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    WEBINAR — Lessons from The Atlantic: Bridging the Curiosity Gap
    Wednesday, February 11 2pm ET

    The Atlantic has been a long-admired and influential magazine, but with the advent of the internet and the arrival of social media, it has had to adapt. In doing so, it has thrived, and its website has become one of the most-visited sites on the web.

    Lessons from The Atlantic: Closing the Curiosity Gap is a Communications Network members-only webinar that will explore the data-based lessons learned by The Atlantic’s team, and their application to nonprofit communications professionals.

    The Atlantic learned that much of its online traffic was coming through the “side door.” that is, prompted by email or social media. In order to maximize a reader’s interest and prompt them to click on a link in an email or a tweet, they have mastered the art of “bridging the curiosity gap,” or turning interest into clicks — a skill everyone can use.

    This webinar will teach you how The Atlantic and its sister brands craft headlines that attract reader attention, without falling into the pitfalls of disappointing “click-bait.”

    DATE: Wednesday, February 11, 2015
    TIME: 2pm-3pm EST
    REGISTER HERE

    With today’s content traveling so prominently on social media and email, a robust headline strategy is critical to building curiosity and cultivating reader interest, whether you’re a magazine publisher or a social sector leader.

  • Communication Matters: The Network’s New Research Project

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    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Communication Matters is The Communications Network’s newly-released research project—drawing on the experience of over 500 people, it the most comprehensive research of its kind.
    • The challenge is not getting people to understand the value of communications, but rather is to define effective practices for the nonprofit sector and do them.
    • Effective communications rests on the four pillars of Brand, Culture, Strategy, and Action.
    • The project is ongoing, and needs your input to support your peers’ continued learning. 

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  • Webinar: Lessons from the Front Lines of the LGBT Movement Oct. 29th at 2pm EST

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    Next Wednesday, October 29th at 2pm EST, Doug Hattaway and Alex Cole of Hattaway Communications will join The Communications Network for a WEBINAR on the impact of strategic communications on one of our country’s most successful social change struggles – the fight for marriage equality for LGBT Americans – and how to apply the lessons learned to other social change movements.

    What: Webinar: Lessons from the Front Lines of the LGBT Movement
    When: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 2pm EST
    Register: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=82i8jw2cna9f
    Note: This exclusive online event is open to Communications Network members only

    Background:

    From The Atlantic: “On May 9, 2012, President Obama sat for an interview in the White House with the ABC News anchor Robin Roberts. Both of them knew what she’d been summoned there to discuss, and Roberts didn’t waste any time. “So, Mr. President,” she said, “are you still opposed to same-sex marriage?”

    Obama was ready for the question. A few days before, Vice President Biden had said on Meet the Press that he was “comfortable” with men marrying men and women marrying women. The surprise statement went against the president’s own ambiguous stance, which was that he was against gay marriage but in the process of “evolving.” At the same time, evidence of the political risk inherent in the issue was abundant. The day before, May 8, voters in North Carolina — a key swing state Obama narrowly won in 2008 — had overwhelmingly voted to ban gay unions, making it the 31st state to take such a step.

    Obama sat back in his leather chair, his legs crossed, his hands in his lap, composed and a bit detached. “Well, you know, I have to tell you, as I’ve said, I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue,” he began, in his usual roundabout way. “I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally.” He pointed to his administration’s repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and its refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. He’d hesitated to embrace gay marriage, he said, out of respect for tradition and a belief that civil unions offered enough protection to same-sex partnerships.

    But now the president had changed his mind. “I’ve just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” he said.

    The reasons for Obama’s about-face, as he explained them, seemed perfectly normal. His thoughts, he said, had gone to his own staffers “who are in incredibly committed, monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together.” He’d thought about the troops, fighting on his behalf, yet still facing the constraint of not being “able to commit themselves in a marriage.” He talked about the values he wanted to pass on to his own children and the emphasis his own faith placed on the Golden Rule.

    As natural as Obama’s statement may have sounded, his words were as carefully chosen as the interview. The testimonial to the gay men and women in his life; the discussion of values and the Golden Rule; the remarkable fact that America’s first black president, discussing an issue many see as a modern civil-rights struggle (with a black interviewer, no less), made no reference to civil rights — these were all talking points straight out of the new playbook of the gay-rights movement.”

  • The Communications Network needs your help.

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    Please take the Communication Matters survey.

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  • Communication Matters: Active Listening

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    If you want to know what people think—ask them! And then listen to what they have to say. That’s what the Communication Matters research project is all about.

    As communicators, we know how powerful listening is.

    The Communications Network and its members have a point of view about the value of communication in creating social change. But what do our colleagues think, whether they’re making decisions from the executive suite, managing a portfolio of grants, or working in the field?

    Here’s a taste of what we’re hearing.

    From a small regional foundation:

    “Our president & CEO gets it. When she was hired, she visited foundations of a similar asset size to find out, ‘If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?’ The consistent message was, ‘Get communications right from the get-go. Tell your own story lest someone else tell it for you.’”

    We’re uncovering great examples of communication being used in strategic ways.

    From a medium-sized health care foundation:

    “We fund a fair amount of policy analyses and our goal is to have impact by informing and influencing state-level decision making. We couldn’t do that without an aggressive and comprehensive approach to communications. When grantees produce analytic deliverables, we invest a lot of resources in helping them to shape the story, tease out the key take-aways, develop concrete recommendations, and express their work in a way that is both compelling and persuasive.” 

    And we’re hearing about some of the interesting challenges, twists, and turns that communication work can take.

    From a program officer at a large foundation:

    “We have found that our use of communication—particularly ‘naming’ the reform—has simultaneously advanced the measurable elements of the reform discussion and annoyed allies who use different language. It raises the larger question of whether everyone working on an issue agrees on what to call things and how to talk about them, which can be either a good discussion or a distraction from program outcome goals.”

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