• Regan

    Why Should Foundations Communicate? Make Your Mission Viral.

    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.

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  • Debra Rubino 205

    Blurring the Line Between Communications and Programs

    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.

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  • Rita 3

    The Art of Storytelling

    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 blogRita 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.

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  • Dr Ross

    Health Happens Here

    The California Endowment is one of 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, Robert K. Ross, president, The California Endowment,  discusses the role communication plays in helping the foundation advance its goals.

    Guest Post: Robert K. Ross

    When people think about improving health, the first thing that comes to mind is going to the doctor’s office or the gym. For a long time, public health experts correlated community health with medical settings and individual choices. But years of research, grantmaking, and listening to our community partners has given us greater clarity on how and where health happens. Research tells us that our health largely depends on where we live, learn, work and play.dr_ross

    Place matters when it comes to health, life expectancy and quality of life. That’s why people in one neighborhood can live an average of 16 years longer than those in another neighborhood just 12 miles away. If you live in a disinvested, low-income community, you are more likely to live sicker—and die younger—than someone who lives in a neighborhood with a grocery store, safe parks and good schools

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  • Chris Wolz

    Get Going with Mobile! Email, Responsive Design and More

    Guest Post: Chris Wolz and Nam-ho Park

    We hear a lot of questions from foundations, grantees, nonprofits and NGOs about whether they should make their online communication “work” for mobile devices. Our answer is, yes, because mobile adoption is at high levels and increasing:

    • Global smartphone shipments exceeded PC shipments in 2011.
    • More than 50 percent of US adults and more than 60 percent of young adults own a smartphone
    • 50 percent of U.S. smartphone users have sent/received email via their phones
    • 31 percent of American adults own a tablet computer as of Jan 2013

    The good news is that there are pragmatic steps to get started making websites and emails mobile-friendly.

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