You’re put in charge. Now what? Group leader transitions are not without their complications, but that doesn’t mean they have to be difficult. By following a few key steps, you can ensure a smooth transition (think smoothie, not boba) that is beneficial for the entire organization.
The transition period is the time for new admins to prepare for their position while outgoing officers gain a sense of closure as they move on from a job well done. The goal is to maintain a sense of seamlessness and continue the great work that’s already been completed. Remember, you’re not starting from scratch. When done right, you avoid setbacks (which might feel like a chunk of fruit stuck in your straw).We’ve put together three pro tips for pulling off the ol’ switcheroo with minimal disruption to your organization.
1. Maximize your training
Access to information is critical for the continued success of the organization and the potential achievements of the incoming officer. They say teamwork makes the dream work, so make sure new and old leaders come together as a unit to make the transition easier and more effective.
Maximize the opportunity to learn from the outgoing officer by asking the right questions during the training period. Author and business mentor Michael Hyatt identified 20 key questions to ask other leaders to bolster your own skill set. Here are some key topics to inquire about during the transition process:
Additionally, reviewing goals and objectives from previous terms allows transitioning admins or group leaders to update themselves on the progress of those goals, so they have a reference point for the upcoming term. The former officer should provide a status report on ongoing projects as well as current budget and financial records.
To help you build upon the work that’s already done, check out the reports section on the platform, which provides a history of your group’s transactions. You can also see tracking for emails, event sites, and donation campaigns.
2. Make a great first impression
We all know that first impressions matter, so this transition period is the time to showcase yourself to the group. Membership management software is a helpful tool because it lets you access current membership information and reach out to the entire organization simply and efficiently. Use it to send a group email to introduce yourself and let members know about the transition process, upcoming meetings, and any changes the new administration will be making to its agenda.
You can target your email to specific member levels for a more personalized message, as well as use the Smart Lists feature to segment your distribution lists by variable data.
3. Be prepared to prioritize
An incoming leader can get overwhelmed with information overload, so being organized is essential. Updating lists and prioritizing tasks can make the early days of transition less stressful.
Your organization probably already has a list of essential documents you’ll need to get started (University of Texas Leadership and Ethics Institute provides their members resources), but here are some of the basics you don’t want to overlook during the process.
Online document storage is available on the platform to upload documents that can be shared with all your admins. If you’re a new admin user, simply check document storage in your admin portal to see what’s already been uploaded.
Once you have obtained and sorted through these documents, you'll be able to focus your efforts on the most pressing issues as a new leader for your organization. Uncle Ben (of Spider-Man fame, not the rice) said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” You don’t need to be a superhero to learn the value of this lesson.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
As a group leader, you set the tone for the entire organization. It’s important that you stay up to the task by being prepared and making the most of the officer transition process. Maximize the resources that are available to you and build upon the wisdom of past leaders and current colleagues. Orchestrating a successful transition is your first task as a leader, so make it count!
By keeping important documents, reports, contacts, and everything else in one spot, memberplanet simplifies leadership and officer transition. Log in to check it out.
Updated & refreshed since original publication on 12/11/17
When you’re planning an event, are you the kind who likes to roll up your sleeves, set wheels in motion, and plunge headlong into details (logistics)? Or are you more of a visionary, a big-picture thinker who likes to paint with broad strokes (strategic)?
Whether you prefer event planning logistics or strategies, or dabbling in a bit of both, these nine milestones and list of pro tips that go along with them are not to be overlooked. We’ve categorized the to do’s as logistic and strategic items, so you can delegate them out to your team members according to their strengths. Note that the milestones may vary for the type of event you’re hosting, but the general rule of thumb is, the earlier you can do them, the better.
12 months out
Some organizations create separate event pages dedicated to planning for their upcoming fundraisers.
For Delta Gamma Phoenix Alumnae Chapter, this lets administers get a head start for their “Tables that Bloom” annual fundraiser that benefits the Delta Gamma Foundation and its philanthropic endeavors.
Tony Marmo, president of the Ulster County Italian-American Foundation, dedicated to advancing and preserving Italian heritage in the Kingston, NY, area, hosts 130-plate dinners each month to raise money for scholarships, cancer treatments, and charities. Each dinner raises as much as $5,000.
“You have to create buzz,” Marmo said. “You need an interesting topic or speaker – something to draw a crowd.”
Six months out from your event date might seem like a long time, but remember, you can’t move forward in other areas until after you’ve made many of your creative decisions.
2) Invitation (include a calendar attachment and set a reminder/alert).
3) Reminder message.
On your calendar invitation, don’t forget to set an event reminder. Include directions and link to a map if that’s not already on your dedicated event site.
On memberplanet, you have a ton of email features at your fingertips, from templates, to targeted distribution lists, to tracking reports. Use them to optimize every email send.
In publicity, reminders are essential. Digital Marketing Ramblings reports the average office worker receives 121 emails every day. Because emails are so disposable and we’re all easily distracted due to multitasking, everyone needs multiple reminders.
Marmo agreed: “One email sent one time just isn’t going to do it. You’ve got to promote the event and sometimes do it in more than one way.”
The logistics of strategy
We’ve just taken a look at strategy and logistics tasks in planning your event. By understanding which types of planners you and your team members are, you can up your game in any of the areas that need work.
Log in and get started with your next event.
Updated and Refreshed since original publication on 12/1/2017
As a group leader, one of the highest mountains you’ll need to climb is reaching your fundraising goal. Whether you’re planning for a big Greek Week event or something small for a local nonprofit, running a successful campaign requires organization, dedication and clear definitions of your goal. Combining our fundraising features with these simple tips will help optimize your donations and reach that mountain’s peak.
1. Take advantage of online convenience
The whole point of fundraising online is to make it as easy as possible to meet your goal, so we’ve cut out a few steps to not only give you a head start, but also rid you of paper work.
Search for a charity using our platform.
When you create a donation campaign through our platform, you have the option to search more than 1.7 million 501(c)(3) charities and raise funds on their behalf. Any individual or group can raise funds to benefit the charity selected through this feature, and the funds will go directly to them – no accounting or transfers required. Donors will automatically receive email receipts, and donations made directly to qualifying 501(c)(3) charities may be tax deductible (check with your accountant).
1. Hover over Donation Sites on the left navigation sidebar
2. Click Create Donation Site from the submenu
3. Select the Find a Cause module
4. Follow the rest of the prompts to create a donation campaign
Offer electronic payment methods.
Making the most of digital fundraising techniques can help you reach a larger pool of donors, not just the ones who are willing to pay by check or cash. Offering electronic payment methods gives members the option to donate by their preferred payment method, use their phone, and sign up for automatic, recurring donations.
Optimize your page for viewing on any device.
Online fundraising also allows you to share information quickly to a large audience, so make sure your fundraising page is design responsive for optimal viewing on any device. (If you’re using memberplanet, we’ve got you covered).
2. Use visuals to appeal to your audience
Incorporating visual elements, such as video and photos, is an effective way to create a voice. It’s important to not just think about your plan for obtaining your goal, but to also focus on why it’s important. Conveying the “why” to potential donors deepens their connection with the cause and appeals to their emotions, which translates into more money for your organization.
To add photos and video to your Donation Site, select a template to edit, or select the existing campaign you want to edit.
Click the photo icon to upload photos, or copy and paste a video URL in the Add Videos field.
3. Reach out to your inner circle
4. Adopt a social media strategy
We see social media as part of a larger multi-channel communication strategy, which is to communicate with members using the channels (email, phone, social media, etc.) they prefer. One third of online donations come from peer-to-peer fundraising, making it a vital market to access. In 2018, 69% of the public uses at least one social media platform. If you’re still not using social media to fundraise, you’re missing out on a great tool for spreading the word about your campaign in a fast, cost-effective way. Figure out which social media platforms your target demographics are using, and start by engaging them on those platforms.
memberplanet users: As soon as you publish your donation campaign, you can share your site to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself.
Use our built-in URL shortener if you’re on a character limit, or customize the full URL.
To customize the URL or get the short URL, click on the campaign you want to manage.
6. Follow up
Set up an automated thank-you email to your donors to go out immediately after receiving funds. In it, you can encourage them to spread the word about your campaign. Go the extra mile and share the impact of your campaign with donors, staff, and volunteers. Leave them feeling a genuine sense of gratitude from you. This encourages them to participate in upcoming events and fundraisers from your organization. You can easily send an email to all your members and participants, but it’s better to tailor messages to target specific recipients, such as generous donors and key players of your team.
Our platform features were created to help you build a great campaign and maximize donations. Now that you know some excellent ways to reach your fundraising goal, you can focus on getting to the top of that mountain.
Updated and Refreshed since original publication on 3/8/18
Traditional fundraising methods still have their place. However, as the world shifts towards an increasingly digital landscape, it may be time to re-evaluate your old techniques. Online fundraising offers a myriad of benefits and can help you surpass your fundraising goals. Don’t be put off by the fees — here are five reasons why you should fundraise online.
A Bigger Payoff
You might be concerned about the fees associated with online fundraising and whether they will cut into your net goal. It is important to do the research and see how various sites structure their cost.
Electronic payment methods make raising money faster and easier than ever, because, let’s face it – not everyone carries lots of cash or a checkbook these days. With memberplanet’s mobile app, users can donate directly from their phone at any time and easily set up automatic, recurring payments. By offering the option to collect all payment types both onsite and online, you can access a larger network of donors. This will allow you to raise more money for your cause.
Security and Credibility
One of the main benefits of launching an online fundraising campaign is its potential to go viral. This takes you out of the typical sphere of donors and opens you up to supporters you wouldn’t reach with traditional methods. This can help you reach your monetary goals faster and even surpass them. Look for sites that offer a direct link for social sharing from your donation page to maximize exposure.
Note to memberplanet users: Make use of our built-in URL shortener or share on social media directly from our platform to save time and (when you need it) character space. Online campaigns give you the freedom to create a donation page that reflects your cause. Customizable templates and forms let you streamline the look of your fundraising page. You can add photos, videos and other interactive features to increase interest and support, which translates into larger dollar amounts.
Crowdfunding is on Trend
Crowdfunding has gained momentum over the past few years and is only becoming more popular. It offers easy payment methods for donors, makes tracking donations easier for admins and is easily shareable across social media. It’s an effective and efficient way of framing a fundraising campaign.
memberplanet users: It’s never been easier to set up a donation page. Customizable templates and forms let you streamline the look of your fundraising page or marketing campaign. You can add a live donor ticker to monitor the campaign’s progress, as well as photos, videos and other interactive features to increase interest and support, which translates into larger dollar amounts.
Originally published: 5/15/2017
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!” Yet people grow. Things change. Member details multiply. If you're an admin, you know the last part of that equation: They expect you to organize and update all that information. So, before you Thoreau that laptop straight into the parking lot, read how memberplanet makes updating your member database a breeze.
1. Eliminate inefficiencies
Technology should drive efficiency, not the user insane. When you're adding new information, or updating the old stuff, you want your process to be as efficient as possible. For example, many group leaders spend time manually logging data from difficult-to-read handwriting from sign-up sheets at events or follow-up calls to members; with memberplanet, this information can be added by your members themselves. Members have their own dashboard they can securely log in to update account info. They can control and manage their own data, edit privacy settings, update payment methods, and more.
2. Make it easy for your members to update their own account
For some members, logging into their account is a roadblock. Lucky for you and them, there’s a way to make their lives (and yours) easier. You can send a profile update request email from the platform, which allows the member to update their account information directly from the email. Whatever changes they make automatically enter the secure database – without the need to log in. Compare that to chasing members for updates in person, through surveys, or by standard email, where they don't have a fail-safe way to add information. Those options are old school and force the member to remember another password. The less hassle on the member’s end and the less data entry for you, the better.
3. Seize the ideal periods to ask for updates
There’s no particularly bad time to check up on your members to see if anything has changed for them. But there are key intervals you should use to get updates from members.
Is the end of the year approaching? Check in with your members and stay informed of their plans for the new year. Are you making a change to your membership terms or levels, or are you gearing up for a big event or campaign? Make sure your member information is current before taking the leap. Periodic check-ins to see if members have any updates to their profile information, including essential contact information, is a terrific way to keep your data current. Best practices for asking are every quarter, before graduation, and at the end of the school year.
memberplanet helps keep your database tidy
The key to any successful member communication strategy is having accurate, relevant information about your members. The software makes it easy – just schedule profile update requests at key intervals and the member will have a link that takes them straight to their profile. Simplified, simplified, simplified! Thoreau would be pleased.
Start making your database fantastic by signing into your memberplanet dashboard today.
You have a hunch about how your group is doing, but a gut feeling is not going to cut it. You need to look at specific data to see what's working and what isn't. Don't just jump in and start measuring absolutely everything; instead, first focus on these three crucial reports: email tracking, invitation history, and levels reports.
1. Email tracking report
Even the busiest group leader needs to track ─ at the very least ─ email rates. With all the email campaigns you create, it’s helpful to see whether the messages are benefiting your members or … not.
Here’s a look at three email rates to keep your eye on. These key performance indicators (KPIs) will let you know whether folks are actually receiving, opening, and reacting to your emails:
Based on a recent email benchmarking report, the average open rate for nonprofits and associations ranges from 19.32 - 26.4%.
The report indicates that a clickthrough rate for nonprofits ranges from 2.76 - 8.00%.
One report sites a 0.47% bounce rate for nonprofits, although a popular email service provider reports a 9.78% bounce rate for its nonprofit customers.
To view opens, bounces, and clicks to your email campaigns on memberplanet, hover over Emails in the left navigation sidebar, then click Email Tracking Report in the submenu.
For the date range selected, your email campaigns will be displayed with corresponding metrics.
2. Members invitation email history
You've worked hard to boost membership. After your membership drive, you probably emailed prospects to join your group. Did you have positive results? View your membership email history to track who was invited and how they responded. At memberplanet, we consider it a best practice to periodically send out invitations to non-members. To become members, recipients only need to make a membership payment or provide info to sign up for a free membership, if you offer the option.
A membership invitation history report shows which admin sent the invitations and when, who opened it, and if the member accepted the invitation. To view your group’s member invitation history:
On the left navigation sidebar, hover over Members and click Invitation History in the submenu.
3. Membership levels report
Sometimes, in a rush to drive membership, group managers and admins forget to look at overall membership levels activity. You just might be looking at new prospects who signed up for a free membership level, and you might not quite get the complete picture.
Most groups have different levels of membership, including free and multiple paid levels. By viewing a membership levels report, you’ll gain a bird’s-eye view of not just who makes up your group, also the history of each member level. This should give you a better idea of how you can target members on a specific level and influence activity by creating events and content to keep members engaged.
2. On the levels tab, click the gear icon for the membership level you wish to view
3. Select View Members from the dropdown menu
All this business intelligence will help you become a better, more informed group admin. You also can look at other metrics, such as survey results, donations, payments, events, RSVPs and so much more – we have reporting for just about everything on the platform.
Sign into your memberplanet account today and get down to reporting!
Great trainers are naturally great leaders. And by definition, great leaders are those who inspire confidence, strength, and optimism. They are the folks who can motivate their group administrators to reach their fullest potential (and be just as powerful as dragons).
The term admin can be applied broadly – it can mean your committee heads, officers, or anyone you’ve put in charge of tasks that keep your organization running smoothly. As far as training the best admins, a great trainer/leader uses methods that can be boiled down to a few guiding principles, known here simply as 5 Keys to Training Your Group Admins:
For every specific skill or task to be instructed to your team admins, explain first what it is you’re about to share. More importantly, explain why it is important for your group. How does it work in its specific scope? How does it affect the overall team? It’s important to give a sense of the overall flowchart of the group and the admin’s role within it.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
We are all individuals in the world, and personality will eventually be revealed, especially in the course of training. Make time to discover your admins’ own skills and experience. But be sure to recognize their different ways of learning, and be open to adapt to give each of them the answers they’ll need ongoing.
Grow your team admins. Assign sample scenario tasks (e.g. an upcoming social event, or a fundraising campaign or a yearly calendar of projects) and see how they deliver. Let them own it. It’s like the bonsai trees in Mr. Miyagi’s workshop. You have strong roots, and all kinds of cool branches.
Provide support and feedback. Work with each team admin to set up short- and long-term goals for themselves and the group and make sure they know how to use the memberplanet tools available to them. On the feedback loop, too, show them what’s been done previously by the group. Encourage them to find ways to innovate and improve efficiency while building on past successes and the great work that’s already been done.
As well, seek out your group admins’ feedback and listen to their perspectives. Learning is a two-way street, and hearing from them will bolster your own knowledge and help you further educate them.
When your admins are confident that you as their trainer/leader have their back and their interests at heart, they’ll operate at peak productivity, and they will lead the rest of the group way they’ve been instructed. It’s the best way to build a lasting team and community.
“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”
Whether you’re the leader of a fraternal group, a religious group, a nonprofit, or any other type of organization, there’s a good chance that the beginning of the quarter or the change of seasons will mean a time of transition in admins to a new guard. Or, it could just mean that the calendar will be a lot busier, and extra hands will be needed to execute your group’s plans. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the departure of your current group of seasoned officers, or the necessary addition of other capable personnel to the mix – but really, all you need to do is remember a few important things.
1. Plan ahead, and then plan earlier
As any good recruiter will tell, the first step to give your group the most optimal chance of continued success is to give everyone the widest possible space and time to not be caught by surprise. Observe who’s currently doing what for your group at each level of the organization, and then project into the future who’ll be serving in those functions in both the short and long term. While there’s a good chance that folks will already be chomping at the bit to volunteer for new positions of responsibility, you should always be ready to actively look for someone to fill the spot(s).
Recruitment-wise, build in enough time to find and prepare your successors before they’re on the job. Whatever time you think will be necessary to cover the basics and beyond, add in a bit more of a time buffer to the duration just in case.
2. Know the idea, and the ideal
Use your own experience to guide the creation of your own actual list of requirements – yes, a written down list – of what’s needed for the position.
What’s worked for your group in the past? What hasn’t worked? What do you wish you would have known before starting your role? As the person who’s been performing these functions over time, you’re really the best suited to know the “idea” of the role.
Keep in mind, too, your sense of the “ideal” candidate. While no one may completely fit that bill (truth be told, probably no one does, or should be expected to… but they can come in varying degrees of close), you should seek someone who possesses the key traits. Are they good verbal and written communicators? Are they timely in performing tasks? Are they problem solvers and innovators? Do they understand the group’s immediate and future goals?
3. Choose players who’ve played, and played well
The best lead players for your group’s game likely already exist in the group. They understand the dynamics from the inside out, and they’ve also seen how your leadership has played out and helped further the group to reach its goals.
Using your group’s own members and many of the functionalities on the memberplanet platform, you’ve also got some key advantages. You can gauge who’s interested in assuming a leadership position via volunteer sign-up. You can launch an email campaign to announce positions that will be vacant. You can also survey your members about their interest in upcoming leadership positions.
And just as importantly, you can analyze your members’ involvement through the group’s activities, such as who RSVP’d to an event. Chances are high that the best next officers for the organization are members who have been involved in a lot of the group’s efforts, and that will be reflected in a concrete way in their participation.
Log in to check it out.
Fundraising is the act of raising funds for a cause or a mission. And although that sounds straightforward and simple, the act itself can be, well, anything but. If you’ve run a fundraiser, you know what we’re talkin’ about.
But the key to success remains pretty simple: You must create a strategic plan and stick to it.
No matter what goal you’re working toward as a group leader, follow these fail-safe tips and with research, a dab of creativity, and (possibly) a bit more elbow grease, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish!
1. Set your goals
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, you need to take a hard look at the big picture – and that begins with figuring out your purpose. Defining a clear, measurable goal is the foundation of a successful plan. Here are a few things to think about when setting that bar:
It’s okay to be ambitious with your goals, but it’s also important to determine what’s realistic. Shoot too high and you could end up spreading resources too thin. Now it’s time to write the fine print of your plan.
2. Give your donors the option to donate online
Offline (check and cash) donations are still essential for any fundraising effort, but online is quickly gaining ground when it comes to raising money. It’s all about convenience. Every additional step it takes to give – like writing a check, finding an envelope, and rummaging through a desk for stamps – creates the potential for donors to get distracted: Where did I put my checkbook? Oh look – here’s my coffee mug! I’ll find my checkbook later. It’s time for another cup.
See my point? Check out how much funds Wittmann Elementary School raised in its third year of offering an online payment option:
Total PTA Membership Fundraising for 2016-2017: $35,655
Offline Fundraising via Checks and Cash: $8,120
Online Fundraising via memberplanet: $27,535!
(Read the full Wittmann case study.) 77 percent of funds were raised online with memberplanet’s platform. And that’s just one example. The Chronicle of Philanthropy conducted a survey of 100 leading nonprofits and found that internet fundraising grew by about 13 percent year over year in 2014.
Bottom line: If you’re not using online giving features, you’re missing out on a big chunk of cash today, and even more tomorrow.
3. Delegate responsibilities
Shared responsibility is crucial to holding a successful fundraiser, because one person (you) cannot manage everything. Delegate most of the effort so that the event itself can go off without a hitch while you oversee the big picture.
If you are planning an event, designate an event committee to book vendors and locations, and make sure you’ve paid any fees or permits if it is being held in a public place. If possible, research backup vendors and another location in case your first location doesn’t work out. Plan a dry run (especially helpful if you expect a large amount of attendees).
4. Get the word out
In order to conduct a truly successful fundraiser, you will want to make sure that people actually know about it. Create a campaign schedule:
Note to memberplanet users: You can also encourage your members to create their own supporter pages for the cause, which makes their campaign efforts more personal and effective.
5. Execute the plan
With so much preparation, planning a fundraiser can seem overwhelming. But the pay-off is worth it. You’ve worked hard to design a great event, so try to sit back and enjoy the magic. Once the fundraising is underway, make sure that each of your delegated tasks is being tended to. Part of your plan should include periodic check-ins with those overseeing key tasks. The engagement, tracking, and logistical back-work does not end when the effort begins. If you see that your fundraiser is falling short of your goals, re-allocate resources or make adjustments to your goals.
6. Analyze the aftermath
Whether your fundraiser exceeded your wildest expectations – or it wasn’t quite what you expected – it’s important to meet with your team to determine what went well, what didn’t, and what you can do next time to improve. Detailed tracking is essential for the post-game debrief.
7. Say thank you
Thank your team, donors, partners, sponsors, and other benefactors. It’s super easy to use Smart Lists on memberplanet’s Pro and Premium plans to send a targeted email (templates included!) to all your donors to express gratitude. If you held an event, be sure to include a sharable photo album (show the impact!) to strengthen that connection with supporters.
Holding the ultimate fundraiser isn’t magic – it’s a combination of hard work, team effort, strategic planning, testing, and creativity. Whether you’re an organization with 20 volunteers or a 10,000-member medical society, following these rules will put you on the path to success.
Log in to get started on your next fundraising campaign.
Here we are again. It’s the time of the year when we have to start setting goals for our organization.
When it comes to goals, there’s one key question we need to ask ourselves: Can this goal be told in a story?
You’ve heard the adage: Facts tell but stories sell. It’s true in marketing and advertising. It’s equally true when it comes to setting goals for an organization. That’s because setting a goal is just the first step in the process.
After we’ve developed a goal for our organization, we have sell it to the troops. Convince folks that this is an endeavor worth pursuing. And that comes down to good communication skills. It’s a fact. People make decisions based on emotions rather than logic. Whether we’re trying to accomplish a specific task or raise funds, we have to be able to communicate our goal clearly and emotionally to our members and other stakeholders.
We have to bring people on board. Rally our members to our cause and lend their support. Y’know, herd cats.
If we want others to join us on our quest, we have to be able to show our members why ours is a worthy cause. The more enthusiasm we can generate about our goal, the easier it will be to accomplish.
How do we inspire the type of passion that we want from members, the type of enthusiasm that’s going to carry us through good times and bad until we cross our goal line?
With a good story.
Whether our objective is a one-time, standalone goal (think sponsoring a clothing drive for hurricane victims) or part of a larger, long-term initiative or mission statement (think serving the needs of children with disabilities) a good narrative helps us communicate more persuasively with our members.
The more we can connect with people on an emotional level, rather than a purely rational one, the more excitement we’ll generate for our cause, the faster we’ll achieve it … and the more fun everyone will have.
According to Joseph Campbell, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the significance of myths and storytelling, “Everything starts with a story.”
“Everything starts with a story.” – Joseph Campbell
Great stories touch us on an emotional level and teach us universal truths about human conduct. Think about it: Every story we’ve ever been told has had a point to it, a theme. The theme is a lesson about life. Something to which humans should aspire. A goal.
Consider your goal from a storyteller’s perspective
As we set a goal for our organization, let’s take time to consider the goal from a storyteller’s perspective.
Every story has a hero. In our case, the hero is our organization. Every story has a conflict. There’s something wrong that needs to be fixed. Perhaps we’re trying to raise money to send kids to camp. The conflict is, some children can’t afford it and our organization wants to fix that. Every story also has a resolution. In our case, it’s our objective. Accomplishing our goal will resolve the issue at hand and bring the story to its close.
Can we incorporate these elements into our goal and use them to weave a compelling story that captivates our members? The truth is, people have a fundamental need to connect with something larger than themselves.
A good story about our organization and its goals will help bring more people into our tent and enfold them into its larger mission.
As organizational leaders, we must be able to find the narrative within our cause, capitalize on our natural storytelling strengths, and express our goal with clarity, creativity and conviction.
Embrace the conflict
Oh, yeah. There’s one more thing to remember, too. By definition, great stories involve a journey that is rarely easy. In fact, as is often the case, the more conflict, the better the story. So let’s approach our goal with the same mindset. It won’t be easy to achieve (and, if it is, perhaps we’ve set the bar too low).
In most narratives, the hero has a long-term goal that is fed by a series of short-term goals. Accomplishing our short-term goals are the means by which we eventually achieve our ultimate mission. We can think about our organizational goals the same way.
Our long-term goal is usually provided in our mission statement. It is our story’s theme. As you know, our long-term mission is achievable, measurable and time-specific.
Our mission (not an impossible one) then must be broken down into shorter-term functions and operational initiatives. Short-term goals are great ways to identify specific functions that need to be undertaken, and offer measurable results that allow us to chart our progress, feel a regular and much-needed sense of accomplishment, and move us further along the narrative toward our ultimate goal.
And it’s that sense of accomplishment – of fighting for a cause, righting a wrong, creating a better tomorrow – that creates the pride and emotional connection that will keep our protagonists (members) coming back for more.
So when it comes time to set a goal for your organization, be bold, creative and inspiring. Identify the story inherent within your mission and use it to assemble your short- and long-term goals. In the end, the goals you set today will become the stories your members live tomorrow.
Let’s make them exciting ones!
Have a goal in mind? Our event and donation sites (templates included!) make it easy to tell your story.
Originally published December 16, 2016, updated December 21, 2017.