Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday News

I love the Sunday papers! The weekly ritual begins with making coffee, checking on the weather and the tide out the window, noticing the stillness of the house, and then gathering the papers from the porch. Laying the papers out and sorting the sections (in what order to you read your newspaper?) begins the glorious ritual of the morning usually marked in hours and cups of coffee. Sweet!

Each week I get valuable information from the newspaper about philanthropy, careers, volunteering, fundraising, useful (or not) technology. This Sunday, the papers appeared to be offering important information for me to take into my week, information I would like to share with you and others. There was really solid and provocative information for non-profit staff and volunteer leaders--clients of Gro(w)th Coaches--that could be useful. I'll share:

From The Boston Globe: "Picturing a Ton of Carbon Dioxide" was a little article that described a civil action in Copenhagen last week where some activists used a concrete cube to show just how much space one ton of CO2 takes up and to make real an abstract--the human carbon footprint is real. By the by, each American releases 23 tons of C02 into the atmosphere each year!

Imagine you have the entire world's attention for a moment: What does your cause look like in a real, solid, provocative form? What is the image you can create to show individuals their actions (or attitudes, complacency, laziness, action, etc.) matter? What does viewing your cause, your passion through an artistic lens do for you?

Also from The Boston Globe: an Opinion piece called "Mr. President, where is the passion?" that was really interesting. No political rant from me here; simply look at the theme of passion and the importance of having/showing passion when leading. The author says "...being the smartest guy in the room doesn't mean very much [politically], certainly not as much as being the most passionate guy in the room." True.

So in addition to everything you know about your work, your cause, your non-profit's topic, what are you most passionate about? What is the piece that really, deeply drives you? How does this passion show up? As the author asks, what are you "...willing to go to the mat for, no matter the consequences..."?

An editorial in The Jewish Journal delivered a very smart analysis of a very challenging philanthropic issue: generational giving and long-range planning. "Our elder statesmen and women have the assets and limited income. The baby-boomer generation has the income and no assets. Those two groups have to come together and support [the community] financially to their respective abilities."

What do you know (really know) about your supporting philanthropists? What do you know about who they are, how they give, what motivates their giving and how do you match this knowledge against strategic fundraising tactics? If you can believe that everyone has an investment in your cause but they just don't know it, what would it take to make them know it and act (give a gift) upon the knowledge? What if the barrier to making a gift to your cause was you and not the cause itself?

The New York Times had some goodies too. There is a "career posting" recruiting volunteer members of a board of directors! Really. Right next to the postings for hospital administrators and college presidents, the ad "Executive Jobs: Board of Directors" says "candidates should have the capacity to become vested partners in this endeavor, and possess senior executive experience and/or knowledge of the philanthropic and charitable giving community." This charity is going directly to the source--they want executives to volunteer and unemployed or in-transition executives read these ads. Smart.

How are you smart--really smart--about recruiting new members to your board? What is "the source" to which you go to recruit the kinds of board members you want/need? What would it take for you to put away your Rolodex (or palm pilot, or Outlook database, or spreadsheet...) and go to the source?

And if you are hiring, have hired, managing, learning to manage, changing culture, creating culture, creating team, or some such human, relationship, partnership function, here are a few more articles from The New York Times to challenge you:

Check out the weekly column Career Couch: "As a New Manager, Get to Know Your Team" and the article "My Initiation At Store 5476" and the weekly column Corner Office whose subject this week, CEO of Timberland Company Jeffrey Swartz, talks about "What Makes You Roar?"

What a great way to start the week!

And if I can offer you some valuable coaching in the process, give me a call.