Nonprofit Grantseeking Strategies: What Really Works?
Why is “Undercover Boss” so popular? Could it be because most of us feel like no one is listening to us? No one understands our pains and sorrows? It’s cathartic to see a boss, for a change, put himself in the shoes of his workers and consumers. It’s usually a kick-in-the pants, eye-opening experience.
If you want to stand out from the competition, kick yourself in the pants! The folks at Fast Company together with Mike Lieberman and Eric Keiles have brought us a wonderful article about ways to make your business remarkable. In it, the authors note that, fundamentally, “to be remarkable, you must be able to stand in the shoes of your client or prospect.”
To stand in your constituent’s shoes, consider some of these strategies:
- Don’t just sit behind your desk. Visit your constituents where they live and work.
- Witness your organization in action. Visit your sites. Get out into the field.
- Telephone your clients and supporters. Talk to them. Ask for their comments on how you’re doing. See if they have any advice as to how you can be more effective
- Email your constituents and ask the same questions described above
- Engage your empathy; always ask yourself: Where’s this (question; response; action) coming from? What could be going on that I may not be thinking of?
Don’t just stand; walk a mile in her shoes. To be extraordinary requires more than standing still. The aforementioned article speaks to the need to continually innovate in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s a long haul proposition. And I agree. You must constantly take the temperature of your internal and external positives and negatives (I recommend adopting a culture of ongoing SWOT analysis). Yet here’s where I have a bit of a quibble. Because sometimes being in someone’s shoes means knowing when to stopinnovating.
Know when to slow down and have a picnic. Sometimes it’s okay to stand your ground and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Did Steve Jobs discontinue the Apple or the iPad because his competition came out with new, competing products? No. Because he knew what his customers wanted. We don’t have to change everything just for the sake of it, anymore than we have to chase shiny objects just because they exist.