Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, the most intriguing and thought-provoking of the more than 100 articles I seem to read every week – all in an easy-to-“click-it” format with links to posts in fundraising, marketing, social media, leadership, change and all sorts of good stuff. I aim for an eclectic array, often sourced from more than one discipline, as I believe we can learn a lot from our colleagues in other sectors. Of course, I add in a few comments of my own.
Click-it: Three Things I’ve Learned From Warren Buffett This was posted by Bill Gates on LinkedIn. The main thing that intrigued me was the concept of watching your “moat” – your competitive advantage – to note whether it’s shrinking or growing. If it’s growing, folks will want to invest. If not? Think about whether you’re growing, staying static or withering. There’s another good take-away too: Use your platform(s) to let folks know the good you’re accomplishing. It seems obvious, but all too many just expect folks to find them and figure it out on their own.
Nonprofit Management and Decisionmaking
Click-it: Calculate Opportunity Costs. If you don’t want to blow your opportunities, you must read this thought-provoking post from Nell Edgington of Social Velocity. She expertly makes the point that when you decide to spend money on one thing you don’t have it to spend on something else. And that can have unintended long-term consequences. An opportunity cost is the value (money, time, resources) of the next best option when you make a choice between two options. Nell suggests: “Opportunity Costs of Option #1 = The long-term benefits of option #2 – the long term benefits of option #1” and goes on to provide several examples to illustrate this concept. It’s a simple, yet very important point.
Click-it: Sacred Cows: Battling Ourselves. Angie Moore, writing in Fundraising Success, reminds us that just because something has always been done is not a justification for continuing to do it. Her perspective is somewhat provocative, as she begins by noting that sometimes nonprofits choose themselves (the status quo, the history, the vision of the founder, the tenured staff) instead of the donor (the critical look at whether the impact being made by the ‘sacred cow’ programs is a robust as it could be). And it’s not just programs that can become sacred cows. It’s also things like newsletters and annual reports. So how do we find our sacred cows and make intelligent decisions about what to do about them?
Click-it: This is the most popular post you’ll read all day. This is an intriguing post from Scoop.it about the most-clicked-on content online. If you want readers to open your blog posts and e-newsletters, you’d do well to read this and begin to engage in “human curation.”
IMPORTANT: Measuring Nonprofit Performance and The Overhead Myth
Click-it: When Sharks Become Vegans. From Roger Craver and The Agitator comes this synopsis of the recently launched “End The Overhead Myth” campaign which follows on the heels of the much ballyhooed TED talk by Dan Pallotta (if you’re not one of the 2+million who’ve listened in, you must). Guidestar, Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance listened. Finally! They paid attention, and have now done a complete 180. Yes, the former preachers of ‘the lower the overhead the more stars you get’ are now preaching a new sermon: Instead of rewarding charities for how little they spend and equating frugality with morality, a growing movement asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). Spread the word!
Click-it Counterpoint: Ten Years On: Are Donors Different? Were They Ever? If we’re not going to measure by overhead, how are we going to measure? Check out this article from Stanford Social Innovation Review for a different perspective on what donors care about and how nonprofits can do a better job shaping their views. Also see the More Money for More Good guidebook, premised on the concept that we can influence about 5% of donations each year, which can lead to a shift in $15 billion in charitable donations.
Related Clairification post: Less is not Enough: Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Spend More on Fundraising (just in case you missed it).
The Clairity Click-it is a weekly publication linking to insights inspired by the 7 Clairification Principles that help you “clairify” your values, stories, branding opportunities, social marketing channels, support constituencies, engagement objectives and resources. Your comments are welcomed!
For more on using these 7 Clairification Principles check out my 23-page Special Guide to Unlock Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Potential with worksheets and exercises to help you reinvigorate your approach to your work.
Photo: Flickr, Isaac Torronterra