Jocelyn Harmon started the Marketing for Nonprofits blog a year ago as a place to share her thoughts on nonprofits, social media, marketing, and training.
1. Tell me about you
I’m a reader, writer, thinker and storyteller. I’m rich with many, many blessings - an amazing new husband, a beautiful daughter, dear friends, work I love. Most days I’m full of gratitude for the gifts of this crazy, wonderful, frustrating world and life.
2. Why did you enter the nonprofit sector?
Like most development folks I know, I “landed” in the nonprofit sector; it was totally unplanned. I didn’t even know what development was before I took my first job! I had applied to be a Training Manger at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits – an organization that provides services, training and consulting to other charities - and didn’t get the job. But they called me back about 6 months later and asked me if I wanted to be their first development manager. I was working at the Ritz Carlton at the time and lucky for me it turned out that good stewardship and cultivation of donors was much like providing great customer service to hotel guests. I learned quickly that development is all about building relationship and it was a natural fit. Also (in the beginning) I enjoyed preparing proposals and grants for our foundation partners – it got me writing again. I also loved the fact that I was now “selling” services to strengthen the work of nonprofits vs. selling hotel rooms to the very rich.
3. Tell me about your blog. Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog last August. Qui Diaz and I had done a workshop called 2Blog or not 2Blog at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (one of our local nonprofit capacity building organizations.) For some reason we weren’t able to access the PowerPoint during the presentation and had to do the presentation old school style via flip charts. We were both frustrated because we liked the deck and wanted to share it. When I got back to the office, after the workshop, I “pinged” Katya and asked if she would share it with her readers (I didn’t have a platform of my own yet). We posted the deck to Slide Share and she linked to it. In about a week, over 200 people had viewed the presentation! I knew then, that both Qui and I had something valuable to share with others. It was also an “aha moment” for me because I realized that here was a medium (the Internet) that allowed anyone (including me) to connect across time and space to FAR MORE people than I’d ever be able to connect with in person. That’s powerful!
FYI, to date, 2Blog or not 2Blog has been downloaded by 99 folks and viewed by 1,600!
4. What are your biggest challenges to blogging regularly?
Time is the biggest challenge for me as it is for most folks. Time to write AND the inconvenience of waking up in the middle of the night (almost EVERY night) with fully formed posts in my brain. It’s hard to get up that early and write when you’ve got to start your day at 7:00. At the same time, I’m loath to quell inspiration.
5. What value does having a blog give you?
Blogging has had a profound effect on me both professionally and personally. Professionally, it’s been a major boon. I have a body of work now and am part of a community of nonprofit and social media thought leaders and this has “credentialed me” in parts of the tech and marketing world. Blogging has translated directly for me into training and consulting “gigs” and my newest opportunity at Triplex. (They found me through Google Search!) Usually when you leave a job you go back to total obscurity but this was not true when I left NPower. Now, in addition to the institutional titles I hold, my talent is defined by my work
There have also been great rewards – personally. Blogging is my personal writing practice and platform. It’s made me more self-confidence as a writer, thinker, teacher, and human being. Writing every day and being vulnerable to an “audience” (perceived or real) makes you get better! For me this has been a positive pressure and incredible gift.
6. What are some of your best tips for being efficient in writing a blog?
Gosh, I’m not sure that I am an efficient blogger. For me, writing is much more inspired. I try to trust that the ideas and words and metaphors will come and luckily they usually do. However, I am also practical about keeping abreast of what is going on in the blogosphere and in my areas of interest, which include “new media” and marketing strategies and tools for nonprofits. For example, I read the folks listed on my blogroll almost every day. I get Google Alerts on key topics and I consume lots of marketing and new media books!
7. You're a busy professional, but you also are a mom. How do you balance your busy professional life with parenting? Any tips for work/life balance?
I was at a potluck the other day for a group of women in town (DC) who are consultants. We were sharing food and tips for marketing our businesses. What one woman said struck me. “There is no balance in life if you mean 50/50 balance. It’s more like 80/20 most weeks.” This resonates with me. Nothing is perfect. There is stuff that has to get done every day/week – cooking dinner, grocery shopping, work, taking my peanut to school, SLEEP – these are the non-negotiable. But most days it feels like everything else is up for grabs. The frustration and challenge for me is “getting out in front” of my life. I hate reacting all the time to external forces. But you know sometimes that’s just life. So I take what I can get and try to do more of what’s important to me every day – read, write, think, pray, love on my peeps!