RSVP Now for Nonprofit Conference

By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Nonprofits are one way we come together to advocate for what we believe in, to provide services, to educate, to heal, inspire and enjoy the arts. To name just a few. At the heart is community, and with that comes communication.

But, how do we build community and communicate? Newsletters (mailed, distributed or passed from one person to another) was one way, back in the good old days. Today it is social media.

You may be living in the social media world with a growing community of online “friends.” Or you may have your toe in the water – perhaps you sent out e-newsletters, have a blog and maybe a Facebook presence. Maybe you are one of the many wondering what “tweeter” is all about.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of online engagement there is something for you at the upcoming Powerful Networks: Nonprofits, Social Media, & Community conference on Wednesday, May 2, hosted by the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence right here in Memphis.

Experts are flying in from across the country to create a day of learning and networking focused on the exploration of how social media impacts the way nonprofits operate and build connected communities.

Marnie Webb, the co-CEO of TechSoup Global, will speak on “Making Change in a Digital World,” and Laura Quinn, the founder and executive director of Idealware, will address a topic of great interest to Memphis, “Unleashing Innovation.”

Our colleague John Kenyon from the San Francisco Bay Area, the educational program manager with NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network), will be part of the lineup as well, leading two sessions. Near and dear to our hearts will be “Engaging Stakeholders (and Raising Money!) Online.” If you read this column regularly you know we firmly believe that engagement and giving go hand-in-hand. Check out John’s sessions and he will walk you through the process.

The conference will also include important sessions that cover behind-the-scenes issues related to social media. Join Emily Chan, an associate attorney at NEO Law Group to learn about “Legal and Policy Considerations for Social Media Use.”

Ruth Cambridge, the editor-in-chief of the Nonprofit Quarterly, will tackle “Beyond the Board: Governance in a Social Media Environment.” And Memphis’s own Tal Franfurt of Cloud For Good will talk tech (the nuts and bolts of your communication!) at his session “Using Databases to Build Relationships.” We have said it before and we will say it again – a spreadsheet is not a database, and is not an effective tool for building and managing relationships let alone for running a fundraising campaign!

As you can see, there is something for everyone. We will see you there – Wednesday, May 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clark Opera Memphis Center. Register online at www.npexcellence.org/conference.php.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They help nonprofit organizations and institutions rethink revenue sources. They are the authors of “How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors.” Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com or call 522-8727.