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ACT Initiative Motivates Nonprofits to Action

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Oct 05,2011
Filed Under News , Community,

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Senator Mark Warner and Lori Morris.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Senator Mark Warner and Lori Morris.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Over 200 business, community and nonprofit leaders gathered together Sept. 28 to discuss new ways to bring the community together using online and offline strategies at IMPACT 2011:  Innovation + Philanthropy, formerly ACT’s Nonprofit Excellence Forum.   

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Jane Hess Collins, Brooke Curran and Lori Morris lead the
Photo by Gale Curcio
Jane Hess Collins, Brooke Curran and Lori
Morris lead the "Donor to Donor" session.

Gene Steuerle, Chair of the Board of ACT for Alexandria, opened the day with welcoming remarks. According to Steuerle, the event, now in its seventh year, is designed to "help nonprofits to do their job better."

Eric Lawrence, Market President for Arlington, Alexandria and South Fairfax County areas of Capital One Bank, the event sponsor; and Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One Bank and managing partner of QED Investors, also helped to kick-off the event by speaking about the importance of IMPACT and what the event does for the area's nonprofits.

"This is a terrific event," Lawrence said, adding that Capital One, who as a company that encourages community involvement and engagement, was proud to be a sponsor.

 “ACT is the principal mover and has done some marvelous initiatives,” said Morris. “Look at what’s going on in Washington – although Mark [Warner] is one of the good guys – he’s non-partisan and non-polar.”

The event was centered around a panel discussion moderated by Senator Mark Warner and featured Shayna Englin of Englin Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm focused on identifying mobilizing supporters for nonprofits, causes and political candidates; Brian Fujito, Chief Technology Officer of Razoo, which helps organizations with online fundraising; and Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM!, a not-for-profit which seeks to protect play by working with communities and corporations to build playgrounds where there are none.

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Shayna Englin of Englin Consulting.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Shayna Englin of Englin Consulting.

Warner started out by asking the panelists how regularly they engage with donors without bombarding them.

Englin said that they do constant testing, using online tools to monitor who is reading what you send.

Hammond talked about using the internet as a vehicle to get people to self-act. He gave the example about how KaBOOM! was receiving 14,000 requests for two playgrounds a year.

“We put the information on the internet and 6,000 organizations took the initiative to use the tools in the community to build it yourself,” said Hammond.

“You can’t be either just on the internet or off – you have to be on both.”

Warner then asked, “Alexandria is blessed with a series of community organizations, but there is a lot of donor fatigue. How does your internet presence become more than just a static website?”

Hammond said, “You have to start small to build big. It’s about the community messaging each other. Use bottom-up messaging. It takes patience and time.”

Fujito said, “Use photos and stories – this is what the organization is doing.”

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />John Porter addresses the crowd.
Photo by Gale Curcio
John Porter addresses the crowd.

Englin said, “Think about what it is you’re trying to do. Use the old-fashioned telephone tree. Find leaders to call five people, get them to call five people, etc. Go back to deep organizing – go deep, not broad. You don’t have to be a tech whiz.”

Then Warner asked, “Nonprofits typically fall three years behind in technology. How do you keep up?”

Fujito mentioned how the Three Days of Giving mobilized board members. “These community events bring people together and get training.”

Englin said that you don’t have to be cutting edge on everything. “Pick one thing – for example, LinkedIn.”

“Consumers have different ways of communication,” said Fujito. “You need to give people different options.”

There was a brief discussion about using flash events (mobs), twitter, smart phones and blogging.

After answering questions from the audience, the panel concluded with closing remarks from John Porter, who has served as the Executive Director of ACT for Alexandria for the past two years.

"We are all community organizers," said Porter. "Give to ACT, give through ACT, and give to your community."

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Brian Fujito serves on the keynote panel.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Brian Fujito serves on the keynote panel.

Attendees then participated in one of three focus breakout sessions. Jane Hess Collins, Brooke Curran and Lori Morris led the “Donor to Donor” session, while Dr. Margo Bailey presided over “Creating a Culture of Evaluation.” “Building a Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing Engagement Strategy” was spearheaded by Vanessa French, Kate Hays and Kelly O’Neal.

The sessions were followed by an announcement of ACT’s Capacity Building Grant program including Strategy Implementation Grants and Compass Micro Project Grants.

This was the first time that Nate Mauer, who recently formed America’s Future Workforce, had attended an ACT forum and said, “IMPACT 2011 highlighted invaluable practices nonprofits should use to achieve their organizational goals and was an invaluable forum for any nonprofit serving the Alexandria community.”

For more information about ACT, call 703-739-7778 or visit  

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Darrell Hammond is the founder and CEO of KaBOOM!
Photo by Gale Curcio
Darrell Hammond is the founder and CEO of

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Dr. Margo Bailey” presides over
Photo by Gale Curcio
Dr. Margo Bailey” presides over “Creating a
Culture of Evaluation.”

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br /> <br />
Photo by Gale Curcio
"Building a Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing
Engagement Strategy" is spearheaded by
Vanessa French, Kate Hays and Kelly

Photo by Gale Curcio <br /> <br />Traci Viselli represents ACTion Alexandria.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Traci Viselli represents ACTion Alexandria.

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