Be Fearless to Foster Social Change


“In 2012 and beyond, inspired by the challenges we face and the opportunities we are afforded, we’re officially declaring our intention to Be Fearless in all that we do … in our approach to philanthropy, social change, and social good – and we hope you’ll join us in this journey.” Jean & Steve Case, Case Foundation founders

I am a founding trustee of an organization committed to lasting social change in the lives of women and girls in the Jewish community.

I feel privileged to be involved. I know that pooling resources, energy and ideas is a smart way to have impact.

So, I would like to share with you the Five Values of Fearless Changemakers from the Case Foundation introduced during our last meeting.

  • Make Big Bets and Make History. Set Audacious, not incremental, goals. Is your organization one that looks to what has worked in the past so you can do more of the same and feel safe? Why not set “big, hair, audacious goals” for yourself as described by Jim Collins & Jerry Porras in Built to Last.
  • Experiment Early and Often. Don’t be afraid to go first.  We are living in a nanosecond world. You must experiment to respond creatively. And, you need to communicate to your audiences to keep them engaged in your initiatives.
  • Make Failure Matter. Failure teaches. Learn from it. Innovation always carries the risk of failure. Wear it. Celebrate what you’ve learned and move forward. Follow  what Lucy Bernholz calls Failing Forward.
  • Reach Beyond Your Bubble. It’s comfortable to go it alone. But innovation happens at intersections. Sticking with the tried and true stifles innovation. How does your organization the challenges of innovation? Don’t forget the African Proverb – “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 
  • Let urgency Conquer Fear. Don’t over- think and over-analyze. And, in the words of Nike, “Just do it!”

Do you have additional characteristics of what it takes to be a Fearless Changemaker that you would like to share? I’d love to hear them.

4 P’s + 1P = Good path to focus on local community


Separate yourself not from the community – Pirche Avot 2


I just love when the universe hears me. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the significance of local initiatives and how important they are. Maybe I’m a contrarian, but as the world becomes more global I’d like to see people focus on their communities.

So, I was thrilled when I came upon two posts that spoke to local issues. The first, Local Businesses Need to be Findable by Paul and Sarah Edwards had suggestions that in my mind worked as well for nonprofits as businesses.

According a Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of people use the web to find local businesses. Do you know how many of your clients/donors/event participants use the web to find your nonprofit? If you don’t have a website or are unhappy with what you do have, consider some alternatives:

  • Get a free listing on Google Places.
  • Create a Facebook page for your nonprofit. You can find oodles of posts on how to use Facebook for your nonprofit.
  • Make sure you have a presence on LinkedIn. Invite members of your community to Link to your page. Join relevant groups that touch the issues in which your nonprofit is involved in your community.
  • Start a blog. This will attract the search engines and bring people to your website.
  • Make sure your address is consistent on all your social media sites and your website.

Then I was reading another excellent post by Clair Axelrad “Purely Practical SMIT: 4 Keys to Never Lose the Why.” Claire always reminds me why I’m committed to empowering nonprofits to do good.

Claire’s March SMIT (Single Most Important Thing I have to tell you) is to never lose sight of the “Why.” It is virtually impossible to connect with people unless you know your purpose.

“Your vision or, if you will, your dream is your purpose. It’s the “why” of your existence.”

So, instead of bemoaning the fact that you can’t be everywhere at once, bring your passion to your neighborhood or your community.

Okay, but how do the two posts mesh?

To me, the first speaks to the tools you can use to make sure you have a real presence in your community. Remember the 4 P’s of marketing – Product (service), PLACE, Promotion & Price. Well, Local Businesses Need to be Findable speaks to some of the social media tools you can use to make sure you’re found.

Then, add the 5th P – PASSION from Clair’s post and you’re on your way to making a difference in your community. You see, even when your focus is on your community, you must know your purpose and care about it with passion.

In a future post I’ll introduce you to a friend who is working on what he calls a Hyper-local initiative. Sound intriguing? You bet!

Any thoughts on staying focused on your community? I’d love to hear them.