At the end of 2010, I started having a weekly, 30-minute skype call with my friend Vanessa Rhinesmith. There is no agenda. We do not work together. We call these weekly calls, “brain dates.” It is a chance to connect in real time, share ideas, and generally have space to explore ideas or questions that we have encountered during the week as we push ahead with our various jobs, projects and goals in the nonprofit and technology sector. This week, I shared with Vanessa that during my time offline for the holidays, I found myself reflecting on just how many different frustrations I feel people in this sector have voiced over 2010 – to the point that I, honestly, feel really overwhelmed by the “sick and tired” state of nptechers world wide. But, I hope 2011 will be the time when we funnel those frustrations into real steps towards a better, more collaborative, more effective, and more aligned sector of social impact.
Last month, Joe Solomon shared on the NetSquared Blog what he hopes is our reflection on 2011 a year from now, focused on a year full of empowering and harnessing organizers. I wanted to take a few minutes today to share my 3 Goals for 2011 – I’d love to hear what others you’d add to the list!
How can we build a better sector? 3 Goals for 2011
For me, for you, for all of our organizations; and for the sake of this world we are trying to improve!
Please note, and this is key, that these are goals for the people operating in this space. As much as we love technology, it isn’t anything without people creating it, using it, changing it, and evolving it.
Find and talk to others using the same tools
We can learn a whole lot from each other. Seriously.
Coming together to talk about tools with others who use them can also mean a louder, more unified voice in requesting changes to those tools. When one organization says they want the software or platform to work differently, it’s a nice feautre request email that may even get a “thank you for the input” message in response. But when hundreds or more organizations can all say they want a change, the message is so much louder!
Share failure and success
This isn’t a new idea. Many people have talked about how we need to, and many have even shared how they have failed, and how they’ve succeeded. But I hope we can go deeper both in what we share and how we listen. When we are talking to others about our work, our projects, campaigns or tools, what if we shared more of the “why we did it” and “how we made it happen” instead of which tools, and which messages? What if we moved from sharing which tools, tactics or campaigns were “fails” or success to a focus on sharing which strategies worked or didn’t work.
Put questions before answers
Instead of leading with answers, let’s start focusing on the questions we can ask each other, ask of funders, ask of our communities, ask of ourselves. There’s great opportunity to learn and collaborate when we approach conversations with the lens of discovering what really worked, what is really possible, and where our impact is needed. And then if we keep a mission-critical focus, wow: Big things are possible!
What do you think about those goals? What are the goals you have for funneling your frustrations into real action?