When it comes to a term as broad as “tools,” understanding what an organization or individual’s goals are vital to identifying what to use. As a member of the tech community, I find that there are a tremendous amount of resources that people are not using in their toolkit. There is an array of affordable — and sometimes free — technical tools that can be leveraged for success.
It’s summer here in the States, but we aren’t taking any vacations from our website relaunch project! We’ve been working away at this for a few months now and figured it was about time to send you a postcard.
Here’s a quick status update from our content team—inspired by the three daily scrum standup questions used in Agile development—about how things have been going and what’s next.
Progress made over the past six weeks:
- Card sorting exercise at staff retreat. It was good for everyone to do this exercise in order to see and analyze the results, but also to refine the list of cards and approach when opening the exercise to the general community.
- Community card sorting exercise. We are wrapping up the community card sorting exercise in August and will use the results to refine and inform the new information architecture of the site.
- Content audit: We have started a content audit and have begun to feel overwhelmed by the amount of content currently available on the site. Not coincidentally, we have discovered a need for a content expiration strategy.
- Dreamt: It’s not all a tired slog – we’ve been dreaming up some great features! Our IT Director Karl says he's most excited about "a streamlined profile creation and management process, clear engagement paths for site visitors, and a consistent and mobile friendly feel across our entire web presence."
- Built our team: We hired a content strategist, Gwydion Suilebhan, to help us work through our many, many issues. And Philip Krayna, our long-time partner in design, will be aided in the graphic redesign by the brilliant design minds at Cornershop Creative. We're very excited to have their help!
What we plan to do by mid-September:
- Finish content audit and have our plan for archiving/migrating
- Send our proposed site architecture to designers for use in wireframing/usability validation
- With over 8,000 pieces of content, the biggest challenge we're staring down right now is how to manage that content audit.
While this has been happening, our community feedback team has invested lots of time in surveys and interviews. We'll have an update from them soon. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who responded to our RFP and participated in the card sorting exercise and survey. We can’t wait to launch this and appreciate your interest in this process. Happy August!
Last week I got to attend the National Alliance for Media and Culture (NAMAC) and Alliance for Community Media (ACM)'s first-ever joint National Conference: State and Main 2014 (#StateMain14) in Philadelphia, PA. The beautiful murals you'll find throughout the streets of Philadelphia provided a perfect backdrop for this gathering of nonprofit arts professionals.
I took part in the panel: Multiple Platform Social Media Strategies, which explored ways nonprofits can use social media more effectively, and sought to answer the proverbial question: "If a tree falls in the social media forest, how can you make sure anyone hears it?"
NTEN Member and Social Media Strategist, Lyndal Cairns, moderated the panel, and helped put together this blog post. In addition, we were joined by fellow panelists, Felicia Pride, Pride Collaborative, and Nickey Robare, St. Paul Neighborhood Network.
Each panelist explained how they used social media to further their mission and then shared their experience with finding and telling their organizations' stories, goal-setting, and developing strategies for engagement. We explained the differences between networks and the communities that reside there, how to develop your organizations' "voice," and how to turn social media interest into ticket sales and donations.
The best part was the input we received from attendees about tools to help social media managers get organized and develop content without straying from their mission. Some of the tools highlighted include:
- Feedly: a news aggregation app that pulls feeds from news sites and social media.
- Evernote: a note-taking app and program that helps you "remember" and categorize links and notes.
- FlipBoard: a content curator that brings you content based on your interests with a newspaper look and feel.
- Storify: a content curation tool that allows you to create a timeline of social media posts, video, slide decks, and other online media.
- NTEN Member, Beth Kanter, has a primer on content curation that's a useful guide for getting started.
- Attentive.ly: a social relationship manager, which links with a constituent relationship manager (CRM) to track and target messages to social media "champions" and prospective donors.
- Sprout Social: a social media management software that gives high-end monitoring and reporting services, as well as incorporating some CRM features so managers can identify and write notes on social media engagers and assign project management tasks.
- Mobile Commons: a platform that helps nonprofits reach their communities through text message.
- If This, Then That: a task management tool to automate program processes like sending social media posts, creating lists, and staying on top of tasks.
- Social media policy Pinterest board curated by NTEN Member, Debra Askanese.
- Social media advice specifically for government employees by Hootsuite, via @DebbyRogers on Twitter
And it wouldn't be a social media panel without social media from the social media panel (how very meta)! Check out the Storify from Lyndal highlighting the social posts from our session.
Do you have tools to recommend? Add them to this list by posting in the comments!
Inefficient nonprofit boards lead to disengaged board members. Combine that with the weighty responsibilities of board members—which include rallying community support, spearheading fundraising efforts, and bringing invaluable strategic consult to the table—and low board engagement can put your organization’s future in jeopardy. Many nonprofits are turning to board portals to remedy low board engagement.
Just when you thought you missed the boat, here's your second chance!
Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Event360, we now have 10 extra scholarships available for individuals interested in attending the 2014 Leading Change Summit this September 3-6.
The deadline to apply is next Friday, August 22, but scholarship applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis, so apply as soon as possible. Note: These scholarships cover the the cost of LCS registration, but excludes travel and lodging.
The eligibility requirements are a bit different from the 10 scholarships provided by TechSoup Global, so please review before applying.
- Applicants must be an employee of a 501(c)(3) organization in North America.
- Applicants must be able to describe a technology project or strategic goal related to technology that they plan to design and develop further at LCS and implement in their organization.
- Following the LCS, applicants must be willing to be featured in an NTEN case study on how organizations are using technology to improve their work.
To apply, visit the LCS Scholarships page on the 14LCS website.
Guest blogger, Dennis Fischman left a senior management position at a nonprofit organization to found Communicate! Consulting.
We love talking with friends. We hate going to meetings. Why?
Too often at meetings and conferences, we’re listening to people we don’t know, talking about an agenda that doesn’t matter to us.
With friends, we can share not only thoughts and plans, but hopes and dreams–the things that make us get out of bed in the morning–the things that make us human.
If only we could invite people to bring their whole humanity to the conference room. But how? Ask these three questions.
1. How You Got Here
“What is the winding path of your life, that has brought you to the work you do?” Hildy Gottlieb of Creating the Future asks this question at the beginning of every event.
Every time I begin a training or facilitation or even sometimes a keynote address, I ask people to turn to their neighbor and spend a few moments asking and answering those two questions. Every time, the room comes alive with chatter and laughter and gesticulating hands.
Try asking this question at the start of your next Board meeting. See how happy and productive the rest of the meeting becomes!
2. The Awesome Thing that Happened
Marc Pitman, The Fundraising Coach LLC, begins training sessions with the question “What is something amazing that happened to you this week?” Hildy Gottlieb asks the same question at the beginning of every Board meeting. Why? She quotes Hank Green:
There are two ways to make the world a better place. You can decrease the suck, and you can increase the awesome… And I do not want to live in a world where we only focus on suck and never think about awesome.
If your meetings feel like a great big time suck, start them with awesome.
3. What You Will Remember
You’ve come to the end of your panel, or conference, or meeting, and it was grand. Really. But you have phone and email messages and a long to-do list awaiting you. How do you remember what you learned, and carry the experience into your daily work?
Hildy Gottlieb suggests giving yourself the rare pleasure of reflection. At Creating the Future:
We ask folks to look over the notes they may have jotted down during the meeting, and to share what in particular stood out for them about the meeting. It is again very grounding to learn about each other in this way. And it is also a great segue to ongoing email conversations that can carry us through to the next board meeting.
Talking about what matters to you will help you remember. Listening to what other people care about will help you pull together as a group. Knowing that you will make time to do both will make your meetings happier and more productive.
Try it and see! How do you make your meetings productive? Share your strategies here.
Your mobile phone is probably within arm’s reach right now. And it’s probably on. Like everyone else on the planet, you probably use your phone to go online, make reservations, listen to music, take pictures, refer to maps, access social networks, text, and occasionally even make a phone call. Mobile devices are fast becoming our all-purpose, constant companions. So why isn’t money pouring into nonprofits through mobile phones?
Sally Bouchard, Qaya Thompson and Jeremy Woolf outlined seven reasons to use LinkedIn for fundraising during Fundraising Day in New York, sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals New York City chapter.
Communications Coordinator, American Federation of Teachers (Portland, OR)
Communications Director, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (Plymouth, MA)
Communications Manager, CDF: A Collective Action Initiative (Clarkston, GA)
Communications Specialist, American Chestnut Foundation (Asheville, NC)
Copy Writer & Social Media Coordinator, East-West Ministries (Plano, TX)
Director of Communications & Marketing, Breast Cancer Fund (San Francisco, CA)
Director of Communications & Marketing, Wildlife Habitat Council (Silver Springs, MD)
Director of Media Relations, American Jewish World Service (New York, NY)
Graphic Designer, GlobalGiving Foundation (Washington, DC)
Marketing & Communications Manager, Fairtrade America (Washington, DC)
Marketing & Operations Assistant, The Opportunity Lab (New York, NY)
Marketing Assistant, Population Connection (San Diego, CA)
Social Media Manager, Idealist (New York, NY)
Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager, Empire State Development (New York, NY)