Monday, December 17, 2012

Need Content? Train your staff. (Give staff a voice! Part 9 of 10)

Need content?

Ask your staff. Right? They all have stories, they are the experts.

And you already have a content plan, so the topic is set.

So blamo! Ask the staff to create and just wait for it to be done.

Wrong. We have already talked about all of the obstacles and then I shared some ideas on how to remove the barriers. The key will be to build up to the ask. And one of the best ways to build up to the ask is to progressively build skills and as you build the skills ask the participants to practice.

So where do you begin in this training?

With the basics.

Provide information about writing for each medium.

Web - concise, directed, bullets, data, transparent, keywords, audience oriented, purposeful
--read some good articles

Email - stories, links, call to action, news
--read some good articles

Social Media - when training you need to remember that they are all different. You can count on mass publishing for all of your content. You have to continuously show how to adapt content to audiences and the medium.

Facebook - personality, engaging, images, video, humor, questions
--read some good articles

LinkedIn - professional, jobs, volunteers, news, connections, collaboration
--read some good articles

Twitter - timely, replies, frequent, repeats ok, short, humor
--read some good articles

Not sure if you noticed what I did there. I started by talking about training your staff on how to write, but then send you to a bunch of good articles to read for yourself.

That's right, the first training that has to happen is that YOU realize that no matter how long you have been creating content for any medium, you need to take time to train yourself in order to train others. Take time to read articles (or at least scan them) to refresh your thinking, see new trends or pick up tips.

Then take the articles and use them as training tools. Pick the resources or articles that best match your org, your goals or your approach and share them in a central place for all staff. Using an outside source will establish authority and importance. Plus you don't have to do as much work.

Build your trainings around information that people can relate to. Don't get buried in showing them the steps.

An important note about training staff. Most of the time staff don't want the training until they are already in the middle of the process. They get started and realize they need some help. Make sure your trainings can be accessed at any time. Create cheat sheets, recordings, a list of resources, etc.

So finally, here is the key to all of this. Training staff for digital content needs to be approachable, regular, ongoing, focused on voice\style\approach and fun!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holly Ross - Disruptor

At my new job they seem to love the word disruptor. (or disrupter, didn't ask them the spelling...?) defines disrupt as:
1. to cause disorder or turmoil in
2. to destroy, usually temporarily, the normal continuance or unityof; interrupt
3. to break apart

Ok, Holly Ross doesn't really meet those definitions.
1. Her efforts helped bring order and collaboration to the NPTech community
2. She acted as a leader to build a strong, sustainable and respected organization focused on the NPTech community
3. Holly knew she couldn't do this alone, she encouraged, connected and empowered each person she met to support the movement

Is Holly Ross a disruptor? Yes.

(Side note: if you don't know who Holly Ross is, she was the Exec Dir of NTEN, see her recent article about her change in career.)

Holly is a disruptor because she was not willing to accept the status quo, she:
1. Caused turmoil by defying myths like all nonprofits lack in technology knowledge and technology is overhead to be managed
2. Destroyed the curtain nonprofit technology staff were hiding behind by collaborating to build a way to spotlight our NPTech community and unify us
3. Stepped up as Executive Director to break apart the barriers that prevented nonprofits from getting and learning how to use technology to achieve their mission

The real gift of Holly's work though was she did not do it alone. She always relied on the strength, support and resources of the full community.  She was selfless and didn't seek attention to herself. NTEN works to lean on corporate, nonprofit and foundation partners to make it happen.

I can remember conversations with Holly around 2004 before she was the Exec. Director at NTEN. She repeatedly said she didn't need to be in charge or be on stage. She loved her work and wanted to spend all of her time getting things done, not basking in the glory. At that point I didn't believe that I was important enough to the community to have her spend time with me. I questioned my value in presenting, sharing and connecting. Holly saw it very different. She believes and helps people find the value and to have the courage to share it.

Did Holly do this work alone? No. That is how she is a disruptor. She disrupted our silos, our preconceptions and what was considered normal in nonprofit technology.

She didn't get on the list of 50 most influential people in nonprofit technology by running a campaign, building a personal brand or grabbing attention. Holly is a rockstar because she genuinely cares, is remarkably smart and puts the mission first.  Holly didn't want to be an Exec, she stepped up because others encouraged her.

Anyway, why am I blogging about this? Well first to say Thanks to Holly for taking time with me all of those years ago and ever since.

But also to challenge you! What are you doing to disrupt the status quo to make a real difference?

Take Holly's example. Every person has the ability to have an impact.

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012/2013 Heart & Soul Grant Opportunity

Taking a break from my normal blog post still to share a grant opportunity that was passed along to me!  Enjoy
Renew The Heart & Soul of your Non-Profit for a Chance To Win $10,000

If you're like most people who work at nonprofits, you're inspired by quietly changing the world each and every day. But sometimes it's not easy to stay inspired - especially because you're a human being with good days and bad days!

Re-inspire your sense of mission by participating in the Heart & Soul grant

The CTK Foundation has just launched the 2012/2013 Heart & Soul Grants, with over $55,000 to assist nonprofits like yours in accomplishing your mission. But, more important than the money is the process for applying, which is unlike any other grant program!

How do you apply for these grants?

All you have to do is submit a 4-8 line poem expressing the heart of your mission at (orgs must be US-based 501 c3s). The intent behind submitting a poem is for you to refresh, nurture and reawaken your sense of mission! The Grant Application opens today (12 noon CST on 12/3/12) and closes at 12 noon CST on 1/7/13. The Heart and Soul grant will provide one eligible nonprofit organization to receive the main award:
  • A $10,000 cash and
  • A professionally written and recorded song by the Grammy Award-winning group, The Original Blind Boys of Alabama.
Both the song and the accompanying $10,000 grant will help the selected nonprofit to better accomplish their unique mission in their community. If you have questions about the grant, please see the FAQ page on the Heart & Soul site.

Additional 2012/2013 Heart & Soul Grants include:

  • $10,000 HHS Grant, available to an Austin, TX-area nonprofit specializing in the provision of At Risk Children and Families ‚ a gift from the Cipione Family Foundation of Austin, TX
  • Two $5,000 Grant Awards to 2 US Nonprofits
  • Five $1,000 Grant Awards to Community TechKnowledge, Inc. customer organizations attending the 2013 Outcomes Immersion Certification Training
  • $20,000 in matching cash grants to nonprofits for CTK software purchases
  • Three autographed guitars: one by The Original Blind Boys of Alabama, one by Los Lonely Boys, and one by Sunny Shipley

What is the CTK Foundation?

The CTK Foundation was established by Community TechKnowledge, Inc., to recognize and celebrate the work nonprofits do and seek to promote the use of technology in managing the accomplishment of their mission. For regular updates or questions about the Heart & Soul grant submissions and awards, check out the CTK Facebook Page.