Thursday, September 4, 2014

8 Steps for Successful Networking

Presented by Robbie Samuels as part of the Socializing for Justice monthly ProfDev Series. SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community and network based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at www.sojust.org

Forming and cultivating relationships is at the heart of any successful fundraising campaign, volunteer drive, committee effort or community building activity. Foster and grow new networks with these practical tips and best practices to engage someone in a conversation, keep it rolling, exchange information and wrap up. Attend my Art of the Schmooze training for an interactive fast-paced and fun tutorial.
 
1. Say hello. Shake hands, say your name and affiliation.

Has the following happened to you? You've done your homework and know a particular bigwig connector, funder, donor, etc. will be at a networking event. You see them and freeze. What had you planned to say? Were you thanking them? Soliciting them? As your brain tries to put together a coherent sentence, they move out of view and the opportunity has passed. Let's keep this simple. Just shake hands and say, "Hello, my name is (insert your name here)." The rest of your elevator pitch can come later, but to build a relationship, you need to start by making the connection.

2. Ask questions. People like to talk about themselves.

Now that you have their attention, follow up with an open-ended question. Why open-ended? You're looking for them to share a story, which won't happen if your question can be answered with a yes or no response. Follow Dale Carnegie's timeless advice in "How to Win Friends & Influence People" and "allow the other person to do a great deal of the talking." In other words, make fewer statements and ask more questions. For example, "How did you hear about this event?" or follow up with
"How did you end up in your line of work?" 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Build and Get Out of the Way: How SoJust Got Started

This is the first in a series of blogs about Socializing for Justice's philosophy and practice. Learn more and get connected at www.sojust.org.

Socializing for Justice - a grassroots, cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston -  is the brainchild of community organizer, fundraiser and event planner, Robbie Samuels. Since he moved to Boston in early 2000s, Robbie has been a leader within Boston’s progressive community. He has been recognized for his efforts - his birthday was declared "Robbie Samuels Day" by the Boston City Council in 2011. In creating SoJust, Robbie has combined fun, socializing and cross-issue mobilization as never before.

The vision for SoJust comes from Robbie’s first-hand experience. He wanted to address what he was repeatedly finding in his work – that individuals, organizations, and campaigns stunted their effectiveness by focusing solely on single-issue work. He believed he could get people representing multiple progressive issues into a room, connect them based on their shared values and thus help them more effectively fight for social justice. He saw a need for a cross-issue progressive movement.

What is SoJust? Our Philosophy

At the core of it, Socializing for Justice has been a great big social experiment. In the early years, SoJust’s Co-Founders Robbie Samuels and Hilary Allen intentionally built it and got out of the way. While they had some sense of what was possible through SoJust, they didn’t focus on one end goal. This allowed everyone who attended events to bring with them new possibilities that expanded the sum total of what SoJust could achieve.

SoJust is not focused on a specific identity group, culture or issue. Their strength is their ability to bring together passionate progressives from different neighborhoods, countries and cultures. To accomplish this, SoJust hosts socials and
ProfDevs (professional development trainings) that draw progressives of all stripes that share common values, but may work on different issues. In 8 years they’ve hosted 185 events. From the very first event, Robbie and Hilary were concerned about the group being quickly labeled “that” group - which would have limited who would feel welcome to attend events.

To counter this likelihood, they purposely hosted a wide range of events in venues across the Boston metro area. Bowling for Justice in Alewife, Roller Skating for Justice in Mattapan, Knitting for Justice in Forest Hills, Thrifting for Justice in Kendall Square, and Cocktails for Justice in Central Square are just a few examples of the range of events that were held twice a month during the first few years. As a result, event attendees have been all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, levels of activism and professions. Some just moved to Boston and others were born here. A few years in, “cross-cultural” was added to their mission statement to emphasize the importance of weaving diversity efforts into all that they do. Their goal is that you see someone like yourself at their events and meet someone you otherwise wouldn't have.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Socially Responsible Investing? (guest blog)

The following is a guest blog by Joby Gelbspan, who has led ProfDev trainings on Socially Responsible Investing hosted by Socializing for Justice. SoJust is a grassroots, cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion.

SoJust draw progressives of all stripes that share common progressive values but may work on different issues. We create social spaces in Boston that allow for the possibility of cross-issue connections and run a monthly ProfDev Series, hosted by The NonProfit Center, which provides affordable professional development trainings to increase our individual capacity for movement building. I co-founded SoJust in 2006, our 8th anniversary party is on September 11th. Learn more and RSVP at www.sojust.org.

Socially Responsible Investing?
Here is Joby's PowerPoint from her 2014 presentation.
A life immersed in activism and movement-building has blessed me with an abundance of friends who are smart, thoughtful, and committed to making the world a more just and safer place. From employment decisions to daily purchases, most of them understand that their economic choices have important social consequences. But I am frequently surprised by how few progressives and activists feel empowered when it comes to savings and investment – to building wealth.

Whether it’s the intimidating jargon or feeling overwhelmed, or an understandable mistrust of Wall Street, the temptation to check out and keep one’s money under the proverbial mattress is all too common. But the mattress will, of course, not even keep up with inflation. Sustaining a movement requires that we support ourselves and those who depend on us. Refusing to invest is not necessarily the most constructive choice for building a sustainable future personally, or for advancing your vision more broadly.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Productivity Tech Tips


By @JessMSamuels and @RobbieSamuels who co-presented a Socializing for Justice "ProfDev: Productivity TechTips". [Presentation posted on SlideShare.] SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community and network in Boston based on the philosophy of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at www.sojust.org.

The tech world can be an overwhelming place. You know that there are 1001 great (and free) tools you can be using to live a more productive life, but you don't know where to start. Let us help you out! At this ProfDev we will go in depth to demonstrate many great tools you should be using everyday, including Rapportive (social media Gmail integration), Google docs and forms, Jing (video captures), Dropbox,  and Mailbox app (that helps you get to the coveted Zero Inbox!), and much more.

We hope you try out some of these awesome tech tools to make yourself happier, and more productive in your job and in your personal life. Have a favorite productivity tech tool? Mention it in the comments.

Your Inbox

Your Documents

Your Calendar

Your Life

Monday, June 2, 2014

Take Action! Storytelling That Inspires (guest blog)

By guest blogger Rachel Jellinek who led a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (professional development) training called Take Action! Storytelling That Inspires. SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at www.sojust.org. 

When thinking about how to tell your organization’s story, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:

1) What do you want people to know?
2) What do you want people to feel?
3) What do you want people to do?

When pondering what you want people to know, it is important to note any myths or misperceptions about your organization or the field that you are in that should be addressed. For example, are there particular FAQs that make sense to tackle head on? Has your organization’s identity ever been confused with another’s? If yes, why? Being proactive, instead of reactive, about clearing up confusion is crucial.

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Effective Tips for Nonprofit Cover Letters (guest blog)

Guest blog post by Mark McCurdy who led a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (professional development) training called Accelerate Your Nonprofit Career - Strategic Resume and Cover Letters.


1. Stories Store themselves in the reader’s mind. A short personal story near the beginning of your cover letter can hook the person reading it, if it is concise and clearly relevant. A story that speaks to why you want be part of the mission and team of the organization will always be more memorable than dry statistics from your past employment. Make a lasting positive memory for your prospective employer and remember that “stories store” themselves in the mind.

2. Research Rewards those who make the effort. Are you used to addressing your cover letter to “recruiter” or “hiring manager?” Research the company to find out the best person to send your resume to. Take the initiative by calling the organization and asking the name of the person who is receiving applications. Other options are to use LinkedIn, current employees or the organization’s website. You may wish to combine your research and a story with the mission statement of the organization in a clever way, to grab the attention of the nonprofit.

3. Give them what they want. Carefully review the job description and posting, then state your experience with actual examples (bullet points are great) that demonstrate that you

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