Did all of you catch Philanthropy Northwest’s coverage of their annual conference on their blog? It was riveting, even from my seat on the other side of the country. How’d they do it? Here’s a few things that worked for me: daily re-caps, photos, guest posts.
1) Daily re-caps – For those of us who can’t attend in person, it’s nice to have some context. At the end of every day, PNW staff posted a brief summary of what happened and photos. Makes me feel like I’m there. Plus it capitalizes on our “real time” new media mentality. Why read about a conference from last week? I want to know what’s happening right now! It also allows them to promo what’s coming next:
Day two featured eight more incredible breakout sessions, an offisite visit to the Lummi Reservation, deep, engaging “Discussion Zones” about education, capacity building and philanthropy’s role in civil society, and a lot of thought about what the future looks like – both for Philanthropy Northwest and our whole sector. (More on that in the next post!)
2) Photos – Lots of them. I don’t know about you, but I love looking at photos online, especially of people I know. An annual conference is a great place to snap some quality shots of your members (which you can also later use to illustrate web content, rather than boring stock images). Consider this set in which PNW asked attendees to complete the statement, “In the future, philanthropy will…”
3) Guest posts – There’s no better way to break out of a monolithic organizational voice then at turn it over to your constituents. Not only do they know about your organization and care deeply about what you do, but they can offer a compelling personal perspective. Here’s a snippet from Patti Gilhousen Guptill, Trustee of the Gilhousen Family Foundation, writing about Dori Kreiger’s multi-generational discussion of family philanthropy:
I came away with the central idea that if a family foundation truly wants to engage with future generations, they have to remember reciprocity. The founder has certain ideas about how funds can best be used and how decisions should be made. Of course, that same independent spirit and strong ideas are often present in next generation folks who would be great assets to the foundation board of directors.
However, if the younger generation is too tied down procedures or giving areas set by the founders, they may not be able to apply their real strengths to leadership. In other words, a family foundation needs to work like a family, and have enough flexibility to reshape itself to fit the interests, needs and passions of future generations.
See what I mean?