little treasures for your heart, mind, soul, spirit, l.p.

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OCTOBER 01, 2014

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NEW YORK

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DOMESTIC LIMITED PARTNERSHIP RESERVATION

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2014 - LITTLE TREASURES FOR YOUR HEART, MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT, L.P.









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  • AROUND THE WEB

  • Using your brand strategy everyday in everything
    Wednesday May 17, 2017

    If you’ve ever researched branding you’ve probably heard jargony terms like “brand proposition”, “brand promise”, ‘positioning”, “personality”, “voice”, or “unique selling proposition (USP)” tossed around. Any rigorous rebranding process typically starts by establishing a clear strategy, using at least one, if not many, of these approaches. There are a lot of approaches for developing brand strategy, any one of which can help your team get clear on what you’re trying to communicate.

    A well-developed brand strategy should help everyone see how your strategic plan or mission comes to life in day-to-day communications, both inside your organization and outside of it. But too often, nonprofits and businesses view their brand strategy as something that’s only useful when creating a new logo or tagline-- not as something that can help transform how everyone in your organization communicates every day. When folks criticize branding as “navel-gazing”, decorative, or extraneous, it’s usually because the team behind it has developed it in a vacuum. A solid nonprofit brand must originate from and be deeply tied to its vision, mission, and values, and bring them to life in dynamic ways that inspire the hearts and minds of people inside and outside of the organization.

    BIg Duck’s model for building strong nonprofit brands, which we call “brandraising”, uses two simple brand strategy concepts: Positioning and Personality. Both can help anyone on your staff– from your staff leadership and board to to your programs team and beyond– write, speak, and behave in ways that bring your mission to life and create a truly on-brand experience of your organization, head-to-toe.

    Positioning

    Positioning is the primary idea you want people to associate with your organization, and it’s a North Star everyone on your team can use to guide their actions daily. It’s closely related to your mission, but more focused on and oriented toward how you want to be perceived, not what you do.

    For example, Auburn’s mission is, “Auburn equips leaders with the organizational skills and spiritual resilience required to create lasting, positive impact in local communities, on the national stage, and around the world. We amplify voices and visions of faith and moral courage. We convene diverse leaders and cross-sector organizations for generative collaboration and multifaith understanding. And we research what’s working — and not — in theological education and social change-making.

    Walk into their office or meet with their team and you’ll see that mission is used rigorously to inform their work. But that language isn’t easy for staff to remember and use with every interaction. Their positioning—“Auburn is the premier leadership development center for the multifaith movement for justice.

    Publicly, Auburn shares and promotes its mission. Internally, its positioning statement gives staff a tool to express their big idea so they can be sure that everything they do supports and advances it.

    Positioning is often reductive: a simplification of what you actually do. It’s hard to get it right, but when you do, it’s a useful pocket-tool you can grab handily on the fly.

    When developing your organization’s positioning statement, make sure yours is simple, clear, and usefully distinguishing from others in your space. Remember, it’s not always something you state publicly, so you can get away with things like “the leading organization...”, for instance, which could be problematic in public-facing language.

    Got your positioning pinned down? Here’s a few ways it can be used inside your organization for maximum value.

    • Integrate an overview of your mission and positioning into your onboarding trainings for new staff and board members. Make sure everyone is clear what they are and how to use them. Consider developing a set of role plays that give them a chance to practice. 
    • Use positioning to guide how you write and speak. For example, give the positioning to the board member who’s going to speak at your upcoming event and frame it as the ‘cheat sheet’ for what they need to communicate about your organization.
    • Use positioning to help determine if new materials your vendors develop are on strategy. Does that new brochure or website, at a glance, support your positioning?

    Personality

    Personality is the tone and style your organization uses to communicate. It’s relatively easy to develop and can have a transformative effect; suddenly, everyone’s writing, speaking, and representing your organization consistently. (Read Farra’s article The Power of Brand Personality at your Nonprofit for more.)

    If positioning is a more perception, or communication-oriented way to think about your mission, than personality is a more perception or communication-oriented way to live and express your organization’s values for many (but not all) organizations.

    If you’ve ever taken a class at Soul Cycle you know their staff are dynamic examples of living the brand. No matter which location you visit, Soul Cycle staffers are unrelentingly friendly, helpful, and upbeat, no matter their role or level of seniority. Sure, they have bad days, but they are clearly trained to turn on the charm whenever a customer walks in. Wouldn’t it be nice if your staff were perceived that way by your donors, clients, and board members too? They can be-- but first you need to hire and train them to do so– otherwise, they’ll continue to do what most people do naturally, just be themselves, for better and for worse.

    Auburn’s personality is Loving, Entrepreneurial, Courageous, Multifaith, Progressive, and Respected. This list of guiding attributes is distinguishing and practically useful for writing, speaking, and other external communications.

    Some of my favorite organizational personalities have had words in them like, “menschy” and “fierce”– unexpected, memorable, and useful words that staff can connect with and that help differentiate.

    Once you’ve established a list of about five adjectives that reflect the personality you’d like your organization to express consistently, consider bringing it to life in these ways.

    • Integrate your personality into hiring practices and training programs. Want to establish your organization as welcoming, warm, and embracing? Doing so means you need to hire people who are, themselves, likely to be those things, or at least know how to act that way. 
    • Create on-personality spaces, events, and partnerships. Paint the walls and put up artwork in your public spaces that reflect your personality. Pick event venues and partners whose personalities are “on brand” for you. 
    • Celebrate in personality-centric ways. Each week, a staff member at Big Duck gets to annoint next week’s “Duck of the Week”, an honorary, celebratory title with no responsibilities at all. The Duck of the Week celebration, along with others we integrate into our weekly Team Time, help us live our friendly personality trait. Similarly, sharing industry research, great case studies, and other resources each week keeps our team on our toes and better able to live our smart personality trait.
    • Use personality to guide which social media channels you use and how you use them. Is your organization inclusive, perhaps you should convene an online community. Do you want to get your supporters to see you as energetic and gutsy? Consider hosting a takeover of your Instagram or Twitter accounts. Intellectual and inquisitive? Ask questions and moderate spirited debates via comments or Facebook Live.


    Ready to get started putting positioning and personality into action? Read more on how to create a winning brand strategy on Big Duck’s blog or in my book, “Brandraising”, learn how we brought Auburn’s brand strategy to life, or give us a call.

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Using your brand strategy everyday in everything
    Wednesday Jun 14, 2017

    If you’ve ever researched branding you’ve probably heard jargony terms like “brand proposition”, “brand promise”, ‘positioning”, “personality”, “voice”, or “unique selling proposition (USP)” tossed around.  Any rigorous rebranding process typically starts by establishing a clear strategy, using at least one, if not many, of these approaches. There are a lot of approaches for developing brand strategy, any one of which can help your team get clear on what you’re trying to communicate.

    A well-developed brand strategy should help everyone see how your strategic plan or mission comes to life in day-to-day communications, both inside your organization and outside of it. But too often, nonprofits and businesses view their brand strategy as something that’s only useful when creating a new logo or tagline-- not as something that can help transform how everyone in your organization communicates every day. When folks criticize branding as “navel-gazing”, decorative, or extraneous, it’s usually because the team behind it has developed it in a vacuum. A solid nonprofit brand must originate from and be deeply tied to its vision, mission, and values, and bring them to life in dynamic ways that inspire the hearts and minds of people inside and outside of the organization.

    Big Duck’s model for building strong nonprofit brands, which we call “brandraising”, uses two simple brand strategy concepts: Positioning and Personality. Both can help anyone on your staff– from your staff leadership and board to to your programs team and beyond– write, speak, and behave in ways that bring your mission to life and create a truly on-brand experience of your organization, head-to-toe.

    Positioning

    Positioning is the primary idea you want people to associate with your organization, and it’s a North Star everyone on your team can use to guide their actions daily. It’s closely
    related to your mission, but more focused on and oriented toward how you want to be perceived, not what you do.

    For example, Auburn’s mission is, “Auburn equips leaders with the organizational skills and spiritual resilience required to create lasting, positive impact in local communities, on the national stage, and around the world. We amplify voices and visions of faith and moral courage. We convene diverse leaders and cross-sector organizations for generative collaboration and multifaith understanding. And we research what’s working — and not — in theological education and social change-making.”

    Walk into their office or meet with their team and you’ll see that mission is used rigorously to inform their work. But that language isn’t easy for staff to remember and use with every interaction. Their positioning—“Auburn is the premier leadership development center for the multifaith movement for justice.”

    Publicly, Auburn shares and promotes its mission. Internally, its positioning statement gives staff a way to staff a tool to express their big idea so they can be sure that everything they do supports and advances it.

    Positioning is often reductive: a simplification of what you actually do. It’s hard to get it right, but when you do, it’s a useful pocket-tool you can grab handily on the fly.

    When developing your organization’s positioning statement, make sure yours is simple, clear, and usefully distinguishing from others in your space. Remember, it’s not always something you state publicly, so you can get away with things like “the leading organization...”, for instance, which could be problematic in public-facing language.

    Got your positioning pinned down? Here’s a few ways it can be used inside your organization for maximum value.

    • Integrate an overview of your mission and positioning into your onboarding trainings for new staff and board members. Make sure everyone is clear what they are and how to use them. Consider developing a set of role plays that give them a chance to practice.

    • Use positioning to guide how you write and speak. For example, give the positioning to the board member who’s going to speak at your upcoming event and frame it as the ‘cheat sheet’ for what they need to communicate about your organization.

    • Use positioning to help determine if new materials your vendors develop are on strategy. Does that new brochure or website, at a glance, support your positioning?

    Personality

    Personality is the tone and style your organization uses to communicate. It’s relatively easy to develop and can have a transformative effect; suddenly, everyone’s writing, speaking, and representing your organization consistently. (Read Farra’s article The Power of Brand Personality at your Nonprofit for more.)

    If positioning is a more perception, or communication-oriented way to think about your mission, than personality is a more perception or communication-oriented way to live and express your organization’s values for many (but not all) organizations.

    If you’ve ever taken a class at Soul Cycle you know their staff are dynamic examples of living the brand. No matter which location you visit, Soul Cycle staffers are unrelentingly friendly, helpful, and upbeat, no matter their role or level of seniority. Sure, they have bad days, but they are clearly trained to turn on the charm whenever a customer walks in. Wouldn’t it be nice if your staff were perceived that way by your donors, clients, and board members too? They can be-- but first you need to hire and train them to do so– otherwise, they’ll continue to do what most people do naturally, just be themselves,  for better and for worse.

    Auburn’s personality is Loving, Entrepreneurial, Courageous, Multifaith, Progressive, and Respected. This list of guiding attributes is distinguishing and practically useful for writing, speaking, and other external communications.

    Some of my favorite organizational personalities have had words in them like, “menschy” and “fierce”– unexpected, memorable, and useful words that staff can connect with and that help differentiate.

    Once you’ve established a list of about five adjectives that reflect the personality you’d like your organization to express consistently, consider bringing it to life in these ways.

    • Integrate your personality into hiring practices and training programs. Want to establish your organization as welcoming, warm, and embracing? Doing so means you need to hire people who are, themselves, likely to be those things, or at least know how to act that way.

    • Create on-personality spaces, events, and partnerships. Paint the walls and put up artwork in your public spaces that reflect your personality. Pick event venues and partners whose personalities are “on brand” for you.

    • Celebrate in personality-centric ways. Each week, a staff member at Big Duck gets to annoint next week’s “Duck of the Week”, an honorary, celebratory title with no responsibilities at all. The Duck of the Week celebration, along with others we integrate into our weekly Team Time, help us live our friendly personality trait. Similarly, sharing industry research, great case studies, and other resources each week keeps our team on our toes and better able to live our smart personality trait.

    • Use personality to guide which social media channels you use and how you use them. Is your organization inclusive, perhaps you should convene an online community. Do you want to get your supporters to see you as energetic and gutsy? Consider hosting a takeover of your Instagram or Twitter accounts. Intellectual and inquisitive? Ask questions and moderate spirited debates via comments or Facebook Live.

    Ready to get started putting positioning and personality into action? Read more on how to create a winning brand strategy on Big Duck’s blog or in my book, “Brandraising”, learn how we brought Auburn’s brand strategy to life, or give us a call.

     

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life
    By Christine Horner - Friday Jun 2, 2017

    “Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness In between work, family and social media, we take few precious moments to reflect upon our lives and realize the importance of mindfulness. Perhaps, you purposely avoided looking at your life because, if you’re totally […]

    The post 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

    Source: Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life
  • Ex-Googlers Build a Neural Network to Protect Your Heart
    By Tim Moynihan - Monday Mar 20, 2017

    AliveCor's little EKG device has been around for a few years, but now it has a much smarter brain behind it.

    Source: Wired Product Reviews
  • 10 Mind Exercises That Will Teach You How To Build Self Confidence
    By Jordanne Wells - Tuesday Jun 6, 2017

    Are you a confident person? Do you know how to build self-confidence? How can you tell? Is it because you value and love yourself? Is it because you make sure you have all your ducks in a row all the time so you know what to expect? Back in the day, if you had asked […]

    The post 10 Mind Exercises That Will Teach You How To Build Self Confidence appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

    Source: Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life
  • 10 Energy-Boosting Snacks To Eat Before The Gym
    By Alex gendron - Friday Jun 23, 2017

    The will to go to the gym and work your heart out usually gets trumped by the lack of energy to give it all you’ve got. You may be pumped up and hyped but you do not get the most out of your time in the gym. You lose steam easily and you wrap up […]

    The post 10 Energy-Boosting Snacks To Eat Before The Gym appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

    Source: Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life
  • Finding your nonprofit’s voice in the Trump era
    Tuesday Feb 7, 2017

    The last couple of weeks have been an emotionally draining and stressful time for so many of us who work in the nonprofit sector and are devoted to social justice and democratic values. Despite several alarming executive orders and appointees, it has been assuring to witness powerful and swift communications from nonprofit leaders of all types whose missions and values feel like they’re under attack (see Farra’s round-up of nonprofit leaders responding to the election). The fact is that the voices and actions of nonprofits are needed now more than ever, and it’s critical that organizations across all issues and areas seriously consider what role they can play in navigating through these uncertain political times.

    Some nonprofits whose missions are under threat but also have powerful advocacy programs and robust communications teams appear well equipped to respond to these crises and take the lead in mobilizing supporters to take action. Within moments of a new piece of breaking news from the White House, it seems like organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America have updated their websites with relevant content, urging their followers to take specific actions and donate.  

    Most nonprofits aren’t in the same position of power and capacity as the ACLU or Planned Parenthood to respond. Many nonprofits have missions that will be impacted more tangentially (or perhaps not at all) by national policies and politics. It can be hard to know how and what to communicate—what the next tweet should be, what statement to issue, how urgent to sound, what action to request. And it can be tempting—especially in such stressful and emotional times—to dial up all your communications, responding to every news announcement or headline. But such a reactive approach can spiral out of control fast, lead you to inflate your connection to a particular issue, and is just unsustainable for most communications teams running with limited staff and resources.

    Staying silent on current events that impact your communities may not be an option either. You might be perceived as out of touch, miss an opportunity to make a powerful statement about what you stand for, or leverage this moment for fundraising. What's the right communications approach for your nonprofit?

    Here are a few ideas to help your nonprofit make decisions now:

      • Brush up on your nonprofit’s guidelines for political activity: You probably already know if your nonprofit is a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(4), but now is a great time to remind yourself of the rules and guidelines associated with both, especially some of the limitations of a 501(c)(3) when it comes to politics. They’re a little murky, so read carefully, and consult with knowledgeable staff or lawyers to confirm. Here’s a resource to get the basics.
      • Get aligned on your stance: Figuring out how your organization responds to the political fire should be a shared decision. Hold a meeting among primary communicators, senior staff, and key board members to discuss your organization’s approach as well as roles and responsibilities.
      • Review your key organizational and communications goals: Keep your organization’s primary goals in mind (fundraising? systems change? education? recruitment?), determine how communications support them,and who you need to engage most to reach those goals. Have these priorities shifted as a result of this election? Was advocacy more of a secondary goal that’s now more primary? How do the results of this election influence your ability to reach these goals?
      • Consider your audience's point of view: Who are your audiences and what are their political views? Is your list made up of bleeding heart liberals? A mix of people from across the ideological spectrum? Craft your messages and actions with your audience's values and perspectives in mind.
      • Know how you can uniquely contribute: What can your nonprofit contribute to the conversation that’s different from other groups (e.g. putting a spotlight on real voices, issue expertise)? Prioritize issues that are most important for you to weigh in on. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
      • Keep your brand in mind: It might be tempting to shift your organization’s tone and style now. But if you’re a social services organization and suddenly sound like a radical advocacy organization, it could be alarming and confusing to your audiences. Keep your tone in check and make sure you’re staying true to what your organization is all about. If your style is shifting, consider updating your brand’s voice alongside it. (We’ve got a brand check-up process that can help.

    How is your nonprofit navigating communications in the Trump era? We’d love to hear from you.

     

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Benefits Of Meditation: How You Can Change Your Life In 10 Minutes
    By Daniel Rutter - Friday Jun 9, 2017

    It takes time to develop and master any skill, and meditation is no different. The ability to calm the mind on demand can be a phenomenal tool to have at your disposal. Whether you are feeling burnt out, overrun by emotions, feeling stressed or off center, meditation can be a great catalyst to help you […]

    The post Benefits Of Meditation: How You Can Change Your Life In 10 Minutes appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

    Source: Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life