Posts Tagged ‘not-for-profit’

Telephone

Obsolescence can be a sad and difficult journey.  I recently read that the generation being born now may never know a dial tone.  In 1888, Almon B. Strowger conceived an idea for an automatic phone exchange which resulted in the dial tone.  122 years or so is a good run, particularly for the by-product of an invention.  Obsolescence can also be the path to progress, met with cheers and adulation.

Some measures count but do they really matter?
I am quite certain we can sit for hours, listen to some 8 track tapes and create a list of all the things we’d wish would become obsolete.  Near the top of my list would be useless reports.  You know, the ones that take hours to complete and seconds to ignore.  Interestingly, we find it far easier to add on more reports or measures than to take the useless ones away.  A friend in another industry recently shared: “taking a useless report away from a vice president is like taking the pacifier away from my infant daughter – not a pretty sight.”

Before creating a new report, measure or metric I now ask the question:  This will help us better serve (members, community, staff, donors, partners) how? No fancy decision tree, I guess you’d call it a decision root or trunk.

Have any useless reports or measures?  If a report becomes obsolete does it make a sound (or do we)?  Any helpful tips in how to push the useless into obsolescence?

On my desk is a copy of Tony Hsieh’s new book Delivering Happiness (Amazon Link), the story of Tony’s journey in building Zappos.com (link) into a customer service phenom.  In the future, I’ll try to craft some semblance of a review of the book, ironically Tony grew up in Marin County where I was blessed to live and work for a number of years.

My ownership of the book is not surprising — I have desks, coffee tables, nightstand, and car seats littered with books.  What is awe inspiring is that I received this book through Twitter and all it cost me was some time.

I am a fan (not the stalker kind despite what he says) of Jay Baer (Jay on Twitter) and his blog/company Convince & Convert (link to Jay’s blog).  Thank you Jay, you’ve literally delivered happiness.  Jay’s got GIVE.

Quite often organizations pursue social media strategies in an attempt to attract new members/donors/customers.  One of Jay’s principles is to use social media to engage our existing members, deepening the relationship — he speaks my language (or I at least understand his words).

Non-profit organizations are typically stuck in the “asking” gear and in this challenging economy few of us can find the clutch.  I refer to it as the non-profit duck-duck-goose game.  Many fundraising consultants recommend “7 touches and then ask again” — touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, ASK!.  Imagine if we led with GIVE.

What has Jay gained by his GIVE?  A committed reader of his blog, an evangelist in my humble network circle, future potential client(s), future potential speaking gig(s), a buyer of his upcoming book, a constant referral, and a tequila should he find himself in Cave Creek.

Imagine if we led with a GIVE.  We have key shareholders that have passions — some related to our work and some outside.  After my experience I am sending out 4 books this week from fly fishing to NASCAR.

The timeless adage is true, giving is more powerful than receiving.  Got GIVE?

Every morning I receive an e-mail from my personal soothsayer.  Actually, I simply subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog.  In 1999 he wrote a book that altered my mindset and has proven to be a profoundly prescient tome in this age of social media.  It’s called Permission Marketing (link to Amazon).

Remember the kid that always held up the school field trip because he lost his signed permission slip?  Sorry, it was me — lost at the bus stop, on the bus, on the playground, etc.  Long before the age of cell phones it took a while to get one of my parents on the phone for the verbal OK to go see dinosaurs.  I always had permission, just rarely held on to it.

Non-Profit organizations have many friends: donors, members, partners, fellow NPOs, vendors, and other ancillary stakeholders.  All of whom have some relationship to the organization and its work.  All of whom (unless it’s an odd relationship) have granted permission to grow and nurture the relationship.

What are you doing with your permission?  Permission is a gift, before using energy and resources to pursue new “permissions”, determine if you are best using the permission you currently are blessed to hold.

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