I’ve asked some colleagues to contribute to this page.  Here’s Melissa Houghton, Executive Director of the Washington D.C. Chapter of Women in Film & Video (WIFV) on how younger members and staff have increased the impact of this professional membership association.  If you are interested in guest blogging, please feel free to email me at amy[at]amydelouise[dot]com.

WIFV is blessed with many members who are early adopters of all types of technology. Social media platforms have been no exception. But when it came to WIFV moving from its members-only listserv into a social media platform, so we could reach beyond our members, we didn’t jump in with both feet.

What held us back? What keeps us moving forward?

Sometimes, the same thing.  WIFV has about 1000 members, many of them filmmakers using the latest non-linear computer-based editing tools and digital cameras.   The organization has a vibrant listserv for members that makes it easy for them to get technology questions answered, fill positions, get references and learn what films are screening.

On the one hand, why do anything more?

Our goal is to provide services for members and the listserv is where we’ve encouraged them to go for information. At the same time, they expect WIFV to be available to them wherever they are and they are on social media.  And they want others within and across industries to know more about us. When some members set up Facebook and Linked In profiles for the organization, and we only found out after the fact, we realized we had to become pro-active about our brand in this new space.

Who could help us?

Thank goddess for interns and student members! They are fearless with social media and were able to watch the sites for a while to learn who was using them, and what were the most active discussions. Our younger members’ experiences in the office with program development also helped them understand what types of postings would generate the most interest and keep the sites active with valuable and engaging content. They’ve also been tireless about getting involved with our committees and bringing their enthusiasm and know-how to the members who had more reservations about how WIFV would use social media.

It has been a learning experience for us all.

Our older members are beginning to engage through SM and build the same personal connections they’ve always used to produce and distribute powerful films, just in new ways. The young professionals in our midst realize that there is a business as well as personal need to share content and resources and keep pushing us forward.  They don’t let us slack off with postings and make sure we re-tweet, write on walls, and link with others. And hey, here I am, blogging!

I’m suspending my usual post for the day to list these organizations through whom you can send help to the people of Haiti.  The poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti was hit by a major earthquake today and is poorly equipped to deal with this disaster. Most Haitians live on less than 2 dollars a day and only 20 percent have access to clean water.

Here are some organizations that can direct your dollars to Haiti:

International Medical Corps

Yele Haiti


American Red Cross

Catholic Relief Services

Save the Childrenwatch the CNN interview with Save the Children’s Ian Rodgers


You can learn more about Haiti, and Dr. Paul Farmer’s lifelong work to change the destiny of its people through better healthcare, in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Here are some resolutions to consider for the New Year.

1. Consistency. Everything you say should, well, say “you” and not someone or something else.  Old logos, old tag lines, old ways of doing business need to hit the recycle bin.

2. Connectivity. Social media is here to stay. Join the conversation. Connect to constituents, customers, policymakers, thought leaders. That said, human-to-human connections are still the gold standard when it comes to cultivating policymaking relationships, customers and donors.

3. Relevancy. Convey what makes you relevant in the last year of the first decade of a new century. (I know, I’m old-school. Despite all the news stories, I believe the last year of the decade was not 2009!)

4. Creativity. Interconnectivity means choice for customers, donors, viewers, readers, users, etc.   If you’re not creative about reaching them, they’ve already moved on. Examples: iPhone apps by nonprofits, video trailers promoting books, Twitter contests to raise issue awareness.

5. Simplicity. With all the clutter in our lives, and the meshing of work and home lives thanks to the Blackberry and iPhone, simplicity wins the day. That goes for strategies, design,  messages, and most importantly, mission.  If it’s too hard to explain in an “elevator pitch,” rethink it.

Wring out the old. Ring in the new. Here’s to your success in 2010!