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(Bartender to customer) Okay, one more triple bacon-infused tequila. But I'm adding a kale garnish because wellness.

Nonprofit with highballs

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Mm. Kale.

This cartoon comes from the foreword to The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, written by the witty and wonderful Vu Le. If you’re in the nonprofit sector, you need to read his blog — both for the wisdom and insight it shares, and for the comic relief he provides from what can be a pretty grim world out there. (Hey, that’s why we’re trying to change it, am I right?)

Vu’s latest post is titled “7 agreements for productive conversations during difficult times,” and he suggests seven ways we can make the rocky road ahead a little smoother for each other. Given the week we’ve just had, his timing couldn’t be better.

That’s the kind of care and compassion every nonprofit should embrace.

As a quick writing exercise, fill in three ways to get from that sentence to the idea of wellness.

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Great job! And thanks for writing my segue for me! You’re awesome!

Wellness is at the heart of The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, the new book by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman, featuring health-inducing cartoons by yours truly. They make the case for putting it at the heart of your organization, too — along with advice for doing just that. Go check it out, and I hope you’ll give it a read!

(one coworker to another as they look at a small, incessantly yapping dog) Clearly, there's some nuance to this "relieve stress by bringing a dog to the office" thing.

The sound and the furry

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Of all the cartoons I drew for The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, this was the most fun. It may be my favourite of all the dog drawings I’ve done (heaven knows I’ve drawn my share of dogs). I hope you like it.

You know what else drawing that dog was? Therapeutic. Maybe not as therapeutic as having an actual adorable animal in the office, but awfully calming. And finding some measure of balance through meditative drawing is just one of the practices that Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman suggest in their book.

A reminder if you haven’t followed this series the past few weeks: in The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, Aliza and Beth argue that wellness belongs at the heart of every nonprofit. And they give you solid advice for putting it there: through personal practice and organizational change. This is the fifth of the cartoons they invited me to draw for the book, and I’ll post several more in the coming days.

But you don’t have to wait on my posting schedule. You can see the cartoons right away with this amazing lifehack: ordering the book. Go! Go now! Fetch!

(sleepless woman in bed, to her partner) Well, on the upside, I'm a shoo-in to win the office sleep-deprivation pool.

40 winks

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Sleep-avoidance is a holy sacrament in the Church of Very Busy People. And truth be told, I’m a more observant member of the congregation than I’d like to think I am. But I’m working on it. In fact, the moment I wrote that last night I recognized what I was doing and went to bed.

There’s a particularly militant faction of my church (and I’ll cop to attending more than a few services). Adherents to that strain of the faith work for non-profits and advocacy groups in service of a shared mission. And if you’re one of those folks, it’s way too easy to convince yourself to sacrifice a few hours of sleep, or yet another workout, or a healthy meal, or investing in a relationship, in the name of The Cause.

This cartoon is from a book offering several helpful heresies that just might save the lives of some members of the flock. It’ll definitely make them more effective in changing the world. The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman argues wellness belongs at the heart of every nonprofit. And Aliza and Beth give you solid advice for putting it there.

This is the fourth of the cartoons they invited me to draw for the book, and I’ll post several more in the coming days. But you don’t have to wait for me to hit publish — and you probably shouldn’t, given my newfound interest in sleeping. You can see the cartoons right away with this simple hack: ordering the book.

Enjoy! Just don’t stay up too late reading it.

(dad with daughter playing cymbals and drums while mom records a podcast) Oh, riiiight. You're recording. But you can just fix that in Audacity, right?

The Business of Podcasting #2: Sheer Audacity

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Here’s the second in a series of eight cartoons from the fab new podcasting bookThe Business of Podcasting by Donna Papacosta and Steve Lubetkin. Check back every Monday for the latest one!

And one of the tools that has been making podcasting so easy for so long is Audacity, the open-source audio editing software. True, it could be easier to use (case in point: for license-compliance reasons, you need to separately install a geeky program or two so you can import and export audio formats like MP3). But the sheer power of the thing is crazy.

Ditto The Levelator, a simple utility to optimize audio files. For thousands of podcast creators who didn’t have the technical chops to tweak their levels in something like Audacity, and more to the point, for their listeners, The Levelator was a lifesaver.

And now for a quick game of six degrees of separation.

  • The Levelator was created in part by Bruce and Malcolm Sharpe.
  • Bruce Sharpe oversaw the video recording and editing of keynotes at the 2009 Northern Voice blogging conference.
  • One of the keynotes he edited together was mine.
  • And in my keynote, I talked about… podcasting!

Yes, there is video. The podcasting stuff starts at the 5:00 mark.

(storytime librarian to kids) And just as the three bears were about to devour Goldilocks, you know what happened? ...Well, you'll have to subscribe to the library's podcast to find out.

The Business of Podcasting #1: Storytime

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Here’s the first in a series of eight cartoons from the fab new podcasting book, The Business of Podcasting by Donna Papacosta and Steve Lubetkin. (You’ll find a new one here every Monday for the next eight weeks.)

Whether you’re a podcasting veteran hoping to channel your passion into an income, or a newbie to the mic who’s excited about the medium’s possibilities, this book could be your new best friend. The focus is on solid practical advice, grounded in the wealth of experience offered by its authors. And that’s a lot of experience: you just won’t find a broader, deeper background in podcasting.

I damn near jumped out of my chair when Donna asked if I’d like to cartoon for The Business of Podcasting, because a) I have tremendous respect for her and the work she’s done over the years, and b) I have a longstanding love of podcasting (and, you won’t be surprised, radio).

A few years ago, I created a limited-run series called The Social Speech Podcast (about using social media to extend the impact of your public speaking). And as much fun as it was to talk with smart folks like Nancy Duarte about public speaking, I enjoyed the audio work—the recording, the editing, the polishing—just as much. Storytelling with sound and speech is a joy, and I hope this book helps a lot of people couple that joy to their professional success.

The Business of Podcasting is available in paperback and for Kindle. Check out the book’s website here.

One person hands a fitness tracker to another, who is standing in front of a sign that reads I Will Walk Around All Day Wearing Your Fitness Tracker: $50

Collaborative Economy, meet the Internet of Things

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As I’m typing this — literally as I’m typing this — I’m realizing my Fitbit Flex has fallen off. (I’ll admit, I noticed the strap was showing some strain, and I failed to act on it.) (Update: Alex found it!)

Pity, because if I could make this kind of business work, I’d do it in a heartbeat. (And I would then track that heartbeat.) I love walking. I’m starting to get tedious at work with my constant suggestions that we turn everything into a walking meeting: brainstorming, strategic planning, repairing the printer—whatever.

(Woman holds tablet displaying cover of Work Smarter With Social Media) Why not give it a shot? It's not like working stupider with social media has gotten us anywhere.

On working smarter

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My wife and all-around genius Alexandra Samuel has just published her latest book from Harvard Business Review Press, Work Smarter With Social Media. You’ll find all the tips, insight and advice from her previous four books (on Evernote, Twitter and Hootsuite, LinkedIn and email) along with some brand new ideas on putting the social web to work for you, instead of the other way around.

And if this post looks like my way of plugging that self-same book, well, actually, yes. Yes, it is.

So is telling you that everyone who buys a copy before May 25 gets six free weeks of coaching from Alex, including:

  • 6 weekly e-mail newsletters with a day-by-day action plan for each week of the program, highlighting key activities and breaking each chapter into actionable steps
  • Feedback and peer support on our Work Smarter Facebook page, where you’ll be able to share your questions and achievements with Alex and  other readers
  • Members-only Google hangouts to check in on your progress and ask Alex your questions
  • Extra tips and content on a range of social media challenges

You can find it online at… oh, hell, almost everywhere. HBR, Amazon (where it’s currently half-price!), iBooks, Kobo, Nook and Google Play.

9. Meowtrics and measurement: using your data to change the world

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Over the next several days, I’m posting cartoons I drew for Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine. I blogged about the book a while ago on Social Signal, explaining why I love it and why I think you should go buy a copy right now.

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=ºi º= /
 ww--ww

In Chapter 9, “Measurement and the Aha! Moment: Using Your Data to Tell Stories, Make Decisions and Change the World”, the rubber really hits the road. And because we’re changing the world, both the rubber and the road are made from reclaimed and recycled materials; the vehicle is electrically driven and charged from a wind-turbine-powered grid; and it’s actually not on the road at all because we’re taking modern commuter rail instead.

This is where you dive into the data and find actionable insights.

Roy Neary serves dinner

Side effects of reading this chapter include dramatic improvements in organizational effectiveness, and a compulsion to construct bar graphs out of Cheerios at the breakfast table – kind of like Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, only with data visualizations rather than perfectly-scaled replicas of Devil’s Tower.

And as with Roy Neary, your loved ones will still think you’re nuts, and your living room will end up filled with mud and the neighbours’ shrubs. (Actually, the mud may just be because I’ve misconfigured Google Analytics.)

In fact, one of the more exciting things you can find is a Devil’s Tower-shaped plateau in your metrics: not just a short-lived spike, but a significant, sustained increase in some measurable variable that matters to you. One such Devil’s Tower led Beth to start regularly posting Fun Geeky Friday Shares on her Facebook Page.

Also in this chapter, Katie makes a pretty compelling case that measurement is hawt.

The risks of hanging your graphs 90º off-kilter.

3. Come for the data. Stay for the insight.

3. Come for the data. Stay for the insight. published on No Comments on 3. Come for the data. Stay for the insight.Purchase print

Over the next several days, I’m posting cartoons I drew for Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine. I blogged about the book a while ago on Social Signal, explaining why I love it and why I think you should go buy a copy right now.

~~~

Brent Spiner IS... awfully pale. Also, Data.If you respond to Chapter 3 — “Creating a Data-Informed Culture” — the way I did, you’ll start with short-lived disappointment that it’s not about building a new society whose gold standard of conduct is embodied in Brent Spiner’s character from Star Trek: The Next Generation. (And if you read my write-up for Chapter 2, you’ll realize that cruelly taunting science-fiction fans is a hallmark of Beth and Katie’s writing. You’re also one of two people who reads the write-ups under the cartoons, and as the other one, I thank you.)

That brief let-down is followed immediately by surprise, delight, delighted surprise, actionable insights and, ultimately, firmer biceps — the book is heavier than it looks. You’ll learn the difference between being data-driven, where data dictates your actions, and data-informed, where data is one of the factors that guides you — a happier place for most non-profits. And you’ll see how an incremental approach — crawl, walk, run, fly — can allow an organization to adapt naturally and quickly to the demands and opportunities that measurement presents.

2. Hey, you got network in my nonprofit!

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Over the next several days, I’ll be posting cartoons I drew for Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine. Here’s what I blogged about the book a while ago on Social Signal, explaining why I love the book and why I think you should go buy a copy right now.

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit coverChapter 2, “The Rise of the Networked Nonprofit”, is not actually a reference to Terminator 3 (but does hint at one possible direction for a film adaptation, if James Cameron should be interested in optioning it). It reviews the central idea behind The Networked Nonprofitthe superb book Beth cowrote with Allison Fine a few years ago.

That idea: a new kind of nonprofit organization is on the move, one that lets go of rigid structures and expands its impact by making the most of socially networked supporters – many of whom don’t fit into a prefab volunteer role, but instead act as independent free agents.

One of those free agents turns out to have been sent from the future to safeguard Beth and Katie, because in a few years they’ll lead a—

No, wait. I’ll save that for the pitch meeting.

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: 1. Cute animal theory

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I can’t tell you just how proud, thrilled, delighted and giddy I feel every time I see a copy of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine (reigning queens of non-profit social media and measurement for organizational communications, respectively.) It’s a fantastic, potentially world-changing book… and I got to draw the cartoons for it.

I blogged about the book a while ago on Social Signal, explaining why I think it’s important (and why I think you should go buy a copy right now):

It’s a momentous book. Organizations from governments to businesses to community groups to nonprofits have all struggled with whether and how to engage with the networked social world, especially when resources are scarce and stakeholders are feeling skittish. Measuring the Networked Nonprofit opens up new possibilities for accountability, learning, innovation and greater impact.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll post my cartoons from the book. And I hope they’ll help prompt you to go snag yourself a copy. Whether you work for a nonprofit, a business, a government agency or just your own efforts to make your corner of the world a little better, you’ll find it a thorough, practical guide to having a far greater impact on the world — and knowing just what that impact is.

* * *

This cartoon kicks off the book’s introductory chapter, which starts with the emerging media director of the Human Society of the United States snapping a photo of her dog in a party hat. It’s related to Beth’s Cute Animal Theory, which owes something to both Nicolas Kristof and Ethan Zuckerman: “Ethan points out that the Web was invented so physicists could share research papers, but Web2.0 was invented because people want to share cute pictures of their cats.  These same tools become very powerful in the hands of activists.”

So be nice to your dachshund, tabby or Betta fish. They may be the key to global transformation.

Twister the Betta fish

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