Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’

The mind is an interesting thing. I think what makes it so interesting, though, is that it isn’t JUST the mind working alone. It is your heart, your soul, your body, your home, your relationships … it all works together.

I’ve been in a bit of a slump for the past month or so. Funny enough, I’ve been going to the gym pretty much every day since the middle of January, and while I love it and the energy it brings, the rest of me/life hasn’t been coming along for the ride.

But yesterday, as if someone (that being me) flipped the proverbial switch, I seemed to reconcile it all at once and started pushing forward. And it happened as I was making a tutorial on how to use a CMS to update my organization’s website (Community Radio Fund of Canada) for our new program officer. I was imagining presenting it to the new employee when it hit me … starting next week, I’m going to have another full-time permanent employee working with me in the office.

No joke, it has been 10 years almost to the day that I have been working alone in an office. There have been temporary assistants, project coordinators, and summer students, not to mention almost countless board directors and other volunteers. But since I started the office for the NCRA on February 25, 2002, I have been working in isolation in my office. So when I started imagining orienting a new staff person, imagining walking down our little hall to talk to her about our daily goings-on, maybe chatting over lunch in the board room once in a while, … well, I started to get a bit excited.

What an excellent way to chase away those mid-February blues. On my way to work this morning, I realized I hadn’t noticed I had been in a funk. My winter was quietly slipping away and I hadn’t been paying attention. Total denial, really. But now everything feels back on track.

Plug time: For any community radio folks following this, if you haven’t already, visit the CRFC‘s website to subscribe to our newsletter or to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. (Links updated November 2013)


CRFC Hiring for Program Officer

Happy New Year, one and all. I hope you had a great holiday with family/friends. I had a different experience than normal for me. Instead of heading to Canada’s East Coast, I went to the US’s West Coast. Wow, I never knew how much the presence of snow affects my spirit. It was an amazing time, but I missed the cold white fluff — its muffled sounds, blanketing lights, covering trees … I traded it in for sandals and short pants on the pier in Pacific Beach (San Diego). It was really great to see different family and friends that I normally do not get to see, though.

So, with the new year, comes a new job posting from my organization. The Community Radio Fund of Canada started this search last fall, but, we are still looking. The position is for Program Officer. Check it out and spread the word if you know anyone. The full posting is at www.communityradiofund.org.

Oh, the promo’d web you can weave

It’s September. I love the fall crispness and colours — my favourite season really. I know Winter is coming (a nod to fellow GRRM fans), but there is always a “newness” I find with each Fall. But for some nonprofits, Fall also means getting ready to gear up for December donor campaigns. Here are a few online and/or social media resources to get you thinking about your message, management, and web presence as you start to plan.

Tell stories: Grant writing, marketing, and social media experts are always talking about ways to reach out effectively to your audience. One key trick is tell stories, especially those that can show your impact they can relate to. Care2‘s blog “frogloop” recently wrote about a few applications/tools to help tell stories online with different elements like pictures, video, and slides. One of them also helps create better content across different social media platforms. 4 Tools to Help Any Nonprofit Tell Stories Online

E-mail newsletters: I’m a big fan of newsletters. I’ve just started getting into creating my own for my job. CharityVillage has posted this article called “Ten Tips to Get the Most out of Your Email Newsletters” that are great. They are not rocket science or even new, but it is a great list, and sometimes you just need to be reminded. And if you have not worked with newsletters before, this is an excellent list of things to help you start with a bang! There are a number of tools out there for creating e-mail newsletters, and I have come to loooove Mailchimp as it’s free for nonprofits, has great flexibility when it comes to design, and offers extensive reporting tools.

Online resources: David Venn blogs about Nonprofit Public Relations and recently published an e-book called 50 Online Resources for Managing Your Nonprofit. It is a list of resources organized by such categories as Nonprofit Management, Social Networks, Presentation & Publication, and Fundraising. It’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter. I liked the listing. I have heard of or used many of his suggestions, but there were quite a few I didn’t know about (like Bplans, wicked!)

Try out an online template: I haven’t looked at this myself, but Smart Brief on Social Media has created a customizable social media plan template. If you try it out, let me know how it works out for you.

And while you’re at it …CharityVillage has published a great article on Creating a Social Media Toolkit for your Nonprofit. I love the sample screenshots.

The Facebook: If you are thinking to create a Facebook page or build on the one you have now, here’s a list of 30 tips and tricks you can consider, thanks to the folks at HubSpot Blog and their Ultimate Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet.

(Links updated November 2013)

A Change Will Do You Good

It’s been raining for a few days in Ottawa, just after the beginning of summer. It doesn’t help that I’m trying to write four different major documents for work and I’m a little stressed about the writer’s block I seem to be suffering. But I came across this list, and I think I’m going to try a few. It won’t be all 60, but I’m hoping the ones I do pick will be the pebbles I need to make enough ripples to change the tide. It’s either that or just count the days to my next vacation. Sometimes that does the trick, but since I don’t know when that will be, and that is too much like living for the destination, I think I’ll take my chances with a few of these following journey tips.

60 Small Ways to Improve Your Life in the Next 100 Days
Written by Marelisa
From the blog: The Best Article Every Day

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to make drastic changes in order to notice an improvement in the quality of your life. At the same time, you don’t need to wait a long time in order to see the measurable results that come from taking positive action. All you have to do is take small steps, and take them consistently, for a period of 100 days.

Below you’ll find 60 small ways to improve all areas of your life in the next 100 days.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Top 10 Volunteer Articles at CharityVillage

I’m a little late with this, as National Volunteer Week was back in April. But this article is still great! Thanks once again, CharityVillage.

Top 10 Volunteer Articles at CharityVillage
Village Vibes
Issue 16.15 – April 12, 2011

Are you thinking about volunteering to get more experience for your resume? Considering a position on a board of directors? Or maybe you manage volunteers as part of your daily duties? Regardless of where you fit in the volunteer spectrum, we’ve got the resources you need. There’s something for everyone in our list of top ten volunteer-related articles.

1. The Big Boom: Is Your Organization Making Good Use of Boomer Volunteers? Find out how your organization can attract and engage baby boomer volunteers. (November 2013: This article seems to have disappeared, but there are some resources posted at Wild Apricot’s page Are You Ready for the Volunteer Boom?)

2. Volunteering for Career Development: 7 Steps to Professional Growth: Learn how to find volunteer positions that will help you gain relevant experience for your nonprofit career.

3. The Volunteer as Bully = The Toxic Volunteer: Not all volunteers are easy to get along with. Follow these tips to work with and manage difficult volunteers.

4. Evolving the Volunteer Program at the Saskatchewan 4-H Council: How one organization overhauled their volunteer program and dramatically increased their retention rates.

5. Employee Volunteerism: A Profit for the Nonprofits?: An exploration of corporate volunteer programs and why they are on the rise across North America.

6. All A-Board!: Volunteering on a board of directors can do wonders for your career, but it’s also important to carefully consider the responsibility before signing on. 

7. Eight Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers in Tough Times: Is your organization as efficient as possible at recruiting and retaining volunteers? 

8. Being the Best (Board) Volunteer You Can Be: Doreen Pendgracs, author of Before You Say Yes…, offers advice on how to be an effective board member. 

9. Screening Volunteers for Attitude: Ask these questions to determine whether a potential volunteer has the type of attitude your organization is looking for.

10. Ethics Q&A: Mixing Religion and Overseas Volunteering: A reader about to volunteer overseas wonders why she isn’t allowed to bring holy books to distribute to local citizens.

(Links updated November 2013)