December 2017 Newsletter
Are your communications bias-free?


How do you know your communications are bias-free? How do you know your fundraising appeals will not stigmatize the people you serve? How do you know if what you are saying to external audiences does not feed a preexisting bias (or worse, racism)?
 
The words we use to describe the people we serve and the way in which we serve them matter. We can describe someone as having reached rock bottom and desperate for help or as a person full of potential who your organization supports.
 
We recently held an internal workshop moderated by Racy Conversations CEO Karen Fleshman to discuss this issue. Here are some key takeaways:
  • When drafting communications for any audience (donor or general), do not paint your organization as a "savior" to those you serve - it is patronizing, minimizes the potential of each person to change their circumstances, and can feed into stereotypes about people. 
  • Nonprofit marketing and development professionals often have a very different socioeconomic profile from the people they serve and frontline program staff. One of the most effective ways to make sure your language reflects the community you serve and does not objectify people is to ensure representatives from that group are engaged in the process of developing communications. For example, education nonprofits should engage students and mental health consumers should weigh in on the language being used to describe programs and services delivered by organizations that serve them.
  • If you would not use a word or term in relation to an individual or group from the general population, do not use it to describe your clients (e.g. working with that "population" versus working with that "community").
Portraying clients as empowered pays off. Readers, viewers, and listeners are inspired by stories of a person who overcomes great odds (that is why news outlets are so keen to tell those stories). And they will be inspired by your organization if they see you as having supported that individual!
Observer Names Anat Gerstein, Inc. a "Top Nonprofit Speciality PR Firm" in NYC

The Observer singled out Anat Gerstein, Inc. as one of the top specialty firms focused on nonprofit communications in New York City, noting how our "masterful campaign for the  Girl Scouts  whose homeless shelter troop expansion got page one of  The New York Times , along with features on  Today  and  The View  emerged as one of 2017's media coups."

"With the firm's help, old-school clients like The Workmen's Circle and The Alliance for Positive Change have also become unlikely media stars - we're talking the  Times Wall Street Journal Today  and more," the Observer wrote. 

You can read the full article here.

Pitching Notes: Nikki Mascali
Staff Reporter,  Metro

This month, we introduce you to Nikki M. Mascali, staff reporter for Metro New York since October 2016. 
 
Tell us about your journalism background?
 
I originally was a business major, but I couldn't deny my love of writing any longer; so after nine years in "corporate America," I went back to school at 26 to study journalism. I interned, at age 27, at an arts and entertainment weekly paper in Northeastern Pennsylvania where I'm from and was hired as its staff writer soon after wrapping up the internship. Eventually, I became its editor, a post I held for two years before moving to New York in 2012. 
 
Favorite story you ever covered?
 
There's been so many over the years, but one that's definitely near and dear - and a constant - is a story I did about a homeless veteran and bookbinder named Stitch, who was doing a residency at an art gallery in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I got to sit with him as he bound books from scratch and talked about his life, from traveling to renaissance fairs around the country with his dog to why his books don't have lines, "because they limit your creativity." After the story ran, he wrote me a beautiful, handwritten note on paper he made that was sealed with wax. In the letter, he wrote, "May your quill never run dry." I now have that statement, along with a quill and inkwell, tattooed on my back.
 
What types of stories interest you?
 
I'm fascinated by people - why they do the things they do, what drew them to their particular profession or project, what makes them tick, what inspires them. (There is a reason my loved ones call me "Nosy Nikki!") But I also love writing about people helping people, especially in this day and age when we so desperately need uplifting stories to remind us that we're all humans despite our differences and divisions. This week, for instance, I wrote about an East Village ice cream shop that employs mostly at-risk kids from the neighborhood to teach them life and job skills. It was so great to speak to one of the young adults and hear how the job changed her life - and hear how her manager has seen her change so much with just a little care and guidance. 
 
And since I'm an obsessive dog mom to our pit bull Kona, I love when I get to write about dogs here in the city. 
 
Some days it seems like you've written the whole paper. How many articles do you usually work on each day?
 
Some days I feel like that, haha! The number varies depending on the type of story I'm working on or what I've already got in the pipeline. It usually ranges between two and five on any given day. 
 
What content appeals most to your readers?
 
Metro New York readers' tastes are varied, but they do take to stories about transit--from service issues and updates to upcoming work announcements--as well as protests; celebrity and entertainment news; and of course since we are a New York paper after all, sports. Now I have to say, "Go, Islanders!"
 
What's your biggest pet peeve when people pitch you a story?
 
Sorry, I have two tied-for-first peeves: cold calls and calling "to make sure you received my email." While I may not be able to respond in two seconds, email is definitely the best way to reach me, and *spoiler* likely every other journalist as well. 
 
What's a common mistake people make pitching you - and how can they correct it?
 
Pitching things that are out of my jurisdiction. While I do have the ability to get outside the box of just covering straight-up New York news on occasion, there are things that are out of my realm. I think it's good to do some "Nosy Nikki" work on your end to read or glance at a range of a journalist's byline to see what their wheelhouse is and get a sense of what they cover to better get those pitches into the right hands. 
 
How should people reach you or a Metro colleague to pitch a story? 
 
Feel free to email  nikki.mascali@metro.us.
Nonprofits: Have you heard of City Limits' 
Community Wire?


Founded in 1976 in the midst of New York's fiscal crisis, City Limits exists to inform democracy and equip citizens to create a more just city. The organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funded by foundation support, ad sponsorship, and donations from readers. City Limits also is committed to sharing your nonprofit news on its Community Wire platform. 
Coaching and Leadership Training

Is your nonprofit ready to improve team dynamics and outcomes? Do you have a leader or manager ready to up their game through coaching and professional development? 

Our good friend Gia Storms, of Storms Coaching and Consulting, offers executive coaching and leadership development for nonprofit teams.

Gia's coaching builds off 15 years of strategic communications, where she inspired groups and individuals at nonprofits, in city government, and in the private sector. Today, Gia works with large and small organizations and leaders of all levels to shorten the distance to meaningful, swift transformation. Reach out for an initial consultation at  gia@giastorms.com. L earn more about current offerings at  www. giastorms.com.


Our Clients Are Making News This Season!

Our nonprofits have been busy this season. Check out a few recent press stories we placed - including one for The Alliance for Positive Change that garnered more than 1 million views on Facebook. For more stories we have worked on this year, visit us on Facebook:  facebook.com/NonProfitTalk/.

The Alliance for Positive Change
Today

Asphalt Green
The New York Times

Association  of Medical Schools of New York
Spectrum News NY1

Breakthrough New York
New York Amsterdam News

Community Access
The Wall Street Journal

Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Crain's New York Business

HELP USA
amNew York

New York City Mission Society
Medium

Plymouth Church
Spectrum News NY1

Project Renewal
Metro

Workmen's Circle
WNET

Congratulations to the Three Exceptional Nonprofits Honored at the 2017 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards

The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York held its 11th Annual New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards Best Practices Workshop & Awards Presentation on Friday, December 1, to recognize the exceptional management practices of  three winning organizations . Our Anat Gerstein served as a member of the selection committee.

The Awards program gives applicants the unique opportunity to identify areas for growth and recognize achievement by engaging in a 360 degree review process of their management practices with a 29-member selection committee providing expert feedback. Throughout the nine-month selection process, applicants individually learn replicable and innovative management practices and then share with the entire nonprofit sector.

For the first time in the history of the Awards program, all three winners were awarded the Gold Prize. The winners were: Brooklyn Community Services, Children's Aid, and Gay Men's Health Crisis. You can learn more about the winners and the awards process here. 
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