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From The Network

We are all very fortunate to serve foundations and nonprofits who exist for the sole purpose of bringing good into the world. But the world this week seems... Well, it certainly seems like nothing we've seen before. Not surprisingly, many people across The Network have questions. Some are trying to figure out how their organizations move forward from here. Others are looking for insights from those with differing points of view. Still others are seeking partners to help them move or defend an idea. Some just need some simple, practical advice. The good news? This is precisely when networks are most valuable. You have one in The Communications Network. You don't have to go it alone. Log in to our our new Members Community to instantly find and connect with 1,000 of your colleagues and peers from organizations big and small across the globe to get their advice, learn from their experience and wisdom, or just listen to what others are saying today. 

As Abraham Lincoln pronounced: "In this age, in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail. Against it, nothing can succeed." Over the last several months, we've witnessed many organizations raising their voices to express their values and reaffirm their missions. It all boils down to character. Watch the full replay of our recent webinar, The Case for Character, with historian Bruce Weindruch to learn how you can assess and use your organization's character can help you navigate these uncertain times.

Have just 3 minutes? Watch How to Write an Advocacy Speech with Dr. Clarence B. Jones, who knows a thing or two about this topic — he drafted the Dream speech with MLK. 

Whatever corner of the country you're in, you're not alone in pondering the many questions that are now facing our sector and the wider world. Check out our ComNetworkLOCAL groups to find one in your area to stay connected.

This past week ComNetworkLA hosted an evening with the The Los Angeles Times to build relationships and a dialogue between local foundations and nonprofits and the influential newspaper, while ComNetworkMIAMI hosted an event focused on emerging new narratives and communicating in times of change and divisiveness. See pictures from both events. And please stay tuned for ComNetworkCHICAGO, which launches soon.

ComNet17 happens in Miami Beach September 27-29, 2017 — and we are officially accepting breakout session proposals now. The deadline to submit a session idea is Friday, March 3. Some tips? Be clear, useful, surprising, and interactive. Successful applicants will be notified the week of April 3. We will sell out again this year. Want to make sure you get a seat? Register now for the conference.

Can't make time for the Members Community? Too busy to join a ComNetworkLOCAL gathering? Give yourself the luxury of a few moments reflecting on some of the good ideas and wisdom in Change Agent. You'll find insights and ideas on effective modern strategic communications efforts from NRDC, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Surfrider, Northwestern and Wharton, and many others. If you're a Network member in good standing and haven't yet received your print copy, please let us know.

Upcoming Events

February 8: ComNetworkDURHAM Kickoff (North Carolina)

February 8: ComNetworkMONTEREYBAY Kickoff (Monterey Bay County, CA)

February 15: ComNetworkMONTEREYBAY Kickoff (Santa Cruz County, CA)

February 15: Webinar — How to be an Effective Advocate in Congress. The Congressional Management Foundation will share the findings of their new report, Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Citizen Engagement. This new research explores how to be an effective advocate with Congress, based on unprecedented feedback from members of Congress and their senior staff.

February 22: ComNetworkDENVER: 2017 Colorado Nonprofit Communications Trends/Outlook

Surveying the Field

The Heinz Endowment's Grant Oliphant implores us all to use our voices to speak the truth loud and unapologetically in support of our work: "We are not in the politics business; we are in the hope business. We are in the social impact business. What happened in the election was politics; what matters for us is what happens now, what we do next."

There's a new foundation in town.

Rockefeller Foundation named former USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv J. Shah its next President. He will start in his new role on March 1st, succeeding Dr. Judith Rodin.

Jenny Lehua Watson, the former communications chief of the Haas Jr. Fund, will serve as interim president for the next two years, after longtime president Ira Hirschfield stepped down in 2016.

A Brave and Bold Move: Walton Family Foundation's executive director Kyle Peterson reflects on what he's learned so far and what's in store for the Foundation.

Unlocking the American Dream. In this TED talk, Case Foundation CEO Jean Case highlights the importance innovators have played in the history of the United States and examines the state of entrepreneurship. 

Glasspockets has launched a new feature, Eye on the Trump Cabinet, to take a closer look at the philanthropic interests of the wealthiest cabinet in modern American history.

Good Work + Good Jobs

In the NYC area and good at digital? Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation have openings. See more from our job bank.



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

From Davos: 6 Themes for Communicators In an Unruly World | The Holmes Report
"Communicators need to truly understand what people are feeling and why. I think to the extent that there is and was a disconnect between mass sentiment and opinion leaders — maybe it speaks to a fundamental lack of empathy."

5 Steps to Building & Leveraging Influence | Stanford Social Innovation Review 
Deployed strategically, influence can be one of the most important tools for impact, ranked right up there with the more traditional grant-based interventions philanthropy is best known for. The two work hand-in-hand: An influence approach allows foundations to both magnify the impact of their grants and use other assets (such as the expertise of staff) to advance programmatic goals...

The Real Story About Fake News Is Partisanship | The New York Times
Partisan bias fuels fake news because people of all partisan stripes are generally quite bad at figuring out what news stories to believe. Instead, they use trust as a shortcut. Rather than evaluate a story directly, people look to see if someone credible believes it, and rely on that person’s judgment to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

How to Create a Profile Picture Frame for Your Org on Facebook | Facebook
Frames are a creative way for people to have fun or show their support. Now you can create frames people can add to photos and videos on Facebook.

If You're Not at the Table, You're On the Menu | National Council of Nonprofits
Advocacy at the national level gets a lot of attention, especially under a new administration. Local policy, however, has the potential to impact nonprofits significantly and the time to start paying attention is now.

A 2017 Guide to Getting Out of the Echo Chamber | Greenlight Fund
Echo chambers make it hard to communicate. Either you are talking to people who already agree with you, or yelling at people who can’t hear you at all. If we want to move our organization’s mission forward, it’s critical that we learn how to communicate effectively with all different kinds of people, regardless of the echo chamber where they spend most of their time.

How We Use Data to Inspire Design | IDEO
When most people imagine good design, numbers probably don’t come to mind. In fact, anything quantitative might feel completely at odds with the concept of beautiful design. But at IDEO...designers use quantitative data as a tool to gain empathy and inspiration. We learn from numbers the same way we learn from people, because we see numbers as a representation of people.

5 Factors that Make a Communications Team Great | Big Duck
Speak with ten different communications directors and you’ll hear ten different ways to describe the job. The roles and responsibilities of communications staff people can be extremely diverse, and it’s common for nonprofits to keep adding new communications activities to the to-do list without removing anything.

How Publishers Squeeze New Traffic Out of Their Old Content | Digiday 
The Atlantic, which uses archival material on both the print and digital sides of its business, now generates more than a quarter of its traffic every month from older content.

NPR and the Word 'Liar" | NPR 
"Our job as journalists is to report, to find facts, and establish their authenticity and share them with everybody... and I think the minute you start branding things with a word like 'lie,' you push people away from you." Other news organizations have made a different decision, most notably The New York Times. The Times uses the word "lie" in this headline about Trump's repeated claim that millions of votes cast by immigrants who are in this country illegally prevented him from winning the popular vote.

Culture Report

How to Respond to Donald Trump's Betrayal of American Values | The Atlantic
An influential conservative voice weighs in: "There was nothing unanticipated in this first disturbing week of the Trump administration. It will not get better. Americans should therefore steel themselves, and hold their representatives to account. Those in a position to take a stand should do so, and those who are not should lay the groundwork for a better day. There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him."

No, Trump, Not on Our Watch | The New York Times
Trump’s America is brutal, perverse, regressive, insular and afraid. There is no hope in it; there is no light in it. It is a vast expanse of darkness and desolation.

Tristan's Three Things for Fun 

  1. I <3 naps but I stay woke (and other kids exercising their rights).
  2. Look up! Your guide to the best meteor showers in 2017.
  3. Human-pig hybrid created in a lab. There's a joke here...

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Interested in sponsoring the newsletter? Have feedback, or an adorable baby holding a funny sign? Email

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