ComNet18

The Communications Network Annual Conference

ComNet — The Communications Network annual conference. 

Pre-Conference Workshops

We are offering pre-conference workshops for anyone who is interested in getting started early and taking advantage of all the excellent learning opportunities available at ComNet18.

To register for a pre-conference workshop: 

  • You must register for the conference in order to attend a pre-conference workshop.
  • Please click on the workshop icon or use the Add to Cart button listed next to each workshop description.
  • You can register for a maximum of two pre-conference workshops.
  • Pre-conference workshops come at an additional cost and are not included in general registration for the conference.

Please note: "Imitation and Inspiration for Community Foundation Communicators" is a special four hour session for community foundation communications staffers. If you sign up for it, you will not be able to sign up for another workshop. 


from 135.00
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Workshop Leaders

  • Marissa Piette, Director of Client Strategy and Development, The History Factory
  • Caelin Niehoff, Account Executive, The History Factory

Workshop Description

Where does your organization house the relics and records of its past? Some groups have well-established archives, other have empty attics. No matter the state of your collection, you as a communicator can begin to codify your organization’s past and future-proof its archival assets today. For more than 30 years, The History Factory has collaborated with foundations and nonprofits to build and enhance archival programs. Our panel of experts will share some case study examples of world-class archives and explore current trends in digital assets management, before breaking out into roundtable discussions relevant to your organization’s needs. You’ll walk away with an understanding of the communications value of an archive and the potential heritage has to catapult your organization into the twenty-second century.

Key Takeaways

  1. A well-constructed archive can help today’s communicators leverage an advantage wholly unique to their organization – its past.
  2. Cataloging, preserving and digitizing archival assets, from documents and artifacts to photographs and multi-media files, allows an organization to efficiently access and share institutional memory.
  3. A future-focused archive can help an organization launch new initiatives and act as a catalyst for change.

Audience

  • Communications directors
  • Content developers
  • Chief knowledge officers
  • Persons responsible for foundation archives

from 135.00
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WOrkshop Leaders

  • Lanae Spruce, Social Media and Digital Engagement Manager, National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Christina Crawley, Marketing Director, Forum One

Workshop Description

Successful digital campaigns create the buzz you need to get awareness about your mission. They can kick start a movement, create brand ambassadors, and implement long-lasting change.

Digital campaigns have many moving parts and often have crazy schedules. Maybe you have a small team and wonder how to create a successful campaign that is manageable? In this workshop, participants will learn about what it takes to run a digital campaign. What are the priorities? What the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves? How do you even get started?
 

    Drawing on real examples, we will also take a behind-the-scenes look at how the National Museum of African American History and Culture has conducted some of their most successful digital campaigns, including #SmithsonianCypher, #ArchivesBlackHistory, and the Webby nominated #HiddenHerstory. The museum’s digital campaigns achieve inspiration and relevance as some of the web’s leading digital engagement campaigns.

    During this workshop, we’ll cover the key elements of a successful digital campaign, including:

    • Setting a strategy
    • Targeting the right audiences
    • Making your content and branding shine
    • Creating both immediate and lasting impact

    By the end, you’ll have a good sense of the key components of a digital campaign, and be able to start connecting them to develop your own.

    Key Takeaways

    1. A solid grasp of the key parts of a digital campaign—big or small.
    2. Tips & tricks for translating single messages across various channels and platforms, e.g., an email newsletter vs Instagram.
    3. The understanding that a great website isn’t enough. Compelling digital campaigns help you to create true and lasting engagement.

    Audience

    • Communications directors and managers who are leading their teams’ digital strategy
    • Content and social media managers/officers who are deeply embedded in the day-to-day management of their organizations’ digital footprint

    from 135.00
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    WOrkshop Leaders

    • Matthew Schwartz, Founder & Executive Director, Constructive
    • Lexie McGuire, Director of Strategy, Constructive
    • Senongo Akpem, Design Director, Constructive

    Workshop Description

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion are ubiquitous values in the social impact sector, increasingly emphasized in organizational and programmatic strategies. But are the branding and design choices that define the experiences social change brands create for their audiences contradicting these important values? And as a result of failures to embody a commitment to DEI, are organizations missing valuable opportunities to connect with new communities, partners, and funders?

    Please join the brand strategy and design team leads from social impact design firm, Constructive for a presentation and discussion on how your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies are translated into meaningful messaging, design, and experiences—from the big picture down to the smallest, seemingly minor details.

      You'll learn the fundamental underlying principles of designing for DEI to share with your team, and actionable ideas for incorporating these values into your external communications and design process. 

      Key Takeaways

      1. How broad organizational and DEI strategy inform brand messaging and design choices
      2. A framework for thinking and talking about DEI with communications, design, and technology teams
      3. Tools and techniques to incorporate DEI values into your communications practice

      Audience

      • Social impact communications directors/officers
      • Executive leaders of social impact organizations
      • Social impact sector communications consultants

      from 135.00
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      WOrkshop Leaders

      • Anne Dickerson, Founder, 15 Minutes Group
      • Tracey Madigan, Director, 15 Minutes Group

      Workshop Description

      When your executive director gets a chance to do media, they should shine. This workshop tells you how to get them ready for the spotlight.

      Landing a media interview is not something to be afraid of — it’s a golden opportunity. We’ll share the preparation process that will help you be ready to jump on that opportunity when it arises.

      Former broadcast journalists who now do media prep for some of the most sought-after interviews on TV help participants better understand what news reporters expect, what they are looking for in an interview, and how to sell your brand and spread your mission.

      Learn how to prepare and practice, what questions to anticipate, and how to avoid common pitfalls — all while projecting confidence.

        Participants will workshop their “elevator pitches” — crafting a succinct way to describe your organization for maximum impact. You’ll walk away with several checklists that you can use each time a media opportunity comes your way.  

        Key Takeaways

        1. The no-fail XYZ formula to best describe your organization’s mission
        2. How to prep for a media interview in just 30 minutes
        3. Tips on how to deal with difficult questions

        Audience

        • Executive directors AND communications directors — any team members responsible for getting the organization’s message out to the public

        from 135.00
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        WOrkshop Leaders

        • Dan Gerstein, President, Gotham Ghostwriters

        Workshop Description

        If you or your boss is an expert in their field – and want to be seen that way by others – there’s a good chance you have been told to write a book. And with good reason: the book has become the core currency of thought leadership and the surest foundation for building a solid platform that will raise your profile, expand your reach, and ultimately position you and your enterprise for bigger things.

        But wanting a book and having one that’s worth putting your name on are two different stories. Indeed, what many aspiring authors are not told, and soon come to realize, is just how challenging it is to birth a quality book in today’s increasingly crowded and fast-changing thought leadership marketplace.

          In particular: How do you find the time to write? Or if you don’t have the time or talent to write it yourself, how do you find a well-matched ghostwriter? How do you figure out whether to go with a traditional publisher or explore the growing universe of self- or custom-publishing options? And perhaps most importantly, once you have it written, how do you get the most bang for your book and leverage your product into worthwhile return on your investment?

          To help make this challenge a little less daunting and more digestible, and demystify the insular publishing process, Gotham Ghostwriters President Dan Gerstein will offer a primer on the best practices for bringing a value-adding book to life.

          Key Takeaways

          1. WRITING: How to find, hire, and work with a ghostwriter
          2. PUBLISHING: What factors to consider in choosing between traditional publishing and self-publishing
          3. MARKETING: What concrete steps you can take to find an audience and maximize the impact for your book

          Audience

          • Anyone who advises thought leaders that may be considering or benefit from writing a book

          from 135.00
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          WOrkshop Leaders

          • Jason Tomassini, Associate Director, Atlantic 57

          Workshop Description

          As a nonprofit or foundation leader, you have a powerful mission to achieve in the world. Yet, like all organizations, you have finite resources across your team, time, and budget. Given this reality, many fall into the trap of chasing bright and shiny projects, like the latest social media trend, or become distracted by monitoring the moves of competitors.

          How can you move your organization’s mission forward and achieve your greatest goals, no matter the size of your budget or team? Organizations that make the greatest impact consider their content and communications efforts as a whole. They plan and develop initiatives as a series of strategic investments that come together to achieve their goals.

          Our workshop will present a way of thinking about impact versus investment at your organization. We will share strategies and solutions to help you get the most out of your team’s time and ideas to deliver content that truly moves your organization’s mission forward. We will draw upon insights from The Atlantic and Atlantic 57's work with the leading nonprofits and foundations of today. 

            Key Takeaways

            1. How to find the blend of high- and low- investment opportunities that maximize your organization’s impact over the long-term.
            2. How to define and run the initiatives that play to your organization’s inherent strengths.
            3. How your individual content efforts can come together to create larger impact.

            Audience

            • Leaders of communications and marketing at nonprofits and foundations

            from 135.00
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            WOrkshop Leaders

            • Carol Goglia, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, Communities Foundation of Texas
            • Nicole Paquette, Marketing Manager, Communities Foundation of Texas

            Workshop Description

            Are you inspired by your innovative community foundation colleagues around the country and looking to implement some new and proven strategies in your own communications? Join us for this extended workshop featuring a robust community foundation idea exchange that will generate inspiring ideas you can recycle, reuse, and repurpose for the benefit of your own community. Between now and ComNet18, the CommA Steering Committee will be gathering proven ideas and strategies being deployed in community foundations across the nation that can be replicated. Presenters will come prepared with samples to share, and there will be ample time for questions following our lightning rounds of idea sharing. We’ll also facilitate some deep-dive conversations around topics of interest decided in advance by the session attendees.

              **Please note: This is a special four hour workshop is hosted by CommA. If you sign up for the workshop you will not be able to attend another.**

              Key Takeaways

              1. Actionable ideas and effective strategies that you can implement at your community foundation
              2. Best practices from the community foundation field straight from the communications staff implementing them
              3. New connections with leaders performing your same role at community foundations across the nation

              Audience

              • Communications professionals from community foundations

              from 135.00
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              WOrkshop Leaders

              • Allison Silver, Journalist and Editor, 4Context

              Workshop Description

              Today’s public debate is fast and furious. Thought leaders and experts could have an impact – but most don't know how to get their voices heard.

              4Context’s opinion-writing book-camp equips them with the tools needed to cut through the white noise and make a difference.

              Combined with a boost from strong social, your opinion pieces can also serve as launching pads for radio and TV interviews. But a well-placed but poorly written opinion article does more damage to a writer -- and to her or his institution -- than a poorly positioned but strong piece. My boot-camp helps you re-boot your op-ed writing efforts.

              The 4Context boot-camp lays out key components of the art of opinion writing. You’ll get to get a taste of:

              • How to develop a strong argument that engages readers.
              • Why “billboarding” and “prism building” make all the difference
              • Why 50 cent words are worth far more than $10 words
              • How important is “important”?

              I have worked at the highest level at leading publications, new media and old -- from Politico Opinion Editor to The Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion Editor to Reuters.com Executive Editor of Opinion to NBC News THINK, where I am now a consulting editor.

              If you heard the 4Context presentation in Miami, this year’s program offers far more detail on the art of pitching. I’ve spent years on the receiving end of thousands of email queries. Now I’ll give you a look inside editors’ offices and explain how acceptance decisions get made.

              Key Takeaways

              1. The 3 crucial components of an effective opinion piece
              2. How to choose the opinion topic that works best for you -- and opinion editors
              3. Building the strongest argument

              Audience

              • Any expert or thought leader who wants to play a role in our ferocious public debate
              • Graduate students, younger professors, and scholars