Your success if dependent on continually growing your base of support. You need a regular flow of people learning about you, becoming involved, advocating and donating. Where does that flow come from? As you look at each of your “points of entry” you’ll want to be sure they are all very welcoming, easy and transparent. As a future-looking leader you will need to respond to the demand for easy access to information. Take an inventory. Look carefully at the various ways people engage with you and learn about you. Your adjustments may be just a tweak here and there but it [...]
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Your organization may provide service or you may advocate. It’s combining the two that will make you a visionary leader of the future. “Ultimately, all high-impact organizations bridge the divide between service and advocacy. They become good at both. And the more they serve and advocate, the more they achieve impact.” Stanford Social Innovation Review By Heather McLeod Grant & Leslie R. Crutchfield Fall 2007 That quote is 10 years old. Over time we have seen a gradual shift away from organizations limiting their work to providing temporary fixes to long-term problems. Forward looking nonprofits take a bigger view, looking for solutions to local [...]
Just a quick reminder... it's that time of year. Donations come in because it's beneficial and practical to give at the end of the year for tax reasons. Make Year End Giving the start of a long relationship. Make sure you are sharing your story with old friends and new so you make the most of this season and are rewarded with a great 2018.
Some people seem to be natural born connectors. Some of us have to learn. I remember a few years back, sitting on my porch, reading Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point and exploring the concept of connectors. I wanted to be a connector. When I thought about the connectors I already knew, I realized they were popular. Not in the high school sense, but in the sense that people wanted to be around them. They had influence. I have since worked consciously to be a connector. I listen to what people say, I ask questions and I make suggestions. They, in [...]
When I speak with other nonprofit consultants and with funders we generally agree: we do not need more nonprofits. You may think the more the better but take at look at the numbers. We have over 2 million nonprofits in this country. Many of them are struggling to survive. Do we need more nonprofits? I think the answer is no. I often meet people who want to start an organization. They've identified a need and want to solve it. Perfect. But the truth is that problem is probably already being addressed by one, two or 10 existing organizations. If you have [...]
Don’t be afraid to ask. It took me a long time to learn to ask. I’m a giver by nature. I bet many of you are too. The nonprofit world is full of people like us. That’s a good thing. Our generous natures compel us to do good work. But we need help. And we need money. That’s why we need to learn to ask. If you learn to ask for help as often as you offer help, you and your organization will grow a lot faster. 3 Requests to Make This Week Ask for a connection. There are people in [...]
Here's the sad truth: Placing a magic red button on your website didn't increase your donations. Social media is not a miracle Why didn't technology deliver for you? Your website and social media are simply tools to tell your story. When you have a story to tell you can tell it in many different ways. But first you need a story. You never counted on a brochure for donations, the brochure was a tool you used to strengthen a connection. The same is true for Facebook or Twitter. They aren't going to work for you unless you have something to say [...]
I’ve always loved that quote. It takes a team. It takes teamwork. No matter who you are in the organization, you can do better if you gather a team around you. Teams can be formal or informal. They should always be diverse. You want perspective, views, opinions and insights. Blur the lines. Internally, it’s time to let everyone in on the leadership game. You have a lot to gain by creating teams that utilize and develop everyone’s talents. Shared leadership fills the void created by departing founders or retired CEOs. “Leadership is the practice of maximizing the use of one’s individual [...]
We are all pitchers. We pitch ideas, we pitch ourselves and we pitch our organizations. We pitch to get a job, to attract followers and to raise money. Maybe you’re not a major league pitcher yet but you will be. For a long time I’ve been interested in story development and how stories influence behavior. So, I’ve learned that decisions are emotional, making a good story your best bet for donations. There’s also plenty of evidence that a well delivered – live and in person – pitch is the most convincing of all. We’ve seen Shark Tank. We know they “buy” [...]
Is your strategic plan gathering dust? Does your organization get bogged down with analysis? Many organizations invest a lot of time, energy and money in assessing and planning that goes nowhere. Your goal is to become nimble. Go for faster and smarter. Future nonprofit leaders will create high-impact organizations flexible enough to experiment and grow in response to needs. Heather McLeod Grant & Leslie R. Crutchfield, authors of Forces for Good, talk about creating high-impact organizations as a cycle with four critical steps: Listen to feedback from external environments and seek opportunities for improvement or change. Innovate and experiment, developing new [...]