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Pages tagged "Communications"


What you think DOES NOT matter: 5 things your communications staff wants to tell you

NOTE: This blog is an expansion of a speech I gave at “5 Minutes in Hell,” YNPN-TC’s annual event for people who want to practice public speaking (my slides are available on Google Drive and a video of the full speech is at the bottom of this post or on YouTube). For those considering submitting a speaking proposal in future years, I highly recommend it! You won’t find a more supportive practice venue.

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There is no one answer to what a communications job looks like, especially when it comes to nonprofits. While large organizations can have entire teams where each person has their own subject area or expertise, small nonprofit organizations often have only one staffer (or part of one) who is responsible for getting the word out about everything the organization does. 

Communicators have all kinds of duties: writing, social media, websites, emails, graphic design, media outreach, among other things. For some organizations, the communications staff is also responsible for development and fundraising, while others house these duties in separate departments.

At our core, however, all communications professionals have the same goals: We want to make sure the people who need our organization’s information get it in ways they understand, and we want to make sure our organization looks good.

These goals can mean that communications professionals care about strange things like fonts and colors and images, and we sometimes say certain words should or should not be used.

In this blog, I am sharing some of the largest “pet peeves” communications professionals have in the hopes that non-communicators can learn and work more effectively with their communications staff, and we can eliminate the communications-programs-development divide.

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I manage social media. I think we all need less of it

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I'm at home in the world of social media. Facebook, Twitter and other networks help me do my job, stay in touch with my friends, and fulfill my daily dose of manatee memes. But constant connectivity has consequences. The writing is on the Facebook wall: social media can impact our lives in ways that conflict with our values.

The speed of the social stream outpaces the joys of slow conversation. Outrage culture (not to be confused with justified anger) makes me more reactive. When I consume clickbait, I find myself engaging with people in ways that are less compassionate, nuanced, and appreciative. I act in ways that run counter to who I'd like to be, having an impact that’s different than I hope for.

This doesn't have to be the case. We can make social media a catalyst for generation and impact rather than something that controls us. Here's how I've stepped back from the brink and found balance in the world of social media.

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We want your blog

main.jpgHave you always wanted to write a blog but didn't know where it could be published? If so, you should sign up to be an YNPN-TC blog writer!

We hear all the time from people across the country (and even people across the world!) that love the YNPN-TC blog, so this is a great opportunity to get your name and ideas in front of a whole variety nonprofit professionals. 

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Serendipity through stories

2016mcntech.jpgOn April 12, YNPN Twin Cities sent a dozen members to the MCN Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis as part of our scholarship program. The week after the conference, we hosted a debriefing gathering for the conference cohort so they could further connect and share about what they learned at the conference.

One member of the cohort is Amy Tix, operations coordinator at Firefly Sisterhood. Below, Amy graciously shares her "a-ha moment" from the conference with takeaways from keynote speaker Perla Ni.

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Meet YNPN-TC volunteer Ben Addington!

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Ben Addington is a YNPN-TC member, and also a content and engagement specialist at Metre, an integrated advertising agency that develops brand and communication strategies with offices in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, MN.

We recently chatted with Ben about his experiences with YNPN.

(With the help of graphic designer Cary Walski and photographer Marie Ketring, Metre developed our new YNPN-TC website!)

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Give to the Max Day, everyday

Since the wild success of the Ice Bucket Challenge last year, the impact of successful social media marketing has become a hot topic among nonprofits. Personally, after seeing countless friends douse themselves with iced water in the name of charity, I started to look more closely at how my favorite nonprofits use social media. Unfortunately, I see too many nonprofits’ Facebook pages that haven’t been updated since 2014 and Twitter accounts with ten posts per day. Navigating social media can be a difficult task for marketing purposes—and a daunting one for fundraising.

Thankfully, GiveMN’s Give to the Max Day is a statewide crowdfunding initiative that makes it easier to use social media for fundraising. It’s unprecedented growth each year is a testament to the importance of crowdfunding in modern fundraising. If your organization isn’t capitalizing on crowdfunding through social media, here’s why it should:

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Calling all blog writers

main.jpgDo you have an opinion about something we don’t talk about on the YNPN-TC blog? If so, you should sign up to be an YNPN-TC blog writer!

We hear all the time from people across the country that love the YNPN-TC blog, so this is a great opportunity to get your name and ideas in front of a whole variety of people. 

Still undecided? Here are answers to some of the questions we most often get:

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Don’t go broke while managing your first website redesign

main.jpgIt’s true. Researchers have confirmed it, dogs have no concept of scale. In other words, a small dog does not realize how small he or she is. Hence the well-known phenomena of small-dog syndrome. So why am I bringing this seemingly random factoid up? 

Well, I’ve noticed a similar phenomena when working with web vendors. It can be hard for them to anticipate how long it will take to do work for you, especially if the work in question requires the creation of something that’s entirely new to them.

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Collecting Amazing Stories

I think we’ve all heard it before – tell the stories of the individuals and families who your organization impacts. Stories are emotional, paint a picture, and build awareness. But when it comes down to it, why do we shy away from collecting and telling stories?

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Communication Gaps: Road-Tripping Without a Map

Have you ever been ¾ of the way into a project, only for it to unexpectedly halt because others have different ideas or are not on the same page? We have all been there, and while this scenario can be very frustrating, must times, it simply suggests a one-time misunderstanding.

But what if this happens regularly? Then that one-time misunderstanding turns into a communication gap, and that gap requires more than just a simple “do better next time” approach. Instead, it requires everyone involved to assess the problem, identify solutions, and take deliberate efforts to change the way you communicate.

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