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From The Network

At a time when trust in most institutions, including government, is dismal, the social sector is trusted by 75% of Americans and viewed as a problem-solving force for good in society. 85% of Americans want to hear more from foundations and nonprofits. Those are among the findings of a recent bipartisan survey conducted by Independent Sector. You can see the full findings here. If you thought your work was important before, it's vital now. 

Alongside this data, we've been watching an emerging trend: Since the election, we've witnessed a number of foundation and nonprofit leaders publicly step forward (as individuals or on behalf of their institutions) to do a simple and powerful thing: state their values. Most of these posts offer an assurance that the values underpinning these orgs will endure. At a time when countless folks across the country are feeling vulnerable and anxious in the wake of an unprecedented political campaign, assuring staff, colleagues, partners, and others that the good work of our orgs and our sector will continue is critical. See a few examples below in our Surveying the Field section.

Watch every keynote from ComNet16: New York Times columnist Charles Blow on race and politics; The New Yorker's George Packer on writing and the political impact of economic disruption; the latest from Ford Foundation's American Aspirations research; Professor Aaron Belkin's winning communications strategy to dislodge Don't Ask, Don't Tell; and the communications lessons from Detroit's Grand Bargain.

VIDEO: MLK's speechwriter Dr. Clarence B. Jones shares basic elements you need to write an effective speech:

  • You have to be fired up
  • You have to have some passion
  • You have to believe in something, very strongly

Have you joined the new Members Community yet? Stop in to weigh in on what the election means for your work. Here's what one member shared: As a higher ed scholarship foundation that supports very diverse scholars, we're very shaken by the election.  Our scholars are seeing more "attacks" on campus so we've sent supportive emails to our scholars to make sure they know we're there for them emotionally and to help gain resources on their campuses. We've also found out that we have to be careful on how we communicate our stance on how to be active and vocal in their communities and campuses. We're starting to reinforce that we have been supporting people of color, different genders, religions etc. for more than 65 years and we plan to continue to do so no matter what. Also worth noting: New groups for Community Foundation communicators and "Lone Wolves" manning a one-person shops are now active in the Members Community. 

You don't have to wait to sign up for ComNet17 in Miami Beach September 27-29, 2017. Early bird registration is open now, and you can reserve a discounted room at the historic and recently refurbished Fontainebleau Hotel. We had 200 discounted tickets. Now we have just a few early bird seats left. Don't delay. The conference will once again sell out.
 

Upcoming Events


December 7: ComNetworkDenver gathers to talk branding

December 14: WEBINAR — How to Communicate When the Topic Is Tough 


Surveying the Field


A few of the messages and pieces circulating in the wake of the election: 
What's Next by Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America 
We need new narratives, new political coalitions, new and more effective ways of actually making a difference in people’s lives. We must forge a positive populism without demagoguery. But we must start, as Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, with “an inclusive and big-hearted America.” Not just inclusive of traditionally excluded women and minorities. But also of white men who no longer see a future for themselves. White women who seek more traditional roles. Religious Americans. Rural Americans. And all Americans who do not see a place or a future for themselves. New America will be majority minority. But it cannot simply leave old America behind. A map of solid red and blue squares across and within states is a dysfunctional and dangerous America, an America of tribes. It cannot be fixed by winning, but only by bridging. The election of one of the most openly divisive candidates in American history may seem an odd place to start. But we have no time to lose. 

Philanthropy in the Trump Era by Pittsburgh Foundation CEO Maxwell King
To begin building trust, Mr. Trump will need significant help from a wide array of capable, knowledgeable advisers, Cabinet members and others with the collective ability to give meaning to the “Make-Your-Life-Great-Again” boast. Knowledge, facts and strategy are essential to making it happen, despite his apparent aversion to them. Coming into his presidency, Mr. Trump has an enormous hurdle to get over: Nearly 53 percent of those who voted in the election didn’t choose him. If he wants to be successful, he will have to gain credibility by working with credible partners. He will need to reach out to experts — often villainized as “elites” at his rallies — who are actually experienced, accomplished people in academia, business and philanthropy who have been hard at work in this vineyard and have public credibility.

Onward by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant 
We do not take this work on because it is easy; we take it on because it matters, because it is important. And important things take time. They take dedication. They take persistence. Above all they take people and organizations that refuse to give up, whose ideals are not undone by circumstance, whose values do not shift with the political winds, who every morning greet the day with the same prayer of making the difference they believe in most profoundly to create the better world they envision.

Our Duty is to Fund Hope in Darkness by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker
The year 2016 is not 1968, or 1860, or 1776. Our moment, and the opportunities we have to protect and pass along the torch of justice, are unique. But we can, and must, learn from history that the greatest threat we face is not terrorism, nor environmental crisis, nor nuclear proliferation, nor the results of any one election. The greatest threat is hopelessness: the hopelessness of many millions around the globe who expressed themselves with their ballots, and the hopelessness of many millions more who expressed themselves by not voting at all. The hopelessness of so many who are overwhelmed by the scale of the problems facing our world, and frustrated by attempts at solving them that have fallen short.If we are to overwhelm the forces of inequality and injustice—if we are to dedicate ourselves anew to the hard and heavy lifting of building the beloved community—then the cornerstone of our efforts must be hope. 

What Does Philanthropy Do Next? by Kresge Foundation CEO Rip Rapson 
...as [the] national discourse and energy pivots from campaign mode into the realities of governance, philanthropy is particularly called upon to identify and actualize its values and missions to ensure that society heals and progresses in a positive, just, and affirming way. We need, above all, to affirm, elevate and amplify the work that we and our nonprofit, public, academic, and private sector partners do. But we also need to be crystal clear about the values that undergird our reason for being. We need to anchor our aspirations and actions in the unalterable bedrock of what we stand for...

What is a brand endowment? And why is it critical to a foundation's impact? Rockefeller's Neill Coleman explains how you can use your organization's name, reputation, networks, connections, and convening power to drive change in this piece from Philanthropy New York.

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has released a new interactive resource to help the sector measure, evaluate, and share the impact of its work. Many organizations are struggling to find the resources necessary to use data effectively. The Data Playbook is designed to fill this gap and offer organizations of all sizes the tools they need to create a sustainable data strategy.

A new series of eight conversations from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, inspired by ComNet16 Detroit, explores art, class, and race with stakeholders of #BlockByBlock, a public art installation in San Francisco. Learn more and offer feedback in the Members Community
 
If you attended ComNet16, you may recall VIOOLY, a new writing tool funded by the Gates Foundation and the New Venture Fund. Simply put, it’s like spell check, except instead of showing spelling mistakes, it assesses the readability, warmth, and power of your writing. Get started with a free trial.

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity is the nation’s leading non-partisan forum on poverty, featuring weekly guest commentaries on hot-button issues from researchers, policymakers, and advocates. Sign up for Spotlight’s weekly e-newsletter to get the latest.


Good Work + Good Jobs


Seattle-based Social Justice Fund NW is looking for a Communications Manager. See more from our job bank.


Coming Soon

If you're a Network member, the Fall/Winter issue of Change Agent is coming to your mailbox. Soon. It's designed by Constructive and features smart pieces on effectively using strategic communications for good from Rockefeller Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Kaiser Family Foundation, and more. 
 

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

Understanding the Role and Value of Foundation Communications | Packard Foundation
Packard Foundation Communications Director and Network member Felicia Madsen explains the thinking behind and lessons learned from Packard's recent grantee study that sought to better understand how the foundation can use its voice to maximum effect.

Writing About the "Alt-Right" | Associated Press
The AP's VP for Standards: Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience.

A 5 Part Checklist to Tell If You're Overcommunicating | Fast Company
There are a number of ways to define "value" when it comes to how you communicate. For example, your message could be valuable because it gives new instructions or because it acknowledges receipt of a different message.

Study: Comms Heads Struggle to Gain CEO's Favor | PR Week
Fundamentally, communications is still earning its place at the C-suite table.

5 Nonprofit Technology Trends to Watch in 2017 | Nonprofit Tech for Good
Social media is in transition as its newness wanes and innovative technologies are on the horizon that will have just as a profound effect on the nonprofit sector.

This Tone Analyzer Helps You Sound Like Your Favorite Publisher | Contently
How do [orgs] know if they should model their voice after Vox or The Economist? Are they more research-focused like The New York Times or listicle-based like BuzzFeed? Even if they decide on a tone, their publications can still struggle...to bring this decided voice to life.

5 Powerful Career Habits of Curious People | Fast Company 
#1 Keep tabs on your networks.


Culture Report

What So Many People Don't Get About the White Working Class | Harvard Business Review 
...the only thing that’s surprised me about Donald Trump is my friends’ astonishment at his success. What’s driving it is the class culture gap. One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled her blue-collar dad “could not say the word doctor without the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters…and professors were without exception phonies.
 

Tristan's Three Things for Fun 

  1. 25 quotes from famous people if they had worked at nonprofits.
  2. Ok, this is cool. Draw stuff and be amazed as Google figures out what you're doodling.
  3. Baby iguana chased by snakes — your worst nightmare in HD.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 

Interested in sponsoring the newsletter? Have feedback, upcoming events or news, or David Attenborough-narrated chase scenes? Email tmohabir@comnetwork.org.

Copyright © 2016 The Communications Network, All rights reserved.


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