In this episode of the Strategic Nonprofit podcast, our host Trista McIver sits down with Jessica Villa Sikora to discuss how NPOs can strengthen internal and external connections to maximize growth and engagement.
Jessica is the founder of SUPERBANDS, a Not For Profit Organization that builds a community of hope using music to support mental health. Their mission focuses on raising global awareness of the youth mental health crisis. Aiding those in need with essential resources and support they need by bringing them closer to their favourite artists and bands through thoughtfully curated VIP experiences and virtual events.
“By cultivating a positive community of hope, we strive to bring young music fans closer to their favourite artists and bands to inspire them to ‘stay strong and keep rockin’ on.’”Superbands
Benefits & Challenges of Running A Virtual Nonprofit Organization
Virtual Teams are becoming the new norm for many organizations, which has only been accelerated by the events of 2020. Of course, there are several benefits of choosing to operate only online:
Cherry-Pick Global Employees and forget being restricted to your local or countries pool of candidates.
They’re bringing in so many different ideas based on their experiences from around the world, the different ages, the different backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. Everybody has something to bring to the table, but the one thing that unites us is how passionate we are about the work that we’re doing.Jessica Sikora
Cost-Effective. It’s undoubtedly the most considerable benefit for adopting remote working teams; cut back on huge expenses such as office spaces, utility bills and the daily commute.
Increased Productivity thanks to a flatter organizational structure that is a natural factor in remote teams. Individuals understand their role with clarity and are only responsible for their workload. The result of this will reflect in increased revenue, customer satisfaction and brand awareness.
However, naturally, there are challenges involved:
Broken Communication is often reported as the main issue when working in a virtual workplace due to cultural differences and asynchronous working hours.
Following each other on Instagram and seeing what each other is doing or what you’re up to and following up with those conversations and congratulating people on different milestones and really celebrating not just super band’s milestones but celebrating each other.Jessica Sikora
Managing Virtual Projects requires ensuring your team completes a consistent and satisfactory workload while also empowering their creativity and potential as individuals. So, you’ll need to adopt a blend of the three leadership styles – transactional, transformational and situational.
Gaining Meaningful Connections With LinkedIn
To simply define a meaningful connection, it’s one that creates exact value for both parties involved; they can potentially become lifelong if cultivated and maintained correctly. In terms of making meaningful connections with LinkedIn, you’ll need to add professional value by perhaps referencing for a job, providing advice and mentorship, or access to potential clients.
Key Questions & Answers
Q: How do you keep this community engaged? – Trista
A: “Keeping our supporters engaged is a tricky one because we have a relatively young audience, and everything is changing – there are a lot of moving parts.
So we need to juggle our content and really pivot based on what we see is performing better or what more people find value in.
Whether it’s posting educational resources, sharing news about one of the top bands that people in our support. We’re trying to open up that two-way conversation and engage them directly has been very, very important to us and very valuable more than anything.” – Jessica
Q: What sort of tips would you share for others that could generate more contacts in their industry?
A: “I think I’ve sent maybe over two thousand Linkedin requests hoping that someone will give me their time of day. You can’t let it affect you if they ignore you or if they reject your invitation, but you’d be surprised at how many people will give you a shot or resonate with the mission and have given me 60 minutes to tell them about what I’m doing.” – J
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