Monday, December 29, 2008

Stimulate Nonprofits, too

"But in the end it would be unwise to leave this sector (nonprofit sector) out of any initiative to restore the health of the economy." - Brookings Institution

An economic stimulus package that ignores investment into the nonprofit sector is irresponsible and short-sighted. It would be an opportunity to direct money not only into the very programs supporting our country's human infrastructure but also for the necessary capacity building and systemic infrastructure needed for these organizations to be clear on their purpose and creative in meeting the growing needs.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Celebrate What's Right & Embrace the Self

DeWitt Jones encourages us to celebrate what's right in the world. He asserts it starts with the self. Be who you are with discipline and grace. Be the best not in the world but for the world -- with a 'both/and' balance between who you are and what you want to do. What do you need to do in your life in order to discover that within yourself, live forward those intents and positively influence the world around you?
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Considerations re: Change

When seeking to inspire, initiate or manage change, consider this: Believe and it shall be. Consider that there might be more possibility if you celebrate what's right rather than dwell on what's wrong. Think about what is working and what could be better. Then, find ways to convert those thoughts into action(s). You might consider that by opening yourself to those possibilities, you can transform the ordinary. You can go beyond business as usual. You can find a renewed source of energy to sustain the change.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Link to LinkedIn

Put online networking to work for you. LinkedIn can provide you with opportunities to build your professional network and your reputation.

//Ask & Answer
Use LinkedIn Answers to ask a question of the online community and gain perspectives from people around the world. Better yet, answer questions posted by others with thoughtful responses that reflect your positioning and your expertise.

//Share Kind Words
Write a recommendation about one of your connections. [But, if you don't mean it, don't write it because it becomes part of a permanent record outside of your control and as part of your profile.]

//Build Your Network Purposefully
Ask for introductions. One purpose of LinkedIn is to leverage your connections. Remember, though, neither you nor your contact is under any obligation to connect with someone or make an introduction. If you're not comfortable, decline politely. Scott Allen on Linked Intelligence recommends handling these situations with an e-mail, perhaps beginning, "Thanks for inviting me to connect on LinkedIn. I would like to start a dialogue, get to know each other and find out how we might be of service to each other ..."

LinkedIn can be a helpful tool for you or your organization. Leverage it carefully. Be authentic and consistent. And, remember that whether you're networking on-line or in-person, proper etiquette goes a long way to positioning you as someone others want to get to know.
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Great Idea to Spark Giving

What a great idea from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region in Wisconsin. It is hosting an Open House for Giving Hearts on December 18 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The community foundation will match up to $100,000 in gifts from individuals to any charitable organization serving residents of the Foundation’s service region. Cash, checks, credit cards ... whatever the individual prefers. Hopefully this example will inspire creative thinking from funders in all regions of the country.
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Facebook Isn't For Everyone

Online networking is fascinating. Established tools like Facebook and LinkedIn make it as easy to connect with people around the world as across the hall. You can share interesting pieces of information about yourself, your interests and your skills. You can share your network with others. You can become part of an online community. Yet, people seem to lose sight of the fact that technology doesn't yet completely override the rules of engagement that differ between friends and colleagues.

While your boss or your Board might be encouraging you to jump on the Facebook bandwagon, remember that Facebook is primarily personal. It's an exchange among friends. It's the place where people can throw virutal snowballs at you, where they can see silly photos of you posted by someone you knew years ago from an event you'd rather forget.

There are ways nonprofits can benefit from Facebook, certainly. If you choose to pursue it, however, know your objective and shape your actions. Put a plan in place to make it work over the long term.

And, before you send out a friend request or accept one, think about whether or not it is in your professional interest to invite that person and all of their friends into your home. If you're not sure, you might want to ignore the friend request and send them an invitiation to link with you on the tool positioned for professionals: LinkedIn.
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Talking With Type

Typography is a language that speaks through the words it creates. The nuance of the letterform holds meaning and creates an impression that can make or break your intention (and your brand). Just as you carefully choose your words, spend time and thought on your font.

For the most part keep it simple. Identify an appropriate serif and sans serif font to serve as the foundation for your organizational typographic go-tos. Consider whether Times, though convenient and readily available, really does convey the emotion you want to project for your organization. Think about readability by your target audience and scalability; you want your brand fonts to be as legible and beautiful at 6 points as at 7 feet tall.

Take care, too, in their usage. Exercise restraint when bolding, underlining, italicizing and capping. Each treatment sends a message, and too many messages diminishes your positive impact.

Rules are made to be broken, yes. But only with good reason. So, since talking with type can take a lifetime to master, tread cautiously and build a basic knowledge to improve the credibility and validity of your organization's communications.
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Integrate Your Events

A well-integrated event doesn't always require a department or a team of full-time event planners. It does, however, require attention to planning and to details.

Start with a clear purpose for the event, know whom you want to impress (and why), get commitment to the objectives and communicate it consistently with everyone involved in making it a success (before, during and after). Make a plan of action months before the big day and find the thread that is going to bind all of the components together.

Hone a message (words and visuals) that reflects your planning. Connect your invitation with your program with the name tags and the signage. Tie in the welcome remarks and closing send-off. Theme your menu with your music with your thank you after the fact.

These basics can help you create a simple, yet strong slate against which your attendees can craft the next chapter in your story.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

MOVE parallels Appreciative Inquiry

Interesting how new ideas and process breakthroughs are often unknown interpretations of other genius moments researched and documented in a parallel world. Take, for instance, the Timpano Group MOVE Methodology. During recent training on appreciative inquiry, the similiarities were unmistakable. Different labels, yes, but the thinking, the process, the focus on collaborative, participatory, whole-brained thinking about connecting people and improving organizations ... remarkably similar. And those similarities only validate and affirm the value of discovery and inquiry for organizations seeking a more positive way to move beyond business as usual.
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