Tag Archives: Non-profit

Only One Day Left!

Only one more day until the story submission of the month is selected. Would anyone like to share a story and join Erik in the running for submission of the month? It can be any organization you are involved with or one that you simply want to help raise awareness of. More human and personal stories often help engage the reader. Can’t wait to hear what you all have to share.

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Of Course You’re a Leader!

Some people feel like making big changes in the world is the job of leaders and leaders are the people who are in charge of big groups or organizations. Somewhere along the line there had to be an election or a town hall meeting or something. As if that were a prerequisite for leadership.

Truth be told, big changes are made by leaders. Leaders are people who bring others with them when they do something. The beautiful thing is that, in our society, anyone can be a leader. Years ago you had to be the President so that people would broadcast your ideas on one of the 3 networks. Today, from the President down to the janitor who cleans up after the town hall meeting, anyone can now spread their ideas and messages to a large number of people.

No movement or good cause has ever failed from a lack of followers. They fail from a lack of leaders. Dare to be the one who is called a leader. Or even the one who moves people toward something without ever being recognized as the leader.

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5 Steps to Fixing the World (you can take at least 3 today)

Since we’ve talked about the 100 reasons not to do something, I figured we should get a jump on doing something good with a few simple steps. These five steps are always part of the process of leading change. You can take the first three right away and you should. They keep many people from ever moving on to the last two.

Identify Problems- You need to start by seeing the needs. Who needs what? Who is in the greatest need? Opinions will vary on this, but that’s why you are you and they are them.

Identify Your Passion- Now you narrow down the problems and decide which one you are going to make a difference in. This isn’t saying that you can’t make more than one difference in the world, just start by focusing on the one you are most passionate about until you get some momentum going.

Solve the Problem on Paper- In order to start solving a problem, you need to know what that solution should look like. Is it a problem that can be solved by sending money or one that requires time and personal contact. It doesn’t do any good to throw money at something that can’t be bought or rally volunteers for something without the resources to complete the project.

Raise Awareness & Gather Resources- Now that you have your target acquired and know what general direction you need to take to make a difference, you can start telling your story and leading people in the right direction. This is where you build a team and gather what you need for the final step. Most of the time, these last two steps continue to work side-by-side as long as the project is operating.

Deliver on Your Solution- If you’re feeding orphans in Mexico, this is where you take the food or money you’ve collected and actually feed them. This is when you send the funds you’ve raised to the people on the ground. This stage looks different for each cause but it always looks like you’re making a difference. Congratulations!


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Word of Mouth in a Time of Retweets

If you take a well written essay and sign your name on it, it’s called plagiarism.

If you take a great joke and tell it as your own, it’s called stealing. (If it’s your joke and everyone is stealing it, you’re probably Jerry Seinfeld)

If you take someone else’s great idea and make a profit off of it, it’s called intellectual property theft.

If you take a great picture accompanied by a funny anecdote and sign your name on it like it’s your own idea, that’s called a birthday card.

This birthday card approach is how people spread word of mouth in our new society. They find someone who is saying what they agree with in a more eloquent way than they could have said it and then they approve and pass it along. Technology makes it easy to spread something in it’s original format. If you can express your cause and your charity in a way that is intelligent, well written and funny (when appropriate) you’ll have people on all sides of the issue digging, liking, retweeting, forwarding and recommending your message to everyone they know. After all….they wish they’d said it.

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Story Contest December

I just want to invite everyone to post some stories in the contest page for December. This is a great way to share what we are doing, whether you are part of a large organization or just moving for a good cause on your own.

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100 Reasons NOT to Do Something Important

Isn’t it always the case? There are always 100 reasons not to make a difference. They run through your head when you consider doing something big and as soon as you mention the idea to your friends and family they will give you whatever is missing from the 100 as negative comments on your Facebook status.

I don’t know how to do this.

I don’t have the right education.

I’ve never been out of the country.

We’re in a recession. No one will donate to a good cause.

…and the biggest lie of all…

Someone else will do this if I don’t.

Victory goes to those who do and those who look down at all the potential problems usually don’t make it to the doing stage. Don’t let the 100 reasons get in your way. In fact, if you want a fun exercise in overcoming the hurdles, just list the reasons you think of and the ones people throw at you and then cross them off with better reasons to do something. I’ll get you started.

Someone else will do this if I don’t.  If I do this, someone else will too (maybe lots of someone elses)

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Anyone Can Be a Philanthropist (and Everyone Should)

Time magazine shared some statistics from DARA on the successful dispersal humanitarian aid. The U.S. ranked 16th of the 23 countries listed. This list measured amounts sent and also the efficient use of funds. What this says is that it’s time for new philanthropy.

In this age of blogs, e-newsletters, and “donate now” buttons, anyone can become an advocate for their favorite causes and help raise funds and awareness to improve the worlds biggest problems. Everyman philanthropy is faster, more efficient and much more socially plugged-in than the efforts of large organizations. It’s time for us to step up and change things. There’s never been a better environment for it.

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Changing the World with the 3 P’s

Changing the world isn’t easy but it is simple. All it takes is three P’s.

– You start with a Problem. You don’t have to provide this one, just recognize it.

– Your first contribution is a Passion to make things change. If you want to change the world, you have to refuse to let it stay the same.

– Finally, you need a Pinch (I know that’s cheating) of courage and initiative to lead the people around you toward a resolution. This is 10% vision and 90% just getting up, moving and inviting people to come along.

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Leadership That Changes Things

I’m really enjoying the stories that have come in so far. They show us that there are differences and similarities in the ways that people change the world.

Sometimes the cause is close to home and fairly familiar to everyone. What’s left is leading a group of people to do something about it; creating Momentum.

Sometimes you are trying to fix a problem that may not be familiar; something international or something people don’t want to talk about. In those cases the momentum starts by bringing the problem into perspective and raising real awareness of the issue.

In either case it comes down to leadership. We aren’t called to change the whole world ourselves and then send out support letters to keep up alive. We’re called to be the ones who mobilize people and resources and lead a movement that creates change. Cheers to these three leaders for their passion and their stories.

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Using Exclusivity to Include More People

Does anyone remember the “Faceback” application from the movie “The Other Guys”? Basically it’s an iphone app that uses a picture of someone’s face to tell you what the back of their head looks like. It’s a joke and it’s meant to be ridiculous but if it were released exclusively for Macs it would be a huge success. That’s because Mac people are a different breed and they love things that are made just for them.

We all have things that are a good fit for us. The less people those things fit, the more specifically they are meant for us and the better they seem to fit. This is the whole sociological driving force behind subcultures and counterculture groups. We want to belong in a group not everyone belongs to because then we know that everyone in the group is a bit more like us than average. More exclusive means more like us.

The lesson here is not to be afraid of being specific about who fits in your cause or your group. You don’t have to cater to everyone or you will end up catering to no one at all.

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