In 2019, what are some key trends political candidates and nonprofit leaders should learn about in order to gain strength more quickly? From a #Rep19Women webinar most recently to the Personal Democracy Forum (#PDF19) and #Tech2Empower plus others earlier, it’s been an eventful half-year for us and I’d like to share highlights to inspire you!
#Rep19Women + #RunAsYouAre: Women are leading the future
2018 brought a surge of amazing women who are serving in office and even more are running for office. Many Americans want to support their success. Last year, 80% of the women trained by VoteRunLead (whose website we designed) won their electoral races. We’re seeing unprecedented changes in leadership demographics that better reflect our diversity as a nation.
Social media and online community building is one of the change agents in this revolution. Social media audiences can be challenging to grow, as you probably know. Rachel Campbell, our VP of Creative Strategy, and I just led a webinar with Rep19 and VoteRunLead to help shine a light on the path forward for candidates, elected officials, and activists.
#PDF19: Stay on the bronco and *ride* as a woman entrepreneur
I was honored to give my first official talk about my Amazon bestselling book Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success at the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC in June. While women and minorities have made progress in the world of professional leadership, we need more allies who realize the importance of investing in high-impact, solutions-based startups led by women and people of color.
I wrote my book to lower the barrier of entry to more people — especially women and minorities or so-called “non-traditional founders” to take ideas that can improve others’ lives and create startups. Too many people and good ideas are left outside the doorway of opportunity in the tech world due to lack of information & resources plus hidden bias.
Yes, there are speed bumps for all startup founders to navigate, but we can only truly solve big problems in the world when all people with diverse talents and background are able to succeed.
My story is proof of that and my new book Mechanical Bull gives advice for would-be entrepreneurs with a special focus on who are women and people of color, because the challenges are measurably greater:
#Tech2Empower: Make the truth louder + show behind-the-scenes life through tech
Speaking at Twitter HQ to grassroots women-led or women-focused groups from around the country is always a privilege. I shared about the importance of using social media to speak the truth and be real about what’s happening in the world. Communicating with passion and authenticity can be more powerful than facts & stats alone. Yes, speak the truth even if your voice shakes while doing it, as Rasha eloquently re-capped:
On Instagram, one of the fastest growing social platforms, you can benefit from certain tactics such as showcasing your organization’s team and the work they do *every day.* This gives your followers an open window into the world of those who are working full time on the issues that matter to them. This level of openness is inspiring for many people who care deeply about the issues but can’t work on them every day. It’s also an effective and authentic way to humanize the real narrative.
So, highlight people behind the scenes to show staff interacting with each other, take photos of work being done, and use candids to show the intimacy of the real people you engage with on a daily basis.
You can use Instagram Stories and Live Video to show members of your organization at work. Think about: what are 3 to 5 things you do each day? Simply put, what are you thinking, feeling, experiencing in the moment? Create stories and moments from that, showing behind-the-scenes action and the daily things you do/see/feel that others might not know about or realize.
A rep from Twitter gave an interactive talk that had folks up out of their chairs on Trust and Safety immediately following my presentation! And my friend and esteemed colleague Beth Kanter spoke just before me. It was a wonderful way to inspire and equip some of the leading women led organizations around the country. I’m excited if insights help important work such as supporting survivors of domestic violence:
#19NTC: Create low cost yet effective video content
I spoke with nonprofit leaders at this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference about the importance of user generated content and how nonprofits can create low cost — yet effective — video content. In an all people-of-color panel, I also discussed workplace diversity.
We’ve all most likely seen some of the most powerful examples of user-generated content done well, such as the Starbucks White Cup Contest, and may have even participated by creating content for the brands that we love most ourselves.
Nevertheless, many nonprofits have yet to harness the power of audience activation in the same way. I joined Michael Hoffman of See3 and Gather Voices to explain how nonprofits can implement this effectively in order to create change. As we said in the presentation, “User-generated content activates your network…and in turn ripples through your network’s network, reaching people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.” See our presentation deck for additional detailed insights!
Indeed, your own audience might be your best content creators:
Also at NTC, on an all people-of-color panel, we discussed the “transformative power of authenticity in the workplace.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the session was very popular (with standing room only!), as nonprofit leaders are eager to learn how they can cultivate a culture that allows people to be their whole selves to work, ultimately strengthening their organizations.
Also at NTC, I spoke in a short video with Blackbaud about the power of video across social media. Nonprofits can take advantage of the desire for authentic, lightly or not edited videos through low budget production and several effective strategies. Watch what people are really looking for in videos shared on social media:
Blackbaud: Pay attention to leadership exercised by your micro influencer followers
For Blackbaud’s Engage podcast, I discussed powerful strategies for micro influencer marketing. Pay attention to the leaders amongst your followers, because they can help lead you in the right directions and be your boots on the ground. The new ground army is diverse and grows more helpful from being listened to.
#TFNMiami: Shifting the narrative
The Funders Network is one of the most pre-eminent gatherings for the philanthropy community. It was an honor One powerful example of why understanding how to use these trends to mobilize audiences and drive the narrative from the perspective of key communities is our work with Solidago and key grantee organizations across the country. Organizations need to step up their game a lot in order to compete and be heard.
What can help organizations shift the narrative? Communicating with humor and with greater volume & quantity, increasing team member capacity for digital communications, and leveraging the latest tech tools and platforms that can reach target audiences.
Organizations are on a path toward deeper strategic power digitally. Thankfully, women and communities of color are taking their place at the frontlines of these timely conversations.
Cheryl Contee (ch3ryl) is CEO of Do Big Things and author of the Amazon best selling book, Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success.