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Nonprofit Roundtable 2012

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

A week ago today, the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington hosted its 2012 Annual Meeting. As a fairly recent newcomer to the Catalogue, as well as to the DC philanthropic and nonprofit scene, I was to learn about more about the initiatives of the Roundtable and see so many Catalogue nonprofits involved in different capacities.

Congratulations to staff from the following Catalogue nonprofits who are participating in the Roundtable’s Future Executive Directors Fellowship program: Mi Casa, City Kids Wilderness Project, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Kid Power, Atlas Service Corps, and Dance Place. The Catalogue would also like to congratulate Tom Raffa, President and Founder of RAFFA, PC, as one of the newest Board members of the Nonprofit Roundtable. Tom also serves as a member of the Catalogue’s Board and is a long-time supporter of the nonprofit sector in the region.

This year’s Annual Meeting focused on “The End of Big: Opportunities for Nonprofits at the Intersection of New Technology & Social Movements.” Three speakers offered their opinions on how nonprofits can successfully engage with the rapid wave of new technology available and utilize it to the greatest benefit for their organization. Featured speaker Nicco Mele, founder of EchoDitto, offered great insight into the ways that new technology impacts large and small nonprofits differently. Catalogue nonprofits should be happy to hear Mele believes that new technology (including social media) offers more opportunities for smaller nonprofits and a greater challenge for the bigger players. He also emphasized a ‘back to the basics’ approach that focuses on email as the primary method of reaching a potential donor online. With most people spending the majority of their time online on email, tools like newsletters, email blasts, event e-vites and the like have the greatest potential (and also the least cost) of connecting to a new supporter.

501cTech’s Julie Chapman offered some great additional thoughts, what she calls a “Pragmatist’s Guide” to social media. Chapman spoke to the limited resources that restrict many small nonprofits’ capacity to utilize the ‘newest and brightest’ social media. She emphasized the benefit of repurposing content across various delivery methods for the most impact with the least time-cost, like using blog content in a newsletter, or blasting out the same facts and information across several social media platforms.

And perhaps one of the most important take-away’s came from responder Richard Tagle, Principal at High Think: technology should always be a means to an end, not the end itself. Developing relationships that center around your nonprofit’s mission are crucial to creating strong donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders. As Nonprofit Roundtable President Chuck Bean said, those relationships are key to the success of the Roundtable (and the Catalogue for Philanthropy!) as well — for “together we solve problems that no organization can solve alone.”

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