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.

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