Performance P m e Nonprofit WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol. 4 No. 2 Magazine 360
United States Tiye Young Army Officer
Three Tips To maximize nonprofiT direcT mail
If you’re a nonprofit, you know how critical direct mail is to fundraising. Here are three tips from the experts on how to maximize your efforts.
direct mail is the #1 motivator for donations.
Your house list is gold.
do more than ask for money.
W ith so many “free” marketing channels out there, it might be tempting to transition much of your fundraising to electronic media. However, direct mail remains the strongest, most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations. According to YouGov 1 , 21% of people gave to a nonprofit last year because of a print solicitation. This is compared to 12% who gave through mass media, 6% through social media, and 10% through email. To keep donations flowing, don’t stop the direct mail!
T reated right, most people who donate to an organization will do so again. That’s why your house list is the most important list you have. Keep this list clean, up to date, and treat your donors like the most important people in the world — because they are. What about prospecting? Purchasing a relevant direct mail list is an important way to bring in new people who might be interested in your mission, but it will not be your primary source of donations. Prospecting helps to expand your donor base, but your house list is the primary source of your fundraising dollars.
W hen it comes to a person’s likelihood to donate, the most important factor is his or her personal connection to the organization. To increase donations, use direct mail to build real, lasting relationships with donors over time. • Make sure your donors understand your mission and where their money will be used. • Write to donors by name and personalize your messaging based on the specific areas or projects to which they have donated. • Provide pictures or stories about the specific ways their donations are being used. If people are donating to an ongoing project, keep them in the loop on the progress.
Print is the most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations.
Treat your donors like the most important people in the world.
Make sure donors understand where their money will be used.
People want to help, and they enjoy being part of efforts to do good for the world around them. Use direct mail to make them feel part of your mission, and they will open their wallets to continue to be part of it.
Performance m e SynerVision's Nonprofit Professional WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Magazine
Leading Transitions The Journey of Continual Improvement
Love is a Hardcore Business Principle
When the Unthinkable Happens Crisis Response
Nicholas R. Ripplinger
Lessons in Transition A step-by-step approach that works for everyone
Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine and Professional Performance Magazine are quarterly magazines. Each is published as a digital subscription publication and as a hard copy edition. The views expressed in the ar- ticles and advertisements are those of the con- tributing writers and advertisers, and may not be the views of the management and staff of the publication. The magazine assumes no li- ability for the contributions in this magazine and all content is intended as developmental in nature. SynerVisionisa501(c)(3)nonprofitorganization, and this publication serves its mission.
Learning more about Your Competition
Mark S A Smith
Seven Critical Executive Skills for Consistent Success
SynerVision’s Nonprofit Performance Magazine is an affiliated publication of ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com.
Publishers’ Corner In 2014, we launched Nonprofit Professional Performance 360 Magazine as co-publishers, as an extension of Jeff’s Professional Performance Magazine and Performance 360 brand. Our feedback from readers has been amazing. Every reader points out the relevance of the content and the timeless quality of the infor- mation. As you may notice, there are no dates on the issues or in the content because we create content that has lasting value over time. Leadership values are universal, no matter when or where you lead. This issue focuses on transitions. Here is the statement that guided our content creation for this issue: To everything there is a season…and as seasons change, so do the people, programs, and focus of organiza- tions. In this issue of Nonprofit Performance Magazine , we will focus on the inevitable transitions in the nonprofit world. Our contributors will lay out a road map for managing change in the leadership and governance team, how to find new life after the “death” of a program, and how the conclusion of a grant can actually provide new opportunities for a nonprofit to flourish. Life is a series of transitions. The organizations we lead are constantly in a state of change; in fact, the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. Things will change. To assist our members, boards, staff, and stakeholders to grasp this concept, it might be helpful to use the word transition, rather than change. Or maybe the word transformation could add energy to move our focus from the past and look ahead in creating a sustainable future. Followers live in the present and leaders live in the future, at least mentally. We make things hap- pen and influence others to follow the vision that we champion.
We are sure that there are articles in this issue that will inspire your own transitions and em- power your own transformation. Leaders are always moving up the scale of continuing im- provement and working on capacity building for the organizations in our care. Enjoy the transitions and be transformed as you inspire transformation.
Join the SynerVision® online Community for Community Builders and get the following: Resource articles on best practice for nonprofit leaders and clergy Interview with thought- leaders on business practices to install in your charity Forums on topics relevant to nonprofit leaders, boards, and staff Regular facilitated mastermind sessions guided by Hugh Ballou (“Leader” Level) Free subscription to Nonprofit Professional Performance 360 Magazine SynerVision Community Discounts on online learning programs and live events Here’s the overview of the benefits of community membership synervisionleadership.org/welcome-to-the-community-for-community-builders Here’s the overview of the benefits of community membership s ervisionl adership.org/welcome-to-the-com u it -for-community-builders Join the SynerVision® online Community for Community Builders and get the following: • Resource articles on best practice for nonprofit leaders and clergy • Interview with th ught-leaders on business practices to install i your charity • Forums on topics relevant to nonprofit leaders, boards, and staff • Regular facilitated mastermind sessions guided by Hugh Ballou (“Leader” Level) • ree subscription to Nonprofit Professional Performance 360 Mag zine • Discounts on online learning programs and live events
6 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Next Issue Highlights
The Fundraiser The Dead Weight The Network Developer The One Who Never Makes It to a Meeting The Program Advocate The Naysayer
What are the archetypes of board members that are present in your nonprofit? One of the greatest opportunities and hardest challenges for the nonprofit sector is found in the boardroom. In this issue of Nonprofit Performance Magazine , we examine the importance of recruiting and engaging a strong and active board of directors for the success of a nonprofit. Pouring value into the development of an active, focused board might be the most important thing that your organization could ever do. So how does your process look?
The Official Guide to All Things Nonprofit Nonprofit Performance Magazine brings impact which spreads hope and direction to those who are changing their communities and the world. This magazine is a great resource for nonprofit executives and religious leaders. • Learn from key thought leaders who can assist you in propelling your organization to reach its potential • Read in-depth stories written by those who have found success at the front line of the social benefit journey • Learn about the impact of community, communication, and collaboration in your organization
Performance P e Nonprofit WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol.4No. 1 Magazine 360
Make-A-Wish Foundation Founder Frank Shankwitz
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SynerVision Leadership .org I 7
Encouraging Personal and Organizational Health
M any people in nonprofit organizations are workaholics. That makes the balance between personal life and work life difficult. The physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects are always a challenge. But I like to say that the leader’s number one job is to care for his or her own soul. I’ve got to make sure that my soul is healthy. If my soul isn’t healthy, then I can’t be an effective leader who brings life change in the lives of others. When I’m traveling, it’s particularly difficult, but when I’m home, I’m hitting the gym five days a week. I know that if my physical energy drops, then that’s going to impact my emotional energy, which is going to impact my spiritual energy, and it just sets off all these bad, negative chains of events. I find that I need to be operating in a healthy manner. When I’m going to the gym, I’m going to be more balanced, and balance is the goal. Health is the goal. There will be alarms going off in my spirit when I’m saying yes to things I shouldn’t be. Others are influenced by what you do as much as by what you say in this area, more so than not. I try to model my healthy lifestyle. The people in my office know my eating habits. I follow a program where you eat six small healthy meals a day, a fistful of protein and a fistful of carbohydrate six times a day, and you work out at least 20 minutes five days a week.
All of my employees are aware that, on my schedule, I leave here at 4:00 every afternoon to go to the gym. They see me eating apples, celery, and carrots. And so, I can tell them to eat healthy foods. I can tell them to only work so many hours a day. Sometimes I chase them out of the office – I tell them to go home, because I don’t want them to resent this place. I don’t want this place to burn them out. You know, life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. We have to pace ourselves in a way that we can do our good deeds over the long haul. A friend of mine says that, with the pace you’re currently going, can you do nonprofit work for decades? If not, you need to change your pace. Every organization has a small handful of model leaders that exemplify what it means to lead well.They have the right skill set, they’re admired by others, and they handle situations with maturity and wisdom.They are the ones you wish you could replicate over and over. Odds are those model leaders didn’t learn their leadership acumen from your organization’s quarterly four-hour turbo training. While they may have enjoyed it or appreciated it, that’s not where they gained the leadership character and competency that’s so evident today. If you ask them (and I would encourage you to do so), you will likely find they attribute their development to one of two things:
1. An individual who believed in them and poured into them over an extended period of time. 2. An opportunity they had to lead that stretched them. Isn’t that true of most of us? You don’t have to stop offering your quarterly turbo training. But I would certainly entertain the ideas of having your existing leaders pour into your potential leaders over a period of time, and giving potential leaders stretch assignments that will challenge them to grow. When you do, you’ll find more model leaders emerging within your organization. No one would question that leadership development is a wise investment. Time spent developing new and better leaders has a long-term payoff for the individual as well as the organization. But if this fact is so obvious, why is it so few of your existing leaders engage in the development of new leaders? Why is it they default to doing the work rather than developing others to do the work? What can you do today to champion these new leaders? • Speak life into their giftedness. I’m constantly amazed at how few people have had their leader speak significant or specific encouragement into their souls. Our words of confidence in them will expand their confidence in their own
8 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
potential and help them dream bigger dreams. • Give themsignificant opportunities to lead in the context of your organization. Give them stretch assignments. Give them specific roles that will equip them for a great future in leadership. Give them assignments you wish someone had given you when you were their age. • Provide constructive feedback that will expand their leadership capacity. Don’t practice false kindness and avoid the essential feedback that will help them maximize their potential. Point out the critical areas they need to grow, while at the same time demonstrating your confidence in them. • Expose them to great books, great leaders and great environments that will expand their thinking. When young leaders are kept in one environment, they fail to develop a depth and dimension they will need to lead when they face new or different contexts. • Challenge them to live with integrity and dream with audacity. What if we could challenge the next generation of
leaders to see further than we saw, believe bigger than we believed, or trust God for a movement of revival the likes of which the world has never seen? Why wouldn’t we champion, challenge and resource next generation leaders this way? There are only three answers to this question: busyness, laziness or selfishness. In other words, there is no good reason not to champion next-generation leaders. Underneath the many possible excuses, I believe there is one deep-seated reason: fear. People avoid that which they are afraid of. So could it be that your leaders avoid the investment in others because of the fear of failure? Fear of not knowing how? Fear of being replaced? Or fear of someone’s doing the job better? To leverage your leaders’ impact and see an exponential emergence of new and better leaders, your task is to identify and confront the fear. As you discover the real reasons behind their fear, you can begin to reconstruct their confidence as a developer by simply
encouraging, coaching, and challenging them along the journey. Your greatest success will be seeing them confidently succeed in the reproduction of new leaders. So many times we lock ourselves into a position. We say, “Oh, this is my passion. I love it here. I love this organization. I love this position. I love what I’m doing.” And we never develop anybody to do what we’re doing. It never occurs to us to get somebody else to teach and to build a team, because this is our job. Find somebody, two or three people that you can reproduce yourself in, and teach them to do what you’re doing. When you have a mindset of succession, you will have a regular practice of multiplication. By doing so, you leave a legacy in your organization – because you never know when you’re going be gone. Mac Lake is the Visionary Architect for The Launch Network, a church planting network based out of Atlanta, Georgia. He feels a sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders. www.maclakeonline.com
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SynerVision Leadership .org I 9
10 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
The Art of Transition
D uring my early twenties, I dabbled in the visual arts, having the occasional chance to show some of my work on my college campus or around town. When I was about to embark on a new life in the New River Valley of southwest Virginia, I channeled my anxiety into a small exhibition that required the kind of mystifying title that only a twenty-something amateur artist can create: The Art of the Transition. Little did I know that my career in the nonprofit sector would have me living out that title almost daily. Transitioning as an individual, and as a community organization, is challenging, rewarding, stressful, and transformative: all things required for making and appreciating a work of art. And, like most works of art, transitions go on, forever and ever. Organizations are in a constant state of transition. It’s just the nature and magnitude of the transition that varies. My own experience with personal and organizational transition has brought with it important lessons that continue to guide my daily work. Not everyone will come with you When I assumed my role as Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, I was following a widely respected mentor and friend, Andy Morikawa. The NRV is a small community, and the number of citizens actively engaged in nonprofit work is even smaller, so, naturally, there was apprehension about how the Foundation might change after Andy’s many successful years at the helm.The best piece of advice I received as I began my new role was simple: “Jess, not everyone is going to come with you.” It is impossible to please every
disagreed, we wouldn’t accomplish anything for our community. Learn about yourself constantly I was fortunate to have volunteered and worked for the Foundation before becoming director so, as I transitioned into my new role, I thought I had a good sense of the responsibilities I wanted to take on and those that I would delegate to others. It has taken me years to realize that what I thought I originally wanted to do and had the skills to accomplish are not exactly what the job requires or what I enjoy. Ideally, as we transition to new positions or responsibilities within our organizations, we give ourselves the time and space to learn. I know this is easier said than done,but leadership transition doesn’t end after some magic probationary period. It is ongoing, punctuated by key moments, challenges, and opportunities that help us define the kind of leader we want to be. Moreover, our leadership approach may evolve as new volunteers and staff with unique abilities come into our organizations. Transition requires a willingness to question, learn, and cut yourself a break now and then. There is no right way to transition into a new role. The same can be said for organizations as a whole. As a funder, we see our grantees strive for perfection in their projects, particularly when they expand a program or launch something new. Naturally, some grantees come up short, circumstances change, or things just don’t pan out like they thought. We don’t require perfection, but we do ask for reflection. What has the organization learned that can help it going forward? What lessons can be shared with other
board member, donor, or stakeholder, and assuming that everyone will embrace a new leader and his/her vision and goals is simply unrealistic. It is a lesson I knew intuitively, but I needed to hear it from a trusted advisor. Sure enough, I had some difficult meetings in those early months with individuals who made clear their desire to see the Foundation stay exactly as it was. That was a promise I could not make myself or on behalf of the Foundation. Luckily, I had the trust of board members and my staff, and that allowed me to accept that some longtime Foundation allies would embrace my leadership, and others would not. For those who stepped away, new partners, donors, and volunteers stepped in. Six years later, that advice continues to ring true as the Foundation’s board develops a vision for the next five years. As nonprofits, we are subject to the cultural, political, and economic ebb and flow of our communities, and that requires us to be nimble and to constantly reexamine our work to remain relevant and impactful. As the Foundation begins to prioritize areas of focus for its grant-making, engage with new partners, and revise longstanding policies, some people will balk at those changes. And that’s okay. Accepting that some will not jump on board with our direction is critical to making the transition to a more effective and influential community organization. If we went back to the drawing board every time someone
SynerVision Leadership .org I 11
organizations facing the same challenges? These are incredibly valuable experiences. We hope that our grantees see our funds as an endorsement of both their project and their willingness to experiment. Transition requires experimentation. Manage expectations My husband is a chemist, quick to wax philosophic about the nature of experimentation. He reminds me that experiments don’t succeed or fail; rather, they support or refute your hypothesis, what you expect to happen. That’s why managing expectations during periods of transition is paramount. Nonprofit leaders are tempted to promise the world, particularly when trying to prove themselves in a new role. We add items to our to-do list or say yes to a donor’s unconventional request. It may seem okay to do in isolation, but soon this list of requests becomes overwhelming and unmanageable, and it draws us away from pursuing the organization’s core mission in a focused and effective way. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn, but I’ve come to see how critical it is to be honest with board members, coworkers, donors, and others about what I can and cannot accomplish, and what my organization can do. With very few exceptions, the Foundation’s friends and partners understand. They are as invested in
my success as they are in the organization overall. When they know what to expect from me, they can participate more effectively and feel comfortable stepping in to help. At the organizational level, approaching programs or decisions on a case by case basis to satisfy every stakeholder simply isn’t scalable or sustainable. As our organizations grow,we must be open to new approaches that can grow with us. We also need to consider how those approaches change expectations for our staff and volunteers, the expectations we have of them, and those they have of the organization. The Foundation has expanded and changed its scope in some significant ways over the last three years. We collaborate with dozens of organizations on a diverse array of projects, and we work with hundreds of donors.That has necessitated transitioning from an extremely hands-on board with deep knowledge of our activities, to a more strategic board that provides broad guidance and oversight and delegates authority to committees and staff. For some of our longtime volunteer leaders, this transition has created some anxiety. They expect to be well versed in the day-to-day details of every project and to make decisions based on those details. This simply is not possible anymore. If we spent our board meetings reviewing the details of every project with
which we’re involved, we’d be meeting for days! As nonprofits navigate transition, they must acknowledge the discomfort that can come when individual expectations clash with organizational realities. In particular, staff and volunteer leaders should reevaluate expectations, and they should collectively develop methods of accountability to meet or adjust those expectations when necessary. Final thoughts Periods of transition for us as individuals and as organizations can be disorienting until we accept that the process never really ends, nor should it. By learning about ourselves, understanding expectations and limitations, and letting go of the idea that we can bring everyone along with us, we can thrive in the process of transition. We can avoid taking ourselves so seriously and just enjoy giving back to our communities. Dr. Jessica Wirgau is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley located in Christiansburg, Virginia, a place-based foundation working with local donors to provide grants, scholarships, and capacity-building opportunities for nonprofits. She enjoys exploring how the Foundation can draw diverse organizations together around common challenges and use its grant-funding and capacity-building activities to address critical community needs. www.cfnrv.org
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12 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
The Changing Philanthropic Landscape CyNTHIA M. AdAMS Grants Corner
M y little company is deeply ensnared in transition. We have been in business for 17 years and are finally launching a new website. This transition has caused excitement, presented challenges, created untold sleepless nights for many of us, and ultimately made us re-think what we are providing for the nonprofit sector. All transitions are like that. They shake you up and cause you to consider who and what you are. I have been living by this quote for months now: “In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.” Jeanette Winterson, The World and Other Places: Stories In the few precious weeks between the chaos at the beginning of our transition and as it took shape, we realized we could look closely at our mission, reinvent ourselves, and be what our members wanted us to be. This made it all worth it. Philanthropy has been going through a major transition over the past several years. Before that, nothing in grantseeking had changed in decades. And then – BOOM! All of a sudden we heard terms like impact investing, venture philanthropy, and spending down. We aren’t just witnessing new ways of doing business, we are also seeing many new faces. Individuals who made their fortunes in technology have started giving away millions of dollars, among them Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla, who in late 2012 announced that over the course
The Chronicle for Philanthropy’s What Will Matter in 2017 includes three articles for grantseekers. One focuses on how grantmakers drive social change by investing large sums of money into solving single issues, and discusses the concept of risk capital. Another focuses on a significant transfer of wealth. It is estimated that $58 trillion will be passed on to heirs by 2060.This article describes how to connect with those baby boomers who will be distributing their wealth. The third article is on prize philanthropy.There is still hot debate over the concept, but it is an idea whose time has come, and all nonprofit leaders need to understand it. Think about Jeanette Winterson’s quote. Per- haps, as a nonprofit or educational organiza- tion, you can take this time between the chaos and the shape to seriously consider who you are, what you are trying to achieve, and how you might reposition your own work to fit into the emerging paradigm. It is a good time for your board to wrestle with questions such as how to truly achieve your mission, while your organization positions itself to take ad- vantage of the new shape of philanthropy. Cynthia Adams, President and CEO of GrantStation, has spent the past 40 years helping nonprofits raise the money needed for their good work. She opened GrantStation because grantseeking requires a thorough understanding of the variety and scope of grantmakers and sound knowledge of the philanthropic playing field. Her life’s work has been to level that playing field, creating an opportunity for all nonprofit organizations to access the wealth of grant opportunities across the U.S. and throughout the world. www.grantstation.com
of their lives they would give the majority of their wealth towards “advancing human potential and promoting equality.”Many new philanthropists bring a different perspective to philanthropy and grantseeking, and they’re leading the way on innovative and substantial changes in the field. Some of these changes include offering prizes instead of grants, including the annual Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities competition. About 1,000 cities apply for the 100 awards. Rockefeller doles out around $164 million to these winners. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million prize, 100&Change, will award a single prize to the individual or group with the best idea for tackling a major world problem later this year. This competition received nearly 1,900 entries. To complement the changes, a raft of reports addresses these topics. One of my favorites is New Philanthropy Capital’s 10 Innovations in Global Philanthropy , which served as the inspiration for our first national conference in 2016. Check out their website as they publish many reports addressing trends relevant to grantseeking. Reports like the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s A Date Certain: Lessons from Limited Life Foundations provide us with insight as to why foundations spend down and what decisions are made in the process.
SynerVision Leadership .org I 13
Offline to Online Standing Out
I n the 2017 Grammy Awards, TV viewers saw a new method of political advocacy. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, gave an impassioned speech on the unifying power of music.He then called upon “the president and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education and renewing America’s commitment to the arts.” During the speech, 26 million viewers saw a call to action in white text: #SupportMusic. Text Grammy to 52886. This significant moment showed how advocacy is shifting in the Trump era. Normally, we think of activism as an online to offline flow. Nonprofits tweet, post, advertise, and email online to organize offline actions, like marches and visits to lawmakers. But Portnow did the reverse: he turned passive, offline viewers into online activists. Anyone texting the number immediately received a link to a signup page for information and opportunities to take action. Essentially, Portnow circumvented the Internet echo chamber. Today’s news and social feeds are personalized to present the posts we’re most likely to click. Thus, we usually see content similar to what we’ve viewed in the past. We wouldn’t see posts from the Recording Academy unless we read about their subject matter regularly. So online, we’re only likely to reach advocates if they’ve digitally expressed interest in our causes. Offline, the world isn’t curated to our beliefs and we’re exposed to more ideas. The challenge is to meld the two worlds into one, as Portnow did. He motivated thousands of viewers to pull out their phones and send a text message.
don’t need or want pages of legislation to support your cause. They often just need a hashtag. Meet your advocates and lawmakers where they are No one advocacy approach fits every lawmaker and advocate. Senator Cory Booker prefers Twitter. Senator Jimmy Duncan prefers one-on-one meetings. Lawmakers and advocates prefer different media for different conversations; accounting for that can maximize your campaign. To make your supporters act and lawmakers listen, your campaigns must offer more than one medium of communication. Real news starts with personal stories Major broadcast networks report social media activity as news. As President Trump has proven, tweets can become primetime segments. When your advocates share their personal stories online, they, too, can create news. Lawmakers tell me that they listen carefully to stories from their constituents. One authentic voice can be as valuable as a thousand people marching with signs. Use technology to amplify your advocates’ voices. Every viewer is a potential activist, and mobilizing supporters could be as easy as asking them to text a number.Whether you’re presenting at the Grammys or speaking at a town hall, give advocates an opportunity to support your cause. Ximena Hartsock, co-founder and president, handles innovation and operations at Phone2Action. Involved in social advocacy campaigns since she was 11, she makes the impossible happen on a routine basis. She has held numerous leadership positions in Washington, DC, and is passionate about education and empowering people to take action to make this world better. firstname.lastname@example.org
What does this mean for nonprofit advocacy? Here are a few ideas for your next campaign. Empower supporters to act when they are fired up Town hall meetings, radio shows, and speaking gigs are opportunities to motivate action. At the end of a great speech, people always wonder how they can help. Tell them People use different apps and social networks, but every mobile phone can text message. It’s still the most common activity among mobile users.When you employ SMS in your engagement strategy, you exclude no one and raise the odds of participation.The best part? The text message open rate is 99 percent and most texts are read within the first three minutes. Public policy got its sexy back People now discuss issues like the Trans- Pacific Partnership or Border Adjustment Tax in casual settings.This offers tremendous opportunity for nonprofits to rally advocates behind complex causes thatwere once reserved for grasstops surrogates and lobbyists. What have we learned from President Trump? Keep it simple. Use a concise tagline across your campaign channels. Your advocates to pull out their phones and act. Text messaging is the common denominator
14 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
From WTF to OMG ™ (with a bit of LOL)
Y ou know this process. Something happens and we react with “What the Frappachino? This sucks. Why me? What’s happening here?” And then what happens? Sometime later, we realize the value, gift, or opportunity that was imbedded in that WTF event and we say, “Oh my God… so THAT was the awesome reason that happened.” Like I said,youknowthis process.We are in the processofwritingabookofthesametitleabove. Like me, you probably can recall quite a few of these transformations. So what’s it all about? Why do we react so negatively to these disguised blessings? Here’s what I think. I think that we have an overactive protective ego mechanism that knows that change is going down and it knows that any change to status quo is a mega threat to its definite major purpose. It believes
vous system so that the stimulus of the WTF event is not exacerbated by the nervous system. Essentially, we end up with less tendency to overreact; thus we can take a more objective view of the situ- ation, during or shortly after the triggering event. I was directed to videos on YouTube to try the simple exercises and it has been life changing, specifically with dealing with these hurdles in life. If this strikes a note of reason and creates interest and desire to be able to more easily accept and assimilate life lessons, then I strongly suggest that you view these simple exercises on YouTube. I took the bait from a colleague and I’m glad that I did, because my trigger is so much less prone to get pushed, and I’m therefore able to deal much more effectively with the slings and arrows, roadblocks and obstacles, badass boulders of bullpoop and culture abuse that we confront on a daily basis. For me, it was a game changer. Try it. It’s free, simple and easy. youtu.be/27VgK0LrR3Q David M. Corbin, keynote speaker, business adviser, president of private and public corporations, inventor, mentor, former psychotherapist, and pretty good guy, provides practical, highly relevant speeches coupled with entertaining and sometimes side-splitting stories. His books, keynotes, and trainings are about systems that foster peace of mind and productivity through personal and professional growth and development, offering models for identifying values and mission, and give procedures and processes for bringing them to life. davidcorbin.com
seemingly negative situation - losing a job, missing a flight, not making a particular deal, or ending a relationship - was a real blessing in disguise, a life lesson gift that we are truly grateful for. So I got to thinking: how much time and opportunity is lost in the gap between WTF and OMG? What if we could compress that time, you know, get the ego to take a chill pill and to minimize the recovery time? Here’s what I found really works and what it’s based on. It seems that the autonomic nervous system holds onto previous trauma which is part of just about every human life. Because the trauma is stored in our body, our trigger is shorter when confronted withWTF situations and we have a greater tendency to automatically lurch into negative emotions. All this happens reflexively, without thinking. With regard to any challenge that we face today, we must, indeed, educate our way out of it. We must learn what is causing the challenge, what contributes to it, what it affects, and the implications of not taking action and getting to work. It’s the Face It, Follow It, Fix It model from my book, Illuminate: HarnessingThe Positive Power of Negative Thinking. One technique I came across, quite serendip- itously, involves resetting the autonomic ner-
that you must main- tain the status quo or you will die.That’s it: change equals death, plain and simple. So the ego prompts our body, intellect, emo- tion, and spirit to react and scream… WTF??? And even- tually we come to realize that this
SynerVision Leadership .org I 15
LEIGH ANNE TAyLOR
Adrenaline as a Way of Life
I ’m writing a new book. I’m thinking of calling it Adrenaline as a Way of Life. Or maybe I’ll try Time: There Will Never be Enough of It, So Squander What You’ve Got. Here’s a sneak peek at my main points. E-mergency. Answer all emails at once. Do not delay. Stop whatever you are doing and answer that baby. Adrenaline is My Motivator. Save tasks that are “due today” until the last hour or, better yet, the last half hour of your workday so you will have the added energy boost of adrenaline to help you complete your tasks. Be aHog. Hog the copier. Put off using office machines until the last possible minute, never mind if your colleagues need them. Under-Prepare for Meetings and Rehears- als. That way you’ll find out what you’re re- ally made of. Can you fly by the seat of your pants? Are you great at improvisation? Can you fake it in front of a group? Don’t Bother Planning Ahead; Wait Until the Last Minute. Careful planning is over- rated! Panic provides lots of energy for a task. It’s contagious, too, so if you can get other people panicked about a mutual project, just think of all the energy! Don’t organize your stuff. That last-minute search for materials provides a great panic push, just when you need an extra shot of adrenaline. Run. Don’t walk – run! Run to the workroom, to the bathroom, to your car. Run yellow
Better yet, don’t write them down in the first place. If they really need you, they’ll call you. I wrote this as a joke in a particularly busy season in my life and shared it at a staff meeting as a way of apologizing to my colleagues for my hyper-anxious state of being at work. I wish I could say those things were exaggerations, but they were based on the truth of how out of balance my life was at that time. As I enter my next particularly busy season, I’ll attempt to do things differently, like taking time daily for prayer, exercise, good nutrition, and Sabbath rest.As an experiment, I’m going to take one workday a month out of the office to be still and pray. It’s already making me nervous, but I’m determined to do it to break the habits I wrote about in the book I imagined. As I attempt to regain balance in my work schedule, I hope you’ll be encouraged to do the same. May we be blessed on our journeys. Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor is Minister of Music at Blacksburg United Method- ist Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. She is the mother of Emma and Taylor, wife of Hugh Ballou, hiker of mountain trails, reader of good books, lover of na- ture, and grateful counter of many blessings. She is the co-author, with her ex- husband Joe Cobb, of Our Family Outing: A Memoir of Coming Out and Getting Through . email@example.com
lights. Heck, run red ones.That gets everyone excited! Do One More Thing. Do one more thing before you leave.That will ensure being late. Shallow Breathing. Be sure to keep your breath short and rapid. Mimic panic in your breathing at all times. Remember: you don’t have time to take a deep breath. Run Late. Show up at the last minute or, better yet, arrive late. Increase everyone’s anxiety level! Yell. Yell at everyone when you are running late. If there is no one there, yell at the empty house.Yell at other cars,yell under your breath or right out loud at anyone or anything that gets in your way. Fast. Eat in your car. Even better, don’t eat at all. Being hungry increases your discomfort level and decreases your functioning level, which will force your adrenaline to kick in and do its magic. When you do eat, gorge on foods that are bad for you. Blame. Blame other people, blame your life situation, blame the traffic, blame the stoplights, blame your mother. Blame anything or anyone you can think of for anything and everything. Calendar, Schmalendar. Don’t bother dou- ble-checking your calendar for appointments.
16 I Professional Performance Magazine.com
SynerVision Leadership .org I 17
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18 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Moving Out of Shadow
S hadow, as originally coined by early psychologist Carl Jung, is things about ourselves that we don’t know we don’t know. Shadow is somewhat comparable to our unconscious. It is parts of ourselves, both the golden parts and the not so pretty parts, that we hide, repress, deny, indulge, or justify. These are parts of us that we have no wish to be, or are unaware of being, or are unaware of the impact of, or don’t care about the negative impact of. We’re limited as leaders when we don’t know about our unintended impacts. When we don’t understand our roles in what is going right or wrong, we can’t help things go better, or more consciously and deliberately do what we are already doing to help things go well. Without a conscious relationship with our positive and negative impacts, we are going to be confused as leaders as to why things go well and why they don’t.That’s why it’s important for leaders to have elevated shadow literacy. Here is a very simple everyday example. A leader sent out an email about a specific project to what he thought was the project team. But the name of one of the team members was attached to another team’s email notification list.The leader didn’t check the email addresses before sending them out. So this notification about a particular project went to a bunch of people who were not involved in that project. We make these human errors. No harm, no shame, no fault, no blame. The shadow came in when he didn’t follow that up with an email to the people he had notified who weren’t part of that team, after it was pointed out what he had inadvertently
the unintended impact of not doing these repairs, and he had accumulated increasing resentment toward the leader until he reached his breaking point. It was like the Popeye cartoons, just before Popeye reaches for his spinach because he can’t stand any more.This particular fellow reached the Popeye point, and he attacked the leader from shadow because he was withholding unfinished business toward the leader. Elevated shadow literacy requires much more than those acquainted with shadow often realize. Specifically relevant dimensions for leaders include power shadow, where leaders have a shadow relationship with the power that their leadership role has. They are either in power tyranny, or they are in denial about the power that they have or their role has. They aren’t in the right relationship with the power inherent in the leadership role. Another aspect of shadow is authority shadow, common in leaders with unresolved authority issues. They either have an adolescent rebellion against authority, or they are drunk on being the authority. They are egotists, narcissists, or they are power-phobic, even though they are in an authority role, running away from recognizing the authority that their role has. Another aspect of shadow is archetypal shadow. There are basically five core varieties of power that are captured by archetypes. Archetypes are prototypes of key aspects of what it is to be human in a loving place in the world. Leaders who don’t express the lover archetype in their leadership are perceived to be intimidating, and they don’t know it continued page 40
done. He should have written an oops email: I am sorry to have bothered you. I made a mistake. It was the wrong email address for one of the team members, and you got notified inadvertently about something that isn’t relevant to you. Because he didn’t send out that repair message, he received an angry email about carelessness and wasting time from someone who shouldn’t have been notified.That anger was needless anger. If the oops follow-up had occurred, there would have been no resentment, anger, or frustration on the part of the people who were unintentionally notified.That is the symptom. The shadow piece in this particular leader has to do with a dynamic that is often called special boy. The special boy shadow is where if I make a mistake, or if I have an unintended negative impact, I am special and I don’t need to do any repair. You should give me a pass and not worry about it. If you get upset because I haven’t done a repair, that is your problem. That is all impact shadow. I am in denial about the unintended negative impacts of an unintended behavior of mine, or an unintended role that I’ve played in a complication that has occurred. That is an everyday example of shadow. But the person who sent the angry email was doing shadow withhold, meaning that he had seen this pattern before in this particular leader. He had never told that leader about