Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times

Families and Giving

In my first post, I listed seven certainties that are true in these times of uncertainty. Today, I list ten ideas for actions that we can all undertake to build relationships and communities. These are not meant to be comprehensive; I imagine those who read this can add several more to the list. If you can, please share them. The following are ten ideas for relationship and community building that can take us through the next 6 – 12 months of COVID-19.

 Ten Ideas:

  1. Focus on building relationships and community. Don’t worry about raising money. These relationships will generate far more resources in the mid-to-long term than any short-term transactional approach can.
  2. Stay in touch. Communicate both broadly and personally. My friend, Jennifer Harris, calls these personal communications “love letters.”  Let’s send love letters to our partners and supporters.
  3. Be strategic and purposeful. Focus on what is most important. The more we can focus, the more impact we will have. Make the hard decisions about what we will and will not be doing… and stick to them. 
  4. Get together on-line. Brainstorm about problem solving, host workshops, webinars and talks by experts who are addressing the critical issues and challenges of our day. Share the recordings with alumni and constituents. Post these sessions on our websites and in social media.
  5. Get good at Zoom. We all will be participating in lots of video meetings in the coming months. Learn to use its functionality and how to be effective communicators in this format. If you can, invest in learning about Zoom functionality to take communications to another level.

6. Be responsive. Answer and send texts, emails, messages, calls, blog comments, etc.

7. Set the tone. Make your own gift first. We are working to attract others to give of their time and resources. We will be more credible and more effective if we model the behaviour we are asking of others.

8. Be open and authentic. Share not only successes and inspiration, but also challenges and disappointments. Be positive and affirming. Ask for advice. Our constituents can help us address the challenges we face. Not only can they help to solve problems, this is an excellent way to keep them engaged. Nature may abhor a vacuum but the rumour mill loves it. Frequently communicate the facts in your own voice.

9. Send “Virtual Hugs”. Tell staff and constituents how much we appreciate and love them. We can say it in words, and in our actions (responsiveness).

10. Invite others to join us. As we get to know our constituents, it is natural to invite them to join our communities. Don’t assume they will ask to join, invite them. An authentic, sincere, humble, “We need you. Please join us in changing the world,” is a compelling invitation and a great way to get more partners in our cause.

Our work is noble and important. In difficult, challenging, uncertain times, we can provide encouragement, community, relationship and ways for people to make a difference. This is our time. Let’s embrace the moment.

Eric Billman

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