By Edith Asibey and Bruce Trachtenberg
In what can only be described as a cautionary tale for people involved in public interest communications, a recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine describes how the push to encourage women to be screened for breast cancer has done a great job raising awareness about the disease but little to save lives.
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 Communications Network and Council on Foundations today announced the 2013 recipients of the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards. A partnership between the two organizations, the awards recognize and encourage excellence in communications by foundations and corporate giving programs, and showcase organizations that are effectively using communications to achieve their goals and further their mission.
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 George Soule, manager of strategic communications at the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
What is a recent communications success you are particularly proud of?
Helped manage the handover by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Afghan President Hamid Karzai of the first of what will eventually be hundreds of thousands of digitized manuscripts, rare books, maps, and photographs related to Afghanistan’s history. Afghanistan lost access to many culturally significant items through colonialism, war, internal upheaval, or natural disasters. Our grantee, the Library of Congress, has helped to virtually repatriate these treasures.
When you were 13 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A cartoonist for the New Yorker. I couldn’t believe people actually got paid to do that.