Friday, May 1, 2015

8 Steps for Successful Networking

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?" 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Personal Budgets: From Debt to Financial Freedom (guest post)

Personal Budgets: From Debt to Financial Freedom was presented by Julie Morgenlender at a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (professional development) Training. SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at

Some people find budgeting a bit daunting, but just remember: you have choices. They might not be easy or fun or even good choices, but they're choices and they're yours to make. Today you can choose to get your financial house in order.

I always say the best place to start is with your goals. It's one thing to know you want to “save money”, but it's very different to know why you're saving money. Keeping your goals in mind provides motivation and allows you to see concrete progress. You probably have some goals in mind already, and that's why you're here. Some goals I often hear are buying a house, taking a trip overseas, paying off debt, having children, exercising more, giving more money to charity, not living paycheck-to-paycheck anymore, paying for a wedding, buying a car, and retiring at a certain age. These are other people's goals. What are yours? List them all out, then choose 2-5 to focus on first. (Hint: if you have debt other than a mortgage, paying that off should be one of your first priorities.)

After you set your goals, the next step is to figure out where you stand now financially. You know where you want to go, so first you have to determine where you are. Download this worksheet into Excel as a starting point. (There are instructions on the first tab, then use the second tab to figure out what you own and owe, and use the third tab to figure out what you earn and spend.) Add in more categories that apply to you. Figure out exactly how much you have and how much you owe.

Now that you know what you have and what you want to have, the question is, how do you get from one place to the other? If you want to pay down debt or increase your savings, the answer is simple: you have to spend less than you earn and save the difference. There are two ways to do it: spend less or save more.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

RootsCamp MA - 2-day progressive unconference

**Socializing for Justice is a proud Gold Sponsor of this collaborative, community building event, and our co-founder, Robbie Samuels, is one of the Lead Organizers.**
The weekend of April 25-26, progressive organizers from across the region will gather in Boston to share lessons learned, discuss best practices, and move our movement forward. This “unconference” builds on the success of RootsCamp MA in 2013 and 2010, and annual RootsCamps in DC since 2006. 
RootsCamp MA shakes up the traditional conference model. Workshop proposals are not submitted far in advance. Instead everyone present decides the agenda each morning of the unconference. This allows participants to have meaningful and in-the-moment conversations about their work. 
Learn more and register at are $20 and include breakfast, lunch, and snacks for two days. A limited number of $10 tickets are available. Sponsorship opportunities available at $500, $250, and $100. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

6 Fundraising Truths

Fundraising: Getting Past the Fear of Asking was presented by Robbie Samuels at a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (professional development) Training.

I always start my trainings by asking the audience to share a word or two response to the question, "How do you feel about soliciting - asking for money?". Invariably a majority of responses are along the lines of "hate it,” "nervous," "like I'm begging," and "it depends on the cause." This kind of angsty response is what you'd expect from a group that chose to attend a session called "Fundraising: Getting Past the Fear of Asking." 

But then I ask them, "How do you feel when you write a check to your favorite organization?". This is money they've set aside for charity - not their lunch money or fun money. The organization is one they've gotten to know and respect - and the cause is one they care deeply about. They're about to write the check, or more likely filling out a form on a website, how do they feel now? The room immediately lightens up and the responses include "great," "engaged," "making difference," "good," and "wish I could do more."

Interesting. Asking for money makes people feel anxious, but donating makes them feel awesome. Let's reflect on that for a moment. Asking = bad, giving = good.

What's the number one reason people don't give? They are not asked. That's right, people don't give if they're not asked, and they're more likely to give if someone they know and trust asks them. So if you don't get past your fear of asking you are denying your friends the ability to feel like they're making a difference - the ability to be truly engaged with a cause they care about. You are keeping your friends from feeling great. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Flashlight for Boston’s Progressive Community


What are you looking for in 2015? Cross-issue progressive network helps you find it.

Did you make a New Year's Resolution to get out there and meet people? Are you looking for volunteer opportunities? Ready to finally make that career move that will make you happy? Whatever you’re looking for Socializing for Justice will help you find it at their friendly events that foster relationship-building across issue silos.

On January 22nd from 6-8:30PM, Socializing for Justice is hosting an open house networking event, Connecting for Justice, in Boston’s Back Bay. With over 100 progressives of all stripes attending, this is a great way to get connected to Boston’s cross-issue progressive community.  SoJust events are a welcoming space where all attendees, diverse by age, race, gender, sexual orientation, newness to Boston, and experience with activism, come together to “put the social back in social justice.” These open house events are an opportunity for newcomers and long-time members to celebrate the remarkable success of this member-driven, volunteer-run grassroots group.  Since 2006, SoJust has grown to nearly 2600 members and hosted over 190 socials and professional development trainings.

Socializing for Justice is the brainchild of Robbie Samuels. For the past decade, Robbie has been a leader within Boston’s progressive community as an event planner, fundraiser, and community organizer. He has been recognized for his efforts - in 2011, his birthday, September 16, was declared "Robbie Samuels Day" by the Boston City Council. In creating SoJust, he has combined fun, socializing and cross-issue mobilization as never before. Robbie recently launched his speaking and consulting business full-time to bring his experience with engagement and community-building to a larger audience.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Intermediate Excel Tips & Tricks (guest blog by Stephany George)

Intermediate Excel Tips &Tricks presented by Stephany George at a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (low-cost professional development). SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement based on the philosophies of abundance and radical inclusion. Learn more and get connected at

Microsoft Excel is a program we all love to hate.  Sometimes you swear that getting Excel to work the way you want is magic, especially when you see someone zoom through a spreadsheet without pause.

As a self-professed Excel nerd, when I see something new that I can't do, I have to find out how it's done.  My skills have been self-taught and learned by struggling through online tutorials.  Some of this information can be found on Microsoft's training website.

We've all experienced the trauma that comes from trying and failing to get Excel to work with us instead of against us.  Here are some tips that will guide you through several basic skills every Excel user needs and introduce some intermediate techniques you can use to impress your boss, friends and family. 

Conditional Formatting - Ever been jealous of how someone has color-coded their spreadsheet? Now you'll be able to do the same.  Makes it easy to visually reference data.

VLookup - This tricky formula will help you find that one piece of information you need without having to scroll through the entire data set.  Look for a specific piece of data in a column.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Speaking Peace - An Introduction to Nonviolent Communication (guest blog by Gail Carroll)

Presented by Gail Carroll at a Socializing for Justice ProfDev (low-cost professional development). SoJust is a cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community, network and movement based on the philosophy of abundance. Learn more and get connected at

Developing and practicing the skills of NVC has changed my life, because it has changed my relationships – all of my relationships: in work, with my daughter, with my partner, and yes, as the holidays are soon coming – also with extended family!

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Copyright 2010-2011 by Robbie Samuels. Contact me Robbie @ Creative Commons License is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.