*This recap will be longer than my typical recap, as this was a day long event.
On Friday, August 6, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network DC (YNPNdc) held their second annual Social Media Summit at ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership. The theme of this year’s Summit was ‘Bringing Theory to Practice.’ Sessions were designed to focus on practical applications for social media use within nonprofits.
As a social media advocate who’s been involved with the nonprofit sector for over 10 years, I considered this a “must-attend” event. However, since it was held on a weekday, I had to sell my supervisor – who doesn’t know the difference between Tweetdeck and a deck of cards- on the idea, in order to not have to use my personal leave. My way with words and genuine passion for social media served me well in this task. I made my pitch and a few weeks later, I was at the Summit, live-tweeting away!
This was my first YNPNdc event so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was looking forward to finding out. Having viewed the agenda beforehand I knew they had an impressive lineup of presenters, but good on paper doesn’t always translate to interesting in person, so I was still a little apprehensive because 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. is a long time to be bored. Turns out I had no reason to worry! Each speaker was interesting, informative, engaging, and most importantly, kept me awake – since I was running on about four hours of sleep.
The first session of the day was ‘Social Starter Kit: Tools to Jumpstart Your Nonprofit’s Social Presence‘ presented by Tammy Gordon, Senior Advisor for Social Communications, AARP (I love that this job exists!) Tammy gave a fabulous presentation, full of humor and real-life scenarios. She discussed how to establish social media guidelines for your organization, getting executive buy-in, incorporating social media into your communications strategy without a dedicated budget and the fact that this is an ever evolving field.
“There’s no such thing as a social media expert.” – Tammy Gordon
Next up was Brian Dresher,Manager of Social Media and Digital Partnerships, USA TODAY. I had seen Brian co-moderate the #140conf and interviewed him at Tech Cocktail during DCWeek, so I was looking forward to seeing his presentation, ‘USA TODAY: More Than Just News. A Social Media Case Study.‘ Though USA TODAY is not a nonprofit organization, the information translated well. Brian spoke of utilizing various platforms to reach your audience, thinking outside of the box and being able to integrate social aspects into your website. He also talked about how news is being disseminated differently and that journalists are engaging consumers via social networking.
“There’s a community for everything on Twitter.” – Brian Dresher
The lunchtime keynote address was given by Reggie Henry, Chief Technology Officer, ASAE. Talk about your atypical presenter! To use a common colloquialism, Reggie “kept it real.” He was open and honest about challenges involved with implementing social media strategies within organizations that have a multi-generational workforce. He discussed the importance of having goals and also shared some “what happens in Vegas” learning moments from his experience. I don’t usually want to listen to people talk while I’m eating, but Reggie’s speech was well worth it.
“In coming years, the content curator will be one of the most highly paid professionals in an organization.” – Reggie Henry
The post-lunch agenda gave attendees the option of attending either a panel session or a single presenter session. For the first portion, the choice was between panel session Social Media and a Call to Action and How to Use Social Media to Build Excitement, Attendance and Engagement for Your Next Conference or Event, presented by Rosetta Thurman, President, Thurman Consulting. Though I’m sure the panel session was great, I opted for the event session. Big surprise.
Rosetta focused on four tools to utilize to promote events: Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. When asked why she hadn’t included Facebook, she replied that she hadn’t seen it used often or effectively by nonprofits as a way to promote events. Rosetta spoke to the point that you have to build momentum around an event well in advance and that use of the aforementioned tools is a great way to do that. Additionally, you must engage with your audience before, during and after an event to gain a sense of their expectations, as well as to drive registration. Rosetta suggested using Eventbrite as a registration tool because it makes it easy for registrants to share the event with their networks via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
“Events that incorporate live-blogging and live-tweeting have a different vibe. They’re more interesting.” – Rosetta Thurman
For the second afternoon session, attendees were given the choice between Nonprofit Communications 2.0: Leveraging Social Media to Achieve Communications Goals (panel discussion) and Analysis, Benchmarks and Campaign Conclusions – The ABCs of SocialMedia ROI presented by Jordan Viator, Interactive Communications Manager, Convio. This time I opted for the panel discussion.
The panel consisted of
- Debbie Friez, VP for Major Accounts, BurrelleLuce/President, Washington Women in Public Relations
- Mariah Craven, Director of Communications, Washington Area Women’s Foundation
- Amanda Miller Littlejohn, Founder & CEO, Mopwater PR + Media Notes
- Kye Strance, Director of Product Management, Vocus.
Talk about a group of heavy hitters! As moderator for the session, Ashley Parker, Communications Coordinator for Community Support Services, kept the conversation going by asking predetermined questions centered around the utilization of new media in a traditional media focused environment. Topics of conversation ranged from the need (or lack thereof?) for the traditional press release to utilizing social networks to build relationships with journalists. Though the room set-up made it difficult to see all of the panelists, the content was definitely captivating.
The day ended with closing comments from Malcolm Furgol, YNPNdc Vice-Chair and a standing ovation for Summit coordinator, John Chen. Of course no event in DC is complete without a post-event happy hour, so after all was said and done, attendees headed over to Lima Restaurant & Lounge to relax and debrief.
YNPNdc put on a great event! I’m so glad that I was able to attend and I’m already looking forward to the next one!
As always, here go the videos. There aren’t as many as I would’ve liked because I didn’t want to be disruptive while people were speaking since I wasn’t filming in an “official” capacity.