Being dragged kicking and twittering…

June 24, 2010

You are probably way ahead of me on this social networking thing. I love Facebook and I’ve been doing that for a couple of years, but Twitter, LinkedIn and all the other networks out there leave my head spinning.

I ran across Beth Kanter’s blog and this entry, has me thinking about how to implement social media better so that I can serve nonprofits and local experts in the best way possible. I’ll be experimenting and reporting back my results. I’d also love suggestions from you. What can I do on these networks that will help you get what you need from DFWSpeakers? Let me know here, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

If you are struggling with this as well, you may want to take a look at Beth’s blog!

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Use the news

May 27, 2010

You’ve heard it before; there is so much information to keep up with. Unfortunately for all of us it is true. One minute you can be swimming comfortably in the sea of information only to find yourself drowning in it a day later.

As nonprofit professionals, it is absolutely necessary that we keep abreast of what is going on, not just in the areas we service, but in general so that we can better seize opportunities for fundraising and service enhancements to the constituents we serve.

I worked for one executive director who had piles of newspapers and magazines in the corner. She was waiting for a free moment to go through them. In the four years we worked together, the moment never came.

Now there are electronic tools at our disposal that make this job a lot easier. Some, like Google Alerts, are free. You type in the subject(s) and or keyword(s) that interest you and whenever the news aggregator comes across it, a message is sent to the email you designate. Free services have their limitations, primarily that they don’t include hyper local publications like your neighborhood newspaper. If you need that, a service like Texas Press Clipping Bureau is worth the money.

Once you start reading and assimilating the knowledge you have to use it.

Some of the best uses are to:

  • Link to the article through social media networks
  • Write opinion pieces for blogs (yours or others) outlining your organization’s stance on a topic
  • Collect as documentation of need for fundraising initiatives

Smaller staffs, tighter budgets, and increased client demands make the important but not urgent task of staying abreast much more difficult, but if you set aside a few minutes a day to scan the news that applies to you, it can make a difference in how you communicate to the people who matter most.

Become the go-to expert in your community

April 27, 2010

My husband rolled over with his brow furrowed after checking  his voice mail. “The TV station wants me to cook today. Again.” I gave him the well known, “And the problem is?” look.

He had a million other things to do that day at our restaurant and while he could squeeze a television appearance in, he didn’t want his day rushed like that. I cocked my eyebrow at him.

“Alright, alright,” he said.

I hadn’t said a word, but he knows where I stand on this issue. Exposure in mass media does amazing things for any organization, non-profit or not. The big question is “How do I become the go-to expert for my industry?”

It turns out it isn’t as difficult as you may think. The most important thing is always be available, hence my facial expressions to my dear, sweet, husband. Most of the time, reporters are working on a deadline and if they can’t get a quick response from you, they move on down their list until they arrive at someone who can.

Here are three more suggestions for getting started.

  1. Know your stuff. This is vital for seeking out interesting angles in current events that impact your clients. Print and television news are competing with the immediacy of the internet. It is very easy for everyone to be saying the same thing about the same topics. If you can pitch a different angle that is still accessible to the majority of their audience, you are on to something.
  2. Know the media people. Cultivating a relationship with reporters and editors is much easier than you might imagine. Email addresses now accompany many bylines. If you see a story that you could have offered additional information or insight on, shoot a quick email about yourself and your organization to the reporter. If legislation is coming down the pike that will impact a significant number of people or a particular population that your organization serves, fire off an email to the editor with a heads up about it, along with your organization’s take.
  3. Know your key people. As tempting as it may be to automatically choose the executive director to serve as the expert, it is beneficial to also match the skill sets with the medium. If the board chair is well known in the community and has a penchant for speaking well in front of people, he or she may be the best face for your organization on television or radio. If the Executive Director is better at writing (or a wordsmith exists in the organization who can ghost write something for him or her), then use that person for community opinion pieces for the local paper.

If this is something you are interested in, consider the above suggestions your homework. I’ll touch base in a couple of weeks with more detailed suggestions.

Wild Apricot Blog : 28+ Free Webinars for Nonprofits – March 2010

March 4, 2010

Wild Apricot Blog : 28+ Free Webinars for Nonprofits – March 2010.

Are Your Meetings A Waste of Time?

February 12, 2010

 

You may have heard it. You’ve probably even thought it yourself. Meetings are a waste of time. Meetings take too long. What we discuss at this meeting isn’t relevant or helpful to me.

We’ve all sat in a meeting that we wished we could have missed. But your meetings don’t have to be that way. Used properly meetings can be a valuable tool for educating people who share similar aims and goals, motivating lagging members, or revving up the best members to go even further. The key to good meetings is good planning.

Make your next meeting better by:

  1. Starting and ending on time—So simple but often overlooked
  2. Picking and advertising and enticing topics—Advertising can be done free of charge by using your email list or submitting an announcement in your local paper
  3. Publicizing and sticking to a printed agenda­—Email the agenda ahead of time and/or have it printed and waiting at the door to be handed out as members enter
  4. Assigning action items with deadlines, and then following up so that people know their work is not in vain
  5. Sending minutes out shortly after the meeting—Within a week is best if you meet monthly, sooner if you meet more often

A surefire way to add a little zing to your meetings is to invite an expert to address a topic that is of interest and importance to your members. Find one at dfwspeakers.com. We are adding speaker experts every day.