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Link Love Friday: Secrets to Member Engagement; Meeting Ambassadors and More

Lori Halley 25 April 2014 1 comments

This week’s link round-up offers up: secrets to member engagement; creative ways to recognize volunteers; ideas for tweaking “the traditional small group reporting process”; tips for “writing like a human”; and insight into why “non-profit blogs are here to stay”.

Have a look at 5 of the top posts we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam this week!

14 Creative Ways to Thank Volunteers

April is National Volunteer Month and Joanne Fritz (nonprofit.about.com) reminds us:

When a charity receives a gift of say, $25,000 or more, that’s generally considered a major gift. But what about the volunteer who gives, say 1,147 hours of personal time to a nonprofit? What’s the value of that?

According to Independent Sector, “the estimated value of volunteer time for 2013 was $22.55 per hour.” So for the volunteer who may have given 22 hours a week during the course of a year, that equates to more than a $25,000 gift!

Just as donors deserve recognition for their generosity, volunteers do as well. And it’s not the cost of the recognition that matters; it’s the genuineness of those gestures.

In her post, Joanne offers “ways to recognize volunteers that you can incorporate into your menu of kudos”.

The Two Secrets of Member Engagement From an Engaged Member

In a guest post on the Membership Engagement Blog, Amanda Kaiser (SmoothThePath) offers an example of personal experience with Toastmasters to propose that:

The secret to member engagement is…connecting in those first critical interactions.

… Toastmasters connected with me and I connected with Toastmasters. How can you foster a connection like this with prospective members? What ways can you make them feel welcome? How can you tell them the story they need to hear about how you can help them solve their problem?

The secret to member engagement is…making it easy to engage.

…Once members join give them a clear path to follow. They will avoid engaging if they are presented with all 25 of your member benefits.

Facilitation Friday #44: Try Ambassadors Instead of Reporters

Jeffrey Cufaude (Idea Architects) tells us:

You divided into small groups and had a great conversation. Energy in the room was high and everyone was engaged.

Get ready for all the passion and enthusiasm to get sucked out of the room as the reporting out begins.  One by one, report by report, attention and interest will diminish.

It doesn't have to be this way, and it shouldn't be this way if you simply tweak the traditional small group reporting process. 

Cufaude offers “a few variations you can try”, including:  creating a shared document in Google; utilizing a Gallery Wall; “using ambassadors instead of reporters. Ambassadors carry forward the spirit and key insights of their group conversation into another brief conversation with a different group. Instead of standing and reporting out to a number of small groups as traditionally is done, ambassadors rotate to a new group and join them at their table. This creates a dialogue between the ambassador and his/her new table, as well as maintains the intimacy of a small group conversation.”

How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Write Like a Human

Kivi Leroux Miller (Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog) introduces this guest post by Kate Snyder (South Hills Interfaith Ministries) by saying:

We’ve been telling you for years that most nonprofits need to create less formal communications. But we know a lot of you are not being heard by your executive director or board members. Kate Snyder, who is the donor communications coordinator for South Hills Interfaith Ministries and also runs Kate Write Now, shared how baby steps may be in order to convince your boss to be more friendly.

In the post, Kate Snyder asks:

So how do you convince your ED or your Board to loosen up? It CAN be done!  Right now, an organization I work with is using a thank-you letter that opens with: “And the MVP award of the Sack Hunger campaign goes to…YOU!   Woo Hoo!  The crowd goes wild…!”  Getting to that point of colloquial, connected language was a process. 

Kate offers some suggestions to help get you started with less formal communications.

Why the Nonprofit Blog is Here to Stay 

Chris Lane (Idealware) suggests:

Increasingly, an online presence is not just important for nonprofits, but absolutely vital. It’s been clear for some time that your organization should have a website—and more and more constituents are looking to connect with you on social media. But what about blogs? 

The type of longform content found on blogs—where they differ the most from short content-focused social media like Facebook or Twitter—can be a powerful tool for engaging with supporters and attracting new ones. It can offer fresh perspectives on your organization and the work you’re doing toward your mission and provide a way for staff and supporters to tell their own stories, lending a feeling of clarity and personality to your organization that might not come across in your official communications or email blasts. A blog can also help you connect with others who are interested in your mission and help you to build a network of experts.

…But is that time worth your while? Can a blog still help your organization enhance its online presence more effectively than—or in tandem with—the many available alternatives?

Lane outlines the benefits and challenges of creating and maintaining a blog. 

Want more non-profit and membership links?

This is just a small sampling of the some of the membership and non-profit posts and articles we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam lately. For more, you can check out the latest posts on topics such as: Membership, Volunteers, Communications, Events, Social Media, Leadership and Fundraising.

We hope you'll visit Apricot Jam often to see what’s new or subscribe to our RSS feed.

You can also find additional articles and guides on non-profit and membership topics in our Membership Knowledge Hub.


Image source:  Bicycle chain heart - courtesy BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 25 April 2014 at 8:30 AM


  • Joanne Fritz said:

    Friday, 25 April 2014 at 12:16 PM
    Thanks so much for including my post in this roundup, Lori!
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