You’re running out of time. You must do some planning for the year, but the committees - and the stars - are just not cooperating. What's a hard-working executive to do?
It’s time for a paper napkin strategy session.
When "real" planning is not in the cards you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, invite a board member over for a cup of coffee and do some short-term goal setting on a paper napkin as a “first step” towards tackling that bigger issue that you are having trouble getting your head around.
Here are the rules:
Milk and cream: two yummy parts of what a cow produces . Left on a counter for 12-24 hours, fresh milk naturally separates into a high-fat cream layer on top, leaving a larger, low-fat milk layer on the bottom.
Where is this moooving metaphor going? This natural process reminds me of a trend I am tracking in the not-for-profit world.
The not-for-profit world is experiencing similar separation these days. The organizations that rise to the top are doing a better job of communicating, engaging and raising money from their communities. Unlike the cream they emulate however, these non-profit’s aren’t doing this work on their own. More and more not-for-profits are knocking at my door, and at the door of other consultants because they want to build:
This is Ellie. Ellie is a pet Dragon on loan to me from my daughter. She perches on my office wall and helps me work. Usually Ellie is a behind the scenes sort of gal, but I get so much inspiration from her and from the rest of my children’s creations it seems somehow wrong to keep her to myself. Plus, she sparkles--how cool is that???
Today’s lesson from Ellie is inspired by the power of a child’s imagination.
[caption id="attachment_94" align="alignright" width="232" caption="Jenny Mitchell - fundraising writer"][/caption]
Why hiring an outside communications writer is an investment in change
(This blog post is part two of Sarah Banks guest post.) Thanks Sarah. So…if you are the in-house special, does that make me the out-house special? Back to fundraising/communications writing outsourcing….
I work with some amazing clients. Seriously. And every day I am amazed at what they accomplish within a tight budget, sometimes through sheer will power and passion. My goal is to come into their organization and take tasks off their desk: if I’m not making their life easier, why the heck am I charging them for my services? Here’s my take on why you should outsource your communications and/or fundraising writing.
[caption id="attachment_70" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sarah Banks -communications gal"] [/caption]
Meet Sarah Banks, Communications Managerfor the YMCA of Hamilton/ Burlington/ Brantford. My colleague Sarah agreed to guest blog and share her perspective on being an inhouse communications person.
Sarah's Post: The in-house specialWhy a full-time communications employee may be the way to go
We’ve all heard the pros and cons of being a freelance communications consultant but what about the pros and cons on the client side—contracting out communications work vs. hiring a full-time in house expert. My friend and fellow communications gal, Jenny Mitchell has asked me to share my insight on being the latter, as she represents the former. I’m more than happy to do so and take great delight in the paradoxical fact that I’m in my pajamas as I plink away at the keyboard on a Sunday morning.
As I see it, there are three key advantages to hiring in-house. Cost, intimate knowledge of the subject at hand and convenience are the three bonuses to consider. Allow me to elaborate:
Project Volunteer Engagement PART 1 - Please vote
I am on the board of a local not-for-profit that has been suffering from some volunteer challenges – all of our community events are volunteer-driven, and lately we have not been able to find enough warm bodies to pull off the community events side of our mandate.
So here’s my idea: I am going to use my organization’s situation as a source of inspiration for the blog. I am going to propose 7 options, and then, I would like you to vote on which ones you think will work best. I am also going to open the survey up for comments too.
I received an email this week from one of my very good friends. She has three small children and she asked me: "Jenny, are you taking time out for yourself?" She has recently hired a babysitter for one morning a week and is dedicating this time to herself - not groceries, not children's doctor's appointments. She is going to recharge herself by taking long walks, writing letters, quilting, napping, coffee with friends, the occasional manicure. She also included a tasty cheesecake recipe in her email.
My initial reaction was “Good idea, but where the heck would I find time to bake a homemade cheesecake?” Then I paused for a moment: what’s stopping me from making time to bake a cheesecake? I it possible that baking would force me to focus on finishing my most important tasks first – is this a motivational cheesecake?