Thursday, July 31, 2008

8th Grader Elected to Catholic Charities Board

Charlotte McKane, a 13 year old student at Oneonta Middle School, has been elected to the board of directors of Catholic Charities of Delaware & Otsego counties. Serving the community is nothing new to Charlotte. In 2006 she was received national recognition as a Build-A-BearWorkshop Huggable Hero for her work raising money and obtaining donations for local programs. She is the founder of Charlotte's Circle, a foundation that supports the local nonprofit community, and the recent recipient of the Catholic Charities Volunteer of the Year award. Kathy Greenblatt, executive director of the local Catholic Charities said, “Charlotte is aware of the families and individuals living in poverty in our area. She also brings research and fundraising skills to our area.” You can read the rest of the story here.

Charlotte clearly has experience that will serve her well as she sits on the board of directors. Electing younger people to boards is an excellent way to cultivate interest at an early age and encourage life-long involvement with the nonprofit community. Bringing fresh perspectives to the board can be an essential part of developing your board; check out some suggestions for involving youth in your organization and the legal considerations in NY.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Congratulations to Betty Currier!

Betty Currier, founding director of Leatherstocking Education on Alcoholism Foundation (LEAF) is one of six Americans to be named by the Johnson Institute as a 2008 America Honors Recovery Honoree. This national award honors individuals who have overcome their own experiences with addiction in order to contribute to their community and the recovery movement. Betty is a current board member of Friends of Recovery of Delaware & Otsego County and a consultant to the Council on Addictions of New York State. On September 25th she will be honored with five others during a luncheon held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Congratulations, Betty! We're lucky to have such a committed and energetic advocate right here in the Leatherstocking region.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"The State of Nonprofit Marketing"

Michael Wesolowski passed along the report "The State of Nonprofit Marketing" that he found on Nancy Schwartz's blog. A timely tip considering our upcoming panel on nonprofits and the media. The report, released by The American Marketing Association , is based on the results of an online survey that was distributed to marketing professionals at 125,000 nonprofit organizations. One of the findings reported is that, "Building awareness, generating revenue, branding and acquiring and retaining members and customers are top marketing priorities for nonprofit organizations." Not exactly a ground-breaking discovery. However, for small organizations "building awareness" was clearly the highest priority, with revenue generation and customer acquisition far below. The report went on to highlight the essential roles that the media and personal connections play in increasing visibility. It's well recognized that positive media attention is priceless, but casual conversations can go far in promoting an organization. The research director for the study writes, "These core audiences for nonprofits need to see specific evidence of the organization's impact, not just general messages about the organization's work."

Check out the report (and Nancy Schwartz's take on the findings) to read more on measuring results of marketing efforts and future challenges. Thanks again to Mike for sharing this find!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Games for Change

The latest issue of New York Nonprofit Press (NYNP) featured an interesting article on social issue video games. As more nonprofits look toward the Internet to increase the visibility of their issues, interactive learning models in the form of games are becoming more popular. Games for Change is an organization that helps nonprofits and foundations create digital games that promote social change. Their games include Ayiti: The Cost of Life, in which players win by improving life for their Haitian families, and the simple but addicting Free Rice where players can test their vocabulary and send 20 real grains of rice through the UN World Food Program.

Many of the games have been created using thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours (including input from high school students), but as the NYNP article reported, you don't need unlimited resources to harness the benefits of gaming. Coleen Macklin, the director of the Games for Change design and research lab pointed out that, "You can take games out there that are commercially available and begin to look at them through a different lens... Ask different questions about Grand Theft Auto. Give kids the opportunity to talk about the issues these games bring up, because they do bring up issues. Or, think about using existing games in a different way like using SimCity in a way that might emphasize issues around segregation. You don't need a big budget for this... It is just thinking about games and play in a new way."

Check out some of the Games for Change next time you're procrastinating! You can browse by topic: politics, global conflict, environment, poverty, and domestic issues.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The 200 Club: Giving Back to the Community

The Freeman's Journal in Cooperstown has launched "The 200 Club" as partof its bicentenniel celebration. The goal of the initiative is to get 200 people to donate $200 each to the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival by the time the campaign wraps up on Labor Day. Jim Kevlin, Editor and Publisher, said that the newspaper has chosen to commemorate its anniversary in this way because of the community support that has helped the paper survive over the years. Because the community supported them, The Freeman's Journal wants to support the community. The Chamber Music Festival plans to put the money in an endowment so that it can continue to offer low-cost tickets that enable everyone to attend their concerts. Kevlin hopes that the Festival will benefit from both the money, and the increased base of support that the 200 donors will create. He pointed out that if people donate, they have a more vested interest in the program's success. The 200 Club was just announced, but a dozen donors have already stepped forward, with the mayor of Cooperstown leading with the first donation. If this year is successful, next year The Freeman's Journal will create The 201 Club and choose another local organization to benefit.

The NYNED groups have been discussing nonprofit and media relations lately, and this initiative is a great example of the two working together. As we continue to discuss working with the media, let's keep creative ideas like The 200 Club in mind!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Idealware Webinars

CCSNYS' partnership with Idealware brings you valuable information on nonprofit technology topics like choosing the right software and working with tech consultants. As a CCSNYS Member, you can register for any of the webinars for only $34. You can also purchase recordings of any past seminars for only $20 each.
Check out some of the upcoming webinars:
-Getting Your Software Systems to Speak to Each Other: Understanding Data Integration
Getting Started With Online Donations
Choosing a Low-Cost Constituent Database
Getting Started With Online Desktop Sharing and Online Seminar Tools
Choosing Email Newsletter Software
Introduction to Website Analytics

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

September Media Panel Update

Earlier today Deb Marcus, Lori Solensten, and Michael Wesolowski participated in the Steering Committee conference call on the upcoming media panel. The media outlets we're most interested in participating are: The Daily Star, Press & Sun Bulletin, The Evening Sun, CNY Radio Group, WCDO, WSKG, WBNG-TV, Fox40 and News Channel 34. Our next steps include getting the media on board, securing our location, and working on potential questions and topics for the panel. The date of the media panel is September 17, 2008 from 12-2pm. You can register for the event here. If you have any questions or would like to contribute to the planning process, please contact Andrew Marietta.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We Are Media (!)

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) has launched a new project, We Are Media: Social Media Starter Kit for Nonprofits. Beth Kanter, the project's consultant and "evangelist", is collaborating with individuals interested in the nonprofit community's use of social media to put together a valuable online resource. The We Are Media community is working to create the "go-to place for vetted resources about social media strategies and nonprofits for individuals who work for or with nonprofits and need practical advice about getting started or to quickly access best practices, examples, or experience from other practitioners working in nonprofits."

The Social Media Starter Kit will consist of three tracks: Strategical, Tactical, and Resources. Examples of Modules within these tracks are "Why Should Your Nonprofit Embrace Social Media? (Or Not?)" and "Sharing Your Organization's Story in Multi-Media." All of the modules are in the process of being created right now- and you can be a part of it! Check out the project's site or Beth's Blog for more information and for updates on the project.