Many of us find it difficult — even intimidating — to keep up with all the fast-changing digital tools available to do our jobs. It often seems that new ones pop up every day. With many of them available for free, the choices can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are organizations out there like the Sunlight Foundation who make it their business to stay on the bleeding edge of web/mobile tools that help them do their work better. That’s why we recently invited Liz Bartolomeo, the foundation’s media director, to have a conversation online with our regular webinar host, Andy Goodman, about the best tools for outreach, engagement, productivity and research. During the course of their 60-minute conversation, Liz and Andy discussed the tools and described how they can be mixed and matched for unique purposes. (Links to many of the tools discussed on the webinar are below.)
A Quick Word With… is our ongoing series in which Communications Network members from a range of organizations tell us about themselves, their work and where they draw their inspiration. This installment features Lucas Held, director of communications at the Wallace Foundation.
What is a recent communications success you are particularly proud of?
The Wall Street Journal covered the launch of a new section of our Web site designed to help nonprofit afterschool providers improve their financial management skills. For the first time, we used a so-called “vanity url” – strongnonprofits.org – to take advantage of the search engine optimization benefits and we’re looking forward to seeing how it works.
When you were 13 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Heading into college, I was sure I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I don’t own an analyst’s couch, but I do think that effective communication begins with careful listening. I try to follow the advice of the analyst Theodor Reik to listen “with the third ear” what is communicated through gestures, intonation and connotation.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is one the four winners of this year’s Wilmer Shields Rich Awards, a partnership between the Communications Network and the Council on Foundations. In the following post, which originally appeared on the Council’s Re: Philanthropy blog, Regan Gruber Moffitt, senior associate for public policy at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, discusses how using communications can help philanthropic organizations achieve the outcomes they seek.
Guest Post: Regan Gruber Moffitt
At the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF), we aspire to “go viral.” Whether this sounds good to you may depend on your generation—or how recently you have battled a cold. I will put your mind at ease by saying that we aim to share messages rather than multiply germs. Similar to powerful examples such as the Arab Spring, and less powerful but more fun examples, like the viral video of a kid in a car seat dancing, we strive to engage people through communications. By doing so, we believe we can help our foundation fulfill its value around transparency and reach its mission. We believe that communications of any kind—from convenings, newletters, and annual reports, to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—can help philanthropy achieve the outcomes it seeks.
So why should foundations communicate? Below are three reasons that drive WRF and that we believe should drive philanthropy to prioritize communications as a strategy to effect change.
Debra Rubino, director of strategic communications at the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, served as one of the judges for this year’s Wilmer Shields Rich Awards, a partnership between the Communications Network and the Council on Foundations. In the following post, which originally appeared on the Council’s Re: Philanthropy blog, Rubino comments on the importance of integrating program and communications, as this year’s Wilmer Shields Rich winners are doing–and why more foundations need to do the same too.
Guest Post: Debra Rubino
As a sector, the foundation community must have an enormously high IQ. If you take a quick look at the vitae of staff members of just about any foundation, you’ll find degrees in multiple fields—sometimes attached to just one individual. I know at our foundation most program associates have at least one master’s degree.
But when it comes to sharing ideas and convincing others outside the field? Not so smart there.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is one the four winners of this year’s Wilmer Shields Rich Awards, a partnership between the Communications Network and the Council on Foundations. In the following post, which originally appeared on the Council’s Re: Philanthropy blog, Rita Soronsen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, discusses the role communication plays in helping the foundation advance its goals.
Guest Post: Rita Soronsen
Storytelling is at the heart of all emotions. Think about it. You hear a song, the lyrics move you, you have an emotional reaction. You see a sad movie, you may cry. It’s no different with brands that vie for emotional connections with their consumers. And nonprofits simply must use communications—storytelling—as a very important tactic to steward current donors and secure new funders.