Engagement

Less Than 60 Seconds

What would you say if you had sixty seconds to share why a good acquaintance should join a cause you are supporting? Would you talk about the benefits of being a supporter, the impact to those who receive the services, the problems solved, or the emotional feeling of serving with purpose? Do you have numbers prepared to demonstrate impact, a story that amplifies the organization’s work, or a pitch about how essential your friend’s role would be in the cause?

In my experience, there is no perfect persuasion. I have been told that for every hour of my service, there is a higher likelihood that another individual will obtain greater health/education/safety/higher earnings. I have been told that every dollar I commit will be doubled or exponentially matched. I have been told that this group needs my talents and is ready to launch. I have been told stories that the storyteller cannot finish because they get choked up. I have been shown charts and graphs that make an essential case for support.

Sometimes I say yes; sometimes, I say no. It may be about the enterprise; it may be about me; it may be about my affinity for the asker or the individuals being served. It may be the level of commitment demonstrated by the board and staff. I have attended meetings thinking I am committed to saying yes, and the request to enroll significantly concerned me. I have attended meetings as a courtesy with no intention of signing up and found myself completely embedded in the work that matters.

Sixty seconds and no certainty that our request to join the cause will resonate. But if we believe, we ask and are comfortable with the results. What if we ask authentically and celebrate an convincing answer?

Exposing Our Critical Infrastructure

Making the inner workings of our organizational visible might be more revealing than professionally polished inspiration. As a former fire fighter, almost everyone who peeked into the fire department’s open bay doors was glad to be offered a tour. Their curiosity to see the fire engines, ambulances, emergency response equipment, and fire fighters in person enhanced their appreciation for the responsibility of the fire service.

How might we provide behind the scene tours that provide greater depth and dimension to our work. How might we engage our community with an authentic show-and-tell moment?

Measuring Productivity to Inspire?

First, try this productivity exercise posted by the New York Times.

What is your reaction to this monitoring system? Does it inspire? Does it connect you to the work? Does it provide motivation and accountability? Is there a hybrid version you would prefer? Is it relevant? Does it empower and build trust?

I am curious where platforms like this will land in the social sector workplace?

Different Purpose

Viewed from the base, a ski area has a specific layout. Observed from above, and the terrain appears different. Ski areas are designed for skiers, however they can provide interest even for those who are not skiing.

Perhaps it is worth remembering that not everyone who benefits from our organization comes through the front door. Many a cathedral has been celebrated from the outside without engaging in the religious ecosystem that flourishes inside.

Unconnected

If we are not meaningfully connected to individuals who want to hear from us, then even our most remarkable stories are lost in transmission. Daily, we delete inspired content in order to manage our inbox. Then we turn around and send out unsolicited requests for others to engage with us. We believe that if we have your contact information you might be ready to act on our behalf. What if we created a community of individuals who could signal us That they were willing to hear our stories? Consider our own habits. Which messages do we read the moment they are received? How did those senders create trust and permission to interact with you? What if we did the work that matters to create engagement with those that might want to hear from us?