For the second installment in our Science of Communication speaker series, co-sponsored by the Communications Network and Spitfire Strategies, Harvard behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan proved why when he talks, you should listen.
Mullainathan, whose work touches on how people’s brains process messages, has a sobering message for those of us whose jobs depend on getting people to listen, pay attention and–most important of all–act on what they’re hearing.
Guest Post: Suzanne Samuel
When Kaiser Permanente Northern California created its In-Kind Communications Program, the intention was clear. By providing communications consulting, communications products (like videos, brochures, and websites) and capacity-building training to our grantees from within our own offices, we would contribute to the success and long-term stability of our grantees. The pleasant surprise was how the In-Kind Program improved our own communications practice, often in striking ways.
A More Strategic Approach
Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit Program is a direct extension of our organization’s 65-year-old mission: to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. Because we are both a health plan and a care provider, we are able to go beyond traditional corporate philanthropy to pair grant funding with shared expertise: medical research, clinical best practices—and communications products and consulting.
For many years we had offered communications support to a handful of Northern California community organizations each year, using an ad hoc approach. Grantees would inquire about Kaiser Permanente’s ability to provide a specific product (like a brochure or video), and the requests were handled on a case-by-case basis.
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 Christie McElhinney, vice president of communications and public affairs, The Colorado Trust.
A recent communications success you are particularly proud of?
The Colorado Health Access Survey. Staff from our communications, evaluation/research and program areas collaborated to develop this long-term strategy to support our state’s most extensive survey of health coverage, access and utilization, coupled with a robust communications strategy. Already the CHAS is becoming well known, and the data widely used by many.
When you were 13 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Wait, I was once 13? I vacillated between a ballerina and an attorney. I spent many years dancing, became a paralegal and made the obvious transition to philanthropic communications.
Chances are good that your organization is sitting on a pile of data. How do you take those vital nuggets of information hidden in files and trapped behind your four walls and shape them in ways that help advance your organization’s work or mission? How might you mash it up with other data to create new knowledge? And how can you bring all of this to life through data visualization?
To provide answers to these questions, we recently held a webinar, Seeing is Believing: Data Visualization for Philanthropy (Replay available below.)
Guest Post: Sharon Hurley Hall
When the Communications Network conducted its 2011 “State of the Practice Survey,” foundation communications practitioners said their biggest frustration — “far and away” — was not having enough time to do all that is being required of them as their roles grow. If finding more time to get everything done isn’t an option, perhaps some help can be found in taking advantage of online project management tools.
Here are six we identified, including five that are free:
- About the Network
- Our Board Members
- Fall Conference