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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

5 Ways Non-Profits Can Keep & Grow Their Volunteer Base

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

As a nonprofit organization it’s obviously important to use a majority of funds to support the mission. But most nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers to manage a variety of aspects of their organization. So what can you do when your volunteer base is dwindling?

  1. Take An Outside Look:

It’s easy to love an organization that you’ve been a part of for years. Take a step back and try to imagine what your organization is like from an outside perspective. What would be a newcomer’s first impression? Do volunteers feel welcomed? Do volunteers leave with a sense of fulfillment?

  1. Listen To Others Objectively:

Refrain from becoming defensive when someone explains how a process could be done more efficiently. Successful nonprofits are always seeking new ways to improve, and embrace a free flow of ideas from volunteers, sponsors, and other stakeholders. While your ideas may be great, make sure that others feel like they are being heard since their ideas are essential to the nonprofit’s success. Stakeholders will be more loyal to your organization if they feel they are needed.

  1. Help Them Make Connections:

Be intentional about connecting volunteers to staff members and those you serve. Volunteers will be more likely to come back if they felt socially noticed and accepted initially. Make them feel like they will be personally missed if they don’t return.

  1. Provide Opportunities:

Give them a job & provide clarity. They came to volunteer. Before having volunteers come, make sure you have enough areas for them to help in. No one likes going to volunteer, and then being put on a one-person task with five other people. Make sure to plan well, so that people can be fully utilized.

  1. Sell Them On Your Mission:

Great non-profits have leaders who believe in their mission, and help others believe in it too. Sell volunteers on your mission, and then let them sell others – they become your brand ambassadors. Educate new volunteers on what your organization does and why that’s important, and then let them advocate for you.

Avoid the business buzzword bandwagon.

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

It seems like at the beginning of every year, you begin to hear particular words primarily in business, and then suddenly you start to hear those words in seemingly every conversation.

So far in 2017, the most overused word seems to be ‘pivot’; think about how many times you have heard this in meetings, in casual conversation, in national news ? What did we use before ‘pivot’? ‘shift’, ‘another direction’ or any other synonym. It seems to be a phenomenon that keeps going on. Like when Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg coined the term ‘leaning in’ and then suddenly everyone in business is using it.

The overuse of business buzzwords is so popular, that The Wall Street Journal created a tool for it – the Business Buzzword Generator. The tool actually generates and shares custom-built meaningless business phrases using overused business buzzwords. Some Business Buzzword Generator words include ‘cutting-edge’ ‘out-of-the-box’ ‘traction’ and ‘collaboration’.

The consistent uses of these bandwagon words are not flattering or advantageous for business professionals. It gives the impression of being insincere and unoriginal with a limited vocabulary. The overuse of these words can also saturate their meaning and influence. If everyone is ‘pivoting’ and everything is ‘cutting-edge’, it detracts from the impact of the word when used appropriately.

If you find yourself using these buzzwords regularly, try visiting www.thesaurus.com and learning some new synonyms to add to your vocabulary – your employees and business associates will be grateful.

Can you hear me now? Not so good.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Smartphone usage has increased tremendously over the past decade. You can’t go anywhere without seeing someone attached to their phone. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone today. With their eyes glued to their screens and their attention span continuing to decrease, many wonder if the rise in smartphone usage is having a negative impact on today’s face-to-face communication.

Smartphone users are not just using their devices as a communication channel, but also as an information source. The Pew Research Center found that 62% of smartphone users look up information about a health condition, 57% for online banking, 43% for job hunting, 18%to submit job applications, 44% to look at real estate listings, 40% to find government services or information and 30% use their phones for taking a class or receiving educational content. In addition to accessing online information, a vast majority of smartphone users follow news and community occurrences with their phone.

The problem with this constant cellphone usage is the lack of personal communication. Smartphones do provide a channel for communication and socializing, but the face-to-face contact is lost. People are losing the ability to have meaningful conversations in person because they have grown accustomed to communicating through composed messages and social media interactions. Even when people are in the company of others, they are on their phones and distracted from the conversation. Being too connected takes away from the real social interactions that matter the most. According to researchers at Baylor University, people who can’t put their phones down are more likely to be temperamental and moody. Not only are they harming their social interactions with others, but also themselves.

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“For young people, the cell phone is the go-to instrument for so many things,” said Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Internet and Life Project. “You watch the young adults moving around life, and it’s just an instinctive thing that their phone is there to document things, to enhance the social setting, to gather up information. It’s a very different mindset, in part because this is the life they grew up with.” Regardless of the usefulness of smartphones and the overwhelmingly large percentage of U.S. adults utilizing these devices, face-to-face communication is still a critical factor in healthy socializing. Technology can have a negative impact on relationships when used in inappropriate settings. It is important to find a healthy balance in order to keep your cellular device habits under control and your connected lifestyle in check.

 

Ann Keeling says:

We have all experienced the line at Starbucks where the majority of patrons are ‘heads down’ involved with something on their phone. I NEVER bring my phone into a store/retailer because there’s just too much you can miss. Do you know how many times I’ve run into someone at the grocery store or coffee shop and had a really meaningful conversation? I doubt that would happen if I were in ‘heads down’ mode. Our society is certainly smart-phone obsessed and all of us should be very concerned about what that means to humanity….

Smart is Necessary.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

“There’s nothing as practical as a good theory” – Jim Grunig

Last week the annual International Public Relations Research Conference explained that the most important role of today’s industry professionals is for them to continue their education – not only traditional continuing education but also daily education of the changing media landscape. Regardless if you are based in an agency managing a diverse client base, or working corporately for a specific brand or product, continuing education is instrumental to a successful practice. The business environment is constantly developing and public opinion with respect to your client can constantly change. When working in public relations, it is crucial to keep your pulse on all that may be happening in PR as well as all client businesses.

In order for external communication strategies to be successfully developed and implemented, PR teams need to be well educated on the company and the industries it is associated with, as well as, how the public feels about the business and its objectives. Robust research, industry expertise and public opinion are especially vital when managing controversial businesses and governmental initiatives.

Public relations is essentially responsible for establishing and cultivating consumer trust. Public relations as a function not only needs to provide the information the public demands, but work towards preparing messaging that solidifies transparency and reliance, working proactively rather than reactionary. To ensure a positive external image for your brand, additional time and energy needs to be spent continually researching the various elements of your clients’ businesses.

Ann Keeling says:

As an agency we partner with our clients. Even though we are not employees of client businesses, our job is to know as much as the client knows about their business, and in some cases even more. To add value and to be a vital part of the client team, part of our job is to bring matters and ideas to their attention that could help position their business positively and/or mitigate possible negative situations.

PR’s Holy Grail

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

“Distributing a press release is still the fastest and most reliable way to reach the widest cross-section of the media. While social media, Google AdWords, brand based websites, email blasts, banner ads, blogs and a plethora of other new-age technologies are an important part of any marketing strategy – especially for startups – these things will not replace the more formal and far reaching concept of a professional press release.”

Everyone familiar with the public relations environment knows the professions’ hallmark – the press release. Entrepreneur argues that despite a century-long existence and a multitude of new tactics introduced in the industry, the press release still remains a cornerstone in the business communications world. And, it should.

A well-written press release packages all of the distinct and necessary elements in the clearest and simplest form. Weaving in facts, quotes and necessary background in a controlled communiqué, is the mastermind formula developed by public relations professionals decades ago. Some of the best things in life are those that stay true to the traditional methods, as rings true for the press release. New marketing tactics are strong support to share the message, but the press release is the foundation, the sole-proprietor of information, if you will. The press release needs to be incorporated in your business strategy and managed by communication experts who can carefully craft the key tool to benefit your product or business..

Ann Keeling says:

Less than 20 years ago when email came onto the scene some in our profession said PR would change forever – and it has, sort of.  Yes, email, blogs, and Twitter have changed the way PR professionals pitch stories and disseminate information, but the press release still remains the expected and most reliable form of communication to convey key ideas and news.

Hail to the press release !