Archive for January, 2010

I apologize for the long break between posts. I’m sure you all experienced busy holidays too. Well, to top off the holidays, I also transitioned into a new job!

The bad news is I’ve left professional journalism, but the great news is I’m still doing lots of multimedia work and am excited about this new position in the nonprofit sector. My new job title is “interactive media strategist” and I’m working for two nonprofit community foundations: Minnesota Community Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation. The thing about community foundations is they do lots of exciting work that’s hard to sum up in one paragraph. Essentially, community foundations are:

…independent registered philanthropic institutions serving geographically defined territory, typically a city or administrative area (county, region and the like). The six main characteristics of the CFs are:

• Act as grant-making foundations – e.g. give grants to support development projects
• Their mission broadly defined (e.g. to improve quality of life in a community)

• Serve geographically defined communities – a city, state, region, district or province

• Are supported by a broad range of private as well as public donors and seek philanthropic contributions primarily from inside the community

• Are governed by multi-sectoral local boards reflecting the community

• Build capital endowment, which is an important element of sustainability

(Source: Wikipedia)

I’ll be guiding the two Foundations social media efforts, managing its newsletter and other print publication projects, and producing videos for them.

I’ll also be working for an offshoot of the Minnesota Community Foundation called GiveMN.org.

GiveMN.org has a very cool story. (Read the Minneapolis Star Tribune story here). Essentially, the Minnesota Community Foundation decided to forge new territory in the nonprofit world and create this online philanthropic web site where nonprofits from around Minnesota could set up a home page, take donations and connect with donors. Individual donors can now visit one web site to do all their local giving. In a special promotion shortly after the site launched, GiveMN.org raised over $14 million for local nonprofits on “Give to the Max Day” Nov. 17. You can read about it here.

So, basically, I’m working for some really cool folks with a great mission. Here are some of the main bullet points of my job description:

  • Produce testimonials about extraordinary nonprofit organizations to feature on the Foundations’ website.
  • Promote the featured nonprofits through social media and other strategies.
  • Identify high-performing nonprofit and public sector leaders who are having transformative impact in their communities and create profiles to feature on the Foundations’ website.
  • Serve as the primary social media voice and manage the Foundations’ presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and other social media outlets.
  • Track key on-line communications in Foundation interest areas and ensure we are participating appropriately.
  • Manage content and production for the Foundations’ MNSights and Grant-a-Wish publications.
  • Manage contracting for and relationships with outside communications suppliers and vendors.
  • Work with the Executive Director of GiveMN.org to provide strategic and operational leadership for GiveMN to launch and grow into the best place-based giving platform in the country.
  • Build and manage all content partnerships for GiveMN portal.
  • Manage production of issue spotlights, working with partners to develop and disseminate great analysis of critical issues facing Minnesota.
  • Work with corporate and other sponsors to plan and execute giving promotions such as matching days, challenge grants to individual organizations, and giveaways.
  • Lead media strategies and outreach for GiveMN.
  • Develop a GiveMN YouTube channel with donor-generated video content integrated into the GiveMN site.

The cool part is I really feel I’m in one of those “jobs of the future”. I mean, this has got to be one of the newest job descriptions out there. In a way, it’s kind of like a metamorphasis from a traditional communication professional job description. No longer is marketing, public relations or journalism about writing for a given medium. Today, any given communication team, be they part of a newsroom or a PR firm, needs to have a social media and video strategy. Online video and social networks have grown in popularity and participation to the point that organizations must employ folks with a grasp of the new online interaction reality. (How I stumbled into this expertise area, I’m not quite sure, but I feel like one of the lucky ones…)

Over the holiday break I read a post by Adam Westbrook (10 Trends in journalism in 2010), a British multimedia journalist and blogger [I love how the Brits say “mobile’], that hit home. His #2 prediction for trends in journalism for 2010 was that journalists will move to the NGO market, or Non-governmental Organization market. (Read nonprofits). Cool, I’m living that prediction!

But seriously, the nonprofit sector seems a great refuge for multimedia journalists who may want to “wait out” all the turbulent changes in the journalism industry. Since journalism is replete with lay-offs, pay cuts and freezes, and a reputation for poor salaries, many high-mined, idealists in the field may find themselves a great fit for nonprofits who wish to share their stories. I certainly hope to make my contributions at the Minnesota Community Foundation, The Saint Paul Foundation and GiveMN.org.