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January 5, 2010 

Next week's Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze for Association and Non-Profit Execs: "Best Event Strategies: Driving Attendance and Managing Costs." At BLT Steak, Jan 12, crazy low price. Come for the program, stay for the networking! Sign up now!

Millennials may be taking over non-profit leadership positions sooner than you think. We met up with the Gen-Y blogger and non-profit consultant Rosetta Thurman to learn how young non-profit professionals can get from entry level to leadership.
Rosetta Thurman

One of the biggest steps young professionals take toward advancing their non-profit careers is joining a board of directors. (Rosetta joined the board of DC Central Kitchen at age 25.) She says a lot of non-profits are looking for younger people to diversify their boards and bring in social media savvy. From there, join a committee, heck, chair it. Not only is it an impressive resume item, but invaluable experience being someone's boss. "Don't let the age difference distract you," Rosetta says. "If you're invited to be on board, it's because they believe you have experience and skills to help them."

Rosetta Thurman

Before Rosetta began blogging in 2007, people would confuse the now 27-year-old as her boss's secretary or ask how she liked being an intern, when in fact, she was a development director raising $1 million a year. Now, she says people recognize her at events and offer her jobs she hasn't applied for. The secret? Building a personal brand through regular blog and Twitter updates. She also suggests meeting with executive directors for informational interviews— something young professionals are often intimidated to do. Rosetta reassures: “No one can say no to a 30 minute coffee once a quarter.” (Although the Tea Association prez might put up a fight.)

Digital media consultant Chris Brown at the National Press Club Broadcast Operations Center

Associations and non-profits should put 20-30% of their marketing and communications budgets toward social media and video, according to digital media consultant Chris Brown. Seen here in the National Press Club's Broadcast Operations Center, he predicts that if they do, they’ll see more return on those investments than any others. That said, one of the biggest mistakes he sees is orgs implementing video just because everyone else is doing it. Find your most compelling stories and determine to whom you want to target them: "Throwing video spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks doesn't cut it." (Though a video of that would probably go viral.)

Digital media consultant Chris Brown at the National Press Club Broadcast Operations Center

Launch with ten videos and commit to producing two per week, Chris suggests. The ideal video length is three to five minutes. He says many organizations already have great video of past conferences or speeches just collecting dust. All they need to do is break the videos into short clips and post them on the web. To promote the material, Chris says you have to become best friends with the most engaged and vocal people in your community. Treat every blogger like you would a reporter from The Wall Street Journal. That means giving them access to events or interviews with a CEO. "Everyone online has the same megaphone.”


Jim Dinegar

When we snapped this photo of Greater Washington Board of Trade prez Jim Dinegar at a November meeting of non-profit leaders, he was already pointing up. Now, an end-of-year survey from the Board forecasts the local economy heading the same direction. Six in ten local business execs say economic conditions in the greater Washington area will improve in the next six months. (Only 6% say conditions will worsen.) About a third say they expect to add employees in that time, while 12% expect job cuts. Nearly half plan to expand products or services, and another half expect to increase advertising and promotion.


January 12 - Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze - Event Strategies - Driving Attendance and Managing Costs." BLT Steak - Sign up now!

Send story ideas to Jessica Sidman, jessica@bisnow.com
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