Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From the Washington State Nonprofit Conference: Jabez Lebret on Generation Y

Jabez Lebret's psychological profile of Generation Y for their future bosses:
  • We want to make a difference and we believe we can make that difference: Sometimes it feels like we've been raised to be a generation of optimistic activists. This is great, because it seems like this is just what the world needs. This can be irritating, because it means your 25 year old new hire will show up in your office with suggestions on how your organization can do things better on day two.
  • We want to be part of something bigger than us: This is great for the same reason as above. It also means we expect more out of our professional lives and volunteer experiences. But when we believe we're part of a good cause and that we're making a difference - watch us go.
  • We're natural collaborators and prefer to work in teams:
  • We want to be told when we're doing things the right way: Generation Y sometimes gets a bad rap because it seems like we need constant encouragement and pats on the head because of all those participation medals we got growing up. But another way to look at it is that positive reinforcement is
  • We have grown up with information always at our fingertips
  • We believe in work-lifestyle balance: I think the cliche is "work to live, don't live to work". Again, Gen. Y can get a bad rap because of this. The thing is, we're willing to work hard, but we don't think that working part time, having full sleeve tattoos, wearing hoodies to work, or wanting to be able to take a couple weeks off to hike cross country gets in the way of having a career.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different: The Washington State Nonprofit Conference

I don't usually blog outside of geek, green and Seattle here on Life on the Hill, but I'm going to make an exception for the Washington State Nonprofit Conference, which I attended this Friday at the Meydenbauer Convention Center in Bellevue. I am making this exception because it was an excellent conference and I had a wonderful time. The Meydenbauer Center was a lovely venue, the staff of Alliance for Nonprofits kept everything running smoothly (special thanks to Erin Tierney!), and all the conference sessions I attended were full of useful information. There is a lot I could write about, but I'll keep it to my two favorite presenters, Erica Mills and Jabez Lebret.

Erica Mills of Claxon Marketing told us all about Nonprofit Marketing Trends to Watch, Try & Avoid (you can find her full presentation here). The basic message I gleaned was that 1) it's all about your organization's story and 2) deliver that story in the way your potential members/donors want to get it. Which means translating your mission or brand into a story and finding a way to tell that story over social media, on smart phones, and broken up in chunks over time rather than once a year in the annual report.

I really appreciated that Erica also told us all what not to do, notably not to spread your organization too thin by trying to do and be everything. For social media, pick three outlets and do them right. Focus on the folks who are interested in what you, don't spend time on those who don't. Frame your message, but once it gets into the hands of your supporters on the internet, let them run with it.

I liked Jabez Lebret's keynote address on Generation Y so much that I decided to attend his afternoon workshop, "The Value of Attracting and Retaining the Social Media Generation." It was a little strange to go to a workshop that was focused on how to hire and keep my generation, but very useful.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cheap Date: Opening Night of The Great Puppet Happiness Machine

My boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to catch the opening night of The Great Puppet Happiness Machine by Puppet This! at Annex Theater. We had seen the posters go up last week and decided it would make a good event for date night; wandering in on opening night last night was just our good fortune. Our decidedly peculiar ideas about what makes a good date paid off - The Great Puppet Happiness Machine is ridiculous and well worth $10 ($5 for students).

There are basically two premises to the show: 1) a bunch of puppets decide the best way to make their sad puppet friend happy again is to visit a mad scientist and 2) improv. Improvisational comedians running around a blackbox stage with puppets on their hands does not sound like a recipe for success, but it works. Watching puppets gesticulate and flop around is way more interesting than watching the people behind them (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...). It helps that the crew of Puppet This! are pretty funny, even when things don't go quite right.

The BF and I agree that the show was a little rocky: some of the song numbers stuttered when the puppeteers couldn't make up lyrics fast enough, and the crew was still trying to figure out who should chime in when. That said, this was the very first show of the run and my BF was so enthused about the whole thing he wants to go back again. I admit I'd be interested in seeing how the show changes over the season, and would find it vastly amusing to watch my friends discover the puppet-y wonder of "The Great Puppet Happiness Machine".

[TGPHM shows Wednesday nights at 8pm through May 18th]

PS This makes me really regret missing Manos: Hands of Felt.