Archive for November, 2013

Toss your list of needs: Give thanks instead

“Seeing all assets of a community is like looking through a kaleidoscope: many colored chips of glass fit together in many different ways as you turn the scope,” say the authors of When People Care Enough to Act.

One of the guiding principles of this book we are currently reviewing for CausePlanet is grounded in the notion that we achieve genuinely effective community solutions if we focus on our assets rather than solely on our needs.

Authors Green, Moore and O’Brien would be proud of the students of Lancaster High School in Lancaster, California. The student body recently raised $80,000 earlier this year to design an accessible house for fellow community member and disabled Iraq War veteran, Jerral Hancock. Hancock was paralyzed and lost an arm in combat in 2007.

The entire community got involved soon thereafter. Local contractors, architects and real estate consultants donated manpower, local hardware stores offered discounts on supplies, and inmates at the local prison hosted an art sale to raise proceeds.

In chapter seven, “Building the Bridge From Client to Citizen,” the authors explain that “there is no one we don’t need” in a community. The Lancaster residents are a perfect example of this perspective. The authors further explore the great possibilities with inclusiveness and “seeing with a citizen’s eyes.” The people of Lancaster, California, viewed themselves as equal partners in creating a solution they cared about. When people care enough to act, it’s remarkable what can be accomplished.

Focusing on our community’s assets couldn’t come at a more appropriate time for Americans since we celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Our Canadian neighbors have already celebrated in October but the meaning is the same for both holidays. Thanksgiving commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 and is a time to give thanks for what we have.

Rather than default to your list of needs, I encourage you to look at your organization and community and identify the assets. How does this perspective change your ability to tackle complex issues? What other organizations could be viewed as assets if you collaborate? Green, Moore and O’Brien would say it’s a great week to give thanks.

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Content marketing: canyons, road trips and surprises

“Only 32% of marketers say they’re producing enough content, while a mere 27% think they’re tracking the right metrics,” reports the Aberdeen Group. Kapost’s director of marketing Jodi Cerretani says, “That’s a big difference between understanding that content marketing works for your organization, and making content marketing work for your organization.”

So we all know content is king but the incredible distance between an awareness of its importance to making content work for your organization feels like standing on one rim of the Grand Canyon and looking at the other. Cerretani’s quote grabbed me because I sometimes wonder who’s in charge of my day—am I or is the content schedule?

Our currently featured author, Kivi Leroux Miller, knows how to make content work for you. In fact, she’s recently published Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money. Three highlights from her book could really help focus and build your content schedule: her exploration of different communication channels, three categories of content and repurposed content.

Content marketing is like a road trip. There are many routes from which you can choose and you always have surprises along the way. Leroux Miller helps you explore and evaluate all the channels where your content can travel. For example, today, Fast Company reported 10 surprising social media statistics, including: “The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.” “189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only.’” “Every second two new members join Linkedin.” Leroux Miller helps you navigate these channels with current trends.

Leroux Miller also acknowledges you can’t anticipate every surprise so one of the strategies she discusses is how to accommodate these constantly changing demographics and technology in an opportunistic way in your annual plan. I found this passage in the book particularly helpful. Kivi recommends separating your content into three categories: evergreen (long-term content), perennial (content you create every year) and annual (content that adds color). The book’s full text explores this analogy thoroughly and offers a comprehensive strategy.

Finally, I asked Leroux Miller a question related to repurposing content:

CausePlanet: We love your passage on repurposing content–it’s liberating to know you support this strategy. What’s one of the best examples you’ve observed or you personally use that you would recommend to our readers?

Kivi Leroux Miller: I rarely create anything new without knowing how I will use it in at least three ways. Sometimes it’s just an inkling, but everything gets reincarnated at some point. I am always expanding or reworking things I did earlier. It’s a way of life for creative professionals, including marketers!

See also:

Seeing Through A Donor’s Eyes

Social Change Anytime Everywhere

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

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What’s a reasonable amount of content to produce?

This was originally published on Kivi Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Communications Blog on her site, Nonprofit Marketing

I just took another look at the preliminary results from our 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends survey and “lack of time to produce quality content” is the biggest challenge nonprofit communicators are facing, with almost 52% of the 300+ who have taken the survey picking that answer out of a list of a dozen choices.

This begs the question, “What is a reasonable amount of quality content to expect from a nonprofit communicator?”

What’s reasonable for you will be way too much for some and way too little for others. Figuring out what’s reasonable depends on several factors.

How ambitious your goals are. How many different kinds of target audiences are you trying to reach? Program participants or supporters or both? And with how many different messages and calls to action? How quickly and to what extent are you trying to increase turnout or raise money? Limiting the target audiences and the things you want them to do (your calls to action) is the first thing I recommend to overworked communications staff because these two factors have such a huge ripple effect on everything else.

The role of content marketing in achieving those goals. Just how important is the content you produce to achieving those goals? For example, if you are trying to establish your organization as an expert on a topic, be seen as the go-to source of news in your field, or build a grassroots network of citizen advocates, then you are going to need to create a lot more content than a nonprofit that provides direct social services to clients who show up at the door primarily via a strong referral network and word of mouth.

The level of resources available to implement the plan. If you don’t have the staff capacity, including time and talent, along with adequate financial resources to get the work done, then your goals are unreasonable. Plain and simple. Too many nonprofits create pie in the sky plans that they don’t back up with resources. That often creates negative situations where (1) everyone knows the plan is a farce, and so there is little accountability for anything or (2) people are essentially branded as failures even when they do their very best work. It’s certainly fine for a plan to have”stretch” goals, but only if everyone understands the difference between stretching and breaking.

The difficulty of the topic and the storytelling. Some nonprofits do really complicated, technical work that takes awhile to understand and translate into plain English. Others do highly personal work that requires a very careful, deliberate touch. In certain fields and in certain situations, it simply takes longer to tell the story. This is especially true if your communications staff members are not really fluent on the program side of things.

I know, I still haven’t answered the question: What’s a reasonable amount of content?

Here’s one example of what feels like a reasonable list of work for one generic communications person, not including all the other stuff that comes along with a full-time job, like attending meetings or conference calls that are only tangentially related to work, all the various reporting you have to do, dealing with incoming calls and email, office drama, fire drills(real and imagined), your turn to clean the lunch room, etc.

This assumes a good deal of repurposing of content between channels.

    A monthly e-newsletter

    Print communications, 4–6 times a year (maybe a short newsletter, or event marketing, or an appeal letter)

    Blog or website update, weekly

    Social media updates, at least once a day

    An annual report

    A few special projects over the course of the year (e.g. producing a special report or guidebook).

    See also:

    Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause and Raising More Money

    The Nonprofit Marketing Guide


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    Keys to changing organizational habits

    Frequently, La Piana Consulting has the privilege of supporting our strategic restructuring and strategy development clients through the implementation phase of the engagement. Reactions of managers, staff, board members and other internal stakeholders to the inevitable changes that this phase brings range from excitement, anticipation, and a sense of renewal to fatigue, apprehension, fear and resistance. While all these reactions are within the realm of normal, the challenge is to corral and manage them constructively to maintain forward momentum.

    The Comfort of the Familiar

    One of the greatest impediments to moving forward after restructuring or adopting a new business strategy is organizational entrenchment in old habits—the source of comfort, familiarity and certainty that ensures homeostasis and predictability. We’ve all heard the protestations in defense of “the way we’ve always done it” and witnessed behavioral resistance to change, whether covert and passive or overt and subversive. No matter how normal and anticipated, an organization’s penchant for clinging to familiar habits presents the most challenging and critical aspect of the implementation phase.

    By definition, restructuring and/or adopting a new strategic direction are systemically disruptive phenomena. Yet disruption can be positive and can be channeled in creative and transformative ways in spite of the discomfort, fear and defensiveness that sometimes accompany it.

    Motivation for Change

    I belong to a LinkedIn discussion group, Organizational Change Practitioners, that is a continuous source of great insights, wisdom and shared experience. As much as I have learned from my colleagues in that group, I am nevertheless struck, and sometimes bemused, by the number of discussions that focus on “making” change happen, whole-systems culture change initiatives and top-down change. With all due respect, I fear that we sometimes mistake the trees for the forest. The process of successfully effecting change in organizations cannot be an edict from on high, nor can it be magically created by external consultants or willed into being by managers. It must begin as a small-scale, localized movement that is driven by intrinsically motivated stakeholders.

    I recently came across a Harvard Business Review blog that makes the compelling case for a ground-up approach to changing organizational habits. The post, To Change the Culture, Stop Trying to “Change the Culture,” explains that sustained organizational culture change happens as a result of small, incremental, successful, and visible employee-driven improvements which provide the foundation for system-wide replication.

    How Shift Happens

    Jeffrey Hiatt, author of the widely acclaimed ADKAR® approach to change management in organizations and founder of Prosci Change Management Learning Center, advances a similar approach. In his model, the critical factors that change behaviors, and thus habits, in organizations are Awareness of the need for change, Desire to support and participate in the change, Knowledge of how to change, Ability to implement the required skills and behaviors, and Reinforcement to sustain the change. It is a process of winning hearts and minds, one employee at a time.

    Finally, and most importantly, trust and respect are necessary antecedents to shifting behavior and loosening the hold of old organizational habits. By honoring traditions and organizational artifacts while making the case for change and by attending to the ADKAR principles, shift happens. It is an incremental process of planting seeds of change, gaining traction through ownership, building momentum through small wins, and reinforcing change through rewards and incentives.

    See also:

    Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

    The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive

    Building Nonprofit Capacity: A Guide to Managing Change Through Organizational Lifecycles

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    Are assumptions driving your content strategy?

    A teen employee at one of Goodwill’s Florida outlets was charged recently with theft and jailed for giving discounts to the store’s poorest patrons. Andrew Anderson explained Goodwill “is a giving and helping company” so he wanted to extend that philosophy to customers with the greatest need. Four days later, after determining Anderson’s actions were not for personal gain, Goodwill dropped its charges.

    Life is full of decisions made without all the facts. On the surface, Goodwill saw an employee taking money from the store. After talking with Anderson and learning more, they realized his methods, although unusual, were done with a good motive and ultimately consistent with Goodwill’s mission.

    While not as dramatic as this Goodwill story, the same can be said of our decisions about communicating with donors and friends. We don’t always consider all the pertinent facts. Too often, nonprofits base their communications efforts on dated assumptions about the market, preferred channels, donor preferences and content relevancy. This can turn away donors and supporters central to your cause.

    Kivi Leroux Miller addresses this issue in her new book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money.

    Today as nonprofit leaders and communicators, we have four divergent generations to connect and contend with appropriately. We’ve experienced dramatic marketing shifts in the way our constituents consume information. Our inboxes, social media networks, screens and mailboxes are exploding with marketing messages so that it’s become necessary to do what we should have done to begin with: share relevant and valuable information so we attract versus target people who care about our causes.

    Without the benefit of a multichannel communications plan like Leroux Miller’s, your organization becomes one of those causes that pushes out mass-messaging in a variety of unplanned channels and hopes that a few calls to action land in receptive hands.

    We can no longer afford to repel our audiences with a one-size-fits-all messaging. Leroux Miller defines superior content marketing as:

    “Creating and sharing relevant and valuable content that attracts, motivates, engages, and inspires your participants, supporters, and influencers to help you achieve your mission.”

    We found Kivi’s last section in her book particularly helpful: “What You Need to Know About the Channels You Choose.” Leroux Miller provides you with an incredible service in this part by analyzing each communication channel: how it’s different from others, how to use it well and how to avoid pitfalls.

    Her recommendations are so specific that only reading them can do them justice. However, some overarching themes emerge. Some of the do’s include:

    using enticing subject lines/hooks

    making your content skimmable

    researching the right amount for your audience and the channel

    testing/experimenting with each channel

    We asked Kivi to introduce her book to you so you can learn more about how it can help your cause:

    CausePlanet: Hi, Kivi. Many thanks for the much-anticipated book about content management. What would you most like readers to know about how your book uniquely adds to the body of work on this topic?

    Leroux Miller: Nonprofits are trying to change the world–and that’s hard! That’s why I believe content marketing in the nonprofit world is much harder than in the for-profit world but also potentially more powerful, too. It’s all about making strong connections with participants, supporters and influencers and showing how relevant your organization is to their lives so they’ll help you change the world. This book is for and about nonprofits and how they use content; it’s not just slapping business advice on to the nonprofit world.

    See also:

    The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

    Seeing Through A Donor’s Eyes

    Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding



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    Do you need an advisory board? Benefits and considerations: Part I

    Someone the other day said to me, “I’ve served on advisory and regular boards, and I’m familiar with both.” But as she continued, I realized the difference between the two was muddled in her mind. It occurred to me this might be a common predicament since, well, a board is aboard is a board, or so it may seem…

    In fact, there are different types of boards with different functions and compositions. Understanding the differences is the first step to knowing whether a given nonprofit should have a particular board or not.

    The advisory board’s role and function are distinct from the governing (a.k.a. “regular”) board. Simply put, the advisory board’s role is, as its name implies, to advise; where the advisory board advises, the governing board decides. So, while advisory boards are a particularly useful entity in the nonprofit world, they are optional. The governing board, of course, is not.

    If your nonprofit is considering an advisory board, here are some useful questions to address:

    1) Should our nonprofit have one? Is our organization sufficiently stable and mature to manage both the governing board and an advisory board?

    2) If so, what is the specific role an advisory board should play in our particular nonprofit–what exactly do we need advice on?

    3) How should the advisory board operate and with what expectations?

    4) And conversely, what should advisory board members expect from the nonprofit in return?

    5) Finally, who should be on it and for how long?

    Following is some guidance to aid in addressing each of these questions.

    First, should your nonprofit have an advisory board?

    In theory, there isn’t a nonprofit that wouldn’t benefit from an advisory board. All organizations need good advice and a great cadre of people from whom to get it when needed. Sounds simple enough.

    However, it should go without saying that a nonprofit’s governing board is its first priority. If there’s any doubt about the nonprofit’s ability to develop and consistently maintain a great governing board, it certainly is not time for an advisory board.

    That said, even if the nonprofit’s position is stable enough to consider an advisory board, there is another aspect to the advisory board’s role that adds to the complexity of what looks like a simple question. That aspect is credibility.

    A good advisory board is made up of people who are well-known and are recognized experts in some aspect of the nonprofit’s work. For example, a world-renowned conductor or musician would make an excellent advisory board member of a symphony or opera company. In this way, advisory board members not only offer great advice, resources and connections, they also add to the nonprofit’s credibility–-they help demonstrate by lending their name to the nonprofit’s website, letterhead, etc. that the organization is itself savvy and connected.

    Nonprofit-Know How by Rebecca Reynolds

    The individuals who are ideal candidates for advisory boards are hopefully influential, in demand and therefore, busy. Because of this, advisory boards place an additional and in some ways, heightened demand on the nonprofit’s time and attention that the nonprofit must be able to meet for the advisory board to be effective. Not only will the nonprofit need to have connections in the arenas where this caliber of individual is found, it will also need the experience to successfully interact with these individuals.

    All advisory board members don’t have to be CEOs of major corporations, senators or international celebrities, although names like this do help, but to be on an advisory board the individual should have the credentials and position to be of real benefit as both an advisor and credibility enhancer to the nonprofit.

    Therefore, the nonprofit will need a certain maturity to ensure the advisory board serves its purpose. Small nonprofits or startups may not yet be in the position to structure, populate and interact with a board of advisors in addition to its governing board. Recognizing this upfront is the first step to developing such readiness. Once this readiness is in sight, it’s time to move to question two.

    What is the specific role an advisory board should play in our particular nonprofit?

    The most important thing a nonprofit can do to ensure the success of its advisory board is define the role and expectations in advance of inviting individuals to join it. This is important for several reasons: First, all groups being formed on behalf of the organization function more effectively if expectations are clear from the outset. And second, without clear expectations, potential advisory members will either be unclear and unimpressed or worst case, may take it upon themselves to assume a role that is inappropriate for the nonprofit. And finally, since the advisory board differs substantially from the governing board, it is especially important to make the role and function of this new body clear to the entire organization.

    The best way to do this is to officially charter the group. The charter is the document that outlines roles, responsibilities and expectations. Don’t let the idea of a “charter” overwhelm you: It’s basically a job description for a group. There are plenty of samples to be found on the Internet, but your organization can always create a simple charter based on your job description format.

    When developing the charter, describe the role of the advisory board (to advise on matters such as…), its function (why it’s needed, what benefits the nonprofit will derive from it) and the expectations of it. In determining what exactly your nonprofit needs advice on, remember to think big. Look for strategic areas the nonprofit is planning to develop that it may not currently have expertise on, such as facility expansion or a new geographical service market. After all, the advisory board is made up of people with substantial experience and contacts, people ideal to help the organization reach its next level of greatness!

    This is Part I of a two-part article on advisory boards. Next time we’ll cover questions three through five: the expectations of advisory board members, including if they should meet and make financial contributions. We’ll also discuss what advisory board members should expect from the nonprofit and more.


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    Controversial fundraiser: A lesson in board recruitment?

    A Texas-based hunting group called the Dallas Safari Club is announcing a fundraiser to “save the black rhino” by auctioning a hunting permit to kill a black rhino, according to yesterday’s article in the International Business Times. Ben Carter, the Club’s director, insists the permit will raise $500,000 in support of conservation of this endangered species in Namibia.

    If this controversial story gave you pause like it did for me, we can only imagine what board questions might have surrounded this fundraising discussion. Does the end justify the means? What message are we sending our members? Can we afford harmful press if we’re raising hard-to-raise funds for an obscure species? Even these plausible questions sound ridiculous when looking from the outside in.

    What kind of decision-makers do you have?

    Reflections on this (perhaps fictional) board meeting reminded me of an interview question I asked of our recently featured governance expert and author, Cathy Trower. I prompted Trower about board composition, which elicited a very helpful answer about the importance of considering the group dynamics you have when recruiting board members as well as factoring in upcoming projects where you may need devil’s advocates, consensus-builders, divergent thinkers and more.

    How might the board’s decision-making process for the Dallas Safari Club have changed if the nominating committee recruited members based on Trower’s recommendations below? How would a devil’s advocate have changed the course of this fundraising idea? How would discussing the club’s goals and future work affect the decision? How might some of the most important decisions made about your organization’s future improve if your board adopted Trower’s criteria?

    CausePlanet: Cathy, will you explain why effective board composition involves more than professional expertise?

    Trower: First, if we only consider professional expertise when selecting board members, we could overlook the quality of thinking that someone might add, regardless of his/her profession. And, we may inadvertently signal that the expertise a person brings (e.g., financial, legal, real estate) is what is wanted from him/her for his/her board service–almost inviting the person into that operational domain.

    By saying this, however, I don’t want to imply that nonprofit board members do not and should not bring that expertise to bear pro bono, just not be limited in that direction or see it as their personal charge (which can add angst to the professional staff’s jobs working as liaisons to various committees or feeling second-guessed). Board members have to keep in mind that when it comes to the nonprofit they serve, they are the part-time amateurs overseeing the work of the full-time professionals.

    Consider your group dynamic. What kind of team players do you need?

    Second, nonprofits should consider the group dynamic when selecting new board members, as I discuss in chapter four. Will this person add to the team we have assembled in a positive way? Is the person a team player? What is the mix, for example, of consensus-builders and devil’s advocates, divergent and convergent thinkers, idealists and pragmatists on the board?

    What kind of board work is on deck?

    Third, it is wise to also think about the work ahead of the board in the next several years when we consider potential board members. For example, are we entering into an era of increased regulation? Is new product and program development going to be critical? Are technology and delivery systems changing for us? The better we understand what lies ahead, the better we will do selecting people with experiences most appropriate for our boards.

    Author interview with governance expert Cathy Trower:

    Give your board new direction and results by learning more about Trower’s Practitioner’s Guide on three proven spheres of leadership – register for our live interview with Cathy Trower on December 12.

    See also:

    The Board Game

    The Ultimate Board Member’s Guide

    The Nonprofit Leadership Team

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    Diverse relationships: the path to systemic change

    A relationship built around a film

    Soon after the Trayvon Martin verdict, I sat in a darkened movie theater with a mixed age and gender audience of predominantly, but not exclusively, people of color, watching “Fruitvale Station.” This powerful and highly acclaimed film clearly had drawn a group of people who related to or were curious about the subject matter. Some may have been intrigued by very thoughtful reviews on National Public Radio or urged to attend by a respected colleague. Regardless of the individual reasons that brought us all there, as the credits rolled and the lights came up, we all continued to sit in our seats, somehow connected by the anonymous shared experience. The theater crew stood by patiently as weeping strangers exchanged tissues across the rows, wiped their eyes and slowly filed out. No words were spoken. However, a sense of relationship now existed between us as we dispersed and considered the film’s impact on our individual beliefs and actions.

    “Fruitvale Station” has since quietly disappeared from theaters. And, I am not writing a movie review. (Although, I urge you to see this excellent film.) Stay with me…

    The importance of relationships

    Years ago, I wrote for CausePlanet about my personal passion for systemic change. I spoke of my inclination to try to harness the moon and change the tide as opposed to throwing in starfish one-by-one, as the iconic story describes. It is not a lack of compassion for each one to whom it matters, but rather a deep desire to change everyone’s course for the best. That passion has not waned. At the same time, I recognize no approach to the most challenging issues that face our communities can stand alone. To that end, today I write about the importance of relationships in the context of individual beliefs and actions: relationships to systems, to communities, to neighborhoods, to schools and to each other.

    Inclusiveness Project builds relationships and moves toward systemic change

    In 2011, The Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Project (the 2009 recipient of the Council on Foundations’ Critical Impact Award) joined Dr. Vincent Harding and the Veterans of Hope Project in sponsoring Michelle Alexander’s visit to Denver. The dynamic author of The New Jim Crow riveted audiences at Manual High School, Iliff School of Theology and Park Hill United Methodist Church as she spoke about the history and impact of policies related to drug sentencing on mass incarceration of black men. One of the individuals in a pew was Barbara Grogan, a pioneer business woman, trustee and donor to The Denver Foundation. Barbara was not only touched by what she learned, but also spurred to relational action. She bought dozens of copies of the book and gave them out to every person of social and political influence she could imagine. At the same time, a local group of residents, law enforcement, advocacy, faith-based, and direct service groups came together to continue the discussion and elevate collective will to amend the devastation of over-representation of men of color in the criminal justice system.

    That was Denver, but systemic work was happening across the country. Officials in several states and Attorney General Eric Holder have given voice and taken action to change laws and practices that unjustly incarcerate groups of people—leaving broken lives, families and communities in their wake. I celebrate these shifts in the tide. And, I believe those systems can be fraught with undercurrents and the tides can change. I also know the re-entry of individuals from prisons to productive lives will require the support of those who, like the starfish I mentioned in my years-ago column, help their neighbors one-by-one.

    Today, I grieve again as I read headlines of events or circumstances within our global and local community. We can’t legislate or enforce the elimination of the effects of trauma, injustice, hate, poverty, intolerance, incarceration and violence.

    Other ways The Denver Foundation builds relationships

    What can we do? The Denver Foundation has spent years investing in the work of inclusiveness and resident engagement through the Inclusiveness Project and Strengthening Neighborhoods. Our new ten-year strategic plan calls for us to become champions of change for those who are most vulnerable and to help our community build racial, ethnic and economic equity. At the same time, we are working with cadres of leaders who are often unseen and unsung but work diligently daily for the common good. These members of our community are young, old, people of color, allies, of varying abilities, LGBTQ, residents, donors, business people, veterans, refugees, immigrants, and other diverse people who care deeply about our region. They are often the strangers who realize that when we are struck by a 100-year flood or an unspeakable tragedy or just winding our way through our lives, we all must reach out helping hands to support and love one another until the sun shines upon us and we rebuild.

    As a part of The Denver Foundation’s work in schools, this capacity for good is recognized and supported through practices that divert young people from the school-to-prison pipeline and on to graduation. The visionary Unity Council, comprised of multigenerational men from the African-American and Latino communities, meets regularly to reach deep down to their “rootstraps” to heal wounds and build bridges between cultures. Our Basic Human Needs work includes neighbors who help others navigate systems. The Foundation’s partners show up every day to ensure we are all better for their having done so. The interns in our Nonprofit Internship Program share powerful stories that inspire them to become community and nonprofit leaders. Within the Foundation, we appreciate our individual personal journeys and gifts of time, talent and treasure that contribute to excellence.

    How YOU can build relationships

    Nonprofits (including philanthropic organizations) often build relationships and community in the following ways:

    • Listening campaigns that focus on assets, not just needs (Asset Based Community Development)
    • Feedback loops with constituents, residents, donors and partner organizations
    • Development of diverse and inclusive boards and staffs
    • Brown-bags, book clubs or movie groups for discussion purposes, not problem solving
    • Encouragement of curiosity and listening

    Exploring tools to create dialogues:

    So today, my “cause for the planet” is for relationships connected to a belief in the inherent decency of humankind. Those relationships may form in classrooms or boardrooms, on the streets or the light rail, over a seat or across an aisle.

    See also:

    The Power of Collaborative Solutions

    Community: The Structure of Belonging

    Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age

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