THE GODDESS SPEAKS - YOU SHOULD LISTEN

  • Foreign aid debates – it’s not all about me

    By Joy Portella — I’m a moral argument girl. I get queasy when I read persuasive pieces about how the United States and other wealthy countries should provide international assistance because it increases our national security or provides jobs back home. Here’s a recent article that illustrates that line of thinking. I know that framing … Continued

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  • Social Justice Warrior Intern: Kendall Matt

    Join us in welcoming Kendall Matt, our awesome summer intern! Kendall is a rising sophomore at George Washington University (GWU) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international affairs with minors in communications and French. Kendall has been in Washington, DC for the past academic year, but hails from Seattle and is a proud Holy Names Academy … Continued

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  • “You can tell compelling stories through data” – In Conversation with Dean Owen

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Full disclosure: I’ve known Dean Owen for more than a decade. He’s been a colleague, a mentor, a client, and always a friend. Joining Dean “In Conversation” was a great excuse to have lunch and ask him about things we don’t usually have time to discuss: his career … Continued

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  • The Foot Soldiers of India’s Public Health System: A glimmer of hope

    By Bhavani Giddu, CEO, Footprint Global Communications, New Delhi— “I was a nobody in my community. I was married off right after I finished tenth grade, and had two children. My life centered around my family and domestic work, until someone introduced me to the community of ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Workers). I took a risk … Continued

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  • The Global Learning Crisis: Inaction is giving up on an equitable future

    By Amanda Clark, Minerva Strategies –   There are currently 263 million children and young people not in school, 60 million of them living in dangerous conflict zones. Fast forward to year 2030 and we’re looking at a world where more than half of the world’s children – 800 million out of 1.6 billion – … Continued

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  • “I love a story where the heroine doesn’t need somebody to empower her”: In conversation with Kristen Tetteh

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Kristen Tetteh is the director of communications at the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA), where she works to raise the profile of our state’s impressive global health community. Besides being one of the smartest communicators we know, Kristen also has the distinction of being a former Miss Washington, … Continued

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  • Disconnection and mattering

    Header photo © Joni Kabana By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies –   Disconnection has become a national challenge. Much of the political polarization plaguing the US is a result of Americans not feeling connected to each other. People on our coasts and in major cities have radically different world views than those in the middle … Continued

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  • Talking to NextGen Africans

    By Reshma Patel, Consultant, Health Division at Meropa Communications, South Africa— As I walked through the shiny glass doors, wet behind the ears, keen to learn everything there was about building relationships and executing perfect communications, I was ready to take on the world. How do these guys do it? That was the question I … Continued

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  • Being heard in a whisper

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — For me, being heard means being loud. Maybe it’s a Tri-State area learned behavior or the result of growing up in a high-volume Italian-American family or being in one too many musical productions. Whatever the reason, the takeaway is that the higher your volume, the better you’ll be … Continued

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  • Never Again.

    By Amanda Clark, Intern, Minerva Strategies— February 19, 2017 was the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized one of the most egregious breaches of civil liberties in our nation’s history. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, condemned more than 120,000 law-abiding Japanese Americans to be rounded up and … Continued

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  • A Global Need for Ethical Leadership: Lessons from Ashesi University in Ghana

    By Amanda Clark, Intern, Minerva Strategies— U.S. President Donald Trump’s winning campaign promised to jump-start the American economy, and end a corrupt “pay-to-play system” in Washington by “draining the swamp.” A month later across the Atlantic, Ghanaian president John Mahama conceded his country’s election to Akufo-Addo, whose campaign also focused on fixing a stagnant economy … Continued

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  • Bound and Gagged

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — There’s a swirl of executive orders being signed by President Trump this week but there’s one that really struck me. The President reinstated a Reagan-era policy called the “Mexico City Policy” aka the “Global Gag Rule,” which prohibits the U.S. from funding organizations that offer abortion services or … Continued

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  • “Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.”

    By Amanda Clark, Intern, Minerva Strategies—   Like many Americans, I watched President Obama’s farewell address last week with a mixture of awe and sadness. While I am apprehensive of the proposed policies and rhetoric of the incoming administration, Obama encouraged the nation to embrace inclusive change and gave the upcoming generation of Americans his … Continued

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  • Connection – not prison – is the solution to the opioid epidemic

    By Sara Veltkamp, Account Manager, Minerva Strategies— Death from drug overdose is a major problem in our country and around the world. According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 55,403 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction – to both … Continued

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  • The New Year’s resolutions I’m not going to make

    I love the promise of the New Year. It’s one of my favorite holidays as it celebrates the things on which I thrive – uncertainty, hope, starting over, and novelty. I do not know what’s going to happen this year, but I am hopeful about the possibilities; I get to wipe my proverbial slate clean … Continued

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  • Minerva’s holiday reading list

    Happy Holidays, everyone. At Minerva Strategies, we feel the need to kick-back, relax, and stockpile the resolve we will need to go on doing good in a difficult political environment.   We’re doing this the best way we know how – mining great stories for wisdom and inspiration. Here are three suggestions for good reads … Continued

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  • Repeat after me: Media relations is a tactic, not a strategy

      By Sara Veltkamp, Account Manager, Minerva Strategies —   We are a strategic communication consultancy and like other good groups who occupy this space, we believe that all clients, without exception, will be most effective if they follow these fundamental steps: 1. Outline communications goals that are informed by the overall organizational strategy; 2. … Continued

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  • I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer but…

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — If you’re like me, the next month is going to be gluttonous. It already started with Thanksgiving. My husband and I rolled home from three straight days of eating on the East Coast and there was only one thought in my mind: I cannot eat another thing. Until … Continued

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  • 3 tips for crowdfunding #likeaboss

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — The outdoor gear company MSR has just ended the active phase of their crowdfunding campaign to raise money to distribute their Community Chlorine Maker, a device that uses a car battery to turn salt and water into chlorine that can treat water from unsafe sources. We’ve been pleased to partner … Continued

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  • Checking in with the bold, global vision of the UW

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— Intellectual Ventures CEO and famed patent holder Nathan Myhrvold recently proclaimed to Geekwire that, “Seattle is absolutely the Silicon Valley of saving the world.” That’s a bold claim. Some might call it hyperbole. But in a world where fact-checking is a dying industry and fake news can tip presidential … Continued

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  • My short-lived surgical career

    There I was, donning full operating-room garb, watching an accomplished surgeon begin the one-hour procedure that would change a woman’s life. The patient was a 35-year-old mother of six children – five living, and one stillborn after an obstructed labor several months earlier. That harrowing experience left the mother with a fistula, a hole between … Continued

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  • What I learned while wearing Minerva’s helmet

    By Kelly Boudwin, Minerva Strategies – Five months ago, I was an anxious post-grad nervously scrolling through job listings wondering if anyone would take me after a few gap years of self-exploration. I saw a listing for a summer internship with Minerva Strategies – a communications consulting firm focused on helping nonprofits, foundations, and for-profit businesses … Continued

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  • Fostering the right kind of restlessness in Ghana

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies –   More than ten years ago I came across an Aquarius horoscope that I cut out of the Anchorage Press, a weekly paper published in Anchorage, Alaska, where I was living at the time. The clip has been lost in my subsequent travels, but the suggested “mantra” for the … Continued

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  • Be loud about mental health

    By Kelly Boudwin, Minerva Strategies – It’s that time of year again – back to school. I remember feeling anxious and excited about starting school – new teachers, new classes, reuniting with friends – all summed up in an overused cliché: “a new year, a new you.” But for most kids the idea of starting … Continued

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  • War Sucks. So What?

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Everyone knows that war hurts people. Media provide almost daily examples of this. Look at what we’ve heard and seen from Syria in just the past month: The tragic plight of conjoined twins in Eastern Ghouta, the despair of doctors in Aleppo, and most famously, the battered and … Continued

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  • What the opioid epidemic and war history have in common

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve been in recently about heroin use. It’s a big topic in the Seattle area and around the country. Through our work with Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS), I’ve learned more about the heroin epidemic, opioid use disorders, and forms of treatment than … Continued

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  • Should your nonprofit dance with the ghost?

    By Kelly Boudwin, Minerva Strategies – #SMM – social media marketing – is always evolving. More every day the conversation in the global development industry references the latest tweets, hashtags, and Instagram pictures. It’s not just the trendy “thing to do;” with the right strategy nonprofits, foundations, and world leaders can capitalize on social media platforms … Continued

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  • How to play nice with nonprofits

    Working with nonprofits offers particular challenges and rewards. At Minerva Strategies, we specialize in collaborating with nonprofits and we partner with other like-minded communication experts who also want to serve the sector. We talked with John Chimmy, Partner and Director of Sales at one of our web development partners, Eat.Sleep.Work (ESW), to find out his … Continued

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  • Balancing the Olympic Torch

    By Kelly Boudwin, Minerva Strategies – It is exactly 41 days, 23 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds until the 2016 summer Olympics commence in Brazil. And it’s not just the athletes racing against the clock to prepare; the host country is balancing the added pressures of the Olympic torch amongst the issues of its … Continued

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  • The global development event of the year?

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — I attended DevEx World in Washington, DC this week, a conference with not-so-humbly billed itself “the global development event of the year.” That’s a bold claim, and the jury’s still out in my mind. For sure, DevEx World was radically different from other conferences of the global development … Continued

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  • How an oped led to an international incident

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies – I have often counseled clients not to pursue opinion pieces written by two authors. I’m not a big believer in the power of dynamic duos. Opinion pieces, generally, are tough to get right. Clients agonize over them, and after multiple rounds of review and numerous layers of approvals, … Continued

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  • International Day of Men’s Razor Burn

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — The typical global health communicator’s editorial calendar is jammed with cause awareness days.  These are days that nonprofits around the world try to galvanize supporters around a cause that is meaningful to their organization. They can be a very effective tool to motivate people to take action – whether that means … Continued

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  • Getting hit by a car after winning the lottery

    Sometimes when we talk about being born in the United States, we talk about it as “winning the lottery” – as the wealthiest, most powerful country with robust economic opportunity, how lucky to be born here.  But what if many of those opportunities could never be enjoyed because of early death or disease? What if … Continued

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  • Why we’re thinking about nutrition this Mother’s Day

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — It’s almost Mother’s Day, and Minerva wants to give a shout-out to all of the hard-working moms who manage to raise kids, hold down jobs, keep home base running, and not totally lose their minds in the process. You’re our heroes! We’d also like to tell you about a … Continued

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  • How journalists can compassionately cover the opioid epidemic

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies  ̶ I recently attended the Association for Healthcare Journalists Conference in Cleveland Ohio – #AHCJ16 if you want to see highlights from Twitter.  With the exception of the less than balmy conditions, the conference was excellent.  Panels dissected and analyzed wide ranging US health topics from obesity to maternal mortality rates … Continued

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  • How to make a healthy country in four easy steps

    By Kayla Albrecht, Graduate Assistant, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, MPH Candidate, UT School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus— South by Southwest (SXSW) is just around the corner in Austin, Texas. Soon the city will be packed to the brim with tech gurus, music aficionados, and camouflaged celebrities. But at the UT School of … Continued

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  • It takes hard work to be CHAMPS

    By Roger Burks – I’m not a big fan of sports analogies, but I am a college basketball fanatic. And it’s March. Throw in the fact that my alma mater – the Kansas Jayhawks – are the #1 team in the land, and that’s got me considering similarities between what happens on the court and … Continued

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  • 5 keys to leading a big, bold decision

    By Rebecca Zanatta, President and Founder of RJZ Connections, Inc. and a Senior Consultant at The Ostara Group  ̶ Rebecca (Becca) is one of Minerva’s partners.  We team up with her for work with clients that need smart fundraising expertise on their team.  We love Becca because she understands the connections (and differences) between communications and development.  Plus, she knows … Continued

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  • Choking on coal in China

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — I remember visiting China for the first time almost ten years ago. I woke up in the morning, stood at my hotel window, looking down on the streets of Beijing and saw…nothing.  I could barely discern the outline of the building across the way, and off in the distance … Continued

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  • Is data science the silver bullet of nonprofit efficiency?

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr Associate, Minerva Strategies — On Tuesday, I attended the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s data science for social change, or “Data On Purpose” conference on Stanford’s campus. I loved it.  The energy of the speakers was what I’ve always wanted to hear from the social change sector – far from the safe, t-crossing … Continued

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  • Wrestling with Seattle’s Homelessness

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— “Look – there’s one. No three!” We saw a person. His large size indicated it was a man, and he was slumped over in a wheelchair and draped in a blanket. At his feet were two other people. We couldn’t discern their genders. They were huddled and “sheltered” in … Continued

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  • Why is Flint dealing with developing world problems?

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies ̶ Flint, Michigan seems to have been misplaced on the global map.  While clearly within the confines of a Midwestern state of the wealthiest economy in the world, the situation of the city, slowly deteriorating since the 80s, is better suited to a humanitarian disaster zone, or a post-conflict … Continued

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  • Going the Ultimate Distance for Women’s Health

    By Caroline Myran, Minerva Strategies — Hamlin Fistula board member competes in the World Marathon Challenge What lengths would you go to help someone in need? How many miles would you run? You hear about people running races for a cause all the time – relay for life, race for the cure – there are hundreds … Continued

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  • Two New Year’s resolutions to help you do good work better in 2016

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies  ̶ I’m obsessed with articles that promise the ability to “do more with less.” From decorating tips for small spaces to maximizing time spent exercising, I read them all.  Ironically, most of the articles about saving time are a waste of time. So, as a gift to you … Continued

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  • Disruptive Development

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr Associate, Minerva Strategies — I consider my attendance at Global Washington’s Annual Conference this year an act of self-care.  If you’re not familiar with Global Washington’s conference, it is a gathering for organizations working in global health and international development to learn from each other and get inspired to do their work … Continued

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  • Is “a letter to our daughter” any better than a press release?

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — In the week since Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced that they will give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares – about $45 billion – everybody in the world of philanthropy has opinions and questions. What causes will the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative champion? Will it engage in lobbying? … Continued

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  • Heroin, AIDS, and Stigma

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies — Heroin use can bring out the worst in people, and I’m not talking about the users.  Try this experiment: Google “heroin overdose deaths,” locate the first media story, and then scroll down and read the comments to the article. You’ll discover that the stigma toward heroin use is … Continued

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  • Black Friday campaigns compared: “Thanksgetting” vs. “OptOutside”

    By Katy Penrod, Minerva Strategies ̶ The modern American Thanksgiving has become a celebration of consumption that is a far cry from the original pilgrim feast of giving thanks to God for simple things like not dying aboard the Mayflower, say, or to the Native American tribes for helping the settlers harvest enough corn to … Continued

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  • The problem with “evil”

    By Sara Veltkamp, Sr. Associate, Minerva Strategies — Like many people, I’ve ranted and raved this week.  Tragedy affects people differently, as does helplessness in the face of tragedy. When I feel helpless, I get angry. As expected, the vast majority of that anger is directed at the Islamic State, the group that Arabic speakers … Continued

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  • Why I am jazzed about NYT VR

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies ̶ As a communicator who deals with global issues, I constantly struggle with how to convey the work of our clients to people who will never see that work firsthand. I’m not talking about trying to construct victims’ narratives. I want people to understand and respond to the plight … Continued

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  • Are infographics overrated?

    By Sara Veltkamp, Senior Associate, Minerva Strategies — Infographics, as in ‘informational graphics,’ have been around for a long time. Maps, for example, are infographics, and cartography was an up-and-coming career long before we had things like computers, or even the wheel. According to the crowd-sourced knowledge of Wikipedia, the earliest of map-like infographics were … Continued

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  • Using data to work medical miracles

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Last week, Rwanda’s health minister, a trained pediatrician, won a major global health award called the Roux Prize. Awards can be a dime a dozen, so I want to put this one in perspective: Between 1990 and 2013, life expectancy in Rwanda increased by about 15 years and … Continued

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  • Trevor Noah and the key to capitalizing on change

    By Katy Penrod — Minerva Strategies On August 6, 2015, the world (or at least the world of comedy television) was irreparably altered. Jon Stewart, host of one of the best political commentary shows on television – satirical or otherwise – ended his tenure.  Stewart took the reins at The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn … Continued

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  • Speaking of change

    By Katy Penrod — Minerva Strategies Communications is often viewed as an afterthought in the field of philanthropy. Many are of the mind that communications falls outside the real “meat” of what an organization does. We know this to be untrue. Communications is an integral part of how organizations promote positive change, and a new … Continued

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  • Celebrating 20 years of invention

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— Recently, Minerva Strategies helped our client The Lemelson Foundation celebrate their 20th anniversary in Washington, DC. It’s always rewarding and exciting to work with a client through a major milestone, but this was more than just a birthday party; it was an opportunity to bring together generations of inventors … Continued

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  • You can’t spell slacktivism without activism

    Katy Penrod — Minerva Strategies Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Unless you use social media very infrequently or not at all, you likely saw at least one video in the past year of a friend or acquaintance being doused in icy water for the sake of ALS – short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a … Continued

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  • Users are people too

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — While we know that people use social media, we tend not to think of social media users as people. They are metrics; they are likes, shares, and sometimes, unfortunately, trolls.  However, it’s important to remember that each avatar connects to a person with a personality, private life, stressors, and all … Continued

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  • Community isn’t a dirty word

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — Community \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood); a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc. “Community” is one of the most overused words in the lexicon of nonprofits. It’s often employed as a … Continued

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  • 5 tips to boost your networking mojo

    By Rebecca Zanatta, President and Founder of RJZ Connections, Inc. and a Senior Consultant at The Ostara Group  ̶ Rebecca (Becca) is one of Minerva’s partners.  We team up with her for work with clients that need smart fundraising expertise on their team.  We love Becca because she understands the connections (and differences) between communications and development.  Plus, she … Continued

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  • Messaging for people who don’t read

    By Katy Penrod, Minerva Strategies — Today’s information-consumer has access to information anywhere, at any time. With an internet connection, one can check the weather forecast in Barcelona, watch the latest viral cat video, or read about the Iran-U.S. nuclear deal with just a click. This instantaneous and far-reaching access to information has changed the … Continued

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  • How nonprofits – large and small – can leverage the power of celebrity

    By Kini Schoop, Director of Media Relations for Change.org— Confession: I don’t read celebrity tabloids or watch Entertainment Tonight. I avoid most celeb-tainment as a rule. This was not always the case for me, as I spent many years working in communications for fundraising organizations that had tremendous support from the entertainment community. (I have recently … Continued

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  • Brian Williams and the Importance of Integrity in Communications

    By Katy Penrod, Minerva Strategies – In the past year, Brian Williams’s career as an NBC news anchor has fallen far, fast. This plummet is due to the fact that, over the past decade, Williams has been telling a continually-evolving story about his experience while reporting on the Iraq war in 2003. In its most … Continued

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  • In-country storytelling for out-of-country communicators

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — Domestic is different Communicators for U.S.-based international development organizations are often put in a tough spot.  We’re in the U.S., busily drafting content for websites, brochures, and social media posts about how the work of our organization or our client’s organization is changing the world for the better. However, … Continued

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  • “What ails you isn’t what kills you”

    By Joy Portella The global health sector is obsessed with what kills people. Most studies, not to mention disease advocacy groups, proclaim the death tolls of cancer or HIV/AIDS or malaria. But not many studies talk about what makes people sick. That’s unfortunate because the fastest growing health problem isn’t death – it’s sickness. As … Continued

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  • Communication missteps of the American Red Cross

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — This week NPR and ProPublica did a scathing story on The American Red Cross and how they spent the $500 million raised after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. I was the director of communications at a large international NGO for several years, including during the Haiti earthquake response, and … Continued

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  • Our Opioid Addiction Learning Curve

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies— Minerva Strategies has been working with our client Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS), which provides medication-assisted treatment for people in Western Washington who struggle with opioid addiction, for more than one year. I’ll admit that we knew embarrassingly little about this topic when we first got involved with ETS. I … Continued

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  • Truths and mantras for storytelling

    Roger Burks, Online Communications Officer, World Bank— There is no template for nonprofit storytelling – but there are truths. I’ve seen and heard many examples of how storytelling has failed or fallen short at a variety of organizations, from big to small, local to international. Most of the time, it comes from a fundamental lack of … Continued

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  • 4 Quick Tips for Cooler Creative Collaboration

    By Roger Lloyd, freelance marketing and communications writer — Ok, everybody break off into groups! Collaboration is the magic dance of creative communication and is an essential element of what we do. It builds successful relationships, adds weight and buy in to our work, and gives ownership of ideas to all parties involved. When it works … Continued

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  • Spring Fundraiser Winning Moments

    It’s spring fundraising season in Seattle, which means that it’s time for gala events and auctions. Let’s face it, some of these events – even for the most heartwarming causes – can be snoozers. As a communication professional, I tend to be particularly critical; I have a very low tolerance for rubber chicken, wandering speeches, … Continued

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  • The one book – and seven billion stories – you need to read about global health

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies — The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has been a Minerva Strategies client for more than two years. During my first meeting with IHME’s Communications Director Bill Heisel, we sat at a table with a pile of Excel spreadsheets in front of us. There were data as far … Continued

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  • REACH: Fostering Change in Seattle’s Law Enforcement

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies — Seattle is on the cutting-edge of social justice and human rights policies.  We have a $15 minimum wage in Sea-Tac (and coming for Seattle proper), a strong advocacy community for LGBT rights, and numerous dynamic city programs for tackling difficult public health and safety issues like drug abuse, prostitution, and … Continued

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  • 4 things nonprofits can learn from political campaigns

    By Erin Gray, Senior Communications and Media Officer, HIV Scotland — I love election time. As a nonprofit communicator, there’s no better opportunity to see communication techniques in action on a grand scale. Political parties take risks that nonprofits can rarely afford to – experimenting with key messages in the face of hard-hitting interviews, reinventing … Continued

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  • Take time and celebrate the UN International Day of Happiness

    By Sara Veltkamp – “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.” – Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin lied, or at least was mistaken.  Despite the commonly held conception that happiness is a choice, for most people, overall happiness is a feeling brought about by tangible, measurable factors. Not that choosing … Continued

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  • Fresh Starts: Nonprofit Rebrands

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – We all need a fresh start sometimes.  We move, take vacations, get rid of clutter, or streamline our lives in other ways to make it simpler, give perspective, reenergize, or become more focused. Nonprofits also need fresh starts.  Within the rapidly changing landscapes in which we work, maintaining perspective, … Continued

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  • Geeks of Gaza

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – Many in Seattle are trying to make it in the tech startup world.  Better use of device data, a better way to create stellar presentations, you name it, Seattle is trying it. Some groups, like Buddy.com and FlowVella linked above, are succeeding, but not without difficulty.  It is a … Continued

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  • I Want to Invest in Aid that Works

    By Joy Portella, President, Minerva Strategies – I’m that kind of aid skeptic. I scowl at the idea of child sponsorship. I wag my finger at people who want to send t-shirts or shoes or bicycles to kids in Africa. I yawn at sappy victim narratives that other people find heartwarming. But I am optimistic, … Continued

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  • With Open Arms: Supporting Our Newest Neighbors

    By Erin Ewart, education consultant – America has long been a nation of immigrants. Yet attitudes and support for new arrivals to our country have shifted over the years. Some Americans viewed President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform as a welcome and much needed step, while others found it deeply controversial. The debate … Continued

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  • Born in the USA

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – This past Sunday I had the privilege of supporting good friends of mine through the labor of their second child, a baby girl.  I struggle to find words that describe the experience; it was stressful, intense, exhausting, and without a doubt the most beautiful and inspiring thing that I … Continued

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  • Davos 2015: Where the world’s billionaires meet the poorest

    By Joy Portella, Minerva Strategies – This year’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos offered up much of its standard fare: private jets, top-tier corporate and political leaders, celebrities, heady speeches, and bold proclamations. But this year’s gathering had an undercurrent of anxiety. It wasn’t a 2009-style panic about global financial … Continued

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  • Un joven argentino y un invento que podría salvar millones de vidas en todo el mundo

    By Andrea Joseph – Minerva Strategies works with partners and clients around the world. This week we’re pleased to post our first Spanish-language blog, from Andrea Joseph, our partner in Argentina.  Read this post in English. Nicolás García Mayor pasó en pocos años de vivir en las ruinas de una clínica abandonada a convertirse en … Continued

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  • A young Argentine’s invention could save millions of lives around the world

    By Andrea Joseph – Nicolás García Mayor lived in the ruins of an abandoned clinic, but he is now the creator of a unique venture in humanitarian aid that led him to be voted one of ten outstanding young people in the world by a prominent international youth organization. Mayor knows about poverty and the … Continued

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  • A Healthy Train of Events

    By Kayla Albrecht, MPH Candidate, University of Texas Health Science Center – School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus- Chronic disease is king nowadays. With diabetes and heart disease on the rise, exercise and balanced nutrition are among the best medicines for securing a longer, healthier life. Yet our days are busier and workspaces more sedentary than ever … Continued

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  • Happy New Year! Now it’s time to get healthy…

    By Joy Portella, Minerva Strategies — Like many people, my New Year’s resolution includes a health kick: better eating and more exercise. This is almost a relief after the gluttony of the holiday season, but here’s another reason to put down those chips, or that cigarette, or that beer: They might kill you. I’m not … Continued

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  • GlobalWA’s Annual Conference: Global concerns felt locally

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – There was a lot to like about the GlobalWA conference on Wednesday, December 3rd. My inner development academic loves discussing complicated global interactions, complex measures of success, and unintentional consequences of international development. My professional self loves storytelling, workshopping, and being inspired by others’ communication efforts.  And of course, … Continued

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  • Real stories of real recovery

      By Dan Sadowsky, Storymind Productions – Who doesn’t love a comeback story? It’s hard not to root for the person who’s lost something important but fights against a powerful force to reclaim it — especially if that powerful force is themselves. Redemption and recovery are the themes of two videos Minerva Strategies recently commissioned me … Continued

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  • Top 5 “alternative gifts” to give this holiday season

    By Maheen Mustafa – Trends in charitable giving have evolved in these past few years. Instead of giving a lump sum amount of money to a single, large nonprofit organization, people are now trying to make their gift-giving more personalized and meaningful. There are lots of choices but it is difficult sifting through the clutter, … Continued

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  • Pocketful of Stories

    By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies – Digital storytelling has become a large part of the nonprofit communicator’s world.  While I’m an avid story consumer and story writer, I had little experience with the process of creating digital stories.  To get my feet wet, the Minerva team decided that I would head to Berkeley, California to … Continued

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  • Veterans Day musings from a non-veteran

    By Joy Portella, Minerva Strategies – I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never paid much attention to Veterans Day. Every year I call my dad, a Korean War vet, to thank him for his service, and I feel inspired by generations of veterans gone by – men who served and sacrificed in World War II, … Continued

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  • Why there are no heroes or villians in development

    Minerva Strategies’ President, Joy Portella, argues that we need better storytelling to capture the complexity of international development. Originally published in The Guardian on April 18, 2014. A despicable villain is a critical element of any successful narrative. Heroes are important, but where would Harry Potter be without Voldemort? Or Batman without the Joker? Heroes aren’t … Continued

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  • World Vision’s Flip-Flop on Hiring Married Gays Shows a Stunning Lack of Foresight

    Minerva Strategies’ President, Joy Portella, weighs in on the PR blunder behind World Vision’s rapid policy reversal on same-sex marriages.  What happened? How could it have been avoided?  What can other organizations learn from this mistake?  Published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Last week’s about-face by World Vision over the issue of same-sex marriage got attention around … Continued

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  • Happy Birthday Minerva!

    It has been an exciting first year at Minerva Strategies and we have made remarkable progress. Highlighted activities of the past year include: Led the media rollout of groundbreaking health data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in 25+ countries – Bill Gates called IHME’s research “amazing” and said it will “make a huge … Continued

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  • Iliana Montauk Testimonial

    [testimonial name=”Iliana Montauk” position=”Director/Mercy Corps’ Gaza Sky Geeks”]The Minerva team was an absolute pleasure to work with. We contracted them while we were already in the swing of the GazaStarts crowdfunding campaign. They were up to speed almost immediately. They were equally enthusiastic about contributing at a strategic level and about much of the nitty … Continued

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  • Dorothy Echodu Testimonial

    [testimonial name=”Dorothy Echodu” position=”Executive Director/Pilgrim Africa “] We hired Minerva Strategies to lead a high-profile communications campaign to further the cause of effective malaria control in Uganda – focused on the visit of the Ugandan Minister of Health to the U.S. We found Minerva Strategies to be sharp and fearless in messaging advice; comfortable working with … Continued

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  • Home Slide updates

    [fullslider top=”100″ xpos=”0″ effect=”slide” enterfrom=”right” speed=”700″] Welcome Minerva is excited to start talking! Check out our new blog, The Goddess Speaks. [/fullslider]

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  • Home slide Why Minerva

    [fullslider top=”100″ xpos=”0″ effect=”slide” enterfrom=”right” speed=”700″] Why Minerva? She is smart and fierce, but never recklessly aggressive. [/fullslider]

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