Here's a quick thought for the day. Take a page from the entrepreneurial tech community. Pitch! A pitch is a short (usually 5 to 10 minute) overview of your organization. It's designed both to share information and to attract attention. You generally wrap it up with an ask. There are pitch competitions - even for nonprofits. There are Shark Tank like pitch events including 1 Million Cups, a weekly coffee fueled event that allows start-ups (including nonprofits) to share their story. And ask for money. If you are planning to pitch, keep in mind that perfection is not the goal. I've [...]
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So far Merle Benny has created 8 blog entries.
One of your key roles as a nonprofit leader is to get others excited about your organization. There are lots of ways to do that but they all rely on your communication. Whether it’s a one-on-one, in writing or standing at the podium, your words make magic happen (or not). Improving what you say and how you say it will pay off in more volunteers, advocates and donations. It may not seem fair but the best causes don’t get the most money. To get people to pay attention to you what really matters is what you say. Your words are going [...]
I decided to become a Connector. It was a deliberate act. Why? There were two reasons I made this choice: I was reading the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, and discovered his conclusion that there are three kinds of people – Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople. I decided I was a Connector. Until I took his little test and failed. At the same time I was regularly meeting a friend, Kanani, for breakfast. I began to notice that every time we met I came away with a list of connections. One day, as I was walking home, I decided from that point [...]
Today I’m thinking about the little things. They are on my mind because I’m giving a keynote speech at a conference for Volunteer Directors. My mother was a Volunteer Director, so I know how special this group will be. They are the ones who make an organization hum. I think it’s safe to say, it is not a role I would do well, but that makes me admire them all the more. When I thought about the message I wanted to deliver to inspire them, it kept coming back to “Minor Miracles.” Several years ago, I heard an Executive Director of [...]
Pitching is what you are doing every time you talk about your organization. Whether it's a one-on-one conversation or you are on the stage sharing with hundreds. You are the pitcher and what you say matters. A great pitch, in baseball or fundraising, takes a great pitcher. You can become one by learning and practicing a few simple rules. What will you win? More advocates, more volunteers, more donors. It all starts with you. Here are 7 secrets that will make you a master at pitching your organization. It's not the greatest need that attracts the most money. It's the best [...]
Sounds a little extreme. But the truth is, you are giving your life, day in and day out, to solve a problem. That's why nonprofits exist. You see the need and you've stepped up to make a difference. You have a vision. Your vision is your greatest tool. Really. There is no better way to attract what you need - volunteers, advocates, donors - than to state your vision. Over and over again. What is the problem you'd give your life to solve? Be sure that each and every person in your organization knows the vision and is able to say [...]
How do you attract attention? You start by visually connecting with your audience. Yes, making a great impression really matters. If you want people to hear what you have to say, they have to like you. They have to feel a connection. That starts with a great first impression. Don't hire a pilot. Or run an ad. Or hold a gala. Just speak to each person and share your vision. They'll be flying high with you.
What does it take to solve the big problems? How do we move from temporary fixes to real solutions? You can't do it alone. It takes a community of thinkers, doers and donors. It takes an ecosystem. I've been thinking a lot about ecosystems. It's actually entrepreneurial ecosystems (more on them later) that got me started. From there I went way back to basic biology and the interdependence of organisms and their physical environment. Nonprofits know a lot about interdependence. Your organization exists as part of a community, you are able to provide services because you have a board, receive donations, [...]