Are your meetings attended by Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody?

nobodySometimes you just got nothing. It is late at night, and I have to catch a plane in the early morning. If there is going to be a Tuesday morning DonorDreams blog, then it has to happen right now. Sigh … sometimes you just got nothing! So, during times like this, I look for real experiences to share. So, I thought I’d share a conversation I had last week with a fundraising professional in New Mexico.

Let me set the stage . . .

We were talking after an annual campaign meeting about the importance of making meetings “actionable” and “how people have a tendency to hide in groups“. Going into a meeting without a plan can result in lots of great discussion and content being shared, but very little action and lots of wasted time.

To avoid this, we talked about all sorts of ideas, tools, and strategies such as:

  • Recruiting the right volunteer chairperson (heck … recruiting the right kind of committee volunteers)
  • Collaboratively developing agendas
  • Using meeting notes and action items memos
  • Developing dashboards and scorecards
  • Using goals to create urgency
  • Not doing something in a group (e.g. recruiting a volunteer or asking for money) that is best done individually

As the conversation wound down, this fundraising professional said: “It sounds like the story about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.”

I had no idea what she was talking about … so, she sent me an email with this short, cute little story by which every non-profit professional should live his/her life.

I have no idea to whom attribute this story. If you or someone you know is the author, please let me know and I am happy to attribute it. Here it is:

Here is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

A job had to be done and Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, Nobody did it.  Somebody got mad about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it and that Somebody would do it.

Nobody realized that Everybody thought Somebody would do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

How do you live your life according to the moral of this story? What tips or tricks can you share with you fellow non-profit professionals on how to keep meetings action-oriented and productive? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below.

Please excuse me, but I need to run off and catch a plane soon. I hope this short post inspired you to think twice before asking for anything from a group or going into a meeting without a strategy on how to keep things actionable.  😉

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

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 January 28, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great post Erik!

    Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse typos.

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