The Shape of Design

Shape

I recently watched a charming and lovely animation on Fast Company called Shape, created to explain to young people why design is important. Designed and directed by Johnny Kelly for Pivot Dublin, and a Dublin-based initiative MAKESHAPECHANGE, this six-minute film attempts to answer questions about the how and why of creating things. Although it's to be used in Dublin classrooms, this six-minute film is just right for everyone - highly recommended.

How Nonprofits Can Succeed with Content Marketing

For a recent article in Nonprofit Communications Report, I was asked by writer Dawn Wolfe for 3 keys to successful content marketing for nonprofits.

I thought it would be worth sharing them here, via excerpts from the piece (a subscription is required to view the full article online).

What is content marketing? It's self-published content that is genuinely useful and/or entertaining, which you us to attract people to your website and socal media presences. It's a core part of inbound marketing.

My 3 keys? Brand, persona and focus.

Great, up to date advice for raising money with social media & the web

Spencer Critchley

By now, just about every nonprofit of any size seems to be using the web, email and social media. And yet many are behind the curve on using online tools effectively.

In particular, we find that many nonprofits use email as if it's just a digital version of a paper newsletter, and the web and social media as if they're just digital bulletin boards.

But in working with any medium -- the web, TV, radio, newspapers or, reaching way back, fax -- it's always been important to understand it for its own strengths, not in terms of whatever came before it.

Type-Finder: An Online Tool for Finding Typefaces

If you need to quickly find a great typeface for your project, here's a terrific online tool that can help - and is kind of fun as well. (That's always good.)  Type-Finder takes you through a series of questions that let you define the use of your typeface, and then displays a list of fonts that it thinks will match the use. For example, your first question is "Where will this font be used?" You choose from web, print, or both. "How will it be used?" Headline, paragraph, or both.

Empathy: The overlooked key to nonprofit marketing

Don't Mess With Texas PSA

It's an occupational hazard of the nonprofit world to know too much about the problems you're trying to solve. When you're an expert, facts have great resonance for you.

Why is this a hazard? Because when you're trying to reach people, facts are not much use. Then, you need to know not facts, but feelings. That's because it's emotions, not information, that drive our beliefs and behaviors.

So, for a nonprofit communicator, it's critically important to practice the skill of imagining how the world looks to the person you're trying to connect with: to be empathic.

George Clooney vs. a Bad Robot

The glitz and glam of the theater often outshines the hard work and the technical achievement we see at the movies. Everybody can name a few favorite actors or recognize a George Clooney caliber star. But ask about directors, then the average score drops, move on to producers and forget about it. So how does a production company stay in the collective zeitgeist? Consistency.

Be a Better Writer in 1 Step: Forget Everything You Learned in College

Spencer Critchley

How did "academic" become synonymous with "irrelevant?" Wouldn't it be a good idea if our smartest, best-informed people played a more active role in society? And yet, as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in a recent piece, "Ph.D. programs have fostered a culture that glorifies arcane unintelligibility while disdaining impact and audience."

When I'm consulting with clients on anything to do with writing, I spend a lot of time undoing the results of a college education. Call me a philistine, but I believe communication should communicate.

What's not to LIKE about it?

'Generation Like' on PBS

Over the weekend, I happened upon the Frontline documentary "Generation Like," originally airing the week of February 17th. (View it on the PBS website here.) This detailed explanation of social media and its effect on teenagers and young adults was sometimes chilling in its demonstration of the lengths people will go to gain attention, to garner 'likes' on Facebook.

This Future-Oriented High School Is Devoted to Digital Media

Instructor Jesse Valdez and prospective student Bella Prospero

A high school curriculum based on "Creativity, Self-awareness, Empathy, and Critical Thinking" -- and it's focused on digital media arts.

This sounds like someone set out to train the next generation of Boots Roadies! And who knows, I wouldn't be surprised if we end up hiring graduates of the Millennium Charter High School, which opened just a few months ago in Salinas, California, just up Highway 68 from Boots Road Group in Monterey. That seems all the more likely after a tour I was given recently by Hamish Tyler, MCHS' media center director.

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