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From The Network

Hi Network Colleagues and Friends,

Coming soon:
ComNetworkCIRCLES — CIRCLES will be issue or job-focused communities of practice that help Network members connect and learn with and from a small, trusted group of peers. These facilitated groups will share knowledge, research, ideas, feedback, and support. We're in the process of developing this new offering with help from LuAnn Lovlin, Norris West, Lanae SpruceAlejandro de Onís, Amanda Guslani, Sylvia EwingRebecca Chamberlain-Creanga, and John Williams. Pilot CIRCLES groups will launch in late 2019. Much more on this in the months ahead.

The climate is changing. That's not good for Earth. Which is why we're building on our efforts to make ComNet19 a more sustainable event. As you know, events can be huge sources of waste. You'll be hearing from our 2019 Karel Fellow Taína Perez about what we're planning for Austin and how you can help. Keep an eye on your inbox.

Hopefully you read Nat Kendall-Taylor's essential essay encouraging Board and org leaders to invest in bringing research into their foundation's or nonprofit's comms practice, part of The Network's 40th Anniversary series, Looking Ahead: The Future of Communications for Good, produced in partnership with The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Next week we'll hear from Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering, about the strategic purpose and potential of your org's meetings and events. Read the full series so far, featuring Cecile Richards, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Trabian Shorters, and more here.

From Our Archive:
  • Inclusivity - Inclusive organizations are diverse at all levels. The decisions they make incorporate a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives, which promotes responsiveness and adaptability.
  • Professor Aaron Belkin on what it takes to successfully use communications to achieve a long-term goal, how to change deeply-held beliefs using data and messaging, and more.
  • How To Guide: Content Strategy Sound content strategy provides a roadmap for making sure your communication efforts are more efficient and effective. You can drive your organization’s communication without that roadmap, but you may spin your wheels without getting anywhere, or worse, you might not like where you wind up.
Our new colleague Stacy Cervantes is now manning and moderating the Members Community, part of our continuing effort to make The Communications Network more useful and effective.
Take a moment to help your colleagues in the Members Community. Among your colleagues's recent queries:


ComNet19 is SOLD OUT. Don't have a ticket? Add your name to our waitlist. If you're registered for Austin, make sure you've booked your hotel room. You can also see who else is attending (check your email for a message from us containing the password to access the page) and get registered for Pre-Conference Workshops, Field Trips, and our Day of Service. Stay tuned for more info on this year's Community Groups, too.

Add Your Name to the ComNet19 Waitlist
Our next Network In Conversation happens August 13, when Dr. Jasper Fessmann joins us to talk about how the field of Communications for Good came to be, and where it may be headed. More here.

ICYMI: Webinar — How to Create and Communicate About Sustainable Events
ComNetworkLOCAL is gathering:

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

The Four Visitors to Your Site (And How to Hook Them) (Atlantic57)
Learn what makes for Passersby, Occasionals, Regulars, and SuperFans, and what your goals for each should be. The end goal: Building habit, which research increasingly shows is a big predictor of digital conversion of any kind. 

8 Questions to Ask Someone Other Than "What Do You Do?" (Harvard Business Review) 
Research findings from the world of network science and psychology suggests that we tend to prefer and seek out relationships where there is more than one context for connecting with the other person. Sociologists refer to these as multiplex ties, connections where there is an overlap of roles or affiliations from a different social context. 

Intro to Story-Based Strategy (Center for Story-Based Strategy)
F.R.A.M.E.S. is a useful acronym representing 6 quick tests to use before moving a message from the drawing board out into the world. Use F.R.A.M.E.S. on your entire action/event plan, not just your top-level messaging.

4 Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills (Harvard Business Review)
If you believe that strategic thinking is only for senior executives, think again. It can, and must, happen at every level of the organization; it’s one of those unwritten parts of all job descriptions.

Hiiiiii! THIS is how texting has changed grammar & the way we communicate (FastCompany)
...I internalized the idea that not including an exclamation point at the end of certain text messages meant that you’re mad at someone...Now I fling those exclamation marks around with abandon to let everybody know that not only will I meet them at Sweetgreen at 1:30 p.m., I am friggin’ stoked about it.

Inside the Texas Tribune’s formula for small-team social media success (Radio Television Digital News Association)
I’m ruthless in determining what is worth my time. I have to be able to move the needle, meet our mission or our strategic plan AND measure the impact and success of what I’m trying to do.

Becoming a better group facilitator (Big Duck)
Striking the right balance between working inclusively and efficiently is critical for nonprofit communicators in particular. Veer too far into inclusivity and you risk developing something that never sees the light of day or whose quality suffers from too many ideas and compromises. But if you place too great an emphasis on efficiency, you will exclude important voices, considerations, as well as miss the opportunity to inspire the necessary champions for your communications efforts. 

False News Spreads Faster Than the Truth (MIT Sloan) 
"False news online travels “farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth.” And the effect is more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information. Falsehoods are 70% more likely to be retweeted on Twitter than the truth, researchers found. And false news reached 1,500 people about six times faster than the truth.

Design roundup: Google's six rules for great data design6 practical design tips for nonprofit visual content, How to create a nonprofit video (on a budget)

Surveying the Field

A few weeks ago, we wondered what it might look like if every nonprofit or foundation did a simple, decent thing and used their institutional voice to clearly and publicly affirm their core values, purpose, and aspirations in response to racist remarks coming out of The White House. Sharon Alpert, Grant Oliphant, Kiran Ahuja, Fred BlackwellJim Canales, Rip RapsonDon HowardKenneth Rainin Foundation, Philanthropy Northwest, and The Boston Foundation have reminded us of Fred Rogers's beautiful observation: "If you look for the helpers, you'll know that there's hope..." Below, you'll find a sample of responses we've seen so far: Eric Brown sits down with Ford Foundation's Alfred Ironside, who may be the James Bond of our field.

ComNetworkATLANTA leader Julia Levy of the Schusterman Family Foundation gives a TedX talk on falling in love with side projects.

Network CEO Sean Gibbons on what it takes to break into the field of communications for good, and why a comms degree isn't necessarily the best route.

The New York Times's profile of Darren Walker is worth a read.

Social Science for Good

State of the News Media (Pew Research Center)
Series of fact sheets that speak to the shifting ways in which Americans seek out news and information, how news organizations get their revenue, and the resources available to American journalists as they seek to inform the public.

You Are What You Watch? The Social Effects of TV (The New York Times)
They estimate that 10 years of exposure to cable television lowered I.Q. scores by 1.8 points. In related research, Mr. Hernaes finds that exposure to cable television reduced voter turnout in local elections.


Sean—My Washington Nationals are in the hunt for the playoffs. After their discouraging (read: TERRIBLE) start it's a good reminder that progress takes time and comes with ups and downs. When I haven't been buried in the box scores, I've been reading Sally Rooney's incredible Normal People and The Art of Community by Charles Vogl. I've also been dusting off my Bob Dylan records. This summer feels like a Dylan kind of season (and I'll own it, that new Netflix pseudo-doc by Martin Scorsese got me rolling). 

Carrie—We're looking for aphorisms to turn into decals at ComNet19. Send me your favorite communications quotes and you may see yours in Austin!

Tristan—Still processing the weird, wild, and wonderful Wimbledon final from earlier this month. Controversial (but correct) opinion: Federer is NOT the GOAT.

Stacy—I'm currently reading "In the Country We Love: My Family Divided" by Diane Guerrero, star of the hit show "Jane the Virgin." It tells a poignantly personal story of her parents's quest for citizenship and their deportation – all while growing up, on her own, at a young age. Her story sheds light on the non-linear path to becoming an American and the mental toll it takes on families.

Yabby—Beyoncé Remixed the Meaning of The Lion King

Good Job + Good Jobs

Our friend Alexis McGill Johnson has been named Planned Parenthood's acting President and CEO. Congratulations to another friend and former Network Board member, Daniel Silverman, who was promoted to Chief Operating Officer at The James Irvine Foundation. Marcus Walton is the new President and CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. Javier Soto is leaving the Miami Foundation to become President and CEO of The Denver Foundation. Leah C. Johnson joins Henry Timms at Lincoln Center as the new Chief Communications and Marketing Officer.

Looking to do some good by doing communications for good? Check out The Network's job board (which is updated regularly). Here's a sample of gigs available now:
Hiring? Moving on? Let us know!

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