Community. Learning. Leadership. 

From The Network (or: Shameless Plugs)
Thank you to everyone who offered up a breakout session idea for ComNet16. We're busy reviewing each proposal carefully and will reveal the 12 teams who will receive the honor of presenting when early bird registration opens June 1. Stay tuned.

We've been working with the innovative folks behind and Quartz to build an all-new which will launch soon with the aim of making The Network more useful. Want more details? Click here to learn more. Among the things you can expect:

  • A focus on making the site easier to use along with new and better resources to help you do your job better 
  • A re-imagined members-only section that represents a huge leap forward: It will help you find the exact members you want to connect with, allow you to share files, start discussions (and archive them), form groups, and more 

Our series, The Case for Communications, continues next week with Natural Resources Defense Council, who will explain in Stanford Social Innovation Review how their comms team sifted through a dense and unwieldy research paper to unearth a compelling framework that's now driving their work around food waste. We'll hear from World Wildlife Fund, the Clinton Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, and more in the weeks ahead.

  • How to use the series: these case studies are meant to serve as evidence to help you secure new resources, take new approaches, and encourage CEOs, board members, program staff, and others to embrace the impact 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)

Alfred Ironside, The Network's Board Chair and Ford Foundation's Vice President of Global Communications, spoke to a packed ComNetworkDC gathering about Ford's ongoing research project, "What It Means to Be American." Click here for insights from his talk on what it takes to talk to people, not at them.

Upcoming Events

  • May 10: ComNetworkBoston will host No Boston Olympics's Chris Dempsey and No Boston 2024's Robin Jacks for a panel discussion and networking reception
  • May 10: ComNetworkDenver welcomes political analyst and commentator Eric Sondermann to discuss how the political landscape affects Colorado's social sector
  • May 17: ComNetworkLA will feature Goldhirsh Foundation President Tara Roth for a chat about social sector innovation and storytelling in LA, followed by a networking reception
  • May 25: ComNetworkSeattle launches with a happy hour featuring wine, appetizers, and communicators from across the Puget Sound region
  • May 26: The Importance of Strategy in Communications — Eric Brown and Aaron Belkin team up for the first in a series of SSIR/Network webinars based on our Case for Communications series (free to Network members — details soon)

Surveying the Field
The 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study is out. The study gathers metrics to help you figure out where your organization excels, and where it falls behind. Among the takeaways? For every 1,000 people on your email list, roughly half of them are now following your org on Facebook and Twitter. 

Similarly, the 2016 Salesforce State of Marketing report reveals digital is king, and user experience is the crown jewel.

A warm welcome to Nat Kendall-Taylor, who will succeed Susan Bales, FrameWorks Institute Founder and longtime President, as CEO of FrameWorks. Susan will assume the role of Chairman of the Board and Senior Advisor.

As the W.K. Kellogg proved by canceling their North Carolina Children's Conference over the HB2 law, sometimes the most powerful way to communicate is simply by doing.

In Stanford Social Innovation Review, Doug Hattaway unveils some startling insights from the first-ever "crowdsourcing" campaign to engage people nationwide in a conversation about the future of a major social movement.

Good Work + Good Jobs 
Work for Charity. Literally. The Duke Endowment in Charlotte is hiring an Associate Director, Communications.

See more from the Network's jobs bank here.

And now a word from our sponsor:

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

10 Writing Tips from Mad Man David Ogilvy | Brain Pickings
Write the way you talk. Naturally. Never use jargon words...they are hallmarks of a pretentious ass. Never write more than two pages. 

Newsletters and Social Media Aren't the Same | National Journal
Content happens in the newsletter, and engagement happens on social.

Whose Story Is It? | The Holmes Report
Millennials aren’t so concerned with being a character in the brand’s narrative, which is the conventional approach to social media. Instead, millennials see the brand as a character in their personal narrative.

Nonprofits Need to Remember Why They Exist — and Shout About It | The Guardian
[Nonprofits] are so caught up in telling supporters what the organization does and how that they forget to communicate the reasons behind what they do. Could you describe your organization’s purpose in a sentence that makes people want to get involved? 

Community Engagement Matters | Stanford Social Innovation Review
Melody Barnes, Former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council: [Engagement is] a continuous process that aims to generate the support necessary for long-term change. The goal is to encourage intended beneficiaries not just to participate in a social change initiative but also to champion it.

This Tool Makes It Stupid Simple to Turn Data into Charts | Wired
Venngage, the company that lets you make infographics with the click of (a few) buttons, recently launched a new product called Beam. Beam does for charts what Venngage does for infographics as a whole. 

Public Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds | The Holmes Report
The best way to connect with your audience is to speak in a natural, authentic way. The most well-received TED talks come from speakers who sound like they are “just shooting the breeze” with the audience.

How Online Video Influences Your Audience | Google
YouTube's influence has never been greater — YouTube creators are more trusted than traditional celebs on what brands to trust. That influence can move your brand metrics: Among campaigns measured, 71% increased "consideration," and 61% increased "favorability."

The Future of Social Change Belongs to Community Research | Oxford University
Social change comes in many forms, but all forms of change can benefit from an increasingly informed and engaged world. As the availability of data increases, so will opportunities to facilitate individual and collective action based on data. 

The Best Day and Time to Send Email + Headline Writing Tips | CoSchedule
While late-morning send times were the most popular in general, several concluded that the best time to send emails is at 10 a.m...the research for email subject lines suggests that the same three types of messaging tend to perform really well for getting opens.

A Guide to Making Better Images With Your iPhone | NPR 
It’s important to keep your camera steady when making a photo. Holding it horizontally in your hand turns your fingers into a human tripod. Plus, horizontal images are king on the web 

Exploring Shared Value - The Power of Networks | Center for Creative Leadership
You and your organization can provide leadership by participating in and shaping cross-sector inter-organizational networks. Collectively, these networks can address societal needs, challenges, and opportunities in ways that, working individually, would be impossible. 

Culture Report
Why Click Bait Will Be the End of Journalism | PBS
...if ever there was a double-edged sword, it is the digital culture. It has enlarged our informational possibilities while at the same time offering up trivia like cat videos, celebrity sightings and “listicles.” It is, in effect, driving journalistic deviance downward, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Philanthropy and Inclusivity | Nonprofit Quarterly
...The latest data from the Council on Foundations Grantmakers’ Salary and Benefits research confirm the rate of underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities and, to a certain extent, women in leadership roles, in our field has not significantly improved over the past five years.

Big Business Speaks Up on Social Issues | The Wall Street Journal
Companies used to avoid hot-button social issues, fearing that any strong stance could alienate customers and staff. Now, executives say it is far more risky to stay silent on issues such as gay rights.

Tristan's Four Things for Fun 

  1. Five things your brand should learn from Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
  2. That time mobsters almost killed Hitler in 1933.
  3. Lin-Manuel fix: cast of Hamilton delivers a tribute to Sweeney Todd.
    1. Bruce Springsteen covers Purple Rain 
    2. Questlove reflects on the funk 
    3. This epic performance from 1985

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Interested in sponsoring the newsletter? Have feedback, upcoming events or news, Lemonade interpretations, or reusable rocket ships? Email

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"It's Davos for communications geeks."

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