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Creating Change from Spare Change

The various social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, blogs, more) offer lots of ways to build out communications for community benefit (aka nonprofit) organizations. Remember when your group got started? Maybe it’s been around too long for current leaders (staff, board) to remember, but at some point there was something missing in the community. So, this is the USA, and we love to get together to right the wrong or forge the missing link or put on the show. So, we form a nonprofit and apply for tax exempt 501(c)(3) status.
And as our group grows, raising some money, making new friends, fighting the good fight, parameters take hold (federal/state/local law, by-laws, accounting standards, ethics, etc) and calcification sets in.
Of course, we need to play like good boys and girls and obey laws.
But we need to figure out how to keep that innovative, revolutionary spark kindled that was there at the outset. How can we overcome the needs of the bureaucracy to keep things as they are and get those creative juices flowing so we might achieve the impossible?
Here are a few things to keep some forward motion:

  • Commit to reaching out to bring new voices and ideas coming in.
  • Activate the commitment by using Twitter, Facebook, blogging.
  • Keep the rules of the road in mind, but loosen up the reins so there’s a free flow if ideas.

Identify allies on the board of directors who are open to the new. Who know change is the green energy source that helps attract the resources you need to make the mission a reality. Without energy, the mission is dead in the water.

Jordan Viator, writing for Connection Cafe (, quotes Seth Godin, a bright light on social media:

“Take a look at the top 100 twitter users in terms of followers. Remember, this is a free tool, one that people use to focus attention and galvanize action. What? None of them are non-profits. Not one as far as I can tell. Is the work you’re doing not important enough to follow, or is it (and I’m betting it is) paralysis in decision making in the face of change? Is there too much bureaucracy or too much fear to tell a compelling story in a transparent way? …..Where are the big charities, the urgent charities, the famous charities that face such timely needs and are in a hurry to make change? Very few of them have bothered to show up in a big way. The problem is same as the twitter resistance: The internet represents a change. It’s easy to buy more stamps and do more direct mail, scary to use a new technique…Please don’t tell me it’s about a lack of resources. The opportunities online are basically free, and if you don’t have a ton of volunteers happy to help you, then you’re not working on something important enough. The only reason not to turn this over to hordes of crowds eager to help you is that it means giving up total control and bureaucracy. Which is scary because it leads to change.”

So, what do you think? Is this ringing a bell for you?

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