This blog will help you win loyal friends for your nonprofit organization. I'm Dennis Fischman, and I approved this message.

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Bringing New Board Members on Board

A nonprofit organization where I used to work was proud that it had recruited the Director of Administration & Finance from a state association to its Board. After a year, he agreed to become the Treasurer. Then, one of his personal friends fell on hard times and used our services.

“Wow,” he said, “I didn’t know we did that!” And “Wow,” he said, “I didn’t know we could do that!” He told the story of how the organization had helped his friend forever after.

A happy ending, yes. But what if he didn’t happen to know any of our clients personally? We would have failed him—because we should have told him a story like that when he came on board.


Communications Media Come & Go. How Do We Respond?

manual typewriter

manual typewriter

Someday Facebook will be replaced. It may not be Ello that replaces it. It was not Google+.

But something will come along that does what users want better than Facebook–or shows them new, exciting things to do–and Facebook will go the way of the manual typewriter.

What should we learn from the fact that communications media come and go?

One lesson is to value what doesn’t change.

If you learn this lesson, you will find out as much about your audience as you can, and figure out what they want to hear about, where, and how.  Then you’ll craft your message to make it stand out, and you’ll offer your audience a chance to take actions you want them to take (whether that’s eating differently, donating to causes, or marching on Washington).

A different lesson would be to keep track and keep up.

Focusing on your audience and your strategy will always serve you–but it may not be enough. If you’re trying to reach people by calling their land lines, for instance, you’re going to be missing a lot of people who exclusively use mobile phones.

You might decide that the ever-changing nature of communications technology means you simply have to keep track of the changes and keep up with the technology.

If you take this lesson instead, you still don’t have to fall victim to Bright Shiny Object Syndrome and chase every new, cool trend that comes along.

You will realize, however, that new technologies build on old ones. Imagine nobody had learned how to work a manual typewriter. There wouldn’t be anyone around today who knew how to use a computer keyboard.  Or, suppose you had a fax machine but no email. Other people would be able to join distribution lists, and you would be left out in the cold.

Pay attention to timeless truths. Keep track of the latest thing. Opposite ways of facing the same challenge. Is there a way to do both?

Does Your Audience Want to Hear Your Song?


You can’t give it away for free–unless your audience wants it.

That’s the lesson the band U2 learned when they allowed Apple automatically to download the U2 album Songs of Innocence to 500 million people’s iTunes accounts without permission.

Many people didn’t appreciate the free gift. In fact, Apple’s move stirred up what one critic called a “tsunami of whinging.” The company was forced to create and send out a tool for removing the album from its customers’ devices. It was a PR blow for both the company and the band.

U2 should have known better..and so should we. Not everybody’s a U2 fan. Not everybody is devoted to your cause. Find your audience, give them what they want to hear, and you’ll have them singing along with you.