2013 Convening

The 2013 Grassroots Convening was held on Friday, October 11th at Sacramento State University Alumni Center. The focus of the Convening was building a Communications GAME plan, presented by LightBox Collaborative. Make sure to like our photos on Facebook!

California Environmental Grassroots Fund
California Wildlands Grassroots Fund

2013 Grassroots Grantee Convening

Communications GAME Plan
Presented by
LightBox Collaborative

Friday, October 11, 2013
9am – 5:15pm
Sacramento State Alumni Center
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819



9:30 – 9:45 Welcome & Introductions
9:45 – 10:45 Want to do Smart, Strategic Communications? You need a GAME Plan!
We will introduce the concept of strategic communications, and the GAME Plan approach, which trains folks to put goals before tactics. Then, we’ll train participants on how to pursue a SMART goal over the next 12-18 months.
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 –11:45 Know your Audiences
Who has to say yes to get you to your goals? Who influences them? We will train on the importance of audience segmentation, then teach participants how to identify, prioritize and research target audiences.
11:45 – 12:30 Goals and Audience Lab
Participants will work with each other and trainers to implement the morning’s concepts.
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 Messaging that Matters
What makes a good message? How can we craft winning messages that move our target audiences. Working from the perspective of priority audiences, each team will craft a message to reach them and persuade them toward your goals.
3:00 – 3:45 Message Lab
Working with each other and the mentor/trainers, participants will refine their messages.
3:45 – 4:45 Opportunities for Engagement
Now let’s talk tactics! We have established what success looks like, determined who can get us there and developed messages to move them. How do we deliver those messages? What mediums work and what does it take to use them well?
4:45 – 5:15 Wrap Up & Networking



Holly Minch
Holly has spent her entire career helping do-gooders do better.

She launched the LightBox Collaborative to harness fresh talent operating in an increasingly networked world. Together, the LightBox Collaborative jump-starts creative thinking, builds strategic clarity, and sparks action to advance causes that matter.

Holly has served as long-time communications counselor to the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and enjoys working with the Ms. Foundation for Women as well as a range of community foundations across California. Her work has been honored by the Council on Foundations for Excellence in Public Policy Communications.

Holly was named by PR News as a creative practitioner in the industry. She was editor of “Loud and Clear in an Election Year,” a guidebook created to help nonprofits convey their messages in the crowded election environment. She is a frequent speaker for nonprofit and academic audiences alike, and her efforts to launch the LightBox Collaborative were featured in Chris Guillebeau’s recent business book The $100 Start Up.

Alexis Weiss
What Alexis loves to do — and what she does best — is support those who are accomplishing extraordinary feats. She first developed this skill as a network television producer for CBS Atlanta, Turner, and Speedvision.

Feeling that those feats weren’t quite extraordinary enough, she turned her attention to the theatre, working as a stage manager and joining Actors’ Equity Association. Having managed everything from actors to chickens, Alexis then transitioned to nonprofit administration.

Alexis spent close to a decade as a development director, raising millions of dollars for causes she believes in, before pursuing an independent career as a nonprofit operations guru. In addition to heading up operations for LightBox Collaborative and designing client engagements, Alexis currently serves as project director for SPIN Academy, and as an operations and management consultant for other clients working with nonprofits.

Alexis is a past board member of Atlanta Nonprofit Professionals, a founding member of Collective Works, Inc., and a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

A southern transplant to the left coast, Alexis braves the San Francisco fog with her soon-to-be-husband and a big-eared dog that is often mistaken for a dingo. She holds a B.A. in journalism and a M.A. in nonprofit management from the University of Georgia.

Renée Alexander
When Renée Alexander hears a good story, her first reaction is to share it with other people.

Renée develops and executes customized communications campaigns for cutting-edge clients working on behalf of public transit, public health, and countless other forms of public good. Recent clients include Clif Bar, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and the award-winning Family Fun Zone in central Oregon.

Previously, Renée wrote, assigned, and edited local news stories as managing editor of The Source Weekly newspaper in Bend, Oregon before taking a position as editor of one of the web’s first online press release distribution services. While at Internet News Bureau, she developed and maintained relationships with foreign partners in seven countries who translated, localized, and distributed press releases in their respective corners of the globe. She has continued to write freelance articles for Wired and other lifestyle magazines, and is a featured blogger for 7X7 Magazine.

Renée holds a M.A. in speech communication from UNC-Greensboro and a B.A. in communication arts and psychology from Catawba College in North Carolina. She moved to Bend, Oregon in 1996, where she sustained multiple, self-inflicted mountain biking injuries both on and off the trail before relocating to the “Big City” of San Francisco on her 40th birthday. After several months of repeated navigational mishaps involving bikes, trains, and automobiles, she adopted her current mantra: “I’m not lost; I’m just sneaking up on my destination.”

Audio Tapes and Handouts

GAME Plan Slides

Nonprofit Communications Resource Guide


Message Wheel

Defining Success


Convening Audio

Convening Report

Click here to Download the 2013 Convening Report

Here are some of the comments from convening attendees:

Rose Foundation conferences pick me up and give me hope.

Great to share our story with people. Learned about more powerful messaging. Connecting with other activists.

Loved the emphasis on strategy and messaging. The circle for honing your message and the square for shutting down the opposition were fantastic – wish we had more opportunities to practice these with the pros who were there, because these are so essential. But, it’s something we can bring back to our group and work with.

It was very useful. Essentially, it put a framework around the issues we’ve been dealing with in terms of honing our message and targeting our audiences….That was very powerful. The speakers were fantastic too – so engaging. The day flew by and left me wanting more!

It was stimulating, energizing, and informative.

Not only did I gain useful and applicable knowledge on creating strategically viable communications strategies, but I learned that one of our funders, the Rose Foundation, actually cares about the professional development and long term impact of the programs and organizations that they are funding.

I liked having one overall focus or theme. In previous years, it was hard to choose among the workshops being offered and I felt I had missed out on some useful information from sessions I didn’t choose. The communication GAME plan concept is very pertinent to the volunteer work I do … as well as useful processes/techniques for me to use in other organizations. The concept of clarity of goals – or lack thereof – hit home for me.

For me, with limited experience in this world of programs, grants and grantees it was a BIG experience and really helps me to see how things work and to grasp the very large scope of Rose Foundation work.


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