Archive for September, 2011

Lighten Up, Francis

As they move into the less-buttoned-down world of social media, staff at many organizations face an interesting challenge.

Success with social media tools requires that you loosen up a bit, let a little of your personality peek through—even offer a little self-deprecating humor. These are not things that most people are comfortable indulging in as part of their role at work.

I’m here to tell you that it can be done. Foundations and nonprofits can provide a little glimpse behind the scenes, offer some humor, some light-heartedness, even admit they don’t have all the answers, without letting go of their serious missions to make the world a better place.

In a piece for the Communications Network blog, I offered five relatively small steps that can help organizations let their personalities shine through and get more notice in the free-wheeling world of social media. Read the rest of this entry »

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Creating a Community from Thin Air and Potential

When a major, private foundation asked me early this year to help launch an online community, a bunch of questions swirled in my head. Why would this group—over 900 current scholars and fellows from 18 different programs—want to participate in this community? What is the value for them? Do they think of themselves already as a community? If not, how do we alter that mindset? Can we move a group that typically sticks to its program silos to connect across disciplines?

We are eight months into this effort, and don’t have all the answers, but I have a few lessons to share from the work, so far, for anyone looking to build a similar community. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beyond Giving

In her first book, Forces for Good, Leslie Crutchfield and her co-author (Heather McLeod Grant) showed nonprofits how to increase the impact of their work. Now she has set her sights on the other side of the equation—philanthropists.

In the latest installment of our monthly podcast series for the Philanthropy News Digest, co-host Bill Silberg and I talked to Crutchfield about her recent book Do More than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World.

In the book, Crutchfield and her co-authors, John Kania and Mark Kramer, advocate for “catalytic philanthropy”—a somewhat radical approach that pushes foundations out of the comfortable world of making grants into the dynamic world of being agents of social change. The book offers six best practices from several foundations and philanthropists who have learned how to have a powerful impact. Read the rest of this entry »

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