May 12, 2014

The power of vulnerability on our social communities

Scott MacEachern (1)
Thoughts from Erwin Penland’s Food For Thought Conference (photo of Scott MacEachern by Amy Randall/Erwin Penland)

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, managers, general public.

Caroline AvakianWe talk a lot about the newest ways to connect with our supporters and donors, all the latest digital marketing trends and apps that are aimed to engage, build community and inspire. But one of the things we don’t talk about that much is vulnerability and the inherent power that it has over getting a story to stick and helping to build trust, loyalty and openness in our digital communities.

I recently attended Erwin Penland’s seventh annual Food For Thought conference in Greenville, South Carolina. Food for Thought is an “unconventional convention” that celebrates the intersection of creative thinking, digital marketing, entrepreneurialism, social responsibility and food. The three-day conference brings together some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and chefs.

One of the things that really stuck with me is how many of the presenters courageously shared personal and professional stories, and came from a place of deep vulnerability in front of their audience. It was arresting, surprising and deeply engaging. You could hear a pin drop during many of the presentations. Not your typical plenary, to be sure. I couldn’t stop thinking about these presenters and their stories; their stories somehow became my stories. It made me want to learn more about them and share what I had learned with others. Continue reading

May 6, 2014

Time-saving tips to write more blog posts (with video)

Time-Saving-hacks-blog-posts

Make the most out of your time and blog more often

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, managers, journalists, general public.

John HaydonOne thing I’ve learned from years of blogging is that a blogging process saves time and headaches. My approach uses creative momentum at the beginning to blow through tasks that require linear thinking.

Above you’ll find a 6-minute video demonstration of exactly what I do, step-by-step, for each blog post:

Make an Outline – Assuming you’ve selected useful topic to write about, all you need at the beginning is a basic framework to support the copy. I use MindMiester to map out an outline. Continue reading

April 8, 2014

3 tips to get more out of conferences

storytelling-at-NTC

Here are some ways you can maximize your experience at events

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, managers, educators, journalists, general public.

Caroline AvakianConference season is well underway. Last week at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, the keynote speaker and Echoing Green president, Cheryl Dorsey, began her great talk with some hints to us attendees on conference best practices.

So allow me to share those helpful tips with you all. They’re easy to manage but pack a big punch, and you’ll be glad you set these in motion when you get back from your next conference.

Start with the end in mind

1What are the top three things you want to get out of this conference? Whether it’s meeting a particular attendee or speaker or gaining a better understanding of how to create a social media strategy for your nonprofit, the more specific you are, the likelier you are to walk out of that conference feeling satisfied and accomplished.

Also, something that stood out to me as being really powerful was that Cheryl mentioned being conscious of not only meeting those who can help you, but those who you can help as well. They are equally important. Continue reading

March 24, 2014

5 fundraising tips you can learn from JetBlue

jetblue_airport_kiosk - NEW

Keeping your donate pages simple and foolproof, like the airline’s kiosks, is the name of the game

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, general public.

John HaydonAll nonprofit marketers should fly JetBlue at least once. Just to use the check-in kiosks. If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at the one shown above.

Most of us hate the check-in process at the airport. The mixed up flights and delays. Making sure your bottles of hair products and lotions are all in order. And TSA guards, although I find them pleasant most of the time.

JetBlue isn’t going to change the TSA, but they have made make the check-in process painless!

1. No needless info: The welcome screen tells you exactly what to do (swipe your credit card or enter a confirmation number). They don’t describe every step you’ll need to go through, just the step you need to know right then.

Are your donation pages overcomplicating things with  needless information? Continue reading

March 19, 2014

Disrupting the nonprofit sector

ntc crowd
A scene from last year’s NTC (Photo by JD Lasica).

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Caroline AvakianThe 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, which took place last week in DC, is a conference that so many nonprofit tech and communications staffers look forward to every year because of the great sessions, useful tips and tools, and awesome people committed to using technology to advance social good.

I was pretty excited when I saw that there was a “Disrupting the Nonprofit Sector” session. I like forward-thinking panels of this type because I look to conferences for two things: practical tools and updates on my sector that I can use straightaway on Monday morning, and importantly, sessions on the future of our sector. Continue reading

March 10, 2014

SourceRise: Connecting nonprofits/NGOs to journalists

Arya & Caroline
Caroline Avakian, SourceRise founder & CEO, with Arya Iranpour, Chief Technology Officer and founding engineer (Photo by Maulin Mehta)

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, journalists, educators, general public.

JD LasicaWhile a number of promising Web 2.0 social enterprises have launched in the past few years, SourceRise, which just soft launched in beta last week, is showing great momentum right out of the gate. SourceRise, founded by our very own Caroline Avakian (managing partner at Socialbrite), connects journalists and bloggers to sources at international NGOs and nonprofits in an effort to diversify the voices represented in the news and to increase the number of well researched, compelling development and foreign news stories in traditional media.

Last week I interviewed Caroline to find out more about SourceRise and how it’s building bridges between the media and nonprofit sources.

In a nutshell tell us about SourceRise and how it connects journalists and bloggers to NGO and nonprofit sources.

SourceRise is a social enterprise that directly connects journalists to sources at international NGOs and nonprofits. In a time when international news gathering budgets are shrinking at record rates, it is becoming more difficult for major news outlets to independently cover international and development news stories. Via a network of journalists and expert global NGO sources, SourceRise enables development foreign news reporting rooted in real time, accuracy, and deep context. Continue reading