Tools of Engagement

Miami is wonderful. It's also where the 2012 COF Family Philanthropy Conference is happening. Although we are only one day in, I can safely say that traveling from California was well worth it.

The setting is gorgeous of course, and I've been posting images of the harbor, the art deco buildings on my personal Facebook profile. But in the end I'm here for the inspiring sessions and the wonderful collegiality I always find among fellow grantmakers.

A particular session that stood out today was Mark Carpenter's Tools of Engagement: Family Dynamics and Social Networking. The room was packed as Mark, Sam Stern and Rosetta Thurman addressed the idea of family foundations adopting social media tools.

The session proved to be insightful, and unexpectedly motivational. It can be a bit of a struggle to be an advocate of social media in a not-for-profit organization. We all tend to be more traditional and a bit habitual when we communicate our causes. To open up our message to general feedback and potential critique can be intimidating. However, the speakers Mark Carpenter selected were fantastic!

Mark and his guests did a wonderful job addressing the hesitation of acknowledging the potential of social media. Using very clear and noteworthy examples (did you know 92% of babies under 2 have some sort of online presence!) the speakers made a strong and supportive argument for the integration of social media tools. I was very pleased I was able to attend the session, and can't wait to go back to California to implement some of the ideas the panel offered. A social media mission statement for instance. Let's do it!