Art Engagement…

Happy Thursday All!

One of the things I am really passionate about is art engagement and arts education. Having lived in NY and Charlotte, NC, I have seen what cultural arts brings to a city and how it enhances a community. I am blessed to be able to sit on the Boards of several arts/cultural institutions here in Charlotte.

During my tenure, I feel it is incumbent of me to provide education and opportunities for all to experience the art in our community. So I was humbled and honored when the Bechtler asked me to feature in their latest installments of membership drive videos. Take a look and listen to how I briefly discuss art places and art spaces as community zones and providing culture for all.

Cheers!

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

JSW Coffee Talk Recap…

Good Day All!

I hope you are all having a Terrific Tuesday in the second week of August. Over the past weekend, JSW Media Group held a session of its Coffee Talk. JSW Owner Jameka and myself discussed effective team building and efficient meeting strategies. For those that were there in person and  tuned in online, we had an awesome time. For those that were not there here is a quick recap of what we shared:

EFFECTIVE TEAM BUILDING STRATEGIES:

  1. A plan is power: make sure you have clear goals and objectives for the team you wish build.
  2. Continuing education is key: teams are fluid, as they grow, they must consistently stay cutting edge and developed.
  3. Communicate, above else: teams are relationship based, and the best relationships have honest/transparent communication
  4. Growing involves grading: reflection for the team and self-help the team thrive.

EFFECTIVE MEETING STRATEGIES:

  1. Have an agenda!
  2. Invite the necessary people
  3. Document the meeting
  4. Have a start and ending time
  5. Unless the meeting is virtual and requires technology, ban distractions such as phones, tablets, etc…

Starting or maintaining a nonprofit/small business is a lot of work. By following tried and true strategies that focus on success makes it a bit easier. Determine what size team you need based on your resources, scope and capacity. Make meetings fun and productive. And remember, JSW Media is here to help. Head to our webpage (www.jswmediagroup.com) or find us on IG/FB/Twitter @jswmedia, so you can find out when the next installment of Coffee Talk will be.

Have an awesome day!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

Gala Time!

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and was able to continue working on your nonprofit or small business. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the best parties/fundraisers in Charlotte, NC on Friday, which happens to the Bechtler Museum’s Annual Gala. It’s an awesome time of music, silent auctions, ever-changing themes and a Who’s Who of Charlotte. If you have not made it out the previous 5 years, I suggest you add it to your 2017 list of gala’s to attend!

So, as the season of gala’s and fundraisers approaches us, please make note that development and efforts to cultivate donors and new audiences is key. One particular demographic to extend your efforts to are African-Americans. Here is a great article that sheds light on the subject and gives some valuable tips to help your engagement efforts.

http://npengage.com/nonprofit-fundraising/three-reasons-why-its-necessary-for-philanthropy-to-engage-black-americans/#

Have an awesome Monday.

Cheers.

Keith Cradle (@mrcradle Twitter/IG)

Life Happens…

Good Morning All,

Happy Wednesday to you and I pray your week has been off to a remarkable start. Starting is just as important as finishing. So having a strong start can help prepare you for the things that will come. As the title of this post and the old saying goes…LIFE HAPPENS.

LIFE HAPPENS in the midst of everything we set out to do. From the plans we make to the strategic decisions we design, nothing skews or throws us a curve like life. When crafting your external plans or branding schemes for your nonprofit or small business, you can never be fully prepared for the “LIFE HAPPENS” moment. It just happens and you need to be flexible and willing to adjust.

I converse with plenty of people who want to begin or are in the first few stages of development for their nonprofit and the full display of optimism is front and center. They discuss all the things they wish to do along with how the business will look in 5 years. Hell, they even have a mock-up of the office space once they reach a certain amount of money and decide to purchase an office. All well and good because the dream and confidence in the future is important.  However, no one ever discusses the contingency plans for when “LIFE HAPPENS.”

Trust and believe, LIFE WILL HAPPEN, and you as the owner need to be prepared. Potential donors rescind funds, employees quit or have children, there is a fire in the office, data records get washed away, computers crash, business credit/debit cards get lost or stolen. I could go on for months with the never-ending LIFE HAPPENS scenarios. So while that sounds awful, just know there is a silver lining to those dark and gloomy clouds. And here are 3 things you can do:

  1. Have back up plans for the back up plans: Nothing like having a Plan A, B, C, D; so that when LIFE HAPPENS, you will have a guideline on how to proceed.
  2. Be very flexible: Bending never made anyone break. So don’t be so rigid to the current business plan and be ok with change.
  3. Seek guidance: LIFE HAS HAPPENED to a lot of business owners. So talk with those that have experience and learn how they got through it.

Again, things are going to go wrong. Do not fret or sweat the small stuff. Just know that you can push through and your nonprofit/small business will be fine. If you need help getting through crisis moments and needing organizational plans, please contact us @ JSW Media Group so we can be there when LIFE HAPPENS.

Have an awesome day!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

A Change Gonna Come…

Hola! Happy Friday and with Hurricane Joaquin bearing down on the East Coast, I pray you are safe, warm and dry. The month of October is upon us, which means fall weather, sweaters/jackets and the sun going down a lot quicker. In other words, a change is coming!

“These the rainy days they say you should be saving for, but when sun shines no one carries umbrellas…” Fabolous

Change is the only thing that is constant. Seasons change. People change. And your business changes. But are you ready for the inevitable change that is going to come? As an owner, director, manager/supervisor or frontline employee, you must be prepared for change and adaptation.  Business models and strategic plans should include provisions for the predictable and the unpredictable.

The great thing about nature is the way it prepares and showcases change. Leaves on trees change colors and then shed. Animals begin to store up food for the long winter.  Seeds become dormant but prepare for spring and a new blossoming. But do you prepare your small business or nonprofit for the change that is coming?

If not, here are three things you can do to prepare:

  1. Take a look at the budget and see where you can trim: Find ways to store up resources and scale back during lulls in business
  2.  Decide if seasonal staff/volunteers are right for you: Nothing like having help at low costs during the winter months, especially students needing internship or volunteer hours
  3. Take a look at your online presence and does it need a refresh: Just like the leaves changing colors, maybe your logo needs a touch of color

While there are plenty of other things you can do, these are just a few to get your mind working and thinking about how to approach the impending changes. Because the changes are going to come. But will you be ready? If you are not ready and need help, please make sure to contact us at JSW Media Group and we can service all of your small/nonprofit business needs.

http://www.jswmediagroup.com/

Have an awesome weekend!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)

Why a Vision Statement is So Important…

gold

Good Morning All!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share this blog. Today, I wanted to share a quick story that will hopefully bring some perspective to you and your nonprofit/business as it relates to vision. Having vision is something we all need as business leaders, managers, executives and down to the interns that wish to move up the ladder to leadership positions.

Without vision, you will not have an idea of the path you wish to tread. It is the vision that coincides with the mission and the strategic plan so that the staff and donors know exactly why they do what they do!

Over Labor Day Weekend, I went out to Dallas to visit and play golf with my friend Eric. While the weather was particularly hot, we enjoyed the hours we spent hitting, chipping and attempting to make par. LOL For those that don’t know, I am new golfer having just started playing the game in March of 2014.  So my tenure hasn’t been that long and my experience is nowhere near PGA level.  I have some ok days on the course and then I have some very terrible days. Lots of lost balls and tons of dropped balls back on the course. During that hot Saturday, I found myself and my golf balls behind a lot trees. Yup, on more than one occasion, I would hit the ball directly behind a tree [see picture above.] So while frustration was setting in, I was also able to find the message in the moment and snap that picture.

While my ball was neatly tucked behind the tree, the flag for the hole was right on the other side. So even though I couldn’t see the flag, I knew where I wanted and needed to go. I may not have had the perfect sight but I had vision. My plan to getting to the pin was now going to be altered but that wouldn’t negate my progress. My journey would be a bit delayed as I hit around the tree and back on the fairway but nonetheless, I found my way. So, when you can’t see the forest from the trees, you need to have vision. A vision of where you want to end up.

Such in life, as in business, there will be times you hit obstacles, speed bumps or find yourself behind some trees. Don’t get discouraged. Focus on the end result and know that your flag is on the other side. You will need to take a step back, readjust your business plan and get the business back on the fairway. And once you are back on the fairway, you will see the flag! Hit your next shot there. It may take some time but it will be well worth it.

Hence the reason all businesses need a real and detailed vision and mission statement.  The Vision statement continually reminds you of where you want to go and how ambitious you need to be! If you need help with crafting mission/vision statements or comprehensive nonprofit/small business services, please contact JSW Media Group via the website:

http://jswmediagroup.com/

Have an awesome day!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

Show Me Something…

Good Day and Happy Thursday!

I hope your day is going well and the month of September has been kind to your nonprofit or small business.  As we chug along through the 4th quarter of 2015, this is a good time to go over your programmatic goals and targets you’ve set for yourself early in the year. But this also a good time to start preparing for grant cycles that will be coming up for FY16-17. I wrote a piece a few weeks ago discussing “Grant Writing” and how you can start to become proficient with it but there’s something I want to highlight from that piece because it is one of the pinnacle points of successful grant writers and sustainable organizations…EVALUATION PRACTICES.

Program evaluation and showing your funders/stakeholders how well your program is doing is paramount.  It is one of the key steps most start-ups miss or do not spend enough time cultivating.If you want funders to grant you money, they say “SHOW ME SOMETHING.” If you want the county to notice your contribution to cost saving measures, they will say “SHOW ME SOMETHING.” If you want to prove that your program works, people will ultimately say “SHOW ME SOMETHING.” The SOMETHING is the EVALUATIONS.

Demonstrating effectiveness is now being asked of nonprofits, whether big, small, old or new (Fine, Thayer, & Coghan, 2011).  A nonprofit will not be able to attract viable resources if they do not show credible evidence that a program works. How the program works is entirely up to the agency but there are a few things you need to pay attention to:

  1. Make sure you are PRE and POST testing participants: You cannot show data if you have none to show…
  2. Create evaluation areas that you can actually evaluate: Do not attempt to collect data that your program will never gather.
  3. If you can show cost saving measures in the data, do it: Nothing do funders love more than a program that can save money and show how it impacts cyclical events.
  4. Stakeholders matter: Showcase information that is important to those that are important to you.
  5. Keep the spotlight on!: Once you have great data, show it, show it, show it! Then collect more data and then show that! Squeaky wheels get the oil…

Evaluation and agency performance go hand in hand.  By documenting your program or agencies successes, you stand a better chance at attracting long-term funding, vital support and community buy-in.  Evaluations also can be used as a planning guide.  By knowing where you are weak/strong, you can develop fundraising ideas, allocate resources or enhance program delivery services.  The possibilities are endless. But you must do it. Nothing counteracts the “SHOW ME SOMETHING” statement like hard, solid data!

If you need help creating pre/post tests, data evaluation or internal/external development, contact JSW Media Group (http://www.jswmediagroup.com/). Our nonprofit consultants can help you out. As always, thank you for reading and I wish you success!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)