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    Not All New Media is ‘New’ Any More

    I’m pretty sure we didn’t pop any champagne corks or even do pump fists or high five each other, but I recall a feeling of exhilaration the first time — probably in the 1990s — I pressed the send button on email with an attached PDF version of a report detailing findings from an initiative underwritten by a foundation where I worked at the time. My colleagues and I — freed from the labor and time-intensive process of distributing print publications — thought we’d truly entered the digital age. In a blink of an eye reports of any length could be on their way to key audiences in mere seconds.

    Fast forward almost 20 years later, and even though the PDF is still very much with us, that habit of turning reports, whitepapers, books, policy briefs and the like into digital facsimiles and emailing and posting them online runs the risk of being labeled as an example of an OLD new media practice.

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  • HollyRoss

    As Social Media Landscape Gets More Crowded, Strategy Matters More Than Ever (VIDEO)

    Guest Post: Susan Herr, PhilanthroMedia

    According to the Nonprofit Technology Network’s (NTEN) third annual Social Network Benchmarking Survey, 90 percent of nonprofits are using at least one commercial social network like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. While adoption of such platforms by the broader nonprofit sector dwarfs that of foundations (our 2011 survey shows use Twitter at 29% and Facebook at 27%), it illuminates the extent to everyone must now compete in a public square jam-packed with virtual soapboxes.

    To Holly Ross, executive director of NTEN, these numbers suggest that both nonprofits and foundations have entered a new phase in which being a part of the social media universe is no longer enough. If you want your message to be heard, it must be driven by strategy that informs every aspect of how you participate, including making sure the specific social media platforms you pick to carry your messages are the right ones for the goals you want to achieve.

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  • Hucover

    Humanity United Invites People to View and Comment On Its Performance (and Report Too)

    It’s very fitting that after producing its first Performance Report, Humanity United wants to know “how’d we do?” Not just as a foundation, but on the report itself.

    The 2011 report, which is published on Humanity United’s website, is meant to go beyond what the foundation feels are the limitations of a traditional annual report. Rather than just describing its work, “we wanted to use the report to as a way to ask ourselves hard questions,” says Mike Boyer,Vice President, Strategic Communications. Those questions, adds Boyer, include “are we having impact, and if so, at what level? By individual grants? Clusters of grants? Or at the field level?”

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  • KA

    The Art of In-House Persuasion (VIDEO)

    Guest Post: Susan Herr, PhilanthroMedia

    If your boss and colleagues don’t understand the very strategic work you are doing, is it your fault or theirs?  That is the question that Network for Good’s Chief Strategy Officer Katya Andresen forces us to consider in this interview I recently conducted with her on “The Art of In-House Persuasion.”

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    Making Change By Working Together

    Guest Post: Chris Palmedo, Northwest Health Foundation 

    One of the common refrains among members of the Communications Network is the need to  seamlessly integrate communications with program work. We’ve talked about Kumbaya. We’ve encouraged ourselves to develop “closer working relationships” with program staff, to “shift the culture toward one of mutual respect” and to “get people to care enough” about communications. And we’ve been warned not to be to paternalistic in converting program staff who don’t “get it.”

    Fortunately, my organization does “get it,” and I’ve been thinking that, perhaps, some views from Northwest Health Foundation’s perspective can provide some insight for my colleagues at other foundations. My experience working with program staff at our foundation goes beyond “mutual respect.” It’s more like “mutual challenge,” where program and communications push each other – and the organization – toward a common vision of social change.

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