Fundraising and Sales
Donor Magic: Getting the basics right

ChangeThis Manifesto: Cracking the Genetic Code

The latest ChangeThis Manifesto is by Anne McCrossan and is called "Cracking the Genetic Code: A New Way Forward For Corporations".  I believe it is highly relevant for nonprofit organisations.

I've been fortunate to meet and chat with Anne at a couple of events in London and via Seth Godin's Triiibes site. I've found her to be friendly, interesting and, most of all, extremely knowledgeable so I was genuinely looking forward to reading her manifesto.

The basic premise is that businesses, brands and communities need to become more 'visceral' (relying on instinct) and 'flow'. Doing this will “generate momentum and growth through active engagement, learning and development.” To my mind, this is something that is particularly relevant for non-profits.

Throughout the manifesto you can see the influence of writers of such as Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell (to name a few), but Anne elaborates on their writings and presents a compelling case for change and a new approach to business.

Do take the time to download, read and share the entire manifesto, but in the meantime here are some of the key points and insights for non-profits:

  • Old business models based on hierarchy and central control are broke – beware the crazed non-profit zombie, who shuns the chance to engage, alienates supporters by not creating a chance to connect and fails to create memorable connections with donors. Perhaps this is why so many donors forget who they've given to?

  • When a person first comes into contact with you the first thing you get is their attention. This attention shouldn't be undervalued. If you abuse it, you lose that person, if you value and nurture it, you get trust and love.

  • I loved this quote about employees:

    “The best evangelists (for your nonprofit) are prized ambassadors, agents of value and, ideally, employees. And if they're not employees, why aren't they? They're the key to future growth and production.”

  • Just having integrity isn't enough by itself. You need what Anne calls 'blatant integrity', that is integrity that goes beyond just holding up to scrutiny, but which can eliminate objections before they emerge. You can do this by embracing opposition and using it as an opportunity to demonstrate leadership.

  • Emotional intelligence (Anne calls it 'being conducive') is a crucial aspect of leadership. What are you doing in your organisation to encourage it?

  • Passion is key. Passion gets you through the tough times. If you're not passionate about your non-profit (at least some of the time), do everyone a favour and leave!

To finish off I'll leave you with a quote that particularly resonated with me as a fundraiser:

“Instead of having a name over the factory door, create a body of people that stand for something. People will forget what you said and they'll forget what you did, but they'll never forget how you made them feel and what you inspired them to do.”