S1 E19: Get the Most From a Conference Without Losing Your Mind

Today we hear from Dan, who is looking for things he can do before a conference to prepare and get the most of it.

Turns out I had a lot of suggestions. 🙂

  • Sketch a schedule for yourself ahead of time, including key sessions that you want to attend, and any particular people you want to meet.
  • Do your homework on those people so you can ask informed questions (thanks, Mac!).
  • Think of clever ways to work those meetings into your schedule.
  • Leave room in the schedule for some pieces of your regular routine. Losing your sanity is not a recipe for success!
  • Don’t be TOO attached to the schedule you sketch. Remain open to new opportunities that might present themselves.
  • Practice the pitch that you’ll use to introduce yourself. Find the sweet spot where you say enough to be interesting and unique, but not so much that the asker is sorry they asked! (Thanks, Stephanie!).
  • Wear brightly colored clothes so you stand out from the crowd (Stephanie again!).
  • And wear comfortable shoes, maybe even sneakers. Because these feet are gonna be with you for your whole life (thanks to all of the yoga teachers I’ve ever had).
  • Manage expectations with folks at the office. Let them know that you won’t be responding for a few days, so you can minimize distractions and BE PRESENT at the conference. Explain to your boss that in the long run, this will serve the organization better.
  • Talk to strangers.

Notes and Links

“6 Ways To Make the Most of Your Next Social Change Conference,” blog post by Mac Prichard

“Channel Your Inner Animal This Conference Season,” blog post by Stephanie Foerster

“After the Awesome Conference: How to Take the Lessons and Energy Home With You,” episode 004 of the Yoga of Nonprofit Communications Podcast

S1 E18: Wobbling With a New ED

Today we hear from Elizabeth (a.k.a. “Wobbling”), who found her communications team wobbling as a new executive director joined the organization.

Before the leadership transition, they had created a communications plan and editorial calendar, and they had started to see the results they’d hoped for. But now Elizabeth’s boss (the communications director) has become hyper-focused on pleasing the executive director, and seems to have lost sight of the bigger picture.

Me practicing ardha chandrasana, my favorite balancing pose

We talk about:

  • How life is a practice, and everyone wobbles sometimes
  • Trusting in their plan and editorial calendar, and staying rooted in it
  • Sharing the successes of that plan with the new ED, to help build confidence
  • The possibility that the new ED is just as nervous as the communications director (!), and that they’re feeding off of each other
  • Working WITH the communications director to gently steer her back on course, rather than going head-on and making her defensive

Notes and Links

Perfectionism” episode of the Yoga of Nonprofit Communications podcast

S1 E17: The Way We Say Thanks

April shared an article called “Stop Making Gratitude All About You“, and asked for my thoughts on how it relates to nonprofit communications. We talk about:

  • other-focused gratitude (emphasizing the goodness and motivations of the giver) as opposed to self-focused gratitude (emphasizing on how the recipient benefitted)
  • how nonprofits can use other-focused gratitude to strengthen relationships with donors, volunteers and colleagues
  • how zooming in and out, in space and time, can help us keep things in perspective: staying mission-focused, picking our battles, and making sure we take good enough care of ourselves
  • stories and lessons from a visit with my 98-year-old grandma this week!

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S1 E16: When There’s No Emergency, Consult Your Nonprofit’s Editorial Calendar

Many of us nonprofit communicators are great at managing a lot of things under pressure and with many deadlines. But what happens when things are just “normal” and nothing is on fire? Margaux talks about:

  • getting ahead on anything you know you will need to write
  • what editorial calendars are
  • how they can help nonprofits
  • choosing a location and format that will work for your whole team
  • some larger-picture things to consider when creating one or updating the one your nonprofit already has

This episode is more of a pep-talk than a how-to. If you’re ready to dive into creating an editorial calendar for your nonprofit, check out some of the great resources below!

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S1 E15: Neck & Shoulder Love to Counter Computer-asana

“Tense!” writes:

I was wondering if you could recommend some specific neck and shoulder stretches that would be good to do during short breaks at work. I’m sure my fellow nonprofit communicators (and those in other roles, too!) can identify — doing computer-asana, or working at a computer all day, can really take its toll on the neck and shoulders!

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S1 E14: When Bad Stuff Happens

Love is greater than fear! Bumper sticker on my neighbors' car.

Love is greater than fear! Bumper sticker on my neighbors’ car.

When bad stuff happens in the world around us — either as a result of natural causes or human actions — nonprofit communicators are faced with a decision about how to respond.

Clearly, nonprofits are often among the first responders, providing humanitarian aid or emergency shelter, or advocating on behalf of the victims.

But what about the many nonprofits who are working in an intersecting or maybe even unrelated space, but still want to help?

This episode explores some of the ways these nonprofits might respond to a tragedy, and aims to help you evaluation the situation and decide what makes the most sense for your organization.

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S1 E13: Help! Email is Taking Over my Life!

This week we hear from Tim, who recognizes he’s having trouble moving his nonprofit’s mission and priorities forward because he’s spending so much time just managing his email inbox.

While I’m sure many of us would like to, we can’t do away with email. It’s a critical communication tool, both internally and externally. In this episode of the Yoga of Nonprofit Communications, we explore ways to live with email AND move our missions and priorities forward.

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S1 E12: How to Focus Your Nonprofit’s Communications Efforts to Maximize Results

This week we hear from a listener who is already maxed out in managing all the communications for a nonprofit, but looking for ways to “work smarter,” essentially – to better understand what’s working, and do more of it, to help the organization increase its online presence, and recruit more volunteers and donors.

Special guest Rebecca Reyes helps me respond! Read more

S1 E11: Communications Tips from Award-Winning Nonprofits

This week I went to the Best Practices Session of the 2016 Advancement in Management Award. The winner and two runners-up shared so much wisdom, across many aspects of nonprofit management. I’ve assembled the communications-related tips in this special episode. Read more

S1 E10: Easy, Low-Tech Ways to Keep Your Nonprofit Safer Online

This week we talk with two special guests – Patrick Lucey and Jordan McCarthy, co-founders of Secured Advisors – and learn some easy, low-tech ways that nonprofits can stay safer online.

My favorite highlights:

  • Using passphrases (not just passwords), with intentional misspellings so they can’t be guessed, is a great opportunity to work some positive affirmations into your day! 🙂
  • Tips for the ever-present problem of how to share passwords within your organization (because sometimes you need to go on vacation and have someone else run the organizational Twitter account for a little while!).
  • Balancing the easier-but-less-secure (which may be appealing in the short run) option versus the more-secure-but-harder-to-use (perhaps better in the long run).
  • Online security is more about people and how they behave, than it is about technology.

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