Archive for January, 2013

Personal Credibility

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

“I” and “credibility” can’t be separated

by Joseph John

I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at the word credibility and written about it. But sometimes, the expression, “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” really does apply to me.

OK. Are you intrigued? What in the world am I talking about? Well, if you look at the word “credibility” you will note that the letter “I” is used three times. Almost 30% of the word “credibility” is comprised of the letter “I”.

The significance? Because “credibility” IS all about the “I”. Credibility

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else — not him, her or them. “I” am responsible for personal credibility. I can gain it. I can expand my credibility. Unfortunately, I can lose it as well. And if I lose it, I have an extremely difficult time in regaining it.

Credibility means I can’t ignore my responsibility to be truthful, transparent and genuine. IF, I want to establish credibility, then the basis of that credibility is having people believe in me.

AND,

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if people are going to believe in me, then “I” am the one responsible for ensuring that believability by being genuine and up front.

Graham Jones writes about what he terms as “the credibility pyramid” — a very interesting concept. In his work, Jones states that of the four components that comprise the pyramid, only a “… a small percentage of [a person’s] credibility is knowledge…and then if you add to the knowledge base, focus and enthusiasm, you only have half of what makes up [a person’s] credibility. The other half is all about caring and concern for the other person’s well-being.”

Caring and Concern. That can’t be faked. If “I” am not caring and show concern for people, then “I” have no credibility.

In the company I worked for prior to my retirement, we were challenged to live everyday by uttering ten small, but very powerful words: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” Well, that’s what credibility is all about: If “I” am to be credible, it is up to me.

Loaned Executives Reap Non Profit Benefits

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Proven pipeline for quality non profit board members and future donors!

By Joseph John

In one of my previous articles, I asked the following questions: What is your non profit organization’s game plan for recruiting and retaining new board members? Who in the community are you approaching to fill the pipeline for a steady stream of quality board members — and future donors?

Where are the X and Y generations? How can organizations expect to keep boards dynamic and growing if they don’t “seed” the boards with the future leaders — and those future leaders, and in many cases, current leaders in the community, are X and Y gens.

Well, I believe I can provide one method for “filling the pipeline” — and it will pay dividends.

I have always been impressed with several Non Profit Loaned Executive Programs. Unfortunately, many non profit organizations do not have the same local, national, and economic exposure (and clout) that some of the larger organizations possess that employ the Loaned Executive program. However, and let me add another “HOWEVER”, I recently introduced a modified loaned executive concept to a local non profit board. Modifying a template from several non profit agencies in the area, the program was restructured and then positioned in the following manner:

[Please note: I have eliminated the name of the organization and use “organization” generically]

The approach to a local corporation in your community begins with a teaser statement:

Does your company pride itself on being a part of the community? Are your employees not only engaged in their work but also in their passions? Do you see the benefit in broadening their skills through hands on experience with local nonprofit organizations?

We then continue with an explanation of the program:

The purpose of the [Organization Name] Loaned Executive initiative is to tap the expertise of an individual, usually a middle management employee, for a set period of time each week. This person will be asked to assist us in expanding our organization, communicating our vision and mission, as well as providing leadership skills to our board of directors. We are looking for fresh ideas, creativity, and the willingness to network throughout the local and international communities.

And, of course, being the sales people we need to be in ANY non profit organization, we continue with the BENEFITS:

We believe that this position creates a winning situation for everyone: your loaned executive works hand-in-hand with a nonprofit board of directors to hone his/her skills in communication, negotiation and networking with both local and international groups.

In turn, your company is not only directly engaged in the community and enhancing its corporate image, but it offers a unique opportunity to its employees, allowing them to develop skills which can be used in the workplace and to contribute to an organization that provides an array of benefits within our society. And, service work of this nature will be a positive for the employee’s resume.

And then we talk about the joint venture between the organization and the company:

This is not a full-time position and does not require the employee’s relocation or moving from his/her job. It does require a small time commitment from both the candidate and the company to be “loaned” to

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our organization for Board Meetings, special events, fund raising campaigns, presentations, and leadership programs.

This is a high visibility position in the community. Loaned Executives are non-voting board members and will assist the organization in planning and implementing fundraising strategies that aid in furthering the mission of our organization.

Being a Loaned Executive is an excellent opportunity to develop as a leader, network professionally, build relationships with local companies and organizations — locally and world-wide.

And finally, some of the job requirements (not all inclusive) with a call-to-action to submit an application:

  • Motivated, self-starter, enthusiastic, and creative
  • Possessing a true team player attitude
  • Excellent communicator with good presentation skills
  • Computer skills including most common social media programs
  • Adept at fundraising (or the willingness to learn)
  • A persuasive and honest presentation-style for small and large group presentations

The preceding job requirement list is, of course, adaptable to meet the specific needs of a non profit organization.

Finally, don’t forget the all-important final piece of initiating a program of this nature — an additional source of funding from a local company:

A donation from your organization and/or membership fee is required to help

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continue this valuable program that will benefit you and your selected employees

The minimal cost to the company is typically just the corporate membership/sponsorship fee for the organization — many organizations have levels such as a “silver,” “gold,” or “platinum” corporate level. I am sure this program, modified for other non profits, can be a “win-win-win-win” for all parties concerned:

  • A “win” for the company that supports the program and encourages its employees to “give back” to the community — thus becoming good corporate citizens.
  • A “win” for the employee, who gains valuable experience (and lends valuable experience) to the non profit sector.
  • A “win” for the organization that is the recipient of new talent and new ideas. A “win” by always having an ongoing source of positive energy to keep the organization forward-thinking.

And the final “win”

  • A “win” for the community(ies) the organization serves, because it is receiving support that goes beyond the servicing organization.

Employ a modified “loaned executive” program for your non profit organization and you will see new vitality and growth in your organization, an increased pipeline of membership, and of course, future donors.

Non Profits: Is It Marketing or Is It Communication?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

For non profits, the answer is “Yes”

By Joseph John

You know that many of my articles focus on marketing and/or communications for non profits. Board members have a responsibility to “tell the story” about their organization and learn how to market or “package” their organization and the benefits it provides to the publics it serves and the publics it hasn’t yet “discovered.”

I really don’t see how the two processes — Marketing and Communications — can be separated for non profits. Especially in light of the fact that many non profit boards are small in number, i.e., bodies, and are limited in their organizational outreach programs. It just makes sense to combine the two — and it’s patently more efficient.

Marketing and Communications need to go hand-in-hand. As a matter of fact, I believe one of the standing committees for any non profit organization should be a “Marketing and Communications” committee. This committee’s charter is to — are you ready? — Market the organization’s programs and long term goals while Communicating the Vision, Mission, and Values. Marketing and Communications in the non profit arena are one-in-the-same.

When you’re effectively marketing, you’re effectively communicating. Of course, the inverse of that statement is true as your board members embark on fund raising campaigns, volunteer for special events, and speak at other public gatherings.

If you

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look at the word “Communication,” it contains all the letters of how action-oriented (and focused) your organization, and most specifically, your committee needs to be to tell the story to the community:

Commitment, Objectives, Marketing, Motivation, Utilization, Needs, Ideas, Controls, Access, Talent, Initiative, Opportunities, Negativity.

Let me work backwards on the acronym and highlight just some of the important elements of what you need to do in communicating the non profit organization’s mission:

Eliminate the NEGATIVITY and start looking for the many OPPORTUNITIES that are at your disposal. Don’t stifle the personal INITIATIVE and the TALENT that exists on your board and, most importantly, your committee. OH, by the way — remember that “members” of your organization, not necessarily board members, can sit on that committee. Fresh ideas from others associated with your organization, but not necessarily on the board will help with brainstorming, generating great ideas, packaging them and introducing those ideas in the community.

Make sure the committee has ACCESS to everything it needs, and the CONTROLS it needs to measure its objectives in order to carry out its mission. Encourage the generation of IDEAS while making sure that the NEEDS of the organization are met. UTILIZE every resource imaginable to tell the story, while you’re MOTIVATING internal and external publics. Always think of MARKETING your organization and all the great things it does for the community — look for that “competitive edge” that

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differentiates your organization from others.

Finally, make sure you have built measurable OBJECTIVES (benchmarks) so you can check the score, and most importantly, get the COMMITMENT from everyone in the organization that Marketing and Communications are one-in-the-same and are critical for success and long term growth.

So, is it Marketing or Communications? For non profits, the answer is “yes.”