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Building Buzz in Your Building

May 21, 2018 by Leena Waite0

I love that NCN is a peer resourced community. We gain so much through our members sharing their experiences and knowledge with each other. Our new, member only Ask-NCN Live Zoom calls continue to build on that premise.

In March, we focused on building buzz: what makes your space the place people want to be? The multiple employees representing seven organizations, from development stages to highly established, had lots to share – from clever nuggets to big picture. Here are some of those noteworthy takeaways.

When groundbreaking is delayed, how do you communicate that things are still happening?

Centre for Social Innovation talked about the pop-up space they had at their New York location before and during construction. This likely helped market the coming space and gave the community a taste of something to look forward to. Two spaces also gave tours or threw a mini party, with hard-hats as necessary, as soon as the space was safe to enter, but before completion. This produced some great photo-ops and having your Governor (John Hickenlooper) in the pic ain’t bad either. Posner Center for International Development shared one of their marketing strategies: photos of what the space was before; for them it was a horse barn turned storage facility for horse-drawn carts and trailers. You can see some of these below.

We’re growing, but still need to grow!

ReCity Network, barely two years old, has grown from 4 to 40 organizations, and yet can welcome more of the 5,000 nonprofits throughout the city! But how do they find the best partners and get the word out? Themed events that will draw a desired type of nonprofit or virtual memberships, to start building connections were a couple of suggestions. Meanwhile, ReCity proudly promotes their current members through roundtable TED-style presentations, which are captured via video, shared on social media and given back as a gift to that organization. You can see one of those here!

How do I get people to attend building events?

The position of Community Catalyst that exists in many centers exemplifies the secret within the title. You can’t come up with all of the ideas or force people to be there. But you can be the spark that precipitates an event. “Giving members permission to say yes,” summarized that recommendation. A few years ago, Centre for Social Innovation handed over their Facebook page regularly to tenants with their “Week in the Life” series. From everyday tasks to promoting a special event ahead, members shared their piece of the puzzle that makes up a centers’ community or mission. And CSI’s social media interaction rose significantly! Likewise, tenant led events at Tides Converge, releases ownership to the members to create the community they desire. Their Collaborative Space Manager vets the ideas and provides introductions to the events, but the members take it from there.

NCN is proud of the many eco-systems that make up the greater eco-system of our network. We look forward to hearing what creative ideas will emerge on our next call: The 3 R’s of Shared Space: Recruiting, Referrals and Retention. Feel like you’re missing out? Become a part of NCN’s community today!

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About Our Blogger:

Leena Waite

Before arriving at the Nonprofit Centers Network, Leena Waite was the Director of Programming for five years at America’s Grow-a-Row (AGAR), a New Jersey based non-profit that grows and gleans fresh produce for hunger agencies and food desert areas across the state. Before AGAR, she served as the Director of Children’s Ministries of Chatham Township, running the church school program for 150 children from birth through 8th grade. Leena holds a BFA and Jazz Minor in Violin Performance from Carnegie Mellon University, a Masters of Music and Masters in Improvisation from the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Arts in Ministry from Drew Theological School.


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