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Join the Social Media Conversation: Sunday May 1 8:00 PM EDT

Looking forward to an hour on Twitter Sunday May 1 8:00 PM on #CargillChat on Twitter with @CargillCreative Bob Cargill. The guy with the marketing sensibility that points us in smart directions on how to build Nonprofit communication effectiveness by applying social media tools. Relationship Fundraising means we first build the relationship. The donations follow when the donor gets the impression that your nonprofit is delivering value to a client base s/he feels some empathy for. It’s about the good you deliver to customers. The nonprofit is an empty shell if it’s only promoting its own survival. It’s about the primary customers you serve and how they value your service. Social media are tools that help deliver that story.

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Where are you headed? And who’s coming with you?

The effective nonprofit leader steps back now and again and asks her/himself these questions: Where am I going? And who’s coming with me?
Beyond the strategic plan of your organization with its mission and goals and annual work plan.
Beyond the budget and the staff meetings and schmoozing out in the community.
What feels fulfilling to you? What is it about the people around you and their response to you that helps give you energy?
Recently I went back to a series of interview snippets from the Washington Post with leaders from various walks in life. It’s here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-leadership/.
They talked about what floats their boat.
What it is that drives each of them as an individual…and how that translates into Leadership.
Take a listen. Pause and reflect. And think about what’s driving you whenever and however you communicate.

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Haven From Hunger Gets Strategic

On Friday, March 14 at 8:00 in the morning a room full of community leaders will gather to help set the strategic direction for Haven From Hunger.

Among Massachusetts North Shore community service agencies, Haven From Hunger is among the leaders in serving the poor. Literally and figuratively. Four nights a week at the Haven HQ on Wallis Street in Peabody, staff and volunteers serve in the vicinity of forty people a hot meal. And along with the meal, a chance to gather with others, have some conversation, and learn that there are people in this community who care.

In Peabody, Salem and Lynnfield The Haven operates food pantries providing emergency food to those who need it. Whose Food Stamps (SNAP) run out at the end of the month, who just got laid off, or who just find themselves on a day or a week or more…down on their luck.

The need in these communities far outstrip The Haven’s current capacity to serve. So it’s time for some action to grow the program, reach more people.

Because people should not have to go to bed hungry at night.

And beyond the tangible reality of the food, there’s the intangible need to know that there are people in the community who want to help. And WILL help.

If you’re a reader of this blog and you happen to be in the vicinity of Peabody Mass early this Friday morning, please let me know by responding to s.p.99smith@gmail.com and I’ll be sure there’s a place for you at breakfast Friday when we help determine best direction for this great nonprofit in serving its clientele.

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Community Connectivity for your Nonprofit

No nonprofit is an island. We achieve success in our Mission by employing networks. We connect people who together can add more value than they can individually, all by their lonesome.
So finding intelligent ways to connect to put our Mission to work in our community should be one of the primary jobs of a nonprofit executive and those who work under her/his leadership.
One good way to get this done is through Rotary. I recommend that nonprofit executives join their local Rotary Clubs. Or, other community connecting organizations like the Lions.
Joining the Chamber of Commerce is a peachy idea, too.
Places where connections happen. Where the executive can learn what’s cooking in the community and demonstrate the value of their nonprofit.
Right now, the Rotary Club of Peabody (Massachusetts) is preparing for our Taste of the North Shore. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we’ve been going strong for ten years. Raising upwards of $15K to then bestow on community charities to do their good work. As well as support Rotary International Foundation to do work on a worldwide scope. Like fighting Polio.
Connecting is a fundamental for delivering good work.
Find your best way to accomplish it and your Mission will go further than it would otherwise.

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To Make an Omelette, You Need to Break a Few Eggs

Tuesday night (February 11) in my Northeastern University fundraising class, students presented their Donor Acquisition project to our “client” nonprofit. Our client is a living, breathing charitable organization based in the Greater Boston area. The student team was helping the Development Director think about raising money for a new program.
Usually when we work with nonprofits we’re thinking about the overall organization. We tend to shy away from projects where we raise money for just one aspect of the work. Because these funds become in a sense, “restricted.” These funds are for a single purpose.
We spent part our our time together Tuesday thinking through how to introduce this to the Board.
How can we build some enthusiasm for this new effort…recognizing that we run the risk of drawing attention away from the “old standbys.”
We recommended a specially designed presentation at the meeting that will put a spark in what otherwise might feel like a “business as usual” Board meeting. Maybe a musical skit. Maybe a party with special desserts, balloons, and all the stuff. Something. Out of the ordinary.
Nonprofit leaders should consider taking a special, unusual, even extraordinary approach when trying to get the Board’s attention on something important.
So think about escaping the “same-old, same-old” at your meeting when you have something new up your sleeve.

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