A year later:
Without my own internal revolution
there would have been
no Nonprofit Revolution.
“Bring these issues up publicly and no one will ever hire you again,” colleagues in the Nonprofit Sector told me.
This month, NonprofitRevolutionNOW will be a year old. There are about 4000 readers a week and continually growing. It has paved the way to the creation of Seize the Conversation and BIG IDEA Seminars based on Design Thinking. There are ever-increasing keynotes and lectures.
Yet, this is the last day of the old Revolution. Next week, a new one appears.
This first Revolution began as an experiment. My USC/Annenberg Masters students were posing many hard questions about the Nonprofit Sector as they were working with organizations that served as class clients. I couldn’t ignore the dysfunctional realities they were encountering.
Comments about my age
But there was another reason for the first Revolution’s beginning. Several next generation nonprofit leaders had no qualms commenting about my age and whether I could still be relevant as a marketer. Because they lived and breathed technology and social media, they believed they had the new answers. But I knew that I had experience, knowledge, creativity and wisdom regarding this very complex field on my side. I also knew what was required from marketing to convince people to give their money away. Between the issues my students raised and my personal realizations—-to use social marketing terminology—- it meant I had powerful “content” to put out there. The Revolution became the vehicle. It is ironic that it emerged as an online platform providing me first-hand insight as to how social marketing can and cannot work as a nonprofit strategy.
Through the Revolution I found my own voice, not only challenging the sector, but using the forum to create and suggest new ideas and practices. People commented. Soon influential people chimed in. People were referring others. And the Revolution took off.
Next week, the launch of the first designed Revolution in History
It will be the first designed revolution in History, where design will play an equal role with words and actions. Moira Schwartz who has designed and art directed for Apple, Toyota and Suzuki has become the design partner of the Revolution. (You will see her talents unveiled.) She will also be writing about nonprofit design. Business will be merged with nonprofits, which the Revolution believes is one of the most powerful paths to the nonprofit future. Rob Hanna, the owner of Social Wealth Partners in Austin, Tx, and the architect of the Dell Computer Social Innovation Challenge (which I attended) will be writing on the subject. Jacqueline Jackson will be writing about issues of diversity in society and the nonprofit sector. Mary Hewitt will write about nonprofit employment and be listing job opportunities. You will encounter the work of the other Revolutionaries, who have been contracted for their skills or brought on for advice, such as Xin Cai, Nina Kin, Karan Singh, Edmond Bina, Jacqueline Jackson, Ariel Spiegel and Denise McIver.
The merging of nonprofit and business
In this spirit of merging nonprofits with business, all the aforementioned insights and information will be given away, free. However, the Revolution will also be offering powerful new-think services relevant for a changed world. Its product is the new-era nonprofit marketing approach, Seize the Conversation. There will be Seize the Conversation Design Thinking Seminars for creating BIG IDEA engagement that result in fundraising, advocacy and participation/membership success. There will be Seize the Conversation/Revolution board retreats and training sessions. There will be creative services at a level of excellence that can only be provided by people who have worked in top ad agencies, but care about the nonprofit sector. The Revolution will offer consulting work and speaking engagements.
Like it has in this first year, the Revolution will continue to evolve. This aging guy has no intention of retiring. Not with this kind of knowledge, energy and curiosity. Just like I say to all the next gen folks who surround me in a heated up yoga room, with their tight bodies, “Let’s see if you’re still doing this at sixty-one.”
Don’t miss next week’s post or its link to the new site. Make your comments below.