The Communications Network Newsletter March 2017
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From The Network

A huge congratulations to Sean Gibbons — The Communications Network's Board has named him CEO. He's a real change agent.

Speaking of which, our members have now had the chance to read through four issues of our Change Agent journal, and our next one is coming out in a few months. We want to hear your thoughts. Please take our five-minute survey (really, it's 5 minutes max) to let us know what's useful, what you're lovin', and what's not working for you.

If you missed our Mindful Messaging webinar with Spitfire's Kristen Grimm, you can watch a replay here. Learn what pyschographics are, and how they'll help you get beyond demographics to really get inside the brains of your audience.

ICYMI: Brookings Institution Vice President of Communications David Nassar shared his thinking on how the social sector has a role to play in redefining the definition of media.

From our Making Ideas Move series with Stanford Social Innovation Review: Barr Foundation's Jim Canales and Stefan Lanfer lay out three steps to take to build a culture of communications at your organization.

What are the core qualities or competencies required to do communications for good? Partnering with Carson Research, we asked nearly 300 Network members. Here's a sneak peek at what we found — 2/3 think strategic thinking is critical, but report it's hard to find folks with these skills. Look for the full results soon.

Wherever you are, you don't have to go it alone. Check out our ComNetworkLOCAL groups to find one in your area or hop online in our Members Community to stay connected.

ComNet will sell out again this year. You can register now for the conference in Miami Beach September 27-29th. 

Upcoming Events

April 19: Webinar — Coca-Cola joins us to talk about what a brand newsroom looks like. Stay tuned for details.

June 8-9: ComNetworkLOCAL Leaders Summit. Today, The Network has 12 LOCAL groups around the country. Over two days in June in DC, we'll bring together nearly 70 LOCAL leaders for learning and connection.

Surveying the Field

Community Wealth Partners give foundations three questions to ponder when considering whether to speak out: Will it advance your mission or cause, are you the right messenger, and are you sharing the right message?

Hewlett Foundation's Larry Kramer explains why philanthropy spending less than 2% of its money on climate change is simply inexcusable.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey shares seven lessons she's learned about improving health in America. (Catch her interview with The Communications Network in the upcoming issue of Change Agent!)

Mott Foundation's latest Annual Report presents a series of snapshots showing how the foundation's work in Flint has helped the community in a time of extraordinary crisis.

Registration is now open for the Professional Speechwriters Association's 2017 World Conference in Washington, D.C. (Tanya Barrientos of The Network Board will be there.)

Good Work + Good Jobs

Kellogg Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, World Wildlife Fund, and many others are hiring. Check out our job bank for more.


Going, Going, Gone? Spots for ComNet17 Are Going...Fast

Miami Splash ComNet17 Promo
Ideas. Insights. Inspiration. And fun! Join us in Miami Beach for ComNet17 September 27-29 for the communications conference of consequence. 

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

QUIZ: What's Your Top Comms Strength? | Nonprofit Marketing Guide
Are you more Collaborative, Agile, Logical, or Methodical?

In Defense of Interactive Graphics | Driven By Data
Interaction→ transparency→ trust. You should not hide important content behind interactions. If some information is crucial, don’t make the user click or hover to see it.

The Civic Media Crisis and What Philanthropy Can Do | Stanford Social Innovation Review
During the past two decades, a number of news professionals have sought to develop new kinds of organizations to replace declining newspapers and reach new audiences while protecting free and independent media. Nonprofit examples include Pro Publica, Center for Investigative Reporting, Center for Public Integrity, and First Look Media...

Who Brands Your Nonprofit? Who Tells Its Story and How? | Nonprofit Quarterly
Harnessing the power of co-creation requires letting go. Particularly with organizational identity and messaging, there is an inherent need to control every word. Consistency is often valued over accessibility. Researchers at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations found that successful nonprofit brands have elements of democracy baked into them...

The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings | Harvard Business Review
No devices: “Recent neuroscience research makes the point quite clear on this issue. Multitasking is simply a mythical activity. We can do simple tasks like walking and talking at the same time, but the brain can’t handle multitasking."

3 Mind-Blowing Ways to Disrupt the Communications Status Quo | Military News
Wisdom coming out of SXSW: The less narrowed your language is, the more people can identify with your message. When you pinpoint a specific group or groups in your messaging, you leave others feeling disconnected from your message because they can’t relate.

How to Win at Email | Nonprofit Hub
You don’t have to say everything in one email...Choose one goal for your email. If you choose one thing to do, then you can focus on doing it really well. If you’re trying to do too many things with one email, things will start to slip through the cracks.

Storytelling Is Not a Strategy | Contently
It’s clear that audiences crave organic interactions, but as brands try to accommodate them, the struggles are real. Creating content at scale is hard. Knowing how to measure its efficacy is even harder.

If the Rules Have Changed, We Must Learn How to Play All Over Again | The Holmes Report
Audiences no longer connect emotionally with logos but rather with other people, and this personal and human touch is extremely valuable in a highly digitalized world. Brands...sell trust and values.

5 Online Communication Styles | Nonprofit Tech for Good
If your nonprofit focuses on human rights or poverty, for example, then your tone of voice should be serious, smart, and thought-provoking. If you are an arts and culture organization, think about think about crafting a tone of voice that is creative, clever, and entertaining. Ask yourself: what are five words that describe the character traits of your mission or organizational culture?

Why We Click on News Stories | American Press Institute
The research provides ample evidence that there are many different reasons that people click on news — in particular, they are drawn to news that is relevant to personal interests or happened nearby, news that gives them something to talk about, and news that provokes emotional responses.

Culture Report

The Information War is Real, and We're Losing It | The Seattle Times
“Your brain tells you ‘Hey, I got this from three different sources.’ ” “But you don’t realize it all traces back to the same place, and might have even reached you via bots posing as real people. If we think of this as a virus, I wouldn’t know how to vaccinate for it.”


Tristan's Three Things for Fun 

  1. Sorry for the delayed response!
  2. Why is everyone talking about VPNs?
  3. Check out this live eagle cam to see DC's two newest bald eagle hatchlings! WARNING — there's a dead duck in the nest as of this writing. You can also watch the hatch videos here and here.

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Interested in sponsoring the newsletter? Have feedback, news, a new job, or a way to make sure Sean never sees my browsing history? Email

The model for becoming a foundation or nonprofit that communicates well? Align your brand, strategy, action, and culture. Learn more from what we found in through surveys, focus groups, and literature reviews in our Communication Matters research.
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