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.
(At our 2010 Communications Network Conference in Los Angeles, James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds, offered some suggestions on how foundations can tap into the collective thinking of crowds. In her guest post below, Rebecca Arno, Vice President of Communications, The Denver Foundation and Chair, Communications Network, shares some examples of how new communications technology is supporting crowdsourcing in philanthropy. Her post is reprinted with permission from CausePlanet.)
Social media has great power to connect people within and across communities–geographic communities, communities of practice and interest and communities of faith and belief. How are nonprofit organizations mining these connections to achieve their missions? Crowdsourcing is often the answer.
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