Use the news

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.

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