January 3, 2019

Connecting our communications work to our mission

Caroline AvakianAs many of my nonprofit communications colleagues do this time of year,  I look back on my year and wonder how I will move forward more purposefully and meaningfully in my communications work this new year.

Having been fortunate enough to do this work for over 15 years, I sometimes skip over connecting the bottom-line – the ‘do-gooder’ part – and go straight into the “doing” part of the work.

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January 2, 2019

Your 2019 personal & professional strategic plan

Caroline AvakianIf you’re anything like me, then that week before New Year’s Day can sometimes throw you for an existential loop.

All those end-of-year memes on social media seem to be true, given the amount of laugh emoji responses from my friends and family that they’ve received. Truth!

We all want to begin the New Year feeling full of energy, clarity, and direction, but it’s not always how we start off.

One of the ways I try to ground myself for the New Year (while still enjoying all the cheese and champagne), is to fill out my yearly personal strategic planning chart.

I spend a lot of my time as a consultant creating strategic plans, so it’s a format I’m familiar with and with a little simplification, readily lends itself to a personal plan.

via: @hurrahforgin

While some people enjoy vision boards (which are awesome!), there’s something about a strategic plan that for me feels more tangible.

And I need tangible these days.

So below I’m sharing my personal and professional strategic planning process.

By the way, I’m still working on mine, so don’t feel like you’re in any way behind. Truth be told, I usually get to finishing mine around mid-January.

So we’ll just work on it together! Much more fun that way, anyway.

Five areas of focus

My plan is be focused on five key areas of my life:

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November 20, 2018

Top blunders on Facebook that hurt fundraising

John HaydonCan you believe it? Summer flew by, and now we’re headed right into year-end fundraising season.

If you’re like most nonprofits, you will raise most of your money during the last three months of the year, particularly between Thanksgiving and December 31st when the big ball drops.

Now is the time to put all your resources into attracting and retaining as many donors as possible!

Avoid these top five mistakes that could hurt your year-end fundraising on Facebook.

1. Ignoring Facebook altogether

If you’re like most nonprofits, you have at least a minimal presence on Facebook. So does your competition. Not only that but most of your donors are using Facebook.

Facebook isn’t going anywhere, and again, even if you ignored Facebook until November, don’t regret ignoring it during the biggest spike of fundraising you’ll see this year.

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July 30, 2018

Building your nonprofit’s thought leadership capacity


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Caroline AvakianContent marketing has risen to the forefront in recent years as an important tool (if not the most important) in the nonprofit communication toolbox. It’s about creating great content on your blog, through social media messaging, email, quarterly and annual reports, case studies, whitepapers, etc.

At its core, content marketing is about communicating wisely with your supporters. The nonprofit, social enterprise or organization is providing value by creating and sharing information, innovative ideas, and insights that makes your supporter smarter and in the know. You become a resource. The result, much of the time, is that you earn the trust and loyalty of your supporters and donors. You no longer interrupt them with “messaging” but invite them into a conversation they find value in, that resonates, that they deem worthy of sharing with others, that makes them come back and ultimately invest in you. Continue reading

May 9, 2018

5 ways to show progress toward your nonprofit’s mission

Photo by Daniel Funes Fuentes on Unsplash.

By Nancy Ryerson

Chances are, your nonprofit has a bold goal, whether it’s eradicating poverty or curing a disease. Your organization helps make progress toward that goal every day, but of course, complex problems have complicated solutions that can take a long time to achieve.

Unfortunately, slow progress, even if it’s impactful, doesn’t always make for the most inspiring message for supporters. We put together five strategies that you can use on your nonprofit’s blog, on social media, in email marketing, and other outlets to help maintain momentum as you work to achieve your mission.

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April 3, 2018

New Power: How to harness the power of the connected world

Caroline AvakianHere at Socialbrite, we are thrilled to share the launch of New Power!

We have long admired Henry Timms’ leadership and vision as president and CEO of the 92nd Street Y and co-founder of #GivingTuesday, an international day of philanthropy. Henry Timms and co-author Jeremy Heimans worked on this book for three years.

It unpacks the ultimate skill of the 21st century – the ability to harness the power of the connected crowd. From how to spread your ideas, to how to start a movement, to how to transform an organization, it is a practical guide to navigating our chaotic world.

The early response has been amazing. Sir Richard Branson said “If you want to understand how the world is changing…this book could not be coming at a better time.” Alicia Garza called it “…a must-read” Jane Goodall said “This book will inform and inspire all those wanting to make change . . . and achieve a goal against all odds.”

New Power shines fresh light on the cultural phenomena of our day, from #BlackLivesMatter to the Ice Bucket Challenge to Airbnb, uncovering the new power forces that made them huge. Drawing on examples from business, activism, and pop culture, as well as the study of organizations like Lego, NASA, Reddit, and TED, Heimans and Timms explain how to build new power and channel it successfully. They also explore the dark side of these forces: the way ISIS has co-opted new power to monstrous ends, and the rise of the alt-right’s “intensity machine.”

A wonderful read for any activist or nonprofit leader looking to better understand, navigate, and thrive in the world they live and work in.

You can purchase the book here: New Power