From The Network (or: Shameless Plugs)
There's less than a month left to submit your breakout session proposals for ComNet16. In 2015, Science Friday, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Duke Endowment, and others led breakouts in San Diego. We're stronger when we learn from each other. The deadline is three weeks away: April 22

The Network Board gathered in Austin, Texas last week to review our plans for 2016. Expect more community, learning and leadership from The Network. What does that mean in practical terms? You'll see more ComNetworkLOCALs around the country (ComNetworkBoston is coming soon), a State of the Field Survey (more on this soon), an amazing annual conference to gather the field in Detroit in September, a new, and more partnerships to help us build the field and our community. Have a look at a few photos from the gathering. 

Speaking of partnerships, The Case for Communications, our series with Stanford Social Innovation Review, is officially underway! Our first case study, from the Skoll Foundation, explores the power and impact of convening. The Annie E. Casey Foundation followed last week, explaining how building strategic communications into their KIDS COUNT project resulted in huge returns: 33 policy wins and $8.3 billion in public investments in 2014 alone. Stay tuned for pieces from the Heinz Endowments, World Wildlife Fund, the Clinton Foundation, the California Health Care Foundation, NRDC, and others.

  • 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)

SXSW isn't just for musicians and filmmakers anymore. The Network co-hosted an event with AMS during the festival and Network members Alejandro De Onis of the Knight Foundation, Jade Floyd of the Case Foundation, LaMonte Guillory of the LOR Foundation, Mary Duggan of the Barr Foundation, and Keith Mays of the Kauffman Foundation were on hand. They share ideas that stood out to them in Austin.

What is a social media persona? Watch the replay of our recent webinar with Science Friday, Be Human: Breathing Life Into Your Social Media, and learn how to take your organization's social media presence to the next level.

Upcoming Events
Join Alfred Ironside, Vice President, Global Communications at the Ford Foundation (and the Chair of The Communications Network Board), when ComNetworkDC gathers at New America during the Council on Foundations meeting April 11 at 6pm. RSVP here

ComNetworkMichigan kicks off April 22 outside Detroit at the Kresge Foundation with a breakfast and media panel with local journalists.

Stanford Social Innovation Review's Frontiers of Social Innovation conference will feature Darren Walker and leaders from around the globe to discuss the role of foundations in creating a more inclusive and equal society May 3-5.

Surveying the Field
What do tigers and your foundation have in common? They both have no natural predators, according to Foundation Center's Brad Smith. He explores The Three Sources of Foundation Influence: money, convening power, and knowledge.

Moving Up: The Truth About Getting Ahead in America, a report by GALEWiLL Design's Bob McKinnon that takes a hard look at economic mobility in the U.S., is being serialized by Fast Company. Sign up for the Co.Exist newsletter to follow along. (You can also meet Bob when he joins us again at The Lab at ComNet16!)

Congratulations to Richard Tate, who will work alongside ComNet15 keynoter Judy Belk as the new leader of public affairs at the California Wellness Foundation. 

Now Accepting 2016 Proposals: Deadline is April 22

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

Advice on Writing Great Essays from Robert Frost | Brain Pickings 
"Just one word of advice: Try to avoid strain, or at any rate, the appearance of strain."

How Michelle Obama Conquered Social Media | The Verge 
"[Social media] bypasses the middle man. People can get to know me directly. They can see that I’m kind of silly sometimes, that I care. They can feel the passion, [and] they don’t have to have it filtered through another source. And young people in particular like that."

2016 State of Email Report | Litmus
A comprehensive look at the data, trends, and innovations for sending great email in 2016.​

How The Washington Post Used Instagram to Tell Stories of First Generation Voters in Miami | The Washington Post 
...we wanted to capture portraits of the students while also including long, blog-style captions. 

50 Trigger Words and Phrases for Powerful Multimedia Content​ | Copyblogger
The value of your content and/or your offer is what ultimately matters. And yet the words you use to demonstrate that value will determine to what degree people take action.

How to Get People to Change Their Minds | Psychology Today
Persuasive arguments tended to use calm words rather than emotional words (such as terrorist) or "dominant" words that imply control (such as completion). Words that are emotionally neutral or slightly "downbeat" are more persuasive than upbeat, happy words.

Branding in the Social Media Age | Harvard Business Review 
...branding is a set of techniques designed to generate cultural relevance. Digital technologies have not only created potent new social networks but also dramatically altered how culture works. Digital crowds now serve as very effective and prolific innovators of culture...​

9 Simple Ways to Get Responses to Your Emails | Fast Company
Emails written at a third-grade reading level with simpler words and fewer words per sentence were considered optimal.

How to Tell Stories That Connect Using Data Visualizations | Nieman Lab 
Good data visualizations and explanation infographics communicate information. But graphics may also prompt exploration. They reveal as much as much as they lead to new questions. ​

Culture Report
Technology Is Sexist | Quartz
Tell Siri you’ve had a heart attack, and she will suggest where to find help. Tell her you’ve been sexually assaulted, and she will likely reply, “I don’t know what that is.” Soraya Chemaly highlights how much of our technology is riddled with biases, because its mainly male developers and designers are blind to obvious needs of women.

How Baby Boomers Will Change Philanthropy | Wall Street Journal
[Charities and foundations] will receive $1.2 trillion–about $50 billion annually over this quarter-century–double what they currently receive from all bequests.  This will be even higher based on how the other 80% decide to give back to the communities in their lives.

Tristan's Three Things for Fun 

  1. Meet the man who convinced Taye Diggs to follow you on Twitter.
  2. The Radical Legacy of Mister Rogers. (You read that right.)
  3. Game of Thrones is good for nonprofits. One, anyway. 

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Interested in sponsoring the newsletter? Have feedback, upcoming events or news, Mister Rogers theories, or Taye Diggs DMs? Email

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