Cycling, boxing and running studios, as well as some full-service gyms, are using sophisticated lighting systems to heighten the exercise experience.
NYS Entity Status
NYS Filing Date
MAY 14, 2014
NYS DOS ID#
NYS Entity Type
DOMESTIC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
2014 - COLLABORATIVE COMMUNICATION LLC
AROUND THE WEB
- Fit City: Taking Night-Life Cue, Gyms Lower the Lights
By TATIANA BONCOMPAGNI - Tuesday Jun 13, 2017
- The Future of Ride-Hailing Apps, as Seen by Grab
Friday Jun 9, 2017
Anthony Tan, CEO of Grab, Uber's main rival in Southeast Asia, said at WSJ D.Live Asia conference that the Singapore-based ride-hailing company is betting on closer collaboration with taxi firms and innovations such as "chat-bots" to communicate with customers.
- Rooted in Counterculture, Whole Foods’ Founder Finds an Unlikely Refuge
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED and ALEXANDRA STEVENSON - Friday Jun 16, 2017
John Mackey wanted to fight off the activist investors attacking Whole Foods. He found a savior in Amazon, a company blamed for laying waste to retailers.
When your communications plateau, think like a clock restorer
Tuesday Apr 25, 2017
In the hit podcast S-Town, listeners follow the story of John B. McLemore, an eccentric genius living in rural Alabama. John is a horologist, someone who specializes in the scientific study of time. He has a deep expertise in making and fixing elaborate clocks.
Most clock repairers approach their work tactically—they can manage to get an old timepiece working again by tinkering with a couple of its parts. The clock might start ticking like new, but it probably won't last too long. By contrast, the best, most sought after horologists, like John, are able to gain an understanding of the whole apparatus—reviving the full machine back to life as originally designed.
The majority of nonprofit communicators approach their work tactically—like clock restorers who tinker with a few pieces at a time hoping to get the machine ticking. Many nonprofits hit plateaus with their communications efforts because they approach their work in this fashion. They tend to work on “one-off” projects as needed, rather than envisioning their organization’s communications as an interconnected system that should be optimized to reach its goals and support the mission. This might mean working on a new brochure without thinking about how it relates to the website or managing social media without considering how these platforms fit into their broader goals for engagement.
More nonprofit communicators need to be able to think like expert clock restorers: able to see, build, and fix the whole machine. Approaching communications as a strategic mechanism comprised of interrelated tactics takes effort and investment upfront, but generates stronger results in the end. The website, emails, social media, and print collateral should all be part of an ecosystem of efforts that reinforce and support each other.
Math For America (MƒA) is a great example of the benefits of building an integrated communications machine for recruitment purposes. MƒA’s fellowships for public school STEM teachers enable educators to hone their skills, collaborate with peers, and access leadership opportunities—all on a generous stipend. But ad-hoc marketing—a brochure, flyer, or email here and there—for their programs wasn’t filling the pipeline with qualified teachers. They had hit a plateau in recruiting qualified educators even though their program was almost too good to be true.
Limited expertise in marketing theory and strategy meant that staff were creating promotional materials (ads, brochures, flyers, etc.) tactically instead of strategically. Limited knowledge about their audiences meant that Math for America didn’t know how they were being perceived by teachers or what was holding back candidates from applying (and which benefits would motivate them to).
After researching to uncover what the opportunities and barriers might be from the educators’ point of view, we worked with MƒA to build an informed and motivating machine for their communications efforts. After a year, Math for America’s fellowship programs went from being under-enrolled to over enrolled. They saw a 358%(!) increase in applications for their Master Teacher Fellowship. And because MƒA’s communications team began to think of their marketing as a machine, they shifted away from tinkering with the tactical toward strategic approaches that offer a far greater return on investment.
If you want to see greater results from your communications efforts, take time to assess (or build) your communications machine. Your best bet is to approach your work like a clock restorer specialist—methodical, strategic, and looking at the whole picture. Chances are you’ll have to tackle some big questions first and put more time in upfront to develop a strategy and plan that is uniquely designed for your nonprofit’s goals and audiences. But it will pay off in the end.
Are your communications efforts hitting a plateau? Take a look at the whole machine.
3 Ways to Hire and Retain the Best Nonprofit Communicators
Wednesday Feb 15, 2017
Savvy communications directors with deep expertise and track records of success in larger nonprofits are, in my experience, a bit like the Painted Bunting who unexpectedly took up residence here in Brooklyn recently; rare birds that can be difficult to attract, spot, and head south for the winter too soon. When the right person applies to work for you and stays, spearheading game-changing communications projects year after year, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Here are three ways you can hire and retain the best nonprofit communicators:
Want a pro? Hire a pro.
It sounds funny to say, but if you want an expert communications director, you need to actually hire one. That often means resisting the urge to promote that programs person who you think is a good communicator just because they’ve worked at your org for awhile and “get it.” Try to avoid hiring that great person from the corporate world who comes without nonprofit experience too. Instead, recruit people with solid backgrounds working in nonprofit communications already so they can bring their knowledge of the sector, strategy, and skills with them.
Kivi Leroux-Miller and I recently collaborated on a study of successful in-house communications teams that revealed that hiring expert nonprofit communications professionals was a critical factor. (Download our ebook “What it Takes to Be Great: The top five factors of successful nonprofit communications teams” here).
Big team? Invest in a strong second-in-command.
I recently invited a handful of senior communicators at nonprofit organizations with operating budgets of 100 million dollars or more to meet each other over breakfast at Big Duck and share how their teams are structured. While each nonprofit’s communications team varied in size (from 1.5 to 14 full-time employees!) the directors in the room who seemed the happiest (and calmest) all had one thing in common: a strong second-in-command.
Senior-level communications pros don’t want want to do it all themselves, and they know it’s not a good use of donor dollars if they do. A strong Number Two gives your communications director the ability to step out of the weeds of managing every project, focus on setting priorities, and work more on the high-value projects. This generates greater value for the nonprofit, who’s likely paying that director a six-figure salary, and pushes down the day-to-day communications work to people who are less expensive, just starting their careers, and need to build these skills. It also provides your organization with a working succession plan if your director leaves.
?These Number Two spots are great opportunities to develop rising stars—and a more appropriate place for someone who’s entering your organization from the corporate sector or another department. They can be mentored by the Director while getting hands-on experience assuming management responsibilities.
Lots to do? Set priorities and be ruthless.
Communications teams have important strategic work to do: raising awareness, changing hearts and minds, engaging donors or members, recruiting participants to programs, strengthening the brand experience, and more. This work can take years to do successfully and well; it requires planning, budgeting, buy-in,methodical oversight, and execution.
At the same time, many communications teams also function as an internal agency. They are asked to create flyers for events at the last minute, help a department finesse and send an email out, and more to accommodate projects on short notice. This work is important too, but it’s often reactive and more tactical. It’s the sort of urgent (but not always important) work that eats up time from the important (but not always urgent) work of proactive, strategic communications.
That seasoned director you hope will build a nest for years to come will fly away fast if she’s burdened with an unreasonably long list of tasks, murky priorities, no resources for managing more production-based assignments, and left without time to advance the projects where she and her team might add the most value.
In our ebook, “What it Takes to Be Great: The top five factors of successful nonprofit communications teams,” we confirmed that successful communications teams rely not only on a clear set of priorities, but also the support of leadership who empowers them to be able to say no. At my roundtable of communications pros at large nonprofits there was consensus about this, too.
If priorities aren’t clear, consider labeling every project your department works on in one of these three ways:
Fire-extinguishing: these projects and tasks are typically urgent, time-sensitive, and often crisis-driven. They tend to be tactical and often have little or no long-term ROI. For example, fixing your board chair’s misspelled name on that big mailing you’re about to do.
Optimizing: these projects and tasks usually involve making processes, systems, and tools better. For instance, upgrading Constant Contact to something more state-of-the-art and powerful like Salesforce, or building a better website.
Seed-planting: these projects and tasks are the essence of important/not urgent work. They won’t bear fruit for some time, but when they do, you’ll feel great. For instance, researching and preparing a 3-year plan for your communications team that builds off of your organization’s strategic plan, includes a budget, and culminates by tackling a big project (such as a rebranding you know you should do but can’t happen soon).
Labeling these projects and tracking them in a project management system like Basecamp (or even on post-its on your wall) will help you get a clearer sense where your team’s time actually goes. Better yet, consider reviewing how many and what sort of fire-extinguishing, optimizing, and seed-planting projects you’re working on regularly with your boss so you can make sure you’re aligned.
Looking for more? Just reach out.
If you’re a CEO searching for your own Painted Bunting at a mid-size or larger organization, contact us. We might be able to help.
Managing through game-changing moments
Tuesday Nov 15, 2016
That Holy *!*&^%$! Moment
We’ve all had them: moments when you realize what’s just happened is a game-changer—and you didn’t see it coming. Sometimes the change is internal: a key staff or board member unexpectedly departs, budgets are cut, fraud occurs, etc. Sometimes, despite our best-laid plans, the change is external: a recession, a national crisis, or the political landscape dramatically shifts.
Of course, we should nurture positive cultures within our organizations, make succession plans, build up cash reserves, and plan for the unanticipated. We should eat well, exercise, look at our phones less, and get a good night’s sleep, too. But this important (not urgent—until it’s too late) self-care is often the first stuff to go during a busy time, or when staff is spread thin.
After the fact, everybody has an opinion about what might have been done differently—and, sure, we might have done so. But what do you do right now, when the $#%@) has hit the fan?
Empower individuals not teams
Nonprofit cultures value buy-in and collaboration. But making decisions slowly and with too many cooks in the kitchen can be devastating during a moment of crisis, especially when others in your space are moving quickly and appear to be better prepared.
On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, just hours after it was announced that Donald Trump had won the U.S. presidential election, many progressive nonprofits released statements, updated their websites, and sprung into action. Some had the foresight to prepare ‘what if’ scenarios anticipating Trump’s victory, but others hadn’t. What they had was accountable, agile leadership; people who were empowered to make decisions and act fast. They left their slower-moving peers in the dust.
Scared that the wrong decisions will be made? A bad decision made quickly is better than a better decision made slowly in many contexts. If this style of leadership feels out of whack with business-as-usual at your organization, consider giving people temporary titles and a clear timeline when they hold the seat so it’s clear this isn’t a permanent change (for instance, “Election Response Communications Chief”).
Prioritize speed and candor over comprehensive communications
Your organization’s values (deeply-held beliefs) should guide as you decide how to respond and craft statements or other communications. An organization that has transparency as a core value, for instance, shouldn’t hesitate to share what’s known and not yet known with its community.
Panic and unproductive chatter will fill the void when it’s not clear what’s going on. Communicate with your key stakeholders quickly and as candidly as possible. Don’t wait until you have all the answers or a perfectly polished statement.
Your organization’s brand strategy should also help you select how you communicate. Use your positioning (the big idea you want people to associate with your organization) as a yardstick for your statements, and be sure the tone and style of your response reflects your nonprofit’s personality, not just that of individuals.
Learn this time for next time
Building sustainable, resilient organizations should be a priority for every nonprofit’s leadership team, and unexpected moments are just one of many places where that work pays off, potentially changing a bad game-changer into a good one.
Make someone accountable for keeping track of the useful solutions and new ideas that bubble up along the way during today’s crisis or moment of significant change. Create a collaborative document your team can add to, with categories such as, “What worked well was...” and “next time, we should…” or “before this happens again, let’s….” Once the dust settles, debrief with everyone involved using this document to guide your discussion, then decide what, when, how, and who will advance whatever is needed before the next unexpected change.
- Critic's Notebook: Foreign Horror TV Shows Are Light on Monsters, Heavy on Mood
By MIKE HALE - Friday Jun 16, 2017
On the streaming service Shudder, foreign series like “Jordskott” and “Penance” offer a classic psychological dread that’s in short supply on American TV.
- Collaboration Is Key: Coping With the New Administration
By Allison Porter - Thursday Jun 8, 2017
The fundraising industry deserves kudos for the collaborative spirit in which we have always worked, and I hope that it trickles up to other institutions as an effective way to counter the dismantling of our agencies, free speech and democracy as we know it...
The post Collaboration Is Key: Coping With the New Administration appeared first on NonProfit PRO.