Ask More from your Base

Do you know a person, perhaps an old friend or a half-distant relative, who only calls when they want something?  How do you feel about that person?  What do you do when you see their number pop up on the caller ID?

Here’s the thing: you don’t want to accidentally become that person.

All my tips and pleas that you constantly cultivate, steward, and otherwise form a relationship with all your prospects that goes beyond perfunctory (and frequent) solicitation?  It’s all about not being that person.

The same holds true for the folks in your larger base, the folks you communicate with primarily though mass communications and direct mail.  You may see them as one data point in a statistical mass, but they have a one to one relationship with you.  Paradoxically, one way to make them feel like you care about more than money is to ask them for more.  Sort of. Read more

Quick Tips: Wordle

In my consulting work, I spend a lot of time on storytelling.  If you want to figure out a strategy forward, it helps to have everyone who’s involved with your organization agree on who you are and what you do now…and getting stakeholders to tell their personal and institutional narrative is a great start towards that agreement.

One of the things I frequently do after getting a bunch of people to write down answers to a few questions (nothing particularly complex – things like “how would you describe your organization to a friend?” and “what are the values of your organization in 140 characters or less”) is run those answers through Wordle.

Professionally, I must advise you not to take any leadership or strategy advice from Captain Ahab.
Professionally, I must advise you not to take any leadership or strategy advice from Captain Ahab.

People think it’s magic. Read more

Quick Tips: Email Strategy

Email is a great tool.  But like everything, you have to know how to use it well if you want it to be effective.  One of its huge advantages, the very very low cost per email (for most of us, it’s just the staff time spent putting together the list above the sunk costs of having an email management system) makes us a little less cautious about how we structure and plan our mass emails. Read more