and casual meetings. Devotees are also connecting with people through social networks and websites, especially Krishna.com, which attracts over 2,000 new visitors every day.
In most cases there is no systematic follow-up with these new contacts. The Internet can help meet this need with the tools, resources, and support to effectively cultivate contacts both online and face-to-face.
The Sambandha Initiative is a strategy designed to significantly expand and enhance the quality, scope and effectiveness of Internet-empowered efforts to attract and guide people, step-by-step, on the path of Bhakti yoga.
The strategy includes new online content and courseware that can also be used to create physical products like handouts, brochures, DVDs, newsletters, etc., to meet the need of cultivating the interest of new people.
As many people are becoming disillusioned with the promises of consumerism there is great opportunity for our movement, but becoming heard in the global conversation requires a fresh approach.
I am working on the Sambandha Initiative to address these needs, and I am looking for volunteers to help. The project is focused on developing systematic follow-up with people who receive books from our distributors or in some other way make their first contact with Krishna consciousness.
This initiative will address identified needs in the following key result areas:
Websites, new media, resources and systems that cultivate new contacts (both from face-to-face and online interactions)
Websites that attract new contacts and motivate action
Database driven system to coordinate and trigger cultivation of contacts
Personal services to contacts including live help, email, and mail correspondence
Courseware and other web-based resources for online learning
Online mentoring systems
Stimulating material for face-to-face and postal delivery
Social network environment for building relationships with devotees
Marketing more books, ultimately leading to a full set
Integrated online outreach and cultivation with participating local ISKCON affiliate and project outreach and cultivation efforts.
Websites and services complement and connect with local efforts.
Local affiliates help serve online contacts
Devotees working with Krishna.com, ISKCON Communications, ISV book distribution team (headed by Vaisesika prabhu), and other book distributors have joined Gopal Bhatta Prabhu and me in developing the strategy for this effort.
We are looking for devotees who would like to participate as volunteers to assist in the implementation of the Sambandha Initiative.
Help is needed in many areas. Here are some of the immediate ways you could help us:
1.customizing Drupal and CiviCRM to handle data management and case tracking features of the initiative
2.developing content for websites, e-mails, etc. that will be used in the cultivation process
3.developing online courseware
4.developing a training program for online mentors
5.overall project coordination and management
6.graphic design for websites and other materials
In addition, we would love to receive feedback on our plans and strategies from anyone who has some interest in this field.
If you are interested in this project, in any of the ways mentioned, please visit Sambandha.net, read the full project document, and join any of our volunteer groups you want to participate in.