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    Summing Up

    Bruce Trachtenberg stepped down as executive director of the Communications Network on December 31. For the next few months, as the Network searches for his successor, he will serve as an advisor, assisting the board on ongoing programs and activities. In this interview, conducted by regular contributor Paul VanDeCarr, Bruce shares some thoughts about his seven and a half years at the Network.

    What is one aspect of your personal life that has the greatest impact on your professional life, including your time at the Network?

    My Dad, who died last April, was a master storyteller. He taught me to love great stories and to want to tell stories too—though I’ll never be able to tell stories, especially the funny ones—as well as he did. Instead, I just tell the stories he told me over and over again. Here’s one he loved to tell about himself:

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    What’s in Your Social Media Policy? (If You Have One)

    Guest Post:  Erin M. Kelly, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    Along with several colleagues, I helped lead a discussion about “hitting your stride in social media” at the Communications Network conference in New Orleans last October. As you might expect, much of what we and audience members talked about dealt with barriers some organizations face in getting up to speed in how they use social media.

    One of the questions that emerged toward the end of our session, and not leaving us enough time to do it justice–hence this post–was how important is it to have a social media policy?

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    Talk is Tweet

    Guest Post: The Social Media Collective

    The time has passed when organizations ask the question: “Is social media right for us?” Today, philanthropy is increasingly present in social media. With the newfound awareness and understanding that these platforms are an integral part of any communications strategy, comes the daunting challenge of infusing the ethos within our organization and integrating our chosen platforms to fully embrace social media.

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    Responding to the News: The Haas, Jr. Fund Shows How

    Within a couple of hours of the release of the Supreme Court’s June 26 decisions on marriage equality, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund was out with a comprehensive e-mail newsletter weighing in on the historic events of that day. We spoke with the Haas, Jr. Fund’s communications staff, Denis Chicola, director of communications, and Maya Trabin, associate communications officer, about the challenges and opportunities of responding quickly to fast-moving events.

    Why did you feel it was so important to have this content ready on the day of the rulings?

    Chicola: This ruling was a big moment for us. The Haas, Jr. Fund was the first foundation, gay or straight, to make marriage equality a priority. We were a founding supporter of Freedom to Marry and have invested more than $60 million for marriage equality and gay and lesbian rights.

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    A Good Time to Ask Questions

    Are we finally getting serious and asking important questions about the role social media (or media in any form) can play in helping foundations achieve their goals?  Signs seem to be pointing that way.

    For instance, last week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) held a day-long conference focused on how foundations can determine if social media is moving their work forward.  Over the course of large group and small group discussions and presentations, the questions that kept communications professionals and evaluators engaged were “what do we measure and what will success look like from using social media?”

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