At our workshops and peer learning groups, I enjoy watching participants share ideas, insights, and resources. When the room buzzes with energized voices from people perched on the edge of their seats, it’s fun. And I learn a lot.
This is my vision for our new Lunch & Learn events coming in May. Our Lunch & Learns start at 12:05 and end at 12:55 pm. The session opens with a brief presentation of the topic followed by a facilitated discussion. The goal is to not just share our knowledge but to go deeper into the subject. My hope is that each person leaves with a greater understanding and feeling challenged to take the next step related to the day’s concern.
This month, our Lunch & Learns focus on people topics. On May 21, we’ll explore Giving & Getting Feedback, and on May 27, we’ll tackle Managing Expectations.
Each Lunch & Learn is limited to 12 participants so that everyone can fully engage the discussion. Also, it’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag-lunch). We’ll provide our usual water station.
At ONEplace we have the opportunity and honor to have extended conversations with many who devote their career to the nonprofit sector. One of my favorite questions is, “What attracted you to do this work?” The answers vary in detail, but a consistent theme runs through virtually all of them:
It’s not work. It’s what I love to do.
That point resounded loud and clear at last week’s 30th Annual STAR Awards. Since its inception, Volunteer Kalamazoo and MLive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette have co-sponsored the annual STAR (Sharing Time and Resources) Awards program to recognize the contributions of the outstanding volunteers who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism – a spirit embodied by Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Elaine VanLeeuwen.
In case you missed it, Mrs. VanLeeuwen served as a foster parent for 52 years and cared for nearly 500 children. MLive reports her story and many of the things she said in her acceptance speech. Yet the one thing she said that stood out to me was,
I don’t deserve any praise. It was something I enjoyed doing.
Over the years, many psychologists and others have explored the question, “Why do human beings do good things?” Altruism poses an evolutionary conundrum: how does it serve my preservation to risk myself for others?
Steve Taylor (Leeds Metropolitan University) suggests that we don’t need to try to explain away altruism, figuring out how it serves our best interest. He says that our “altruism is an expression our most fundamental nature – that of connectedness.” So, we should celebrate it.
Thankfully, the STAR Awards did just that.
The Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Institute is a beginning-level program for organizations that are ready to engage in advocacy but need the skills to do so. It is designed to enhance your nonprofit’s capacity to impact public policy at the local, state and federal levels. Michigan Nonprofit Association has contracted with Erin Skene-Pratt to facilitate the sessions. During the five month program, you and your peers will learn how to engage in policy work with specific strategies tailored for your community.
The Institute will include:
Individualized course learning plan
Five group sessions covering the following topics with customized content:
- June 16, 1-4 pm: “How and Why of Advocacy”
- July 28, 1-4 pm: “Systems and Process: How to institutionalize Public Policy in Your Organization”
- August 25, 1-4 pm: “Effective Techniques for Engaging Policymakers”
- September 22, 1-4 pm: “Engaging Your Team to Affect Change”
- October 20, 9 am-4 pm: “Funding Your Advocacy Efforts”
Monthly one-on-one conference calls with the instructor, Erin Skene-Pratt
Individualized organizational advocacy action plan
Upon completion of the program, you will have a customized advocacy action plan that includes specific objectives for building your organization’s capacity to advocate.
Registration is limited to 10 organizations. Organizations are required to assign a representative from the staff and one from the board of directors to participate in all aspects of the Institute. It is estimated that each participant will spend about 10 hours per month on this course. Organizations must be members of Michigan Nonprofit Association. The cost to participate is $100 per organization.
If you and a board member are interested in participating in the Institute, please request an application and submit by Monday, May 11.
Questions? Contact Erin Skene-Pratt, facilitator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Thom Andrews, at ThomA@kpl.org
Earlier this month, executive coach Mary Jo Asmus led a day-long workshop on Coaching for Breakthrough Performance. During this workshop, participants not only learned about coaching but also coached one another on real work-related issues.
Early in the practice sessions, participants commented on the power of deep listening. An undistracted listener, focused solely on the one speaking, gave the speaker space to explore their concern more fully without fear of the conversation being redirected.
Mary Jo reminded us that this type of listening requires a person to
- Talk less
- Be open and receptive
- Avoid distractions
- Listen for understanding
The workshop ended with participants pairing up and agreeing to check-in over the next month to see how their coaching practice was progressing. Mary Jo also offered participants a group follow-up session in early April for additional check-in and a look at advancing their practice.
For more information on Mary Jo and to access her fantastic blog, visit aspire-cs.com
There it was again. Originally, it surprised me…even confused me. My background colored my perception. Today, I’ve seen it so often, it no longer surprises me. And now, I find a reputable post placing it plainly before me.
Fund Marketing strategically merges fundraising and marketing strategies.
Coming from arts marketing, I often experienced marketing as quite distinct from fundraising, focusing on event advertising, subscriptions and ticket sales. Over the past five years or so, I’ve come to see much more overlap in these two areas. So has Gail Perry.
In her recent blog on Fund Marketing, she points out that, thanks to recent marketing research, we know: how to increase response to our newsletters, what type of images work best, and how to shape a call to action. Successful fundraising centers on relationships, and it also includes “a working knowledge of messaging, copyrighting, good design and layout.”
Few areas change as often, or as quickly, as marketing. So as we prepare for our annual Marketing & Communications Series (April 29, May 6 & 13), we’re pulling together the most recent research, practices, and tools to help you with your marketing challenges.
Keeping a sharp, focused, relevant message helps you cut through the noise and clutter to be heard and to motivate response…and, to raise more money!
Earlier this month, we explored Donor Retention with Michelle Karpinski (Pretty Lake Camp). During this workshop, we learned about donor-centered recognition.
According to research by Penelope Burk, the essential components of donor-centered recognition include:
- Prompt, meaningful gift acknowledgement
- Ability to designate the gift to a program, service or project more narrow in scope than the charity’s overall mandate
- Measureable results report on the last gift before being asked for another gift
If all three of these essentials are present, donors report that
- 93% would give again
- 64% would make larger gifts
- 74% would continue indefinitely if the essentials continued
The bottom line was to not over-think the effort but to keep the donor relationship front-and-center while doing the essentials well: timely, genuine, and accurate.
It was late, and the airport shuttle had just delivered my parents, brother and I to the far reaches of remote parking. Tired and hungry, we lugged our bags over to my old van. I put the key in the lock and – snap! – the key broke in the lock. The worn faces turned to me with eyes wide and mouths open. What were we going to do?
I simply pulled my spare key from my wallet. We entered the van and went home.
Three years prior to this incident, I had been a passenger when our driver had the same problem – key broke in the lock. He had an extra key in his wallet, and the problem was easily solved. His example helped me prepare for my family’s little emergency.
Emergencies happen – we know this. We just don’t know when, nor do we know the common possibilities. A little planning may not only save us some time and inconvenience, it may save our organization.
Protecting our organizations protects the clients, staff, board, and community that depend upon them. So we offer Emergency Action Planning every year to encourage and equip you with the tools and information you need to be prepared. Our next session is Wednesday, February 25.
For more information, visit Ready.gov.
In the spirit of practice what you teach, we’ve taken a deliberate, strategic approach to Twitter. We carefully considered several questions, including:
- What are the benefits of using Twitter relative to other social media platforms?
- What presence do we want to establish?
- What’s the best balance of original tweets, retweets, and promotional tweets?
- Who do we want to follow…and why?
Over the past several weeks, we’ve documented our experience online as well as off, and examined how to use Twitter as a metric for larger program goals, and how adding this effort affects our workload and schedules.
We’ve learned a lot. Lolita has been driving the effort and she presents her research, cases from local organizations, experience, and insights in Twitter Time for Kzoo Nonprofits on February 10.
We invite you to attend to learn, share, and see how Twitter may fit into your personal or organizational communications efforts.
In January, several viewed a video by Kerri Karvetsky (Company K Media) on how to Find Your Audience on Social Media.
Focusing primarily on Facebook and Twitter, Kerri identified various ways to locate and analyze followers as well as several tools (many free) to help get the most from your social media presence.
She presented several points from the recent Pew Research Internet Project report. Again, focusing on Facebook and Twitter, she highlighted a few important trends.
- Facebook is leveling while other platforms are still growing.
- Facebook is still highest use, and it’s graying – fastest growing group is 65+ while 30-49 group use is declining
- Twitter is growing in all age groups, especially in ages 18-29 and 30-49
- Overall Twitter tends to skews younger and more urban
For more information from the report, visit the Pew Research Internet Project website.
Are you one of the many area residents who engage unique, innovative, even wild efforts making Kalamazoo a great place live and work? We believe you need a forum to be heard, so we’re launching Kalamazoo Connect.
Kalamazoo Public Library and ONEplace unite to spotlight dynamic community building efforts in Greater Kalamazoo. Each quarter, Kalamazoo Connect features three short presentations on innovative, engaging endeavors followed by an opportunity for informal discussions and networking. Locally-sourced refreshments will be served following the presentations.
Interested? Your presentation will be given in a TED-talk style – open-stage speaking with optional use of notecards. Your presentation must be a minimum of 5 minutes and cannot exceed 10 minutes. You may use audio-visuals if you wish. (For examples, visit www.ted.com.)
Here’s how you can tell Kalamazoo about your innovative, community building efforts.
1. Submit your entry by emailing your name, phone number, name of organization or business, and description of talk (approximately 100 words) to ONEplace@kpl.gov. Entries are due by 5pm on Friday, January 23
2. Applicants will be notified by Tuesday, January 27
3. Participate in a rehearsal of your talk during the week of Feb 2 (by appointment)
4. Accepted applicants must attend and speak at the Kalamazoo Connect event on Wednesday, February 11, 5-6:30 pm
If you have any questions, please contact ONEplace 269-553-7910 or ONEplace@kpl.gov.