Communications Toolkit Models Excellent Philanthropy Practices

Communications Toolkit Models Excellent Philanthropy PracticesWe hear it all the time: the key to fundraising and membership success is communications. But just what does that mean? And how on earth do you do it?

This wonderful toolkit from the United Way Women’s Leadership Council sets out best practices for running a solid and coordinated communications campaign. Even better, it offers templates for establishing effective strategies, consistent messaging, and clear and motivating brochures, flyers and fact sheets.

Take advantage of the combined wisdom and experience of generations of smart amazing women. You can modify this approach for any group’s purposes.

Thanks to Artyn Gardner, member of the United Way’s National Women’s Leadership Council Board, serving in Orange County, California for sharing this fabulous resource. Find Artyn and the 350 smart members of the United Way Women’s Leadership Group on LinkedIn.

Check out the Communications Toolkit here.

How to Make Fundraising Everyone’s Responsibility

As everyone who has ever led a fundraising campaign knows, it’s hard to get everyone on the committee to take responsibility and truly embrace the goal.

6 Tips on How To Get Your Committee to Take Responsibility

  1. Fundraising How-to GuidesCommunicate. In fact, OVER-communicate. You’re familiar with all the details — and you remember them —  because you focus on them daily. But your committee members are busy living their lives. Unless you keep reminding and updating them, they’ll forget all about it. Keep them in the loop.
  2. Motivate. Continually restate the goal and benefit and focus on accomplishments and progress. No one wants to be on a losing team.
  3. Make it fun. Humans avoid suffering. It’s a fact of life. They also avoid boring, tedious, futile and pointless meetings and activities. So don’t do that. Instead, find ways to include laughter, good food and drink, music, beauty and fellowship in all activities.
  4. Assign at least one committee member to focus on making it a good experience for the volunteers. It’s hard to ask for money and keep going in the face of rejection. Make sure they know they are appreciated and that their efforts are making a difference.
  5. Assign at least one other person to focus on making it a good experience for the donors. Recognition events, opportunities to meet beneficiaries, and events where they can socialize with others who are helping is a great way to strengthen these relationships.
  6. Rather than struggling with too few helpers, challenge each committee member to bring in one other to join the fun.

Sure, it’s hard to remember all these details, but once you get the initial structure in place, you can focus on being the FUN meister who talks to everyone and cheers them on.


Are You Seen, Heard and Valued at Work?

The Value of Women’s Work

The Value of Women at WorkWomen often complain about feeling invisible, ignored and dismissed in their workplaces. A wonderful new article posted by Charmaine McClarie on W2Wlink describes four common traps and how to avoid falling into them.

1. Blindly oblivious at work. This person has no idea what it takes to get ahead in their workplace. To avoid this, notice at least two people who get seen and heard and two more who labor without recognition. Analyze what they are doing. Now ask yourself, which category do I belong in? What behaviors will bring you more credit and advancement?

2. Tooting who’s horn? Women are often criticized if they try to take credit for their good performance, which causes many to sit quietly and wait to be noticed. Instead, find a way to praise your team or organization, pointing out the solutions and value you contributed.

3. Busy bee. Too much focus on your many tasks can obscure your true value to the organization. Read six questions you should ask yourself to clarify your important contributions to the company’s bottom line.

4. Be prepared to take credit. Too many women deflect praise when it is offered.When you work hard to get noticed, make sure you accept credit when it is offered. Be prepared to build on it, too, by bridging to the next challenge you’d like to tackle. Say thanks you, summarize the great thing you accomplished, and point out the related project you’d like to take on.

Charmaine McClarie, head of McClarie Group, leads executive development programs that build competitive advantage for organizations, who is often quoted in publications including the New York Times, Harvard Management Update, the London Financial Times, Forbes, and People magazine.
W2Wlink.com is a terrific source of helpful information for working women.

Women and War

Women Have to Empower ThemselvesWar Redefined is the capstone of a 5-part series on public television. Many interviews are available on the PBS website as transcripts or podcasts.
Interviews with female Secretaries of State and others “reveal how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualty rates.
Simultaneously, they describe how women are emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict.”

Women and children are the primary casualties of war in today’s world

In previous generations, most casualties were men.

“Women themselves have to empower themselves,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a PBS interview. She described the many ways women are changing the course of war in their countries. “They can’t wait for somebody to point to them and say, ‘Now you must be a leader and you must go forth and try to end this conflict.’ It has to come from within.”

What has changed about war today?

A recent 5-part PBS series explores what’s changed about war today and how women have and can change the situation.

  • Read Hillary Clinton’s interview
  • Read Gloria Steinem’s podcast on rape as a weapon of war.
    Rape was only defined as a war crime a decade ago.


Self Promotion Can Backfire in the Workplace

Self Promotion Backfires

To get a raise you need to self-promote, but self-promoting women may experience backlash in the workplace.

What can I do to keep my self-promotion from backfiring?

How to Avoid Self Promotion BacklashThe website W2Wlink.com has some answers.

“The characteristics we associate with success, including confidence and competitiveness, are seen as stereotypically masculine. Characteristics that are seen as stereotypically feminine, like communality and selflessness, not only don’t overlap with the characteristics we associate with success — in many cases, they’re actually mutually exclusive. A woman who trumpets her own achievements is violating the expectation that she is community-oriented rather than focused on individual reward, which can lead to bias and discrimination.”

  1. Highlight your team
  2. Have others praise you
  3. Use “stealth” to promote accomplishment
  4. Package your success as help for others

Self Promotion Without Backlash

Read the full article. Register for free to gain access to articles.


How can I recruit new members?

How to Recruit New Board Members

Performance artists on a beach
Before you begin some bizarre recruitment ritual, realize you are facing a common problem. You’re having trouble filling your board positions, a few people are doing most of the work, and the steady workers are in danger of burning out.

We often hear this statement in
organization meetings,

usually said in a
despairing and hopeless tone.

We need to recruit new members in our organization

Every organization needs new members to counteract the natural attrition caused by life changes and moving. Sounds easy, but how to do it? Organization guru Cynthia D’Amour says you have to search for relevant value.
No matter what type of association you are, she says, there are three key benefits that motivate people to join your chapter – and to stay involved.

Reasons people join and stay members

  1. They want personal/professional development.
  2. They want to contribute to some greater good.
  3. They want to be part of your community.
Your association must find ways to offer all three of these benefits continuously. Sound easy? Not!

Groups often focus on a single reason, which leaves many potential members cold. Leaders too often forget to state all three of the benefits and do not bother to spell them out in promotional materials and at meetings. And chapters underestimate how hard it is for the typical person to get involved with people they don’t know.

Stop right now to assess your group’s approach to “selling” the benefits.
Is there room for improvement?

Change How Women are Portrayed in the Media

How can I use my power to change women’s image in the media?

Missrepresentation trailer screen shot

Click to view trailer

Our media denigrate even the most powerful women in our country such as Hilary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi.
Commentators focus on whether they had plastic surgery, what they wear, and how old they look.
What chance does an ordinary woman have to be seen and appreciated as a whole person?

Steps needed to change women’s images in the media

Below are the steps to power that were outlined in the first email we received after we signed up…
Thanks for joining our movement to end sexism! Now that you’ve taken the MissRepresentation.org pledge, here are some actions you can take immediately to make a difference:

  1. Tell 5 people about the film and share one thing you learned from watching it.
  2. Parents- watch TV and films with your children.  Raise questions like “What if that character had been a girl instead?”
  3. Remember your actions influence others. Mothers, aunts and loved ones- don’t downgrade or judge yourself by your looks. Fathers, uncles and loved ones—treat women around you with respect.  Remember children in your life are watching and learning from you.
  4. Use your consumer power. Stop buying tabloid magazines and watching shows that degrade women. Go see movies that are written and directed by women (especially on opening weekend to boost the box off ratings). Avoid products that resort to sexism in their advertising.
  5. Mentor others! It’s as easy as taking a young woman to lunch. Start by having open and honest conversations with a young people in your life.

You are now dialed into a national movement to stand up to sexism and challenge the media’s limiting portrayals of gender. Together we will make a huge impact on contemporary society.
Don’t forget to visit missrepresentation.org for frequent updates and other ways of getting involved.
Each week we’ll send you additional steps you can take to make change. Thanks!
Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the MissRepresentation.org Team

Take the five steps to changing women’s image in the media at missrepresentation.org.

How to Get Members Excited About Your Group

I would  like to  get members excited about my chapter or organization

Cynthia DAmour

Cynthia D’Amour

Cynthia D’Amour, founder of the Chapter Leaders Playground, posted a webinar 10-7-2011. During the webinar she polled listeners and found that 93% wanted some help increasing enthusiasm for their group. Only 7% said that all their members are totally excited about their group.
Cynthia’s Point on How to Increase Enthusiasm

  • Remember as leaders we have to reach out to lots of people – expand the opportunity
  • Create the vision – put it into words why it matters, why it’s important. This vision statement creates an emotional connection, so use this concept all the time.
  • Make sure you are paying them in value for the time they spend.
  • Let each member feel part of the vision. Make sure every member can answer: Why do we exist – why are we special?

How do I get members to participate and excited?

  1. Request their help and support in every meeting, in every contact – remind them why they are there. Why they are giving their time
  2. Make the human connections – heart to heart. Why does it matter? Get me to the heart so I feel like I’ve made a good investment of my time. Make it sexy and exciting. Who are we here to serve, what we will do to help? Want a 10 on Emotional connection scale. What’s the impact on others? How pull people to us?
  3. Make clear for each member: What is the connection between MY presence and the mission
  4. Make the vision easy to explain and specific. We come together here because we do THIS….. Make sure everyone can articulate it.
  5. Make your members superheroes – they are involved and doing great work. It’s not about the leaders. About your members doing great stuff.

How do I use my vision statement?

  • With enthusiasm, NOT by rote
  • Repeat it regularly – won’t hear it the first time (6-8 exposures) – keep it fresh
  • With pride – people hungry for someone to be proud of them
  • Pull it from them – Esp young ones want participative model. Become skilled facilitator at having THEM articulate it so they feel ownership. People want to make a meaningful difference. Co-create it together
  • At the start of EVERY meeting, every newsletter. Facebook page. Every communication. Make sure they feel connected in between meetings for the emotional glue – maybe a private group online to maintain the coolness and value of the connection

What are the biggest mistakes that kill enthusiasm?

  • Don’t bother to do the above – lose emotional glue that keeps people members.  Odds of creating an amazing experience go down
  • Parental mode—it’s the Right Thing To Do. Especially alienates the young. Not relevant to me – don’t push and tell me.
  • Forget to use the vision statements. Why does board exist? What are you trying to do this year? Why does it matter? Create pictures of the possibility to keep the emotional connection.

Questions to build enthusiasm

  • Let’s talk about why this matters. If we do this well what will we hear people talk about?
  • What will we see people doing?
  • How will people feel?

Why should I build enthusiasm?

  • Easy to do
  • Payoff is better
  • Members happier to be part of something big

Three Women Activists Win Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Foundation buildingOSLO, Norway (AP) — The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded  today to three women: Africa’s first democratically elected female president, a Liberian campaigner against rape and a woman who stood up to Yemen’s autocratic regime. The award recognizes the importance of women’s rights in the spread of global peace.

The Nobel website says the prize was motivated by “their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

The 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award was divided among Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, women’s rights activist Leymah Gbowee from the same African country and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. Karman is the first Arab woman to win the prize.

Liberia’s Sirleaf, nicknamed “Iron Lady,” became Africa’s first democratically elected female leader in 2005. Gbowee, who organized a group of Christian and Muslim women to challenge Liberia’s warlords, was honored for mobilizing women. Karman heads the human rights group Women Journalists without Chains and has been a leading figure in organizing this year’s protests in Yemen.

Read the whole story here.

Why Leaders Struggle to Create Strong Chapters

Why do volunteer leaders struggle to create a strong chapter?

People Power Unlimited logoLazy Leader Guru Cynthia D’Amour  surveyed 650 volunteer leaders to learn their views about their leadership experiences and more.
She found three major themes.

1. ‘No Time’ is the cover-all smoke screen.

  • People don’t have time to join.
  • Members don’t have time to volunteer.
  • Volunteers don’t have time to do what they say they will.
  • No one has time to become a leader.

Cynthia says, “Good people just give up the ship when the no-time claim is raised. Few ask, ‘How can we make this so appealing people will make time?’”

2. Focusing on what you lack is the black mold of volunteer leaders.

The overwhelming majority of leaders surveyed focused on what they did not have. This poisons the chapter and makes it nearly impossible to get people involved. Instead, talk about what’s working, and what can be made better.

3. Successful leaders know how to generate excitement and fun!

Bring energy to your chapter by acting like a marketer and “selling” the fun and meaningful involvement your chapter offers. More people will be willing to join, to step up to volunteer,  and to lead your chapter into the future.

What are you going to do with what you learned from the leadership experience survey?

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