We are often asked to recommend nonprofits and other smart folks to follow for your own professional development. So every now and then, I will 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.
3 Big Brains
Vu Le (pronounced “voo lay”) is the founder of NonprofitAF. He single-handedly injects humor into otherwise very serious nonprofit topics via his blog, starting engaging and important conversations on A LOT of topics. One example is advocating a shift from a donor-centered approach to fundraising to a community-centric fundraising approach. Follow on Instagram | Twitter
Julia Campbell is the one to follow for all things nonprofit social media. As I see it, she is the reigning royal of nonprofit social media, especially after our mutual dear friend and colleague (and former King) John Haydon passed away earlier this year. She runs her own consulting company and co-hosts a very helpful Facebook Group called Social Media Storytelling. I highly recommend her book, How to Build and Mobilize A Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit in 90 Days (published by Bold & Bright Media, which I co-own). Follow on Instagram | Twitter
The Bloomerang Blog is a collective of many Big Brains. Steven Shattuck, the chief engagement officer of Bloomerang, writes for the blog and he also invites many of today’s great thinkers and practitioners, especially on fundraising, to write for the blog too. It’s a wonderful collection of sector experts who write helpful, practical posts.
3 Cool Kids
Cleveland Clinic is rocking both its Instagram feed and stories with great, simple content marketing gold. They use a ton of quizzes and other helpful, educational content without getting overwhelming or wonky.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Facebook Live Feed is a frequent afternoon break for me during the pandemic. The visuals are soothing and they often play background music, but they also sometimes have staff on the feeds talking about sea life and how to support the aquarium.
I love the emails from the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife Program. It’s another fabulous example of how to integrate content marketing (tons of tips on how to do wildlife-friendly things in your yard) with advocacy and fundraising asks. You can get on the newsletter list here.