You Made My Day!

This week has been a tough one. Barreling back into real life post a great Australia trip to work with nonprofit folks there, but doing it without mobility and with pain due to having broken my foot by running from a saltwater croc missing some stairs while away. More on the many wonders of the Australia trip later.

Right now, everything takes too much thought, maneuvering and time. Being the impatient person that I am, that’s really tough. And the fact that my office is the third floor of our very vertical house, and I do stairs crab-style right now, makes life exhausting on all levels. But enough complaining—this is minor and temporary, and I’m so lucky in that.

What I really want to tell you is about two nonprofit communicators who made my day today. I just finished back-to-back calls, both with folks had contacted me on possible consulting work (always a positive) but the upside goes way beyond that…

The first call was with a staff member of a young organization that is determined to find an effective way to quickly convey its focus and impact in a compelling manner via a messaging that connects. This org works at the systemic/policy level, which makes connection even tougher. But I was amazed by the level of thought, realism and heart the staff clearly invests in their work, including their approach to this search for the right messaging expert. That might sound commonplace but these folks stand out, and the conversation was a professional and personal pleasure. Thank you!

That was followed by a soul-stirring conversation with the dedicated founder of an innovative grassroots org in New Orleans. Mr. X had just moved back to NOLA and purchased a house when Katrina rolled in, demolishing his neighborhood including his new home. He quickly mobilized a response based on some previous disaster response experience as a volunteer, and has nurtured a productive, innovative organization that continues to make an impact today (while so many other Katrina-spurred orgs have collapsed). The challenge is that Mr. X has put heart and soul into this work for nearly seven years now, and needs to take the org to the next step to ensure long-term sustainability, possible replication and to enable him—in the long-term—to return to his primary career. So he contacted me for help in shaping an ambitious but realistic marketing plan to move the org from the “tomorrow” mindset to one that sees further ahead and acts accordingly!

The gig sounds great, and I hope it happens. But what I found really stirring is how Mr. X took the bit he knew about disaster response—plus a ton of energy, passion, native smarts, and people skills—and parlayed it into this organization that, although it needs to progress in terms of organizational structure/approach/planning, has diverse income streams (earned income plus donations/grants), is the only one of its kind in NOLA and has made tremendous impact in a city that needs its help!

So I thank both of these folks for inspiring me, for redirecting my attention from the immediate annoyances in front of me to the larger opportunities ahead for all of us. You made my day!

Nancy Schwartz on May 17, 2012 in Fresh Takes | 0 comments

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