you are brilliant


We are often asked to recommend nonprofits and other smart folks to follow for your own professional development. So every now and then, I write a post called “Big Brains and Cool Kids.”

Big Brains are interesting, leading thinkers in any area of study that connects in some way to the work of nonprofit communications professionals. That can cover a lot of ground, from in-sector topics like nonprofit marketing, fundraising, and volunteering to the larger world beyond, including work-life, productivity, management, psychology, etc.

Cool Kids are nonprofits that are doing something that I find especially compelling or interesting or producing great examples of best practices that others can learn from. It doesn’t mean that everything they do is perfect — nobody and no organization is perfect. But I’ll point out what I think makes them a Cool Kid.

This edition is inspired largely by what I have saved in my email inbox to read in more depth. Two consulting firms appear repeatedly: M + R Lab and Big Duck, so they are getting the “Big Brains” nod this time.

The Big Brains

M + R covers a whole lot of timely topics with a fresh, engaging voice. I love their emails! Some of the more recent ones that I have saved so I could read them when I was really ready to think about them have these subject lines:

  • Surviving a Post-Cookie (No, Not THOSE Kind) World
  • Building Blocks of Effective Creative: Urgency
  • Accessibility on Social Media

Of course, they are the same folks that bring us the fabulous annual benchmarks report.

Sign up for their newsletter on their website.

I’ve also loved the folks at Big Duck forever. They too are blogging on very timely topics and challenging nonprofits to think bigger and harder.  Here are some of their emails that I’ve saved:

  • Whose vision is centered in your brand?
  • Challenging urgency in your communications
  • 7 steps to evaluate your brand with racial equity in mind

They also produce the Smart Communications Podcast.

Sign up for their newsletter on their website.

A Cool Kid

I highly recommend that you follow Save the Redwoods League.

They are doing some really great storytelling with video that they share via their email newsletter. One nice example is their behind-the-secenes work to track the recovery of Big Basin Redwoods State Park following the CZU Complex fire which burned 97% of the forest and destroyed most of the park’s historic infrastructure.

Sign up for their newsletter on their website.

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