Professional Development

Personal is ProfessionalDo you bring yourself—with your passions, personal history, and personality—to work, or do you check “the real you” at the front door?

Here’s hoping you bring “all of you” to work. It’s the only way to feel fully at ease in your job, to nurture the relationships you need for success and satisfaction (for you and your organization), and to bring the greatest value to your role and responsibilities.

Take James Porter, director of communications at The End Fund. James recently asked me (via email from his personal address) to donate to the END Fund in support of his participation in a marathon this June. He describes the race, and the cause, then links his passion for his work (and participation in the race) with his experience of being marginalized as a gay boy growing up. His story is moving, memorable, and forges a quick and strong connection with readers. For James, the personal is professional:

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Nancy Schwartz on May 24, 2017 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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Happy Healthy Nonprofit Book CoverGuest bloggers Beth Kanter & Aliza Sherman wrote The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, a must read for communicators & fundraisers.

If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that that last quarter of 2016 was especially stressful. Not just the usual hectic workload of year-end campaigns, but a difficult election season—a combination that has left many nonprofit communications professional feeling overwhelmed and

For many of us, the holiday vacation time probably did not come fast enough. We all probably enjoyed a nice reprieve from deadlines, tasks, and deliverables. And, after taking a break, it is hard to get back into the swing of things.

One thing we do know for sure, 2017 will be the year that we will absolutely have to exercise our resilience muscles in order to do our best work and not get slowed down. In our book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout, we discuss ways that nonprofit professionals can use at work and avoid the stress of competing priorities. Here are three techniques to put to work right now:

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Guest Blogger on January 4, 2017 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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Reboot Nonprofit MarketingOur daughter Charlotte is finishing up a blissful summer at a few different day and overnight camps. At the end of each and every day, her mind and creativity are stimulated, she’s made new friends, and she sleeps solidly with a smile on her face. She finishes the summer inspired, energized and smarter than ever.

I envy her greatly. But you and I are too old for summer camp (find me an adult camp, please!). Instead, I set out an a discovery mission—asking fellow nonprofit staffers and consultants how they reboot to tee up for a great fall and forward.

There’s still time for you to reboot. Dig into these inventive approaches a.s.a.p.:

1) Seek a different point of view: Gillian Ream Gainsley, who works in Communications and Development at the Ypsilanti District Library (MI), takes a unique approach:

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Nancy Schwartz on August 11, 2015 in Professional Development | 6 comments
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Communications Bad HabitWhat’s that one bad work habit you want to change but just can’t do it?

C’mon—we all have at least one. But be it one or many, these habits can drive us crazy. OMG!

Here’s my biggie bad:

  • Whenever I speak or train, I learn a ton from folks like you who are in the room or on the webinar.
    • These learnings hugely enrich my understanding of the topic (let’s say, writing for social media vs. websites). I know that weaving them into my presentation will make next time even better.
    • Plus many are the start of 5-star blog posts.

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Nancy Schwartz on May 6, 2015 in Professional Development | 14 comments

You CAN Have It All  Guest blogger Stephanie Bowen leads communications and marketing for Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).

Howdy y’all! Just back from Austin and this year’s NTEN Conference (#15NTC), and I’m buzzing with energy from all I learned and  those I met.

But about halfway through the conference, I felt totally depleted…

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Nancy Schwartz on March 10, 2015 in Professional Development | 3 comments
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Stay Smart & EngagedShe got me…

The rain was pouring down this morning as our daughter, Charlotte, was getting ready to walk to school, so I caved and drove her. And I’m glad I did. Because as I dropped her off to join the gaggle of noisy, drenched kids waiting outside the middle school, I started thinking.

Here were all these kids crowded round the dripping doorway to march in for another day of challenge, learning and growth. I was jealous—they were walking into this incredible opportunity to be exposed to new content, to digest it in the context of what they know now, and to arrive on the far side with a fresh perspective and new skills.

Few of us have this kind of formal growth opportunity anymore, but ongoing intellectual and creative growth is our oxygen. It’s the ONLY way to ensure our marketing and fundraising content is relevant, while fueling our personal satisfaction.

My call to action for all of us fundraisers and nonprofit communicators? Let’s schedule some learning—via conversations, reading, participating—into every day, even if for just five minutes.

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Nancy Schwartz on October 22, 2014 in Professional Development | 8 comments

recalibrateI know your fall is booting up big time—on right-now to-dos, end-of-year campaigns and thinking/talking on what to do differently and better next year. Same here, and for our client orgs.

But—thanks to pulling myself away from work for a much-needed sabbatical—I’m seeing what’s ahead for me and Getting Attention.org far more clearly than ever before.

Now, two months later, I’m back to work and focused on bringing my new professional vision to life. That’s:

  1. Finding a way to keep doing what I love (that stays put—guiding nonprofits like yours to build & strengthen relationships with donors, volunteers and more, via marketing & communications);
  2. While making enough money to co-support our family (no change there); BUT…drum roll here
  3. Shifting my decision-making framework to center on family, friends and the issues that mean the most to me.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 17, 2014 in Professional Development | 12 comments
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Flickr: Alan EnglishThe adventure in question is my first-time sabbatical which runs through early September.

I’m taking this time to reboot, and to see what bubbles up. And I hope to return with a practice for personal nourishment firmly in place, and the confidence and ability to mesh that more effectively with my job. That’s the work behind the work I want to do better.

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Nancy Schwartz on June 25, 2014 in Professional Development | 4 comments
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Use summer to rejeuvenate I’m seeking your ideas this time round!

Please tell me (in the comments below) what your summer camp looks like—i.e. how are you planning to use summer to get inspired, energized and even smarter? And how will you integrate that experience and the results into your work approach and/or activities in the fall.

Pls share your ideas and hopes here. I’ll report out via a guest post for Network for Good.

BTW, here’s my plan.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your in-box! Register here for the Getting Attention blog & e-news.

Nancy Schwartz on June 10, 2014 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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carolGuest blogger, Caroline Avakian is the founder & CEO of SourceRise, a social enterprise connecting journalists to nonprofit subject matter experts and sources, and managing partner of  Socialbrite, a social media for nonprofits consultancy and digital learning hub.

Conference season is ongoing these days. So I was particularly pleased when, at the recent, Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, keynote speaker and Echoing Green president, Cheryl Dorsey, shared some valuable hints to us attendees on conference participation best practices.

Here are the helpful tips I learned—all easy to manage but packing a big punch. Bet that you’’ll be glad you set these in motion when you return from your next conference.

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Guest Blogger on May 15, 2014 in Professional Development | 3 comments
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