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    Know Your Frame

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • Changing public opinion can be a long, uphill climb. 
    • The first step to securing a policy victory is identifying the one point you want to change the public’s mind on. Then, ask yourself if changing opinion on that point will make it easier to enact a policy change.
    • Embrace your cause and don’t be afraid to address it directly — the public will respond to authentic campaigns.

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    Get Your Organization’s Communications Motor Running

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • If nonprofits are going to succeed, they have to be strategic about how they use communication. They need to have a clear sense of who they are and why their mission matters and how to successfully convey that to their audiences. They need to embed effective communication throughout the organization and have the systems and discipline to measure the results.
    • SmartScan™ is a free online tool to help nonprofits and foundations assess where they are poised to be communication powerhouses and where they have room to improve. Users answer a series of questions about their organization’s current practices and receive a tailored report detailing where they can focus attention to improve their communication.
    • Participants will need to take a hard look at organizational materials and systems and engage their colleagues in the process. The payoff is a clearer understanding of what the organization is doing well and should keep doing and where more communication capacity or resources will enable it to create a bigger impact.

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  • Antebiviolence

    A Most Violent Year:
    Eric Antebi Talks to Lori Dorfman of Berkeley Media Studies Group on 2014, the media & violence

    A culture of violence is the antithesis to a Culture of Health. As The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recently said in a speech to the American Public Health Association, “We will never be a healthy nation, if we continue to be a violent one.

    Violence is always in the news. But 2014 saw several high profile stories about violence dominating news cycles, including major stories about child abuse (Adrian Peterson), intimate partner violence (Ray Rice), sexual assault on college campus, and, of course, the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.

    Because media coverage influences the social and political response to violence in America, I wanted to hear from Lori Dorfman, who directs the Berkeley Media Studies Group. She has spent decades monitoring how the media cover violence and other public health issues, helping public health advocates work with journalists, and helping journalists improve their coverage. The following is an excerpt of my interview with her.

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    Hatch: Harnessing the Power of Narrative and Networks

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • A storytelling strategy answers key questions: What’s the goal? Who can help achieve the goal? What ideas will motivate them to take action?
    • Storytelling is powerful communication—that is, if the content is compelling enough to capture people’s attention and imagination.
    • Hatch is a new platform for digital storytelling designed to help social impact organizations use the power of narrative and networks to increase their reach and resources.

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  • Pens Down, Paintbrushes Up

    Phillip Adams – Communication Matters Mural Timelapse from Cerrone Photography on Vimeo.

    Outside the large hall where the keynote speakers held court, muralist Phillip Adams was easy to spot, with his paint-spattered chinos and rumpled shirt. His clothes weren’t the only thing that set him apart from the assembled crowd; he was at Communications Network #ComNet14 to paint.

    “This felt like a good fit,” said Adams of his commission. He liked the connection to others engaged in social change.

    For the past decade, Adams has been creating public art through the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. He has a studio practice, too, but relishes how the public art projects he works on take him more deeply into issues he cares about. He has worked with nursing home residents and with post-9/11 vets which, as a self-described army brat, was particularly meaningful for him. There have been many others.

    Adams finds inspiration from working in the public sphere, taking cues from the physical space where his works have been commissioned, and often engaging with community residents, or a specific population, on the creative process.

    He wanted that for this project, too, and invited conference-goers, in-between their sessions on metrics and measurement and media, to put down their pens (and cell phones and tablets) and put paint to canvas.

    “A couple of the first people who did it were so focused,” he said. “You could see they were really into a place of peace for those moments.”

    He started the first morning of the conference with three canvases, on which he had penciled in his basic design. A pastel wash gave the background a watercolor effect. At the center of the middle panel is a rock cairn, “which any regular hiker knows… can always help you find your way.”

    I think all of us know about looking for markers, signposts, and other guidance as we navigate through the complexities of our work. It’s what brought us to the conference in the first place, seeking the knowledge that we hope can enhance our efforts.

    Adams also hoped his mural would help conference goers “think about the beauty behind what they do—not just the cerebral part. I’m hoping to capture that.”

    The mural, commissioned with the generous support of Knight Arts, is now residing at the Russell Byers Charter School, where it will inspire students to create their own art.

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    Lauren Kay - Lauren photoLauren Kay is the director of communications for Community Partners, a nonprofit fiscal sponsor and philanthropic intermediary in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter at @CommunityPrtnrs.

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