Training at the Workshop

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* Add Google+ to Your CirclesAdd Google+ to Your Circles

Time: 9:00 am

• Find out how Google+ helps your organization get found in Internet searches • Why to add Google+ to your social media plan • Learn how to optimize your Google+ page • Understand the platform’s basic functions • How to best use the platform and fold it into your current communications

* Advocacy StrategiesAdvocacy Strategies

Time: 9:00 am

In this workshop, a former Congressional Chief of Staff will help you create a simple, legal, and cost-effective advocacy plan that not only gets a legislator’s attention, but moves him or her to partner with your organization to create meaningful public policy.



Beyond Handshakes: Developing advocacy strategies that get results and save resources
Thursday, July 24, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
With Anne Warden

If nonprofits are the engines of social change, then why are so many avoiding government advocacy or feeling unsuccessful? In this workshop, a former Congressional Chief of Staff will help you create a simple, legal, and cost-effective advocacy plan that not only gets a legislator’s attention, but moves him or her to partner with your organization to create meaningful public policy. With an enriched perspective of how public policy decisions are made behind the scenes, you can advocate your cause in a way that saves resources, creates mutually beneficial relationships with legislators, and gives you a much greater chance of success.

At this workshop, you will:

  • Develop a better understanding of the communications and advocacy strategies that get you beyond just meeting with legislators to actually changing public policy;
  • Improve your confidence and capacity for advocacy by learning why it is legal, easy, cost-efficient and critical to your mission;
  • Begin developing an advocacy plan, including leveraging your expertise, supporters, the media, and coalitions to more effectively communicate with legislators and their staffs.



 Mobile Newsgathering
Thursday, August 7, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Charlie Meyerson, Rivet

The phone in your pocket can power a media outreach more powerful than the biggest printing presses or the largest broadcasting antennas. You have the world’s most powerful distribution platform right in your pocket or purse. We’ll show you how to use it to tell and distribute your story, cheaply and easily. You must have access to a smart phone for this workshop, as one will not be provided for you.

Attendees of this training will get an overview of:

  • Mobile audio and video for live or recorded events.
  • Introduction to basic equipment.
  • Fundamentals of audio editing with (free) Audacity software.



Dig Into Data: Using Numbers to Tell Your Story 
Thursday, August 14, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

How do we tell our story with numbers?

Quantifying our issues and work is powerful but doesn’t have to be difficult. In this workshop you will learn types of data used in journalism, advertising, and PR.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Learn which types of data (structured vs. unstructured, “big data”) are used in journalism, advertising, and PR today.
  • Do some data scraping, and find out the difference between hacking and programming
  • Create a dataset from information from a website using an app like, kimonify, and wordle.







Storytelling with Impact
Wednesday, August 21, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
With Susy Schultz, Community Media Workshop
If you can tell your story — you can connect to others and that’s when you can create impact. Your story is the most powerful tool you have, if you are able to strip away the day-to-day noise to make an impact.  Learn how to make your story not just another spiel about your organization but something to captivate the media as well as potential funders and future members. In this training you will:

  • Understand what makes a story compelling.
  • Know what kinds of stories the news media is looking for.
  • Have the beginning of several story ideas for your organization to pitch to the media.



There are no scheduled webinars at this time. 


Experts share insights on the latest communication trends in traditional and social media. Brown bag workshops are free but registration is required.

There are no Brown Bag Sessions scheduled at this time. Check back regularly to see future free information sessions!

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Learn to tell your stories better, using all the tools of communications, advocacy, outreach, and marketing, such as: media relations, using new media/technology, developing print materials, planning strategy, holding events, and other types of public relations. We are known for:

  • Hands-on, practical training
  • Emphasis on how to create compelling stories to increase visibility among media,funders and other audiences
  • Providing tools to integrate Web 2.0 and social media into your communications and fundraising efforts
  • Leading workshops that honor the ways adults learn, are interactive, and engaging
  • Providing handouts you can use, not put on a shelf

Learn more about real people’s successes using what they learned from us by viewing some recent success stories

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Our workshops are for nonprofit communicators–staff and volunteers responsible for telling their organizations’ stories. They come from grassroots and community organizations, arts groups, hospitals and universities, social-service agencies, philanthropy, and other types of nonprofit.

While we do not turn for-profit communicators away, for popular workshops we may wait-list them to make sure there are seats for all the nonprofit communicators who wish to attend. If you are in corporate communications or at a for-profit PR firm, we encourage you to visit the sites of  our colleagues in PR, such as Ragan Communications, the Publicity Club of Chicago, PRNewswire, or the Public Relations Society of America.

To learn more about our participants, you can download a list of groups who accessed our services last year.

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We are half grant-funded and the rest of our revenue comes from selling workshops, trainings, and our Chicago-market media guide, Getting On Air, On-line, & Into Print to other nonprofits.

This allows us to keep the costs of our workshops at a fraction of the price of equivalent sessions in the private sector. Workshop prices take into account fees for our trainers (typically much-reduced from what they typically charge as a service to the nonprofit community), other fixed costs such as serving coffee, water, and meals during workshops.

Scholarships are always available to organizations with budgets under $100,000—please view our Scholarship Policy. You may also want to check the details of our Cancellation Policy.

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We are happy to provide custom sessions that respond to specific needs or to reinforce core messages at your organization.

Organizations we have worked with recently include ACCESS, Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Latinos Progresando, Local Initiatives Support Corp., Michigan Nonprofit Association, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Progressive Technology Project, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

To learn more about our custom training view our services and contact Maggie Walker (, or call us: 312-369-6400.

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Unless noted elsewhere, our trainings take place at Columbia College Chicago at 33 East Congress Parkway.

Walk-in Location:

Community Media Workshop

at Columbia College

33 E. Congress Parkway, Suite 610H

Chicago, IL 60605

Tel: 312-369-6400

Fax: 312-369-6404



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