May 21, 2012

How to partner and form coalitions to grow impact


Image by Paha_L on BigStockPhoto.com

10 easy steps to help you on your collaboration journey

Guest post by Susannah Vila
Movements.org

To achieve scale and grow impact for your cause, it sometimes make sense to collaborate with other social good organizations.

Creating partnerships — and possibly building a coalition — is likely to increase the amount of resources available to you and the impact you’ll make in the world. Work with everybody – from the public to allied groups to governments to corporations – and let everybody work with you.

Here are 10 quick steps to help you on your collaboration journey:

Set expectations and define goals

1The campaign that you’re bringing other activists and organizations into should be clearly defined and visible. They should understand why they’re joining forces with you. What do you want the final result to be? What are the steps you’ll take to get there?

Determine a time frame

2What is your timeline? Depending on how short or long term your campaign will be, you might want to create a more temporary council or group of some sort instead of a coalition.

Make a list of potential allies

3When you think about it, you may be surprised at how many allies you have in your community. Groups, institutions, businesses and individuals who share some of the same interests as you are all people who you could be working with. Make a list of possibilities.

Research projects they’re working on

4Once you’ve identified organizations with similar goals, research them. Take notes. Educate yourself before you contact anyone. Know the projects that the organization is working on, the projects it previously worked on, and how the organization may fit within your campaign.

Consider organizations with different perspectives

5Don’t neglect “strange bedfellows,” or people whose politics may differ from yours but whose goals may be aligned with those of your campaign in at least the short term. You may be surprised at how frequently diverse groups can come together over a single issue. For example, read about the ‘”strange bedfellows” campaign to fight telecom immunity.

You’re more likely to succeed if the group of people brainstorming your strategy and tactics is itself from a diverse background, as one of them is more likely to see a situation in a novel way and come up with a novel solution. Continue reading

September 30, 2011

12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event

live tweeting at TED
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams live-tweets on stage at the TED conference.

Learn how Twitter can help you make the most of your next conference

This is part of our series on how nonprofits can get the most out of Twitter and the first in a series of guest posts from content partner Movements.org.

Guest post by Susannah Vila
Movements.org

twitter-essentialsWhether you are hosting an event such as a fund-raiser or a conference, or you are signed up to attend one, Twitter can help you to expand the event’s reach, grow your organization’s audience and connect with potential collaborators or partners.

One effective technique is to take advantage of Twitter’s viral power during an event or conference — your own or someone else’s. Here’s a 12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event.

1Choose a hashtag or find the hashtag that the organizers have picked. It should be short so that plenty of characters are left for the content of your tweets. People generally put the hashtag at the end of every tweet about the event. This way, anyone following that stream will see your posts and identify you or your organization as part of that event.

Tip: You don’t need to be at an event to join in on the hashtag stream. Many people follow along from a livestream and use the hashtag to share their thoughts, or point out memorable insights, to those who are both attending the event or watching remotely.

Tip: Which tool will you be using to engage with the Twitter conversation during your event? TweetDeck on your laptop? Twitter.com? Use TagDef to find out what a hashtag means.

2Pay attention. It may seem obvious, but the whole point of tweeting from a conference or other event is to choose the statements made by speakers (or people asking questions) that are the most interesting to your followers. Not everything said at a conference is worth repeating, so don’t bother with platitudes and instead just highlight those thoughts that come out of the live conversation that strike you as worth thinking more about or worth relaying to your audience.

Twitpic3Know your audience. When at an event, it’s never a bad idea to remind yourself of who your audience is and how this event fits with their interests. If they are following you because you or your organization focuses on one issue in particular, then they will probably be expecting your tweets to relate to that topic. When choosing which ideas and comments to bring into the Twitter conversation, check with yourself to ensure that your tweets will be relevant to your followers.

4Use attribution: A big part of tweeting from a conference or other event is about curating the most relevant and important points that speakers make and sharing them with your followers. If someone says something interesting, use a format like “[name] says [their statement].” Whenever you can, use the speaker’s Twitter handle to attribute a statement to them — this allows an interested follower to immediately see their bio, picture and website. If you can’t find the Twitter handle right away, just search Google for “their name” + “Twitter.” Make it as easy as possible for your followers to identify who’s speaking — you don’t want to run the risk of people taking a statement or idea out of context or simply getting confused by your tweets and unfollowing you. Continue reading