My top 5 shareables from the 2015 nonprofit technology conference

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The latest trends in technology offer so many possibilities for growth to nonprofit organizations. That’s one of the reasons I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference March 3-6, 2015 in Austin. But I also went for the professional development, networking, and a lot of fun along the way. Here’s one top tip from each session I attended – which were mostly part of the communications track – plus what I learned from the session I co-led.

1. Tip: Find out where your content has been pinned

Session: Visual Media for a Social World: What You Need to Know About the Future of Social Media

Several platforms were covered in this session, but my top tip is about Pinterest — which I incorporated into my social media marketing this year (so I’m still somewhat of a newbie). You can see who has pinned content from your website and where they’ve pinned it by going to pinterest.com/source/[your organization’s website URL].

When I tried it, I learned that my blog post, What is the Difference Between a Logo, Identity and Brand? got the most pins, and that other articles I’ve written and designs I’ve created were showing up on boards with names like ‘Tantalizing Tidbits for NPOs’ and ‘Nonprofit Event Planning’. Cool!

Note: the information yielded from this link is not the same as learning who is sharing and pinning your pins from within Pinterest.

2. Tip: Tell stories with a purpose through Hatchforgood.org

Session: Multichannel Storytelling for Social Impact

How do you take statistics from your organization’s dense report and turn it into a shareable, post-able tidbit? Turns out the Rockefeller Foundation has a new, free, storytelling site, Hatchforgood.org, to help nonprofits “tell stories with purpose…Hatch connects you to a suite of tools and a growing community that can help you leverage the power of narrative to increase reach, resources and impact for your social impact organization.”

I just signed up; there’s a lot here and I look forward to exploring it further. Let me know if you try it and if you find it helpful or not.

3. Tip: Re-purpose meaningful video

Session: Video Strategy – How to Compete and Win in a Video-Centric World

Aggressive sports metaphor (in the title) aside, the speakers pretty much showed award-winning videos and had lots of great suggestions based on solid experience about using video in a content marketing strategy.

One key takeaway for me was that it’s perfectly acceptable, even desirable, to include video content in your stream that you did not create. Just be careful to annotate the content so viewers understand how it fits into your own brand messaging. Re-purposing meaningful, on-brand content shows your audiences that you are an expert in this area — your curated content helps them know where to turn to learn more.

For some reason, I never thought about doing this with video – only written content or static visual graphics and memes. Have you done this with video? What’s been your experience?

4. Tip: Communicate more authentically

Session: Considering Consulting to Nonprofits? Advice from the Pros, Speed- Dating Style

I had a ton of fun co-leading this session with the inimitable Marlene Oliveira of moflow (and founder of nonprofitmarcommunity.com and the #NPMC Twitter chat). I won’t go into details now about the session since we’ll be summarizing it soon for Nancy Schwartz’s Getting Attention blog (watch this space for a link).

But in thinking about my best tips for those entering the consultancy field and listening to the seven other amazing, savvy consultants who helped us facilitate the session, here’s something I want to put into practice: infusing more of my personality into my business. For too long, I’ve thought of my company as an agency (a mini, virtual creative agency) but it’s time to step out from behind the Stone Soup Creative shingle and own my specialist status as a designer/brand strategist. I’m going to take our collective advice and try to communicate more authentically with my audience from now on.

5. Tip: Think about how you can do it better

Session: Beyond Pretty: Design as Transformative Act

How might you employ design as a means to better understand your stakeholders, mission, service, and impact? I had read the description before the session, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d hoped that maybe I would come away with new, design-led research methods I could incorporate into the brand strategy work I conduct with clients.

To make a long story short, we used sticky notes, brainstorming and Cartesian graphs in an attempt to identify densities and voids, needs and opportunities. The parameters were strange, and I just wasn’t sure what they were doing, why, or what the end result would yield.

When I left, I was frustrated by the experience but also inspired. I know design thinking has a lot to offer any organization in terms of problem-solving and nurturing creativity. I would love to come up with a fun, interactive workshop for future NTCs and other venues that feels truly relevant to helping nonprofits with innovative solutions to their unique challenges.

Who wants to help? Let’s collaborate! I’d also love to hear from others in the session about what you got out of it.

Any other  ideas, comments, suggestions? I’m taking notes…

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