Building the Bedrock

For this month’s Connect theme, we are highlighting some of the speakers, facilitators, keynotes, attendees, sponsors, and scholarship recipients of the 2015 Leading Change Summit in Washington, DC September 13-16.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, NTEN’s 2nd annual Leading Change Summit (LCS) promises to be one of the coolest and innovative gatherings emerging in the nonprofit community.

Our team at Forum One is proud to join the community’s effort to fuel the future of nonprofit innovation—and we’ll be helping kick things off the first day with a half-day training on Digital Strategy.

Building the Bedrock for Future Nonprofit Innovation

Nonprofits are full of great ideas and great work. And many are known for tackling (and solving) some of the world’s most pressing problems. To keep the trend line moving upward—and to keep creating impact on issues that matter—it’s a given fact that nonprofits have to keep innovating.

The trick? Creating a support structure and community to help spark ongoing innovation beyond their own four walls. This structure and community creates the bedrock both for good ideas now and for future innovation.

#15LCS Features That Excite Us

Our team participated in last year’s inaugural LCS event, which delivered on this bedrock of ideas and innovation. Here’s some of what we’re excited about for this year:

  • Unique and engaging format again, unlike your typical event. Different is good
  • Encouraging participants to connect with peers in thematic hubs
  • Core focus on developing a project or idea. Very action-oriented at its heart
  • Ideas Accelerator, which gives attendees direct feedback on their developing ideas, allowing them to directly pitch to others (Tuesday evening has pitches)
  • Providing a great opportunity this second year for attendees to help shape the direction, but no doubt offering a stronger formula with lessons learned from the first year
  • Hosted in D.C., which is convenient for a huge number of nonprofits (Hey west coasters, we love you too! Please come and we’ll buy you a drink and tell you about all our great monuments. For kicks, you can also visit a museum and learn how to spy)

What You’ll Find Us Talking About This Year

Forum One focuses on digital for the social good. We work with nonprofits, think tanks, foundations, and the government. Our half-day session on “Igniting Passion to Get Results: Building Your Digital Strategy for Impact,” digs into the heart of digital strategy with a heavy focus on content. Consider these facts, according to a 2014 study by the Content Marketing Institute:

  • 92% of nonprofit professionals use content marketing (for those unfamiliar with the term, simply think “frequent content production and dissemination”)…
  • Yet only 26% believe they are effective at content marketing
  • Roughly ⅓ to ⅔ of respondents said they were “challenged with producing engaging content”…
  • And 65% of nonprofit professionals say they’re producing more content than a year ago

Clearly, content production and dissemination is important among nonprofit professionals, and they’re doing more of it; yet most don’t rate themselves as effective—and many suggest challenges with engaging content. Given the fact that nonprofits handle some of the world’s most important issues (and their job is to create impact on those issues), this is a real dilemma.*

We’ll have a mix of activities that enable participants to leave the workshop and enter the full summit with rockstar content training—both applicable content skills and tactical perspective, fortified with improved attention to analytics (yes, you must measure results; yes, ROI is good). We’ll cover both the surface and mechanics, so we’re covering the full picture of what you (and we) are grappling with day to day in our quest for inspiring passion and engagement with audiences. This is the kind of holistic thinking useful for refining your project or idea from all angles both at the summit and back at the office.

In general, LCS training workshops provide an awesome opportunity for learning lessons big and small, while refining your own project or idea. During our session, we’ll be happy to take direct questions on your project or idea, or general Q&A that then informs your thinking during the rest of the summit. Our goal: create impact with you, so you and your organization are positioned to create your own impact on your cause.

Turning Ideas into Impact: Your own “do good” accelerator

LCS is an accelerator for those that “do good.” The more that organizations and nonprofits come together for innovative learning, the more positive change and impact that can happen. LCS understands this concept, which is one big reason why we’re excited. The trend of incubators and accelerators has been bending to include nonprofits in recent years.** Entities such as Taproot or Beespace, as well as NTEN’s other well-known annual learning event, the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), continue to offer an expanding network of resources to help nonprofits.

Creating an additional shared space for incubating projects and ideas from nonprofits is pure awesomeness. These are the kinds of learning opportunities that spark meaningful change and continue the rising tide of innovation for all nonprofits.

Needless to say we’re excited. Make sure to register for the Summit, and we’ll see you in September!
*If this isn’t an issue for you, consider yourself a rockstar already.
**In 2013, Y Combinator—a well-known accelerator responsible for Dropbox, Reddit, Airbnb, Weebly, and other ventures—started also funding nonprofits.

August Adams