Tips & Tools

  • 14 Dec 2011 9:29 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    The goal of the Merck Family Fund’s Sustaining Our Environment program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to create policies for sustainable production practices. To meet this goal, the Fund provides grants to nonprofit organizations that address one of the following three priority areas: Promoting Energy Efficiency, Conserving Ecologically Valuable Land, and Making Paper Production Sustainable. To promote energy efficiency, the Fund supports state and regional policies in the Northeast and Southeast that provide incentives and subsidies for energy efficiency implementation. To conserve ecologically valuable land, the Fund provides grants for land conservation projects in the Southeast. To make paper production sustainable, the Fund seeks to increase the rates of recycled paper in large paper sectors, reduce sourcing from endangered forests, and maximize clean production. Letters of inquiry may be submitted throughout the year.

    The upcoming deadline for invited proposals is February 1, 2012. Visit the Fund’s website.
  • 12 Dec 2011 3:28 PM | Deleted user
    Twitter has long been a simple establishment for me. When Facebook took off it was great. Good, clean fun if you ask me! But now, I can barely keep up with all of Facebook's updates, revamping, restructuring, and remodeling. That is one of the reason's I enjoy Twitter - because it has pretty much stayed the same, remained easy to use, and continued to grow in popularity among my clients and colleagues. So, you can imagine the deep gasp I took when I read this article, "The Impact of New Twitter on Events"

    Fortunately, after reading the article, I found out that the face of Twitter is not massively changing, nor is how I use it. True, the aesthetics of my "Twitter Homepage" will be getting a facelift, but Twitter at it's core will remain the same. These changes that are being made will only enhance my usage of Twitter, especially on a client and business based level. (I do NOT send "personal" tweets, I am just not that interesting!). Here are the changes, in a nutshell....

    #HASHTAGS -Your company will be able to personalize your hashtag by embedding a button with your hashtag already pre-set. This will allow the hashtag to show up even more, which will enhance your ability to have your topic "Trending". It will allow for maximum categorization of incoming tweets, and you will no longer have to worry about someone creating a hashtag that is similar to yours, or tweeting with the wrong hashtag.

    BRAND PAGES - You will now be able to post videos and interactive feeds about and from your event (like a Facebook Event Page). Users will have the option to get more detailed information about your event if they choose to do so, thanks to this new feature.

    Change, as we all know, is inevitable. Change that actually means something, and is a positive thing, is just, well...GRAND! Thanks for reading!

    Anna Trott
  • 05 Dec 2011 11:22 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Community Action Grants program provides funds to individuals, AAUW organizations, and local community-based nonprofit organizations throughout the country for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women and girls. Special consideration is given to projects focused on K-12 and community college girls' and women's achievements in science, technology, engineering, or math. One-year grants of up to $7,000 provide seed money for new projects; two-year grants of up to $10,000 provide start-up funds for longer-term programs that address the particular needs of the community and develop girls' sense of efficacy through leadership or advocacy opportunities. The application deadline for both types of grants is January 15, 2012.

    See more information about these grants.
  • 02 Dec 2011 3:58 PM | Deleted user
    If you are anything like me, you love Google product. I use Chrome as my browser, Gmail as my personal email, Google Reader as my daily newspaper, and the list goes on. I love Google products because they are simple, easy to use, well organized and convenient. Read on to learn how to incorporate Google Calendar into your day to day business events.

    If you want to have the organization of a company-wide calendar, but don’t want to take the time to set it up or spend the money to have someone else do it, Google Calendar is a great, free solution.

    1. Invitations and Sharing

    Google Calendar opens the door to collaborative planning by allowing users to share events and even entire calendars with others both within their organization and outside. Each event allows you to invite participants (both internal and external to Google) to events. But Google Calendar goes even furtherundefinedyou can create multiple Calendars for different purposes and invite those who need to be involved in each of those calendars. This allows for customization of broad calendars rather than having to tailor every single event to specific people. Each calendar or event that you invite people to will be added automatically to their Google Calendar or can be downloaded to their own calendar system. When changes are made to the event, you can even choose to automatically email all participants to keep them in the loop.

    2. Publishing

    Google Calendar works with CalDav, which means that you can publish your calendar for others outside of Google to view or subscribe to. Using CalDav, you can create a unique link that you can send to any participants of that calendar. With it, they can subscribe to the events, within their own calendar system. Beyond that, Google also allows publishing calendars to a web addresses, allowing you to integrate calendars into your website or send via a link for others to access; using this feature, you can control whether a viewer sees only whether you are free or busy or sees the details of each event on the calendar. Small business copywriting will be important here, because any calendar you make available outside of your company will be a reflection on your work. Make sure it is easy to access, error free, and well displayed.

    3. Notes, Locations, Reminders

    Google’s system contains many of the same fields as other calendar systems. Using location to record the address, room, virtual space, or conference number of the meeting allows everyone to instantly have access to that information on their calendar. Furthermore, with notes, you can provide information on what the meeting will be about, what participants need to bring, and what preparations need to be made. Within the notes, you can also include links to important documents that will be used during the meeting. Small business copywriting can come into play here too. Be sure your notes are clear and well laid out. Even internally, you want your calendar to look professional and well displayed.

    4. Appointments

    A great new feature of Google Calendar is appointments. Appointments can be used to create “office hours” so that clients can setup times to meet with you without the back and forth of emails and phone calls. This can save both you and your clients valuable time of having to track down and plan out your appointments.

    Google Calendar is a great resource to help bring your company together and keep them in the loopundefinedand best of all, it’s completely free.
    Article contributed by B2C blog 12/2/11 w/ commentary by A. Trott

    Thanks for reading!
    Anna Trott
  • 01 Dec 2011 3:20 PM | Deleted user
    There are many ways to increase conference visibility through the use of social media:

    • Text Messaging:  A service called Tatango can be used to inform attendees of room changes, session cancellations, and promotions via text message. Best of all, Tatango offers a 20% discount to registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Remember, there is a difference between real value and promotional value.  Be sure to show your members that you value their privacy by limiting these text messages to valuable information rather than advertisements or self-promotion.
    • Twitter:  Twitter is an excellent resource to create pre-conference buzz and to promote discussions at the conference following sessions.Twitter also allows you to engage with members who were unable to attend the event. By creating and using a hashtag for your specific event, you are able to maintain member engagement for long after the sessions conclude.  Be sure to promote your hashtag prior to your meeting and be sure to promote it on-site as much a possible.  
    • YouTube:  YouTube is a fantastic, free option for archiving footage from your meeting. In particular, YouTube is useful because it is embeddable, reusable, and can be used for educational purposes and well as promotional marketing.  Remember, to upload videos more than 10 minutes in length, you will need to become a YouTube Partner.
    • Live Video Streaming:  Ustream offers free video streaming.  Video streaming is a perfect way to engage your members who are unable to attend the conference. 
    Organization is key to making any of the tips above work but the potential payoff in terms of member engagement and recruitment makes these efforts worthwhile.
  • 28 Nov 2011 11:07 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Grant Availability: Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust

    The trust supports US nonprofit organizations that provide long-term programs offering direct assistance to disabled veterans and their families.

    Interests include making sure sick and disabled veterans have transportation to VA medical facilities for treatment, supporting physical and psychological rehabilitation projects aimed at the most profoundly disabled veterans, meeting the special needs of veterans with specific disabilities such as amputation or brain injuries, providing food and shelter for homeless veterans, and bringing hope to the forgotten and suffering families of disabled veterans.

    Requests are reviewed quarterly with the next deadline of January 20, 2012. Application guidelines and forms may be downloaded from the Trust’s website.
  • 28 Nov 2011 10:11 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

    The first 5 tips:
    • Assemble a dedicated team
    • Overcommunicate
    • Don’t assume
    • Be authentic
    • Know your obstacles
    See the entire article here.
  • 17 Nov 2011 3:53 PM | Deleted user
    Story by Debra Askanase, November 11, 2011
    Google+ launched Pages this week, a move many of us have been looking forward to since the launch of Google+ itself. Within days, stories of unintentional G+ personal posting, problems sharing admin oversight, and issues with merged profiles were shared on the web. However, during that same time frame, hundreds of nonprofit organizations worldwide created and launched Google+ brand pages.
    Google+ Pages are little SEO beacon lights.

    Two nonprofit motivations are apparent. A primary motivation seems to be related to search engine optimization: Google is the largest search engine by far, and Google Pages will certainly benefit from Google’s search algorithm (see why here). I wrote that Google’s+1 button will change search, and so will Google+ Pages. The second motivation seems to be that everyone wants to get in on Google+ Pages early enough to start figuring out the medium. And maybe get a head start.

    Thanks for reading!
    Anna Trott
  • 17 Nov 2011 3:36 PM | Deleted user
    With so many platforms to choose from, it's almost impossible to ignore social media, especially if you own a business. The fruits of being active in social media are sometimes hard to define, but the benefits are truly there. It is also easy to get wrapped up in which platforms to choose from, and which ones suit your business the best. Me, personally, am on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. I don't think I have the time to manage any more! That's why I am so glad that these websites have made it easy for you to share within one another, posting links and automatically hooking up with one another. Click this link for a great read on how to best manage your time and efforts in the Social Media World. 

    Thanks for reading!
    Anna Trott
  • 14 Nov 2011 11:03 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    The American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund, a privately funded, national grants program dedicated solely to building and protecting hiking trails, has a deadline approaching for their 2012 awards of December 15, 2011.  Awards range from $500 to $5,000 per project.

    For additional details and application information, please access the American Hiking Society web site.

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