Tuesday, December 29, 2009

January CCG Lunch: How the Department of Defense is Using Social Media

WHAT: Deploying with "New" Gear: How the Department of Defense is Using Social Media
Learn more about how the Department of Defense is using social media to connect with both internal and external audiences.

SPEAKER: Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Department of Defense

WHEN: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, from noon - 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: District Chophouse, 509 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Metro Stop: Gallery Place/Chinatown on the Red Line

COST: $28
Cash only. Exact Change Preferred.

RSVP required.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RECAP: December CCG Lunch, "It's All in the Spirit of Giving"

First off, let me just give a HUGE "thanks" to all my members who attended yesterday's lunch. We managed to collect 43 toys for Toys for Tots (plus one monetary donation) from our 37 attendees. Great job, everyone!!

Second note: Did you know that one of Toys for Tots biggest challenges is getting enough gifts for the 10-14 age range? If you haven't yet donated this year, think about choosing something for these older kids. (Even better, Tweet and Facebook this fact to your networks and help us start our own mini campaign to address this challenge.)

Okay. Now, on to the lunch recap...

December's lunch was about handling PR and communications for a charity or a charitable giving campaign. Our distinguished speakers were:
  • Sergeant Matthew R. Johnson, who is in his fourth year as a Toys for Tots Events Coordinator... and was looking quite dapper in his Marine uniform
  • Wendy Beach, Director of Communications, Global Impact. (In addition to raising funds to support international relief and development programs, Global Impact manages the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area and Overseas.)
Key messages from our speakers:
  • Evaluation is key: Before starting this year's campaign, Global Impact evaluated past CFC campaigns. Staff used that feedback when creating key messages, revamping collateral materials, crafting a new "theme," and creating goals for this year (such as generating more participation from the the younger government employees and new government employees). This is great advice. I think a lot of us focus so hard on a particular project, and when that project is complete we move right on to the next one. As a result, we often don't take the time afterward to evaluate the project, collect feedback, etc. And there's so much to learn from evaluating what you've done... both good and bad.
  • You Can't Ignore Social Media: I know. It sounds like a no brainer, right? But what do you do when you're in an environment that doesn't embrace social media, which is the case with many federal agencies that block access to Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Global Impact solved this dilemma by using the (social media) tools they knew government employees could access, such as GovLoop, which is a social media tool specifically for the government.
  • Know Your Audience: Global Impact realized it was important that any collateral materials created for the campaign be customizable by the volunteers so that materials would speak to particular communities.
  • Social Media Isn't Everything: For the Marine Corps, having Marines in blues on the street talking to people directly is the best advertising. So one of the top goals is to get as many Marines out there as possible. It beats any other advertising channel they could use. (Of course, my CCG members already understand the importance of direct person-to-person contact. After all, we're a group that thrives during our in-person monthly meetings.)
  • Coordination, Coordination, Coordination: Toys for Tots is a HUGE campaign that always gets national and local media attention. When that's the case, communication is key. You need to make sure everyone has all the information available... after all, you never know when someone might end up being an "unofficial" spokesperson for your cause.
So those were my biggest lessons learned from yesterday. Sure, some of them weren't exactly "lessons learned" -- because they were strategies I already knew -- but I love when our speakers reinforce conventional wisdom and remind me that sometimes I need to go "back to basics."

For my fellow CCG'ers who attended yesterday's lunch... what did you learn from our speakers?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Value of Professional Organizations

So maybe I'm biased as I write this -- seeing as I am the CCG President and all -- but the truth is, I love this group! The Capital Communicators Group is valuable to me. For one, I love that there are no annual dues. If I attend a lunch, I pay. If I don't attend a lunch, no money goes out of my pocket. (Granted, now that I'm President I attend most lunches, but that's not the point.) Also, I get a lot out of my membership and out of the monthly lunches, both from the perspective of the actual presentations and from the more "informal" networking that goes on before, during, and after the formal program.

But it's gotten me thinking...

For many, the start of the new year is the time when we start thinking about whether we're gong to renew our various memberships. We evaluate the cost of the membership and what we get out of belonging to the group.

So what is the value of the various professional organizations we can join? What is the true "value" of PRSA? Is it worth its annual dues? And what about IABC or WWPR? Or other professional PR/communications groups?.

That's where you all come in! I'm hoping to get some conversation rolling here about the professional groups to which we belong and what "value" we get out of these groups. What groups do you find worth the cost of membership and in which groups have you decided to let your membership go?

Let us know!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CCG December lunch: It's All in the Spirit of Giving

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
noon - 1:30 p.m.

It's All in the Spirit of Giving
Ever wonder about the unique ins and outs of running a PR/communications campaign for a charity or a charitable giving campaign? How about the challenges of doing so during a down economy? Come learn more from the experts!

  • Staff Sergeant Christopher Gordon, Coordinator, Quantico Toys for Tots campaign
  • Wendy Beach, Director of Communications, GLOBAL IMPACT. (GLOBAL IMPACT has the MOU to manage the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area and Overseas this year.)
Location: Bar Louie, 701 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Metro Stop: Gallery Place/Chinatown on the Red Line


RSVP to: capitalcommunicator@gmail.com
(You do not have to be a CCG member to attend. Cost is the same for members and non-members.)