10 Easy Ways to Connect

Spent last week at an alumni event for U of Chicago. It was a very good day long session on skills for soliciting fellow alums to participate in school events and donate money. Here are the TEN tips given to make networking easy:

#1 Go to events of common interest. Meetup.coms, museum events, sports events.

#2. SHOW UP EARLY at events!! Never arrive on time or late. Your best Face 2 Face time is 30 to 10 minutes before events start.

#3 Share your passion for causes, music, hobbies to connect with people.

#4 Remember what you have in common and do some homework. I look up other attendees on LinkedIn or the meetup “also attending” roster for backgrounds I find interesting.

#5 Reconnect with people you know now and knew in previous jobs, schools, cities.

#6 Take time for a Face to Face cup of coffee. Nothing replaces F2F.

#7 Create your own roundtable group of monthly meetings. Make the location interesting to draw people.

#8 Engage in an on-line community.

#9 Use your alumni office to find nearby old classmates and LinkedIn for old office mates.

#10 Allows follow up and say thanks for getting together



Use Testimonials in Your Social Media Postings

((CARL: This is a reprint of Nancy’s article with her permission))

Testimonials Can Spur The Confidence and Actions You Want

By Nancy E. Schwartz

Publisher – GettingAttention.org / President – Nancy Schwartz & Company

Nancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing. Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to nonprofit organizations and foundations nationwide. She is the publisher of the Getting Attention e-update and blog. For more nonprofit marketing guidance like this, subscribe to her e-update at http://gettingattention.org/nonprofit-marketing/subscribe-enewsletter.html.

You tell me you’re always seeking more effective ways to build interest and action. Well, there’s no better way than letting your supporters and partners do the talking with testimonials.You’ve seen testimonials for every type of program, issue and organization imaginable. They’re brief quotes from a member of your nonprofit’s network—donor, volunteer, client, staffer, member or community stakeholder—that clearly and briefly express how your organization’s work has benefited her life or that of her family or community. But still, few of you use testimonials to full effect.

Today, I hope to motivate you to start putting testimonials to work via this easy-to-get-to success story from Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO tweeted a request for testimonials, and got stellar results (in 140 characters or less) tweeted out. HARO then retweeted these mini-testimonials to its own 61,000 followers. Trustworthy referrals and exponential reach, at no cost, and little effort.

Look at these responses they received from satisfied customers, the first from an expert source and the second from a journalist who found the sources he needed.

Nonprofit Testimonials

Take a look at what could be…these powerful examples are drawn from nonprofit websites:

Volunteer: The hours that I spend volunteering for HOM are the best part of my week. I always look forward to coming into the office and seeing other volunteers and the delightful staff, and I especially cherish the times when I go visit patients. I feel that discovering Hospice has been one of the greatest events in my life.

Donor: I had the opportunity to witness the growth and development of children in need when I volunteered at Berea Children’s Home and Family Services while in college. The children had experienced so much hurt from the past. This season, our families just really wanted to make a difference…so we all made gifts to BCHFS. [We] could not be more satisfied and confident knowing that our gifts positively impact children’s lives.

Client: I came into the hospital a very nervous hip replacement patient. I left confident and relaxed, comfortable with my ability to care for myself and my family…You cared for me intensely when I needed care, and let me care for myself when I was ready. What more could a rehabilitation patient ask for?

Add a name, title and employer name and testimonials power up:
It is always wonderful to see what we accomplish during our projects. We really feel like we make a difference by improving the land and beautifying the urban wilds,” said Matt Lynde, a Boston Cares project leader who works with EarthWorks Projects to spruce up and landscape wildlife sanctuaries in Boston.

Add a headshot, and the testimonial comes to life at its strongest. 

Nothing you or your colleagues say is as strong as the words of your supporters’ peers, friends or family.

Why Testimonials Work

For prospective clients, donors, partners and others, there’s nothing more valuable than hearing from peers on what their experiences have been with your organization and its programs and services. Testimonials carry more credibility than anything you could say yourself.  And, others speaking about your nonprofit may have glowing comments about your work that you would be embarrassed to share yourself.

Your prospect expects you to go on and on about the impact of your nonprofit or the importance of your new program. However, when you have someone who has experienced that benefit first hand, their comments are much more convincing and accepted!

Keep this in mind though: The most powerful testimonials aren’t about your organization; they’re about how someone much like the prospect has benefited from involvement with your organization. So the more specific and genuine the testimonials, the more they’re likely to move your people.

How to Get Testimonials and Use Them for All They’re Worth

  1. Follow up regularly with clients, volunteers, donors and others, asking for feedback. Doing so via an online survey such as Survey Monkey can be effective, or mini-polls via Facebook and Twitter. Follow up as soon after your interaction with your audiences as possible, while the experience is still fresh.
  2. Ask for one or two sentences describing the value of the experience with your organization whether it be program participation, giving or use of your counseling service. Try to focus testimonials on an objection your prospects are likely to have, such as volunteering takes a lot but doesn’t give much back.
  3. Provide an example to make it easier for your supporters to craft a useful statement. You can even draft a testimonial to be OK-d or revised.
  4. Request permission to use the testimonials in your marketing and fundraising campaigns.
  5. Take the testimonial you get and shape it into a brief but powerful statement. Limit testimonial length to one or two brief sentences, with a photo whenever you can get it.
  6. To ensure credibility, include the name and title of the person contributing the testimonial and the name of their business or organization if relevant. In some cases, issues of confidentiality will make attribution impossible. If this is the case, create a profile to serve as an attribution, e.g. “Donny R., 30 years old, and WHR dental patient for over ten years.”
  7. Integrate testimonials in general and more targeted communications, both online and offline. I feel that spreading testimonials throughout your online and offline channels and campaigns has far greater impact than concentrating them on a single page. By spreading them out, prospects are more likely to see them even if they don’t read every page.
  8. Make sure to refresh your testimonials on an ongoing basis to reflect current programming and campaigns.

Start Your Testimonial Collection Campaign Today

Yes, get out there and start soliciting testimonials from audiences today. Remember to ask for testimonials whenever possible, and use them often and wisely!

In addition to great marketing content, you’ll be getting useful insights to strengthen the way your organization does business. Bonus!

How Do You Put Testimonials to Work?

Please share your take on gathering, shaping and sharing testimonials here.

Tagged as: nonprofit communicationsnonprofit marketingnonprofit storytellingnonprofit testimonial

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Storytelling | 9 COMMENTS

© 2002 – 2013 Nancy E. Schwartz. All rights reserved.

You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as you do not alter the article in any way, and you include the author byline and attribution as displayed below. If you would like to edit the article

Start-Ups and Women in Technology

Linda Abraham, founder comSource
DC Social Media Week Keynote Event
February 20, 2013 

My wife is a program director at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at NIH. We went to the DC Social Media Week Keynote to hear Steve Case, legendary AOL founder, speak on upcoming tech trends. A subject of mutual interest. While Steve was pretty much a bust (he was pushing his current investment companies), we really enjoyed Linda Abraham’s talk on her experience starting up comScore.

Linda began with three tips on running a start-up.

I have always been a believer an organization is only as good as its people. Keep relationships strong. Build personal networks. New to me were Linda’s insights into keeping the “bar high” on who you hire. Her experience showed her a single  A+ employee is worth three A level employees, which in turn are worth NINE B employees. It is best to take the time and effort to find that one outstanding person then quickly build a “just competent” staff.

We all read tons of stuff on building business culture and teams. Linda reiterated most of what you regularly hear, but added two interesting details in making new hires transition better. First,  start with a job description that is what you want the new hire to achieve in the first 60 to 90 days. I personally am sick of the 2-3 page line listings of every imaginable function an HR consultant can think of. Linda’s super practical approach focuses the new hire on what needs to be done NOW. Hey, it is all going to change in six months anyways. Second, have 30-60-90 check-ins with your new employees. Nothing formal, just make the time to have three monthly face-to-face meetings to address concerns, make sure there is a fit, etc. NOTE: Linda firmly believes “people want structure, they want the vision. They don’t want bureaucracy”. 

Frankly, she didn’t get into this much. Linda did suggest awarding employees’ spouses for being extended team members, vital to the overall success of the company.

I have a very personal interest in this subject, being married to a woman biotech executive.  I follow Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s comments and can’t wait for her new book, “Lean In”. Linda followed Sandberg’s concerns and added a few of her own. ComSource findings are that women drive 58% of ecommerce activity, yet women are not entering the ring build careers or start companies in e-commerce. The two observations she stated to the audience that contribute to this gender gap:

Women need to be more comfortable, and self-confident, in not knowing everything there  is to know about the job at hand. No one does. Men seem more comfortable in “winging it”.

Women need to think bigger. Women tend to address the smaller parts, not big thoughts.

Non-Profits – Get your Message Out with Audio Podcasts

Ray Ortega Seminar Notes
DC Social Media Week
February 20, 2013

I am doing volunteer marketing work for two local DC area non-profits looking to improve their social media communications.  I began thinking of podcasts when I realized how much I listen to NPR radio shows such as MarketPlace and Fresh Air in their podcast format when I cook dinner or walk my dog.  Both shows present complex ideas  that I would not take the time to read in an email or blog in an audio format I will happily listen to while doing something else – a true 21st Century American.

What luck to find Ray’s seminar! Ray produces and assists people in learning to produce their own podcasts.  The following are his insights. You can find him at the above website or @podcasthelper.

Length: 20 to 30 minutes is the sweet spot as it is the average commute time that someone would listen into.

Frequency: Weekly episodes is realistic. Doing more will lower your quality, doing less will lose your audience engagement.

Format: Start with Audio only. It is easier for you to produce and your audience to access. Most video ends up watching “talking heads.” Which leads into content.

Content: People love listening to conversations over a long speech any day. Do  a Question & Answer with an expert , round table discussions on a topic of interest, etc. DO NOT SCRIPT. Just have an outline to make sure the important points are covered and not forgot.

Equipment: The ATR2100 USB microphone is less the $50 and will do all you need for indoor, small studio work.  You Ipod headset will let you check the audio as you record and the software is free. Either AUDACITY or GARAGEBAND will do.

Expect a 4:1 ratio of work time to show time. One hour of production and editing will get you 15 minutes of podcast showtime.

I believe  this will turnout to be a faster turnaround than writing a blog or email on the same content that will reach fewer people. Try both ways with a stop watch!

— Carl

Social Media Disrupting Non-Profit Fundraising in Unexpected Ways


The Permanent Disruption of  Social Media by Julie Dixon and Denise Keyes is an excellent article on how social media has not turned non-profit fundraising upside down, but has had an impact none the less. And in unexpected ways.  Social Media according to the authors  provides the means for organizations to leverage their supporters’ social networks in ways beneficial to the non-profit.

My volunteer work with non-profits through the Taproot Foundation is flooding me with overlapping donation requests, time wasting emails, tweets and FB postings – a total overload of communications to someone who wants to help and give.  This never happened in the old days. Back then the charities my wife and I supported  knew our donation level and types of volunteering activities. They limited contact accordingly. They had us pegged, or in today’s lingo “segmented”.

The article’s chart shows how today’s sophisticated non-profits look at supporters’ INVOLVEMENT and INFLUENCE as a grid.


The article suggests the largest social media opportunity for non-profits is   to identify supporters with large social networks of their own that the non-profit can then leverage.  The simplest example is  small donors can have big impact on a fundraising campaign just by forwarding the request to people in their own network.

Unfortunately the article missed the opportunity to relate this to current best practices in lead generation used by private industry, especially Eloqua’s approach to managing prospective buyers.

Inforgraphics: Use them in web sites – Branded out loud


Handling Stress


A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all …. “How heavy is this glass of water?”, she inquired with a smile.

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.

She replied , “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.

So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.

1  Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!
2  Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
3  Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
4  Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
5  If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
6  If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
7  It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
8  Never buy a car you can’t push.
9  Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
10  Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.  Just get up and dance.
11  Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
12  The second mouse gets the cheese.
13  When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
14  Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
16  Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
17  We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names; and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
18  A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
19  Have an awesome day, and know that someone has thought about you today.
20  Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate!

Today someone asked me if I liked you.  I laughed, and I said, “Ha! That’s  funny!  I absolutely L O V E  that woman!!

She’s funny, caring, crazy as heck, sweet, beautiful, she’s reading this email right now & I love her!!”

Send this to ten ladies you love… the more the better!!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says~~

“Oh Crap, She’s up!”

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