The power of writing it down


inkWelcome to O.D. Fridays at DonorDreams blog. Every Friday for the foreseeable future we will be looking at posts from John Greco’s blog called “johnponders ~ about life at work, mostly” and applying his organizational development messages to the non-profit community.

First let me start this O.D. Fridays post with an apology to DonorDreams blog readers.

For the last week, I’ve been in St. Louis with hundreds of Boys & Girls Clubs from the Midwest and Southwest regions. What an amazing conference with inspiring stories and talented board volunteers and staff members! Hats off to the national staff who planned and executed a flawless conference plan.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for me and this blog platform.

I didn’t post anything on Monday because my ride to St. Louis picked me up at 5:55 am, and I also missed the mark on Thursday because I needed to be in my exhibitor booth at 7:00 am.

Here are all of the things I’ve been trying to balance this week:

  • Writing for the DonorDreams blog community
  • Managing and staffing my exhibitor booth
  • Organizing and facilitating a training track
  • Networking
  • Working with other clients back home who are under contract and in need of attention

For those of you who know me, I usually balance competing projects fairly well. So, why did this week turn out so messy? Why did I drop the ball and not blog on Monday and Thursday?

I think some of the answers to these questions can be found on John Greco’s July 23, 2013 johnponders post titled “Ink It“. In this post, John drills down on the following Chinese proverb:

The faintest ink lasts longer than the best memory.”

Heading into this challenging week, I didn’t write anything down. I was operating with everything in my head.

I am not just talking about the power of task lists and calendars.  This has everything to do with brain science and in some instances personality types.

Now let’s take a 180 degree turn and about-face with this idea.

If you buy into what John talks about in “Ink It,” then what are you doing to encourage your:

  • staff to write things down?
  • board volunteers to write things down?
  • donors to write things down?

Again, we’re not necessarily talking about task lists and time management, which is how I started the post.

What if your board members were asked to write out their personal action plans for the upcoming year?

What if donors were asked to write out their personal stories about why they support your agency? What if you published those testimonials on your agency’s blog or Facebook page?

Would the result be a deeper sense of engagement?

Would board members be more likely to follow through on what they commit to doing? Would donors end up increasing their contributions?

I dunno . . . but if you buy into what John says about the act of writing something down, then these are questions every non-profit professional should be asking themselves.

Have you ever asked donors to share their story in writing? What was the result? How did you use it? What about engaging board members in writing out their commitments as part of a future focused action planning process centered around your strategic planning process?

Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences.

A side note of appreciation

Throughout the week at the Boys & Girls Club conference in St. Louis, I’ve been approached by countless numbers of people asking me about this blog.

Just last night, I was dragging myself off of the elevator on my way to another late night bedtime when a fellow passenger (who I’ve never met and don’t know), said “You’re that blogger! I missed your post this morning.

I just want to take a moment to sincerely thank all of you who subscribe and read this blog. I very much appreciate your time, loyalty and complements.

It is easy for me to get into that “Fred the Baker” from Dunkin’ Donuts mindset of “It’s time to make the donuts.” However, this week reminds me that this blog and your daily work is all about mission-focus, your clients, and making this world a better place.

Thank you to those of you who re-inspired me.

I’m also glad that I’ve written all of this down in ink so that this inspiration won’t fade too quickly.  😉

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on October 4, 2013, in nonprofit, Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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