• Welcome to Philly!


    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to Philadelphia!

    Thank you for taking time away from your family and your work to join us for Communication Matters #ComNet14!

    Here’s a quick rundown of the day:

    • 11:00 am – 5:00 pm – Please pick up your #ComNet14 credentials, our conference program, and your welcome bag at our Registration Desk on the 3rd floor of The Doubletree Center City.
    • 1:00 pm – Pre-conference workshops kick off. If you did NOT register for a workshop and would like to attend one, you can sign up and pay the $125 fee at our registration desk.
    • 5:30 pm – Please gather in the Doubletree Center City lobby to catch a bus to our opening reception at The Barnes Foundation. The reception will begin at 6pm, followed by remarks by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin at 6:30 pm. The collection will open for viewing at 7:25 pm. The reception will conclude at 9:00 pm and buses will be outside the museum to shuttle guests back to the Doubletree on Broad Street.


    Tomorrow morning, we’ll debut The Communication Network’s year long research project, Communication Matters, at a Morning Meetup in Concerto AB  at 7:45am. Please join us.

    As a reminder, our full conference schedule is available in the print program included in your welcome bag or online at CommunicationMatters2014.sched.org.

    Curious who’s on hand for #ComNet14? You can see all of our conference attendees on our newly refreshed ComNetwork.org site here.

    If you need to get online, we’ve arranged for complimentary Wi-Fi internet access at the hotel. Please log in in to the HHonors network. The password is ComNet14.

    See you soon,

    PS: Should you need help tomorrow or at any time during the #ComNet14 conference, please reach out to an event team staffer. The event team will be wearing royal blue shirts with The Network’s logo.


  • Cn New Look Splash

    Refreshed. A new look arrives for ComNetwork.org just before #ComNet14

    ComNetwork.org is getting a new look.

    We’ll be under construction this weekend, so please check back later if you have trouble accessing the site.

    If you need to see our #ComNet14 schedule, you can visit www.CommunicationMatters2014.Sched.org

    Our website refresh will be complete by Monday.

  • Beyond Metrics: A #ComNet14 Preview


    When Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation launched their infographic and information campaign about changing demographics  in Arkansas, they created a Rake. They wanted to pull together different stakeholders to learn about the contributions of local immigrants. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invested in Trowels when they supported campaigns around the documentaries “Food Inc.” and “A Place at the Table.” They wanted to dig deeply into the consequences of food policies.

    Garden tools are good metaphors for communications because they help us focus on how different kinds of stories have particular strengths for helping us achieve our objectives. Want to transport people with a narrative, instead of hitting them on the head with a sledgehammer? Try a Wheelbarrow. Does your campaign introduce startling new information that will attract influencers and earned media? Congratulations, you have a Shovel.

    Read More

  • Because the Boss Says So: A #ComNet14 Preview


    We all work for someone. Many of us have traditional bosses who sign our timecards and delegate responsibilities. Others have clients who hire us as external support for particular tasks. Regardless of the financial arrangement between employer and employed, communications professionals know that there is a special relationship that exists between themselves and the executives they work for.

    When Steve Rabin and I first met, we were helping to shape the communications strategy for Governor Martin O’Malley. Governor O’Malley had just been elevated by the people of Maryland from Mayor of Baltimore to Governor, and national leaders had already begun to notice the appeal of the young Governor’s message and style. Our jobs, as Press Secretary and Chief Speechwriter, respectively, weren’t just to put the right words on the page for our boss. They were to find ways to use his words in a way that mobilized our target audiences, excited our base, and marginalized our opposition.

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  • Who Cares About Your Foundation’s History? The Riches of Oral History: A #ComNet14 Preview

    Oral History2

    Most often, foundations gather and share stories to simplify understanding: to more efficiently help audiences understand the institution’s work, service, or advocacy. As communications professionals, we’re collecting stories with a clear end goal in mind – one that demonstrates our foundation’s impact on an issue or the community; success stories that will encourage investment; and stories demonstrating the need for a proposed policy or service.

    Sometimes we are able to elicit stories solely as a means of reflection, with no agenda or simplifying end point in mind. Eliciting oral histories, for example, allows for the complexity of personal experience.

    For the past year, I’ve been eliciting wide-ranging oral histories from departing staff of The Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation that will complete grantmaking by the end of 2016.

    Read More

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