Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Live Blogging Cause Conference 2010: What young professionals and nonprofits have in common.

I’m listening to the keynote this morning by Will Marre “The Top 10 Questions Every Nonprofit Needs to Answer to Survive” and I’m excited because I’m noticing a common theme with his speech—the importance of branding your nonprofit! Coincidentally, Rosetta Thurman and Allison Jones are currently hosting a live twitter chat for young professionals with the focus “how can young nonprofit leaders build their personal brands to enhance their careers.”

So here are Will’s 10 questions. Try to ask these questions in your nonprofit and with yourself.

1. What problem are you willing to solve?

What are you willing to do? What cause are you going to focus on? Are you in the misery relief business or root cause ending? Successful nonprofits can explain the specific thing they are going to solve and how to solve it.

2. How do you know when it is solved?

How do you measure your program results? What is your emotional story?

3. What is your z factor?

The Z factor is your core way of doing value. The steps you take to create sustainable programs – moving from providing shelter care to empowering inter-city youth.

4. What proof do you have that your Z-factor works?

Anecdotal evidence works, self-assessment by the people that work with you. Document, Document!

5. Is your work going to matter in 10 years?

Is your work significant? Be clear in your 10 year plan your scope, focus and strategy.

6. How much money and resources do you need to succeed in the next ten years?

7. What are you willing or not willing to do to accomplish your mission.

Avoid mission creep, tell me what you are not doing.

8. What is your promise, your commitment to each stakeholder?

Nonprofit leadership doesn’t know how to encourage board members to make a difference-Yikes. Will said that half of the board members should be leading task force committees. Task forces have purpose and a timeframe. Make board members strategic drivers of task.

9. What is your new success story?

Your old story is an excuse. Your new story is a vision and logic of success.

10. Request your board members to answer the question: what is the most important thing for the organization to accomplish in the next 90 days to ensure success?*

Then compile the answers from the board members to determine a common purpose for the organization.

*I want to do #10 immediately because it is amazing about how many organizations that I come into contact with the board or staff do not have an understanding of the common purpose of the organization.

Will said, “The world is interested in extreme expertise at the highest level. What are you willing to be famous for? Then you can create a path to sustainable income.”

1 comment:

Nina said...

This was a helpful list of questions, even though I am not working in a nonprofit yet, it helped me answer some questions. I realized I need to figure out what problem I am willing to solve, which will help me narrow a field in nonprofit work I am interested in working in. It also made me think about my future, and what is going to matter to me in 10 years. These were all really good questions to get me thinking about where to start in the nonprofit field.