The First NextGen Breakfast: Phenomenal

Next Gen Final LogoWhat does it take to be a nonprofit leader in the 21st century? How can we connect the young leaders of Atlanta with seasoned professionals in the field in a meaningful way?

 

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves when we beFreddie_OGgan planning YNPN Atlanta’s signature annual event many months ago. The event took shape through exploration of these questions and on Tuesday, October 8th, the YNPN Atlanta First Annual NextGen Breakfast took place at The Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta, with the incredible support of presenting sponsor, MailChimp.

 

First, we needed a fascinating keynote speaker that would draw our members to the event and be sure to deliver a motivating address about how to be an   effective nonprofit leader. Alicia Philipp, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, did not disappoint. More on that in a moment!

 

Second, we hoped to find 10 additional local nonprofit ‘celebrities’ that would each have a table at the event. Attendees would then be able to choose the table at which they wanted to be seated, depending on their professional interests or desire to meet a particular nonprofit rockstar. YNPN Atlanta was overjoyed and humbled that everyone we reached out to was excited to participate! Here’s the rundown of our incredible nonprofit celebrity guest list:

Speakers with MailChimp sponsor _GregMooney

AliciaPhilipp speaks1_GregMooney
After welcoming remarks from YNPN Atlanta Chair Lindsey Hardegree, Alicia Philipp told us about her strategies for successful leadership, especially for those of us at a young age (see image on right). She spoke at length about the need embrace diversity, to get out of your comfort zone, and to continue to grow and learn, at one point going so far as to say: "Once a quarter, do something that makes you want to throw up." She also talked about the shifting dynamics between nonprofits, government, and individuals, and about the “meanness of spirit” that exists today, challenging nonprofit professionals to do something about it.

 

A few of the local nonprofit rockstars who were unable to attend to due to scheduling conflicts generously donated their time for our Silent Auction, and attendees got to bid on one-on-one lunches with them! We were able to get other fantastic items such as classes at the Foundation Center and at the Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s Nonprofit University.
Personally, I sat at a table with Valarie Wilson of the Atlanta Beltline Partnership. We learned about Valarie’s path to success and she questioned us on whether we were preparing to take the next step in our own careers.
Attendees Talking at Table _GregMooney 

Even though I was often busy with preparations and the running of the event, I still managed to meet new people, network with some of our ‘celebrity’ guests, re-connect with folks I had met at previous YNPN Atlanta events, enjoy a great breakfast, and come away with ideas on how to better organize my career goals.

While planning the NextGen Breakfast, we hoped it was something we could replicate for years to come. With such a resounding success in its first year, you can expect that it will happen again in 2014. Personally, I can’t wait!

 

Please leave your thoughts on the event, suggestions for the future, or other comments below!
 

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Nonprofit Tools & Technology - July

This month we’re featuring tools for group-fundraising and link tracking.

As always, our featured tools will cover a broad range of uses - from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all will be selected based on their usefulness, ease of use, and cost (most, if not all will have a free version...).  


Crowdtilt – Fundraise with group-funding campaigns

crowdtilt logoOverview: Crowdtilt is a group-funding tool that can be used to raise money for a specific objective.  Crowdtilt’s platform lets supporters contribute money, however, the funds are only released if the campaign reaches its fundraising goal.  This model particularly useful for nonprofits because it reduces the risk for fundraisers AND potential funders.  The platform also streamlines the process of organizing/promoting fundraising campaigns as well as the donation processing.

Cost: Crowdtilt receives a 2.5% processing fee for successful nonprofit campaigns

Potential Uses: One-time fundraisers (e.g., an emergency relief fund, scholarship), small capital projects, investments in new equipment, events/ticket-sales

bitly – Easily save, share, and TRACK links

bitly logoOverview: bitly is a web-tool used for shortening, sharing, and best of all - tracking links.  Users can save links (“bitmarks”) through a variety of ways including the bit.ly website, mobile devices, and browser bookmarklets/extensions (ex. Chrome extension).  While there are many saving/shortening tools available (e.g., Delicious, Tinyurl), bitly has additional link tracking features.  Once a bitmark is created, users can easily view real-time analytics (example), regardless of whose content it is or where the content is shared (e.g., email, social media, website). Whether it’s your organization’s annual report or a YouTube video that a supporter created, you can promote and track your content without digging through analytics reports from multiple sources.

Cost: bitly is free
Potential Uses: Links used in social media marketing, email campaigns, and even on your organization’s website
Jeffrey Ader, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member
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GCN's 2013 Nonprofit Summit

The Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s (GCN) 2013 Nonprofit Summit took place May 20-21. The Summit included more workshops, lectures, and other events than could be attended by one or two people. I have tried to summarize a few take-away points from some of my favorite sessions. Check out some of our photos on Facebook from the event.
With so many amazing speakers and topics, I recommend that all nonprofits send more than one representative to this event every year, in order to take advantage of the opportunities for learning and growth.
I walked around the Exhibit Hall, visiting with the many exhibitors who were there, and several of them commented to me on how many YNPN members they had met. This was due in no small part to YNPN Atlanta’s collaboration with GCN on the 30 Under 30 Awards, and in the creation of the ’30 Under 30’ track at the conference, including bringing Trish Tchume, YNPN National’s Executive Director, to present at the Summit.
AwardWinners_panorama All 30 award winners at the Summit!
There was also fun to be had at the conference, especially at the Opportunity Knocks photobooth, run by wowphotobooth.com! Here's a collage of some YNPN'ers hamming it up:

photobooth_collage

A phenomenal session on Social Media Strategy with Alyssa Esker of Edelman included the tidbit that Facebook posts create engagement for 2 to 3 hours only (on Twitter, it’s an hour or less), and 70% of post engagement happens in someone’s News Feed, not on your organization’s Page. Ms. Esker also wisely told the audience to get on Google+, but to use it as an amplifier, not a community builder. Google+ helps with search results, which is critical. (FYI, YNPN Atlanta is on Google+!)
Slide_StateOfNonprofits_DracosLemmingAnother wonderful presentation I saw was from Ellen Dracos Lemming and it was about the Donor Landscape of 2050. Check out this slide about the growth of the sector in the past 25 years:
She also spoke about the five Tectonic Shifts in donors that will be occurring:
  1. Demographics: especially age, but also ethnicity
  2. Technology: note that older Americans are already increasingly going mobile
  3. Globalization: “geography is irrelevant”
  4. Saturation: more like over-saturation of stimuli and information
  5. Brand: creation of a feeling, a personality, around your organization
Ms. Lemming emphasized that there are only two of these shifts that organizations have any control over: Technology and Brand. She encouraged us to think about ways to use these to our advantage.
Last, but in no way least, was the 30 Under 30 Session headed up by Trish Tchume and our own YNPN Atlanta President, Lindsey Hardegree on ‘Your Role in Cultivating Next Generation Leadership.’ We’ve got their presentation slides posted on slideshare and embedded below.

There was a breakout discussion during the session on what kinds of professional development we each are getting, and what improvements could be made. One fabulous piece of advice that I took to heart: in addition to your annual review, request a Professional Development Plan (PDP)  that includes the skills you need/want to work on throughout the upcoming year.
The group also discussed leveraging the benefits to the organization when asking for funding for professional development opportunities (ex: “if I take this training class in InDesign, we will save money on hiring outside consultants to tweak our graphics”).
Overall, I met so many amazing people at the Summit, and sat in on more than a dozen workshops, presentations, and discussion groups. YNPN Atlanta will keep you informed when next year's Summit comes around, and we will hopefully have discounts and volunteer opportunities for our members once again!
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Summer Reading List - May

As summer approaches and vacation time is on the horizon, I typically start a list of books I’d like to tackle before the busy fall season. I certainly include my share of lighter fare, but I usually try to throw in a few reads that will exercise my mind, and, as an added bonus, help me grow in my career.
If like me you’re looking for some picks for this summer, here are a few I’d suggest checking out. And stay tuned for more recommendations from YNPNers in June and July!

For Business:

Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
You’ll want to buy this book brand new, as it comes with a unique log-in for an online assessment questionnaire designed to help you determine your strengths, as well as action steps for how to make the most of them. After you take the online questionnaire, you’ll receive a personalized Strengths Insights Report and Action-Planning Guide. A #1 Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller, the book offers additional insights into your strengths, information about working with others with your strengths, and also ideas for action. Rather than focusing on fixing your shortcomings, this book emphasizes developing your strengths as a way to find fulfillment in your career. It’s an eye-opening exercise and a rewarding read.
How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar by Trista Harris and Rosetta Thurman
This do-it-yourself map helps you navigate the nonprofit sector and offers tools that you need to move from entry level to leadership. The book is based on the authors' experiences as well as interviews with “nonprofit rockstars” who have quickly accelerated their careers. Topics covered in the book are how to develop meaningful nonprofit experience, build a strong network, establish a strong personal brand, achieve work/life balance, and move up in your career. Author Rosetta Thurman actually visited Atlanta back in November for a free nonprofit career workshop at the Foundation Center.
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
As the subtitle suggests, this book is about “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” A nonfiction book that reads like a page-turner, this one is a recent favorite. Gladwell focuses on how a seemingly small or insignificant idea, trend or behavior can trigger a social epidemic, worldwide fashion trend, or drop in crime rate. As I read this book, I often got inspiration for new ways to approach my own professional development as well as nonprofit marketing and fundraising.

For Pleasure:

The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs
This memoir by NPR contributor and magazine editor A.J. Jacobs tells the somewhat ridiculous and often hilarious story of the author’s quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. With chapters titled A to Z, the book is full of interesting facts and truly amusing tales of Jacobs’ determination to finish all 33,000 pages. I had a blast reading this book and even more fun impressing (or annoying) my friends with quirky bits of info I may never have known if I hadn’t picked it up.
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Nonprofit Tools & Technology - May

This month we’re featuring tools for creating online wish lists and interactive data visualizations.

As always, our featured tools will cover a broad range of uses - from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all will be selected based on their usefulness, ease of use, and cost (most, if not all will have a free version).  

GiFTgive – FUNDRAISE WITH ONLINE WISH LISTS

Overview: GiFTgive lets organizations make custom online wish lists (through Amazon.com) which can then be shared with donors. Unlike a traditional gift registry, the feature-rich platform allows organizations to customize the look and feel of the wish list page as well as the donor thank you message. The platform also lets donors make partial donations towards more expensive items.  The obvious benefits for donors are the opportunities to make non-cash contributions and to see the direct impact of contributions. For nonprofits, using GiFTgive can be an easy way to solicit contributions for goods/equipment that may not be a budget priority or that are not costly enough to require a dedicated fundraising campaign.

Cost:  Pricing plans range from a 4.9% transaction fee to a fixed $49 monthly or $495 annual fee
Potential Uses: Holiday season wish lists, office relocation/renovation wish lists, program equipment wish lists


TABLEAU PUBLIC – EASILY CREATE DATA VISUALIZATIONS

Overview: Tableau Public is a free application for creating interactive data visualizations that can be shared and embedded online.  Unlike many data visualization tools, it requires no programming or graphic design skills.  Users can import data from Excel/Access and then use a simple drag and drop process to create and customize interactive charts.  Charts (or groups of charts in a dashboard format) can be shared online and embedded in webpages.  Tableau Public is a particularly powerful tool for nonprofits given its ease of use and ability to visually communicate complex data sets.  Not only can a nonprofits leverage data collected from its services/programs, but it can also take advantage of publicly available data sets (examples using government/public data).

Cost: Pricing plans include a free application as well as personal and professional versions that range up to $1,999

Potential Uses:  Issue advocacy/education, program metrics/evaluation, financial transparency
- Jeffrey Ader, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member
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State of Fundraising Roundtable Wrap-Up

A recent study by CompassPoint looked at the state of fundraising and fundraising professionals. The study, “UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising,” found that about half of chief fundraisers are considering leaving the profession completely. Organizations are also seeing open fundraising positions remain unfilled for months. According to Marla Cornelius, a senior project director at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and co-author of the study, the results of the study go beyond staffing issues to the heart of culture.
“’Too many organizations lack a culture of philanthropy, which means that development directors don’t have the conditions they need to succeed,’ she says. ‘It’s a vicious cycle.’”
On Wednesday, April 24, YNPN Atlanta held a panel and discussion group on “The State of Fundraising.” We were joined by three Atlanta nonprofit fundraising professionals:
- John Clark, Associate Vice President for Development, Georgia State University - Subie Green, President, Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) - Elizabeth Pearce, Campaign Director, Coxe Curry & Associates
All three panelists agreed that the study struck a chord and was completely on point with its key findings. One major challenge the panelists added that they are seeing is a shift in fundraising staffs having the primary or sole responsibility for raising money instead of the Board of Directors. A major reason for this is that a proliferation of nonprofit organizations has diluted the effectiveness of Board members. Too many of the same people are being asked to serve on 3, 4, 5 or 6 boards, which dilute their fundraising abilities and opportunities.
GSU's Jon Clark speaks with YNPN members during a breakout at the Fundraising Roundtable event. GSU's Jon Clark speaks with YNPN members during a breakout at the Fundraising Roundtable event.
After hearing from the panelists about the study and the current state of fundraising, we broke into three discussion groups. The event participants had the opportunity to discuss the CompassPoint study in depth with one of our experts,  as well as ask relevant questions about  beginning and growing a career in fundraising.
The key ideas that came out of these discussions were:
- Make the ask - Take a risk - Role play or practice the ask (especially with Board members) - Everyone in the organization is in 'sales' (not just the fundraising staff) - Fundraising is a skill set and a profession - Find a mentor in the field and don’t be afraid to ask - Invest fully in the mission of the organization - Fundraising = relationships - Relationships encompass all areas of work - Focus on quality relationships vs. quantity - The structure of an organization affects the capacity to fundraise - Do your homework when job seeking about the organization(s) you want to work for - Find the right fit in a job – you are interviewing the organization as much as they are interviewing you
To read the Chronicle of Philanthropy article highlighting the key points of the CompassPoint study, click here.
In a related topic, a recent TED Talk by activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta, “The way we think about charity is dead wrong,” calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend -- not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let's change the way we think about changing the world. Watch this dynamic and forward thinking talk:

http://embed.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html


- Kate Balzer, YNPN Atlanta Member
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Thank Your Volunteers - It's National Volunteer Week

national volunteer week 2013Happy National Volunteer Week YNPNer’s! April 21-27th is a time to recognize and celebrate the work that is done through service, and as we all know, volunteers are essential at helping to carry out the mission of any nonprofit organization. From serving at your nonprofit’s annual fundraiser to providing day-to-day support, volunteers are a great group of individuals who are passionate about the work of our organizations and want to donate their time to support.
According to the Independent Sector, the estimated value of volunteer time in Georgia is $20.77/hr. That’s an incredible amount of worth that these individuals are providing for organizations that are operating as cost efficiently as possible.
During National Volunteer Week (and really, throughout the year), find some time to recognize the volunteers who help your organization thrive. Here are some ways you can acknowledge those individuals:
-       Handwritten Thank You Cards – With the noise of email and social media, some volunteers, especially ones of older generations, would prefer more personal and individual forms of gratitude. Handwritten cards, notes, and letters can show your volunteers that you took the time out to craft the message to them.
-       Make a video or photo slideshow – Along with writing a note, if you have long term volunteers or ones that help at major events or fundraisers, consider creating a video or photo slideshow that highlights not only the event, but those that were on the ground helping to make it all run smoothly. Make some copies for your volunteers to take home so that they can look back fondly on their service experience and pass it along to others, which can help your organization retain and recruit new individuals for future events.
-       Write a Recommendation – For skills-based or long term volunteers, writing a recommendation, either as a letter or on LinkedIn, that emphasizes the quality of the individual’s work would be a great way to recognize their service. This would also be a good vehicle to highlight the details of the projects the individual worked on and how it contributed to the goals of your nonprofit organization.
-       Highlight them on social media – A public (and free!) way to recognize your volunteers would be on social media. You can send a tweet using #NVW, post pictures, or make a video that shows you and your organization’s gratitude to the service these members have contributed. When you tag them on a status, tweet, or other media, their networks will be able to see the post and also recognize the volunteer for the great work they did, while learning more about your organization at the same time!
-       Treat them out – The next time your volunteers come to serve, offer to take them out for lunch or coffee. This will be a nice surprise for your volunteers, and it’ll be a great way for you to get to know them on a more personal level. You can learn more about what they’re looking to get out of serving at your organization and how their service fits into other parts of their lives.
Visit VolunteerSpot for other ways that you can say thanks to volunteers during National Volunteer Week. What are some ways your organization has recognized volunteers? Share with us in the comments below!
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GCN Leadership Succession Event

Published April 17, 2013

Knowing and thinking about leadership succession is important, even for emerging professionals. Leadership change is something we will all face in our careers, if we haven’t already.
Succession Planning Expert Series | April 2013With that in mind, I was happy to attend an event on April 16th about these challenges. The Georgia Center for Nonprofits (GCN) hosts an "Expert Series," which are events open only to employees of GCN member organizations. This one was called Planning for Leadership Succession: Success Strategies and Live Case Studies and was held in the Hill Auditorium at the High Museum of Art.
The event began with networking and a continental breakfast. At 8 a m , it was a bit early, but most people appeared bright-eyed and ready for learning.
After welcoming remarks from GCN, Lita Pardi, a Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, spoke briefly about the importance of planning for transition, equating a succession plan for an organization to a will for an individual: in both cases, it’s important to make plans before the event takes place. In spite of this, as we learned later that morning, a study by the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta showed that 73% of Greater Atlanta nonprofits have no written succession plan. (Yikes!) You can find out more of the study’s findings in this article on the GCN website.
Next, we heard from Mary Bear Hughes, a Senior Consultant at GCN. She defined three aspects of succession planning and spoke about each one:
  1. Strategic planning: general plan for talent & leadership needs for the future, including specific development plans for each employee
  2. Emergency planning: having a written plan in place in case of unexpected absence of leadership; who/how, written guide (another employee? Board Chair? founder?)
  3. Departure-defined: leader has planned departure; prepare transition plan, ensure organization’s stability, examine strategic plan for priority changes (put off capital campaign, etc)
Mary Bear Hughes presenting some of the steps to create an emergency succession plan. Mary Bear Hughes presenting some of the steps to create an emergency succession plan.
One point she emphasized was that succession plans do not need to define who the permanent replacement is for a leader. I particularly liked that Ms. Hughes spoke about staff development for all employees as a part of succession planning. I hadn’t thought of staff development in the context of leadership transition, but it makes a lot of sense!
Another great takeaway from Ms. Hughes’s talk, was the mention that the Texas Commission on the Arts has great sample plans for leadership planning and transition. I found their site later and looked at some of their extensive tools, which include sample emergency and regular succession plans, exit interview questions, and much more! It really is a wonderful resource.
The last piece of the GCN event was a panel of experts. The panel consisted of:
  • Arturo Jacobus, Executive Director, Atlanta Ballet
  • Elizabeth Adams, Board Vice Chair, Atlanta Ballet
  • Meredith Rentz, CEO & President, MedShare
  • Charlie Evans, Board Vice Chair, MedShare
  • Virginia Hepner, President& CEO, Woodruff Arts Center
Each panelist first spoke about their role in the succession processes at their organizations. In particular, Arturo Jacobus spoke warmly about the smooth transition he experienced at the Atlanta Ballet. Virginia Hepner was Interim Executive Director prior to his arrival, and she and the Ballet’s Board of Directors worked hard to prepare him in advance of his arrival. Next, they set up a series of meetings with community leaders and donors for right after he began his new position, which he says helped him immensely to get on the “fast track” of the learning curve to understand the community and the organization.
In addition to serving as Interim Executive Director of the Atlanta Ballet, Virginia Hepner has also served as Interim Director at Young Audiences of Atlanta and recently transitioned into the role of CEO at the Woodruff Arts Center, so she knows quite a bit about succession and transition! She spoke about when hiring an Interim Director may be appropriate, which is generally in cases of an unexpected/quick departure.
After further edifying discussion from the panelists, an audience member asked a question I found particularly intriguing: what about Board changes after a leadership transition? Sometimes different leaders need different kinds of board members, especially if the outgoing Director is the organization’s founder. Arturo spoke about coming into new positions and finding Boards who were very comfortable and long-serving, which is not always desirable. So he recognized the truth of the audience member’s concerns, but he stressed the need for a long-term, planned process of Board turnover in order to steer it in a new direction.
This is the second event in the Expert Series I have attended, and both have been exceptional. If your organization is a member of the GCN (you can check in their online member directory), I recommend attending events in this series – they are free for members. GCN also has individual and student memberships.
~Rachel Ciprotti
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Staying “In the Know:” Getting Relevant and Essential Nonprofit News

As ambitious, emerging nonprofit professionals, many of us hold down multiple jobs, go to school part-time, work long hours, and/or volunteer regularly with several organizations. Add to this the desire to have some kind of life outside of work, perhaps even a budding family, and it is difficult to find the time to read all the latest news about our sector and the nonprofit industry in general.
It’s easy to focus solely on one’s own organization and local issues, but we need to recognize that it’s critically important not to lose sight of the larger sector in which you work (health, arts, education, homelessness prevention, etc), in addition to the nonprofit sector as a whole. This is particularly true for YNPN members, since we are at a relatively early state in our careers – it’s very possible we may move to a new area of the country, or find a job opportunity in an unexpected new field. Keeping up with the latest research, thought leaders, conferences, political and policy issues, and the general state of our sector will best prepare you for whatever may come.
The question then becomes: how does one do this without spending hours upon hours reading every day? That is time we don’t have!
Overall, it’s about discovering the right curators. You can’t read everything, so you have to seek out organizations/people/automated systems that sort through the sea of content available and deliver only the best and most useful items to you. I have a few tips, and I would love to hear your own ideas in the comments.
1. Twitter (especially lists)
Twitter has become my favorite and most reliable place to discover new and interesting tidbits that I find relevant to my life and career. Personally, I choose who I follow very carefully and judiciously, but not everyone shares that habit! Regardless of whether you follow 200 or 2000 people, I recommend creating a Twitter List that includes only those accounts you find interesting professionally. Every couple of days, scroll through that list and see what they have to say. These accounts can include bloggers, professionals, other nonprofits in your field, national nonprofit news sources…but only include those who regularly tweet interesting, relevant content. Check out this info, from Twitter, on how to use their lists feature, and you can find one person’s take on how best to create and manage lists right here.
2.     Advocacy Groups
Full disclosure: I have worked and volunteered for advocacy groups for the past 5 years. But they keep their ears to the ground for policy issues and political changes that will potentially affect your organizations, both positively and negatively. Be on their email list and follow them on social media – they will keep you abreast of what you need to know in the political realm. Seek out national organizations as well as state and regional ones.
3.     Associations & Other Newsletters
A person can only belong to so many professional associations, and one must choose carefully…but that is a subject for another blog post! You can often get news from professional associations whether you are a paid member or not. Their newsletters will include news articles, opportunities, and developments in the field. Here in Georgia, if you are not signed up for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits email list, get on it today! I also recommend Coxe Curry’s weekly email with news relevant to all nonprofits in the Atlanta area. You can subscribe here.
4.     RSS – Searches
RSS Searches: Keeping tabs on specific organizations (especially the one you work for) or keyword searches can be done using RSS feeds from specific sources (such as The New York Times or The Chronicle of Philanthropy) or Google News alerts tailored to your interests.
5.     Online bookmarking systems
Finding a system that will allow you to easily bookmark articles/blogs/websites to read or skim later on is key. When you run into things via emails or social media or whatnot, you need a way of saving the good ones for later. PC World just posted a great article on the pros and cons of three systems: OneNote, Evernote, and Google Keep.
In all of these categories, think a little outside the box when searching for sources and curators. Although I have never worked for a museum, I find the American Alliance of Museum’s (AAM) advocacy email list to be invaluable as a source of clear, reliable information on arts policy and news.
Please share your own tips, tricks, and recommended curators in the comments! This is an issue we’ll all face throughout our careers. Coming up right now with a system that works for you will help you for many years to come!
~Rachel Ciprotti
 
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Nonprofit Tools & Technology - April

This month we’re featuring tools for developing Facebook pages and performance tracking.  As always, our featured tools will cover a broad range of uses - from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all are selected based on their usefulness, ease of use and cost (most, if not all, will have a free version...).

Shortstack

 
 
 
 
ShortStack – Add functionality to Facebook page tabs

Overview: ShortStack is a tool for creating custom Facebook apps on fan pages.  The tool makes the design/development process significantly easier using templates and widgets, many of which integrate directly with a wide variety of other web services (e.g., YouTube, Twitter, MailChimp, FourSquare).  Many nonprofits are using Facebook pages as their primary website because of the ease of updating/managing, as well as the high traffic levels.  ShortStack lets nonprofits take full advantage of this web presence to engage fans, advocates, volunteers and donors.  While most of the service is fairly intuitive, it will likely still require some development experience to create/customize each Facebook application.  Even if your organization lacks these skills, it is still good to know of this tool as projects can be easily sourced to any web developer.   ShortStack also has a tremendous amount of support resources, including videos that will walk you through every step (e.g., Create a Refer-A-Friend app).  The best way to understand the potential of this tool is to check out the Example page and/or simply sign up for a free account to get first-hand experience using it.

Cost: Basic plan (allowing up to 2,000 Facebook fans) is free, and advanced plans begin at $30 per month.

Potential Uses: Facebook contests, sweepstakes, e-mail sign up, online voting, online “friendraisers”

iRunRun

 
 
 
IRUNURUN – Help individuals and organizations achieve real goals

Overview: IRUNURUN is a performance tracking app (web and iPhone) designed to help individuals/organizations achieve their goals through simple effective actions. It’s a VERY cool tool with MANY applications, including several very interesting uses in the nonprofit sector.  It is essential that an organization’s goals or mission be broken down into simple actions that an individual can do.  The IRUNURUN app lets users define these weekly actions, assign weights and frequencies, and then easily update his or her progress along the way.  Individuals can then track their weekly score (out of 100 points) on a simple dashboard as well as follow the progress of other individuals.   When an organization asks for support, they want people to do something very specific. That action might be to call a politician, e-mail friends or family, eat one more serving of vegetables every day, or share an announcement on Facebook.  Organizations must equip supporters with tools (like IRUNURUN) to empower them to actually make a difference.

Cost: Basic (though fairly robust) plan is free, and advanced plans start at $4.99 per month.

Potential Uses:  Supporter/staff challenges, advocacy weeks/months, grassroots mobilization

- Jeffrey Ader, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member
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