216 days til ComNet16 opens. 

From The Network (or: Shameless Plugs)
The Rockefeller Foundation. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Sesame Workshop. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It's an elite club. Join their ranks. Present a breakout session at ComNet16 in Detroit. But first, you have to submit an idea. The deadline is April 22.

Strategy. It's a military term that dates back to ancient Greece. In plain English, it means "how to win." How to win is changing. The Case for Communications, our new series with Stanford Social Innovation Review, will make plain that strategic communications can help you win. Read our Editor's Note on the series, which will unfold over the next few months at

  • How to use the series: these case studies are meant to serve as evidence to help you make the case for communications — to secure new resources, to take new approaches, and to encourage org leaders and others to embrace the potential impact of deeper engagement and greater use of modern strategic communications. 
  • You can help: please promote the series on social media and encourage your colleagues (program staff, senior leadership, Board members) and peers to take a look (#Case4Comm)

The Network's ideas are moving — across the ocean! Inspired by Making Ideas Move, our 2015 series with SSIR, The Prince's Roundtable on Philanthropy made social sector communications the focus of their 2016 gathering. Network Executive Director Sean Gibbons joined Prince Albert II and philanthropists from across the globe to present and lead a discussion on the power of communications.

ComNetworkLOCAL is happening. The Colorado Trust, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Denver Foundation, First5LA, and others have been gathering with their colleagues to learn and connect in the cities where they work. Have a look at photos from recent gatherings of ComNetworkLA and ComNetworkDenver.

Change Agent, The Network's journal for social sector communications, is being recognized! Our Winter/Spring 2015 issue (the pretty yellow one) is a finalist in the Addy Awards in two categories. Shoutout to our partners at Hager Sharp!

Upcoming Events
It's Different Now: 2016 Media Trends. Headed to Austin for SXSW? We are too. March 14, during the SXGood Convergence Track, we're teaming up with Atlantic Media Strategies, the digital consultancy of The Atlantic, to host a breakfast discussion on how mission-driven organizations can take advantage of emerging media trends.

Surveying the Field
California Health Care Foundation's Steven Birenbaum spoke to Atul Gawande, the Harvard surgeon and New Yorker writer, about his book Being Mortal, and how far America has come in talking about death. Read the interview on Medium.

And the Oscar for Best Activist goes to.....not Leo. Cast your vote for the 2016 Honesty Oscars, which honor orgs and activists that are making our world more transparent and accountable.

Grab some carrots. Get a stick. Pin down your CEO. RJ Bee reflects on the state of storytelling in philanthropy.

Congratulations to Network members Case Foundation, ONE Campaign, Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, and Livestrong for being named among 2016's 20 best nonprofit websites!

"That last episode of ____  totally spoke to the heart of our ____ issue." Wouldn't it be nice to know that before the show aired so you could be prepared to spark a conversation? Our friends at AndACTION are connecting tv/film stories dealing with important issues to nonprofits.

Rebuilt. Reborn. Spitfire's Digital S.M.A.R.T.S. guide has been updated. It's a comprehensive tool for developing, integrating, and enhancing digital communications. 

Watch some of philanthropy's most inspirational funders share their wisdom to help you and others be more effective and efficient in creating change in Exponent Philanthropy's #MyPhilLesson video series. 

The field is growing, and getting better. A round of welcomes to: Mike Smith, Director of Communications at The James Irvine Foundation; Paul Silva, Strategic Communications Manager at Ford Foundation; and Dan Cardinali, Independent Sector's new President and CEO.

And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor
Are the experiences audiences have with your brand aligned with your mission? We’re a strategic branding & design partner that helps nonprofits increase cohesion, capacity, and impact.

What We're Reading (So You Can Use It)

The Perfect Email | The Atlantic
Make your message short and sweet — but not too short or too sweet. Emails that were slightly positive or slightly negative were most likely to get responses. 

A Storytelling Checklist | NPR 
NPR's Emily Harris made this checklist to organize her story process.

4 Ways to Maximize Your Contact List | PND 
You can have the best mission, the best creative, the best design, and the best messaging in the world, but none of it will matter if your list isn't up to the job.

Good Communication Requires Experimenting with Your Language | Harvard Business Review
...the best managers have humility about their intuition, which is sometimes off. Because of this, experimental methods are an important part of the managerial process and can tell us what works and what doesn’t.

CEOs and the Power of Tweeting | MIT Sloan
Rather than waiting for impressions to be driven by the media or individuals with ulterior motives, CEOs can use tweeting to help shape their public image and that of their companies. 

How Colors Influence Us - INFOGRAPHIC | Contently 
90 percent of product assessment is solely based on color.

33 Brilliant & Free Sources for Data in 2016 | Forbes 
Forward-thinking orgs that may not have the resources to begin collecting their own data right away can access this publicly available data. 

Source Codes: The Most Useful Measurement Strategy You May Not Be Using | Beth Kanter
How do you know which channels are actually driving people to donate, register for an event, or even sign up for your eNewsletter? 

Take a behind the scenes look at the communications goals and strategies of #BlackLivesMatter | PR Week
Strategic communications is three things: a blueprint for creating visibility for our work; a manifestation of our goals and vision; and our approach to maintaining dialogue about what ending state-sanctioned violence against black people looks like.

Don't "Radiosplain" and Other Ways to Report on Communities that Aren't Your Own | KALW
Cross the line into over-explaining, and we start to sound like anthropologists inspecting specimens.

Facebook's New Site to Help Nonprofits | Mashable
Facebook says the new resource will be essential for nonprofits and NGOs looking to create a presence on the social network — or for organizations looking to up their game when it comes to their existing Pages. 

Culture Report
What Does Antonin Scalia's Death Mean for Nonprofits? | Nonprofit Quarterly
Where will donors and volunteers put their money and time, and how will those decisions be affected by the looming fight for the Supreme Court? Will a new crop of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations pop up to support and oppose candidates based on their organizers’ goals for the Court’s future?

Tristan's Three Things for Fun 

  1. Common nonprofit terms, and what they *actually* mean. For example— Innovative evaluation: Survey monkey responses.
  2. Aziz Ansari does a 90s sitcom. We totally would have recorded this on VHS.
  3. My mom interned at a nonprofit and now all her emails are different.
  4. It's supposed to be three things. But c'mon. She's 106. And she's with Michelle Obama. Oh, and the President is there too. Just watch... 

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Interested in sponsoring the newsletter? Have feedback, upcoming events or news, nonprofit euphemisms, or funny mom stories? Email


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