The Bekoz Recap: National Urban League Conference 2017

  • Who: @NatUrbanLeague
  • What: NUL Conference 2017
  • Where: St. Louis
  • When: July 25-28
  • Why: To #SaveOurCities

You read that right! A few weeks ago, we were in St. Louis. We had the pleasure and privilege of supporting the National Urban League (NUL) at their annual conference for the third year in a row. Why do we keep coming back? Why can’t we get enough of NUL? We support the National Urban League bekoz of their mission to #saveourcities.

Each year, we join NUL to help them run a smooth and successful conference. We manage and develop content for the conference app (e.g., push notifications, best of photos, event descriptions and details, speaker headshots, etc.) and support the conference’s mobile app throughout the event. We also assist registered attendees and the public in successfully navigating the app and the conference by managing and overseeing brand ambassadors and a mobile app booth.

While there, we are a part of so many wonderful things.

NUL offers workshops that provide great tips & tricks to advance NUL Young Professionals (YPs) in their careers and empower them to become leaders in their fields. We’re able to interact with and engage these YPs throughout the conference and make sure they made it to their sessions.

When community members and attendees were trying to connect with great opportunities in the Career & Networking Fair, we assisted them with registration and with information about the Brand U Studio. We let them know where they could get their head-shots taken, learn how to develop a resume, and build their personal brand.

We also aided NUL in promoting diversity in the tech industry. With the conference’s Tech Connect and Hackathon, young innovators were able to convene and think through some of today’s biggest social justice issues while connecting with technology. We guided some of these visionaries to their session rooms to make sure they didn’t miss out.

When celebrities and thought leaders were putting down big thoughts on NUL’s Empowerment Stage regarding race, rights, business development, the entertainment industry, black love, intersectionality and more, we helped make sure folks were there to pick them up.

 

Lastly, when NUL helped kids start the school year strong with backpacks, pens, pencils, and other free school supplies with a Community Day and Back-to-School fair, we were there to help families get the bracelets, booklets, and stamps they needed to receive their supplies.

With the app, the app booth and brand ambassadors, we were able to engage people and enhance their conference experience, help them get to where they wanted to go, and even win some cool raffle prizes throughout the days they were there!

It was an honor and pleasure to work with the National Urban League team another year!

Hopefully, next year we’ll meet again…in Ohio…

 

The Missing Factor

We were asked a question recently and had to really think about the answer. What is the difference between a business and a non-profit? As we sat and pondered, others did as well, until someone spoke up. “Well, most non-profits are service oriented.” Another answered “You could have a service business such as massage therapy or a pet sitting service.” As people continued to think about the question, soon the answer came…nothing! Non-profits are a business; the only difference is you have to zero out the budget at the end of the year. The real question is why is it so difficult for nonprofit leaders to answer this question?

For many, their service is their product. They still need staff whether paid or volunteer; they need an income to provide services whether it is through sponsors, grants, state or federal funds similar to revenue generated through product purchases and they still have goals they need to accomplish. Then someone asked, “Why is it that these organizations do not run themselves or consider themselves as a business?” “Shouldn’t the leaders of these organizations think this way?” Your tax-exempt status shouldn’t separate you! The truth is some nonprofits don’t seem to follow a business model and as a result, suffer to stay afloat. Strategies associated with the business model seem to be a missing factor.

According to a 2016 article published in Forbes, “Half of Nonprofit are Setup to Fail.” The strongest organizational leaders know the importance of sales, marketing and strategic planning skills that can propel their business to the next level. You have a passion for your services; use stories to sell them, use marketing tactics to differentiate yourself and strategically set goals that will grow your organization. These tactics will separate your organization from others and allow you to get in front of those that will support you monetarily, physically or better yet verbally. There is nothing like good ol’ word of mouth marketing and nothing better than giving them something to talk about.

 


Reference Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ianaltman/2016/03/20/half-of-nonprofits-are-setup-to-fail-how-about-your-favorite/#75f6d2db4619

When getting an “E” on your report card is a good thing!

Many civic organizations that focus on community services, rely on funding from other entities. How do you entice these parties to provide you with what you need for your organization? Whether it is funding, in-kind services or simply advocating to others on your behalf, organizations must work on engaging outside sources. That’s it! Entice and Engage! That is what marketing your organization is all about. Strategically planning outreach efforts will not only get you in front of your target audience but keep you there. Take a moment to think about who you want to entice by asking yourself…

  • How old are they?
  • Are they male or female?
  • How much do they make?
  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they work?
  • What do they look like?
  • What do they like to do or what are their hobbies?

The answers to these questions will help you engage. By asking these simple questions you can start to develop a profile that will allow you to focus your time and money to specific areas where your target funder, volunteer, or advocate may be. Only then can you develop a successful plan that will allow you to entice these groups through innovative activities. Only then, you can ensure that you aren’t just throwing your time and money into areas that come up with little to no traction. By knowing who you are targeting and where they are, you can learn more about their interest and attempt to reach them via channels and in the places where you now know that you can find them.

Don’t know where to start? Well…start with your current connections and ask yourself a few of the questions above. You will be surprised at the commonalities that come up. Besides, who doesn’t want to be enticing and engaging? Those are a couple of E’s we would love to see on our report card.