Cash Mob Strikes Wichita

NFPW member Jill Miller is known for great ideas and providing businesses with what they need to thrive.

Jill Milller organized a Cash Mob in Wichita, KS.

She took that to the next level when she organized Wichita’s participation in international cash mob day. Cash Mobs are similar to Flash Mobs, but instead of dancing people go to predetermined businesses on a specific day and spend a little money to help support locally owned businesses.

Wichita joined 200 other cities around the world participating in the first International Cash Mob Day on March 24. Jill was inspired by stories she read about how small businesses were being impacted by Cash Mobs in other cities. “One night I asked my Facebook friends if they thought the Cash Mob would go over in Wichita,” she said. “The response was enthusiastic!”

At midnight she started a Facebook group and within 36 hours, more than 1,500 people were ready to go shopping at stores that were selected because they had been open less than one year, sell products for men and women, give back to the community and agreed to be mobbed.

Jill was tired of seeing local businesses “that were awesome” go out of business. After talking with a client about it, she was more encouraged to spearhead the effort. “I just had to go for it and do it,” she said.

She leveraged her social media network. “That really helped me pull it off,” Jill said.

Cash mobs were started by Buffalo, NY, blogger and engineer Chris Smith in 2011 to bring financial relief to small, struggling local businesses and to bring communities together. That is exactly what happened in Wichita March 24. “I found that people want to support local businesses but they aren’t sure what they should do,” Jill said. “And there is a lot of pent up demand to go out and buy stuff.”

That’s a good thing because Jill already is planning the next Cash Mob for April 21.

3 Reasons to Join NFPW

I sometimes use Yammer, the free private social network for companies, at work. It recently sent out an email touting reasons to use it. As I read the reasons, I realized they are the reasons to be a member of NFPW and your state affiliate. They include:

  1. Connect with colleagues
  2. Collaborate more effectively
  3. Share your knowledge

Connect with colleagues: Through NFPW you can find experts and tap into their knowledge. The key, of course, is reaching out to other members and getting to know them. During the 2011 conference we hosted a POWER Networking session where members had two minutes to share their professional stories. Members came away with information about each other and a stack of business cards for follow-up. We hope to do the same during the 2012 conference.

State affiliates also hold meetings and workshops. In Virginia we also have district meetings, which allow us to connect with a smaller group of members, providing opportunities for more in-depth conversations.

Collaborate more effectively: While Yammer was referring to online collaboration, NFPW also provides such opportunities. NFPW is active on Facebook and LinkedIn, which allow for quick and easy discussions. A recent discussion focused on whether bloggers should be considered journalists. We also share job openings and recently  members reached out to others asking for “likes” on their Facebook pages for their books or magazines. If someone is looking for information quickly, our social sharing sites are an ideal spot to get the information.

Share your knowledge: Again, Yammer was referencing sharing online through Yammer, but NFPW offers several ways to share knowledge. Members post on Facebook and LinkedIn. Members also share stories through a quarterly newsletter and the website. Not only are members sharing their expertise, they are being recognized for their contributions. During last year’s conference NFPW conference several members, including Ruth Brown of Nebraska Press Women and Jill Miller of Wichita Professional Communicators, shared their expertise during workshops.

What do you get from your membership and how can we leverage that with potential members?