Last year, I was talking about the critical importance of getting to the point quickly in meetings - and in messages - and a friend who is in the Navy taught me about BLUF. That’s the acronym they use in the military for Bottom Line Up Front. In a military setting, BLUF communications allow people to grasp the essence of a situation immediately and seek details only as necessary. It’s like a Cliff Notes for every situation.
More recently, a reader wrote me with this nifty list, also from the military. Always describe:
If you’re in a meeting that is focused on getting to the bottom of an important situation, these are great guides. Encourage people to cite their headlines from the start. It not only saves time, it ensures the communicator has a point in the first place.
Yesterday we talked about the power of the Post-it note.
Today, something even more powerful … handwriting.
[Online fundraisers can tune out now.]
Here’s a paean to handwriting by copywriter Karen Zapp: Why Direct Mail — the more personal the better — Will Not Die.
Karen asks: “Would you send a sympathy card with a typed message on the inside? If you answered ‘yes,’ I’d be stunned and deeply disappointed.”
Her post gives all the reasons why handwriting is so effective. But as she says, it all adds up to this: “Handwriting communicates value – specifically, that YOU value the donor.”
Her advice: “Whether it’s adding a handwritten note onto a typed letter . . . or writing a handwritten thank-you card . . . or enclosing a handwritten note to a major donor with an article on a topic of great interest to them . . . or anything in between, you send a loud and clear message that you value the donor receiving your handwritten message.”
The Duke of Cambridge is to give his name to a new lifetime achievement award, which will recognise the outstanding work of a top conservationist in Africa each year.
The Tusk Conservation Awards will include a lifetime achievement award that is to be known as The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa. The awards, launched in Autumn 2012 in partnership with global investment firm Investec Asset Management, attracted fifty nominations from across Africa.
The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa is a lifetime achievement award, given to a distinguished individual for outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution over many years to conservation in Africa. The winning individual, selected from a shortlist of nominations received, will be presented with a grant, provided by Investec Asset Management, towards their chosen project.
Thursday, May 9th marked the 13th Annual Lupus LA Orange Ball honoring Jason Alexander with the prestigious Loop Award, Dr. Jay Schapira with the Daniel J. Wallace Founder’s Award and Dr. Stanley J. Naides of Quest Diagnostics with the Medical Visionary Award.Bob Saget at Orange Ball
Credit/Copyright: Wire Image
Bob Saget hosted the fete which was chaired by Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner which raised near half a million dollars!
The decision was unanimously reached by the Elders at their latest biannual meeting in Ireland last week. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, will become Deputy Chair of the organisation.
Archbishop Tutu, who was Chair of The Elders since the group was convened by Nelson Mandela in 2007, had announced his intention to step down. He will remain as an honorary Elder.
Six months after resigning as DG, Entwistle joins the Public Catalogue Foundation, which has a partnership with the BBC
George Entwistle, the former BBC director general who resigned after just 54 days in the job at the height of the Jimmy Savile scandal in November and walked away with a £450,000 payoff, has quietly moved on with an unpaid role at an arts charity.
Six months after his abrupt exit from the BBC, Entwistle has re-emerged as an unpaid trustee at non-profit organisation the Public Catalogue Foundation. But he has not completely left the BBC behind, as the London-based PCF has a partnership with the corporation.
The PCF runs a "joint initiative" with the BBC that "aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real". The paintings have been digitised and put online via the BBC and PCF's Your Paintings website.
Entwistle has experience of the Your Paintings project as he worked on it during his time at the BBC and attended its launch in 2011.
PCF director Andy Ellis told staff in an internal announcement: "George brings to the PCF a wealth of broadcasting and media experience.
"As the BBC's controller of factual commissioning, he was a great supporter of the Your Paintings project from the day the PCF approached the BBC with the concept. He is a passionate believer in improving the public's access to art."
Entwistle said: "I'm very pleased indeed to have been asked to serve as an unpaid trustee for the PCF, the charity behind the project, and I hope I can be of help to them in developing Your Paintings in the future."
The BBC was heavily criticised for agreeing to Entwistle's severance deal, which included a £450,000 payoff – double the six months' pay he was contractually entitled to – and the continuing payment of four additional benefits, including private medical insurance, for a year after his departure.
Entwistle's successor, Tony Hall, recently announced he will consult on proposals for a redundancy and severance pay cap of £150,000 from September 2013 for all BBC senior managers.
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Former The Smiths front-man, Morrissey has joined the BUAV call for an independent inquiry into disturbing evidence of animal suffering and poor practice revealed at an Imperial College London animal research laboratory.
Morrissey is the latest celebrity to call out failings at Imperial College London discovered by a recent BUAV undercover investigation. Former ICL student and Queen guitarist Dr Brian May was “shocked and saddened” by the revelations, and “ashamed that it could have taken place in the University of my own training”. Brian May called for a fully independent inquiry in the hope that “this appalling cruelty will never be allowed to happen again”.
The results are in, and the Harley-Davidson 26th annual Ride for Life event held on May 4-5 raised more than $1 million to fuel the fight against muscle disease in support of local families served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“Harley-Davison and its dealers, riders, fans and H.O.G. chapters are some of the most passionate when it comes to helping provide independence to kids and adults with muscle disease,” said Brian Bentley, dealer principal of Brian’s Harley-Davidson and head of the Ride for Life steering committee. “Ride for Life is a tradition that continues to exceed our expectations year after year. One of the best feelings is seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids who we are helping, and I think this has been one of the most memorable years we’ve had in the past two decades.”
More than 1,300 motorcycle enthusiasts rumbled into Bethlehem, Pa., on May 4-5 for the nation’s largest charity motorcycle ride hosted by the Eastern Harley-Davison Dealers Association (EHDDA).
Hundreds of people greeted him on Washington’s Capitol Hill when he attended an event promoting the HALO Trust, an anti-landmine charity he supports.
And when he was announced as a surprise guest at a White House tea reception honouring military mothers he received a standing ovation and more whoops of delight from US servicewomen and their children. He was a surprise guest whose attendance had been kept secret from the 170 invited mothers, grandmothers and youngsters.
In her new role, Zoe will raise awareness, mobilize funds and advocate for Save the Children’s humanitarian response work in the United States and around the globe.
Last year on this day, Got Your 6 was just an idea but today, the campaign has made some remarkable strides for veterans and their families as they celebrate their one-year anniversary with the release of a new PSA from musician Gavin DeGraw.
I’m excited to announced that today, Characters Magazine is live. Master storyteller Mark Rovner and I founded this literary magazine to feature the writing of people who work for good causes and to inspire better storytelling in our sector. You can read it free online here. Thanks to everyone who submitted - as well as to the amazing editor and designers I highlighted in the following introduction included in the magazine. It was a labor of love to put this together, and I’m especially grateful to Mark for his partnership and creativity—as well as his willingness to take over the full reins going forward. He’s a Character, and so Characters couldn’t be in better hands.
This magazine was born over breakfast one year ago, when I showed Mark the moving short story I’d been reading on the metro that morning. It was a prize winner in the Mississippi Review written by my cousin, Elisabeth Cohen, and it launched an impassioned conversation about why storytelling matters.
The story was called “Irrational Exuberance,” which happens to be an apt term for the creative process. We fall in wild love with an idea, yet when we set it down in words, it becomes a deflated and devalued bit of what we imagined. This is the maddening twin truth of story. It packs such power that every other form of communication is flat and feeble by comparison. And yet, as Flannery O’Connor said it so well, “Most people know what a story is, until they sit down to write one.” A cracking good story could change the world, if only we could write it.
We are hell-bent on trying, along with you. That’s because we spend much of our waking hours working with good causes, and we know that there are thousands of people among us who hold within them extraordinary stories. That includes you. Maybe it’s the story of who you are or what you do or why you came to care for a cause. Maybe it’s an incomplete tale, a slice of everyday experience, that - if told - would transport us out of ourselves and thrust us into your shared space, never to be the same. We don’t know what your story is, but we do know this: You must summon the irrational exuberance to try to set it down. Because it will make a difference in a way that taglines, mission statements or technological bells and whistles cannot. It is a direct conduit to someone else’s heart, because it came from your own.
Because we think this is so important, we decided that morning to create Characters. It’s both a call to tell your story and celebration of good storytelling by people who are seeking to change the world. The first law of story is to show, don’t tell, so we are not telling you how to write a story (as if we could). We are showing you stories that matter. We called it Characters because in these pages are authors - characters trying to do good in the world - along with the characters within their own experience and imagination. It’s a motley, entertaining and inspiring crowd you will most certainly want to meet.
Thank you to everyone who brought together these characters. First and foremost, Elisabeth, who agreed to be its editor. It is only fitting as she was the original character who started this story. Taughnee Stone and Jake Van Ness created the stunning design, and we are grateful for their talents. And last, but most important, thanks to everyone who had the courage to tell their story, in public, in these pages and on the Characters website. You show a cracking good story can be told, and that we can write it.