Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Now that Christmas is over, organizations can begin to look forward to 2008. Just like people, organizations should take this time to reflect on the past year, think through lessons learned, and focus on opportunities for the upcoming year.

One key resolution I'd suggest any organization consider, is to re-focus on telling their story in a way that really engages their audience - whoever that might be. Storytelling is the one thing that the non-profit world has going for it. For-profit companies pay public relations agencies top dollar to find new ways to tell compelling stories about the products they sell - most non-profit organizations have truly incredible stories just laying around the office.

Use storytelling to your advantage (read more posts about storytelling here) in 2008 by taking the time to create a visually engaging presentation that captures the heart and soul of your organization. Focus on the humanity, vitality, and impact of your organization. Pull the viewer in with images, music, color, voices, and anything else you can think of. Try it out on friends and neighbors - anyone who doesn't work with you - and see how they react. Keep the parts that provoke emotion. Ditch the parts that don't.

Above all - don't be boring. A quote and image from an excellent post by
My biggest pet peeve is boring nonprofit and foundation staff. Terrible PowerPoint presentations from someone from the social sector make me want to scream out “you have the most powerful and emotionally wrenching material out there and all you could come up with is this dry, picture-less, graph-filled PowerPoint about your 10 year strategic plan?!” People make award winning movies about the work that we do everyday, Al Gore’s PowerPoint won him the Nobel Peace Prize, and you can’t keep your staff and board members awake for a ten minute presentation?
January is generally a slow month for most non-profit organizations. Take the time now to do the work of polishing, reworking and adding emotion to your organization's story. It's a great way to start off the new year.

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