Nonprofits & Technology

Website changes coming soon!

Website changes coming soon!

We’re very excited to announce that we’re working on an all-new Social Change Consulting website.

We’ve spent the last year focusing on a couple of projects in-house with nonprofit organizations. Over that time, the Social Change Consulting team has grown and the projects we work on have expanded to include project evaluation and development and include a greater capacity for graphic arts and video content.

Stay tuned for updates on the website and resources available. Use the form below to sign up to receive email updates from Social Change Consulting:

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Medium for Nonprofits – Three Questions to Consider

Medium for Nonprofits – Three Questions to Consider

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked by a few nonprofits about publishing on Medium. If you’re thinking about utilizing this platform, these questions and answers may help.

What is Medium?

Medium is an online platform and network that allows individual users, organizations, or companies to write and publish articles. Medium has a helpful synopsis of their platform and the benefits. It is built as a place for writers to easily create content and publish in a simple and visual editor. There is a network component as readers often leave comments or respond with a post. The company itself has a homepage that highlights content that is pertinent, interesting, and engaging.

Why should you use it?

It is a good fit for organizations that are looking to increase the number of written publications but haven’t yet started an internal blog. If volunteers or individuals on your team have an interest in writing content for your organization, Medium is a great way to begin that process.

If you have the ability to publish blog posts on your website, you may also want to consider using Medium. The network component of the platform can help you reach new audience members. Additionally, it may be easier for your readers to view content on Medium. If your blog isn’t visually appealing – especially for mobile and tablet users – you should consider trying Medium.

What types of things should you post?

Anything that you would write in a blog post. A story from an individual that your organization supported, an organizational opinion on a current event/topic, a letter from a board member, or highlights from a recent event. Try different styles and take advantage of the helpful analytics that let users know how many people are reading the whole post.

Below are a few articles from recent weeks that I’ve found interesting – including one published on Medium.

  1. Ross Jackson kicks off an ongoing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Project in NPQ with a post about diversity in the nonprofit theater world.
  2. The always brilliant Yesenia Sotelo of SmartCause Digital shares the 10 stats you should be tracking on your website.  
  3. David Cohen of Adweek explains the latest Facebook news feed algorithm changes.
  4. Does your organization work with a YouTube creator? YouTube is rolling out donation cards for US creators.
  5. “C is for Convertible Debt! That’s good enough for me.” Sarah Kessler of Fast Company details Sesame Street’s partnership with venture capital firms.
  6. Finally, Alison Leiby shares a post on Medium about the response to a joke she made about women’s rights. It include this funny and sad quote, “If you want a tour of how hateful and negative humanity can be about women, just scroll through the replies to my original joke. It’s kind of like the It’s A Small World ride, but instead of different countries you just see different expressions of misogyny.”
Six Lessons from #GivingTuesday Emails

Six Lessons from #GivingTuesday Emails

As you may imagine, I received a lot of #GivingTuesday emails. This year, I reviewed them all to highlight some things that I liked and recommendations on what to avoid. For email messages that I’m highlighting, I’ve included their name. For email messages that had some challenges, I’m omitting their name.

 

Time is not always on your side

One organization sent an email that was focused on the time left in the campaign. It included the text, “Only 5 hours left on #GivingTuesday. We can do this!  As of 7pm, our awesome supporters have raised nearly $5,000!”

This email does a good job of using time to build a sense of urgency. The challenge is the email arrived at 5:15pm. It was written with a central time zone audience in mind. Using the time left in a campaign isn’t recommended because it’s very challenging to control. You have to segment for time zone. If your data on audience location isn’t strong, you’ll send emails with the incorrect time to many recipients.

Sending emails with a reference to a specific time, also assumes that the emails will be delivered when they’re supposed to. #GivingTuesday and December 31 are very busy days for email delivery systems – Constant Contact, Convio/Blackbaud, Vertical Response, etc. While these companies prepare for the increase in volume, there can be issues. On December 31, 2014, Convio had systemwide delays that slowed down delivery of messages. I received an email from a national organization urging me to donate with just “six hours left in 2014”. Unfortunately, it was delivered at 4:30am on January 1.

 

Show your personality

If your email is coming from an individual (Executive Director, Board Member, volunteer), you should try and convey their personality in the message. The best example of that this year was a message from Serena Clayton at the California School-Based Health Alliance.

 

GT Image 2 - CSHA

This email made me laugh because it was personal and self-aware. Stating, ‘I know you’re getting a lot of messages today, but this is why you should support us’ was a personal and thoughtful choice.

 

Email length

One of the first messages I received was one of the messages with the most issues. The email was 470 words and did not have any images or much to break up the text. The email clocked in at 470 words, which was far too long. On a day like #GivingTuesday, your message shouldn’t be this lengthy as you’ll struggle to hold the reader’s attention.

 

Use matches creatively

An email from KQED shared:

GT Image 1 - KQED

This was an interesting approach and likely an A/B test. It can be difficult to find an appropriate way to share fundraising success with your audience. Sharing that you’ve already reached a goal, may make a potential donor think, “They’re doing just fine. I guess, I should donate elsewhere.” This email attempts to use the match to build a sense of urgency, while also making the reader feel like they’re one of many supporters. It’s possible that KQED used this section to do an A/B test for their audience. Would people be more willing to give if they thought they were part of something larger? Does knowing that you’re not the only supporter make you more willing to donate?

 

Read through your call to action and read it again

No one is perfect and when you’re rushing through an email, it’s easy to make mistakes. I certainly have. But, your call-to-action needs to be focused and perfect. One nonprofit sent an email with the following:

We hope that <Name of org> is chosen as your favorite nonprofit organization for #GivingTuesday today and you make a contribution for wilderness.

That isn’t a clear message and was the focus of their message. It was the emboldened link for recipients to click on to donate.

 

Don’t forget to link

Finally, the biggest issue that I saw this year was missed opportunities to link to appropriate content in email messages. One organization included text, in multiple emails they sent, that said, “Remember, donating isn’t the only way you can help us today—start your own fundraising page, re-share our messages on Facebook and Twitter…” They didn’t link to their Facebook or Twitter page in the text and those links were buried in the footer of the email. While focused the call-to-action and links on donating makes sense, if you’re sharing other ways to help – make it easy to get those pages.

Another organization discussed the importance of three key initiatives and why it was important to support them. But, the only links included in the email was to givingtuesday.org and to two organizations they’re partnering with. This may seem obvious, but when you’re asking for donor support – you have to provide links to your donate page. You should include multiple donation links in your message.

 

We hope this email review is helpful as you prepare future messages. If you’re looking for additional helpful information, we enjoyed the these links from the week:

  1. Let the 2016 previews begin! Jared Lindzon at Fast Company six ways that our workplaces will continue to change and evolve in the year ahead.
  2. Shana Masterson of Blackbaud shares information about the The Cash, Sweat & Tears Award, presented by the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, which honors the passion of your P2P volunteers and fundraisers.
  3. Burned out with all of your year-end writing? Two helpful articles were written this week. Sara Wolfson of M+R uses the smash musical Hamilton to provide year-end writing tips. Mary Cahalane provides advice on writing thank you letters when you’re feeling stuck.
  4. Finally, to end on a #GivingTuesday note, Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority explained why he thinks your nonprofit should avoid #GivingTuesday like the plague. The post is thought-provoking and written to be contrarian. I recommend the comment section where industry titans, John Haydon, Amy Sample Ward, and Beth Kanter wrote thoughtful responses that Garecht responded to.
Fundraiser Pages for Facebook – What Does It Mean?

Fundraiser Pages for Facebook – What Does It Mean?

This week Facebook announced the development of a new tool that will allow nonprofits to host fundraising activities and collect contributions directly on Facebook.

The new fundraiser pages are structured similarly to event pages. They allow users to contribute to a fundraiser, share the page with others, and will show progress toward fundraising goals. The program is being piloted by several national organizations in anticipation of a wider roll-out in early 2016.

What does this mean for the nonprofits and social enterprises? How will this impact ongoing work? Will it replace other fundraising website platforms? There are three key areas for organizations to think about.

Ladder of Engagement

For those that have a large Facebook audience this tool could provide an opportunity to move users up the ladder of engagement. If an individual likes an organization on Facebook, but isn’t actively engaged with the organization, it is less likely that they’ll be regular donors. Most organizations struggle to move social media users up a rung on the ladder of engagement. This is a great opportunity to do so.

Cost

Obviously, the cost of implementation is going to key for many nonprofits. Matt Petronzio of Mashable shares, “Facebook is not currently charging its partners for using the products, but it will eventually implement a fee that covers operating costs at some point in 2016. The goal is to break even, not make a profit, the company says, and Facebook says it will charge a fee that is on par or less than the industry standard.”

If Facebook charges a set-up fee, it may not be palatable for organizations that have limited budget for fundraising platforms or a small Facebook community. If Facebook uses a percentage of donation system – ideally give the donor an opportunity to cover the processing fee – it could be a game-changer for nonprofits and social enterprises. Many fundraising tools work very hard to integrate social media communication into their platforms. Facebook will be able to do this seamlessly and more effectively than any of them can.

Facebook Algorithm

How fundraisers pages are prioritized in Facebook’s algorithm is a key consideration. One of the potential advantages of this opportunity is that your fundraising campaign has the potential to reach a much larger percentage of your users than linking to a third-party fundraising link.

If the fundraiser page reaches the same limited audience that sharing a link to a third-party fundraising platform, the impact is limited. It will be interesting to see how this is prioritized in Facebook’s complicated algorithm.

Facebook’s announcement is exciting and has the potential to change the online fundraising marketplace. We’ll keep you up to date on new developments! Until then, enjoy these links from the week.

  1. There is a new Google+! Check out Google’s official blog to read what’s new and exciting.
  2. While Twitter’s decision to change from favorite to like was derided by some users, Drew Olanoff of Techcrunch reports that the change led to a 6% increase in likes.
  3. A Google Report shares that YouTube helps drive more donations to nonprofits. Heather Joslyn of the Chronicle of Philanthropy reviews the details.
  4. Christina Farr’s article on using technology to manage diabetes is a great read and includes a quote from Michael Chae – friend of SCC.
  5. Susan Carland found a unique way to deal with internet trolls. She donates $1 to UNICEF for every troll-y tweet that she receives. Kristen Brown of Fusion explains and shares examples of tweets.
  6. Finally, many in the nonprofit space have relied on Rick Cohen for their industry news and thoughtful commentary. Nonprofit Quarterly is one of my favorite places to catch up on news and Cohen’s writing was a large part of that. Cohen passed away this week. Our thoughts go out to his family and colleagues. The comments on this NPQ post share incredible stories and appreciation of his work.

Image for article: Facebook

Custom Images for Nonprofit Facebook Posts

Custom Images for Nonprofit Facebook Posts

As you may have heard, Facebook announced the rollout of Reactions, their addition/replacement of the “Like” button. Another recent Facebook change also has a tremendous influence for how nonprofits communicate.

When you share a link, Facebook searches it for any images that are on the page. If an image is found, it includes the image as part of your Facebook post. You can remove it, but for many in the nonprofit field, it is often best to utilize the visual element in the post. Earlier this year Facebook added the option for an organizational page to upload their own image for a post. This is especially helpful for links to pages that don’t have any images or just have logos.

For example, if you link to an Eventbrite page that doesn’t have an image, the visual offering in Facebook will be the Eventbrite logo, like the image below.

 

Eventbrite logo

 

It is not very visually appealing for a Facebook post, so this is a great opportunity to add a custom image. Facebook recently adjusted this functionality for company/organization pages and made it much easier to choose the image or images that you can include in an update. Below is an example. You can check or uncheck the boxes for any of the three photos or you can add your own photo.

 

Diffferent Images

 

I reviewed data for one of our clients to evaluate if adding customized photos changed the reach and engagement for their posts. Our client has monthly volunteer events with two different partner organizations. For both monthly events, when we link to the volunteer sign-up page, the image associated with the update is part of the logo of the partner organization. This is what it looks like.

 

Just Logos

 

One image is a partial logo, one image is blank, and one is a logo of their organization. Over the last few months, we’ve been customizing the image with photos of volunteers participating in the activity. Below is an example.

 

Personal Photo

 

For one of the monthly events, the posts with a custom photo had a 51% increase in organic reach and five times the number clicks on the link to the volunteer activity. The difference was similar for another event with a smaller sample size. The posts with a custom photo had a 158% increase in organic reach and 2.3 times the number clicks on the link to the volunteer activity.

In this situation the data supports common sense. By using a more personal and dynamic visual image, there is greater engagement with the page. I’m exciting to continue to evaluate these changes and how they will help our this nonprofit.

Below are a few news items that can help you get through the day:

  1. A report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute finds that retaining donors is an increasing struggle for nonprofits.
  2. #Fundchat’s weekly chat covers Effective Altruism vs. Traditional Charity.
  3. The Daily Show used Google Ads in a very creative way – creating custom videos for specific searches about Trevor Noah. Stacey Rizen of UpRoxx shares the details and links
  4. I missed this link last week, but the clever folks at the M+R lab created the “If This, Then Totally That” tool.
The Seven Different Types of Nonprofit Email Signatures

The Seven Different Types of Nonprofit Email Signatures

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on a project taking place in 190+ locations throughout the United States and Canada. We’ve been communicating with staff in all of those locations. This has included a lot of email communication. While all of these folks work for the same organization, their email etiquette and style are wildly different. During those interactions, I’ve noticed a wide variety of email signatures.

Inspired by the silly article that previously inspired our prior blog post about meeting communication, I thought you might enjoy a snapshot of the different email signatures in the nonprofit world.

Activities Alex

The person who provides the entire organizational calendar and all upcoming activities in their email signature. You have a conference, a retreat, a planning meeting, two walks, and a gala coming up. Alex lets everyone know!

Inspirational Izzy

Do you have a quote in your email signature? You’re an Izzy. Extra points for Margaret Mead’s “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Title-ist Taylor

Taylor’s signature is dominated by multiple titles. One won’t do. Taylor wears a lot of hats and the email signature is an opportunity to share that information.

“Call me!” Casey

The person that lists their direct line, cell phone, and general office phone. They want to talk on the phone and are always available for “just a quick chat”! This week I encountered someone who also had a pager. Their pager was the fifth phone number in the email signature.

Avoiding Avery

The opposite of Pat. This the person who does not put a phone number in their email signature and goes out of their way to ensure that you do not find out their phone number. They send emails and do not want to interact outside of that medium.

Educated Emerson

Do you have several advanced degrees, certificates, and/or associate degrees? Do you list them all in your signature? You’re an Emerson. You worked hard. You got the diploma to prove it.

Comic Sans Sam

Sam loves Comic Sans. Sam doesn’t care about the haters. The signature is Comic Sans and it’s large! And often multiple colors.

Let us know if we missed anyone. If you want to read less silly nonprofit news, check out these links.

  1. Caryn Stein from Network for Good discusses research from the Money for Good 2015 research project.
  2. Looking for more analysis of research? Amy Butcher from NPQ reviews a Charities Aid Foundation report.  
  3. In case you missed Social Media for Nonprofit’s Twitter chat last week about #GivingTuesday check out their Storify.
  4. Finally, if you want to dip back into humorous content – Jeff Brooks from Future Fundraising Now asks if you’re more of a Batman or Yoda fundraiser.

Image source: Someecards

Changing the Narrative Behind Overhead

Changing the Narrative Behind Overhead

A recent article on NPEngage tackled the issue of overhead – specifically, how important do nonprofit staff consider overhead concerns, and how prepared are they if a major shift in financial policy takes place. As part of a dissertation, this piece works within a framework of hypotheticals – how would nonprofits respond to the dual pressure of assessing needs with expectations from donors.

This thesis makes a major assumption – that donors will continue to expect and request due diligence in maintaining or lessening the impact of overhead costs. But why is that so? How did overhead become the defacto scale of assessing nonprofit efficacy?

I would argue that it’s not just that donors think that overhead is bad – it is that they have been given no compelling narrative for them to think otherwise.  How do we move the narrative away from this concept of spending less being the ideal?

The story behind the money

As Dan Pallotta puts it – we have dehumanized overhead and now we need to humanize it. When people hear overhead, they think wasteful spending. They worry about the people in need not receiving help or funds because it is being used to salaries and infrastructure.

But salaries are people. Better infrastructure means the ability to reach more members of your community – to scale your services to be even more effective. Marketing costs contribute to reaching new potential donors or funders; office space allows for constituents and clients to meet in a safe, warm environment.

These costs are part of your impact on people and can tell just as engaging a story about your work than your direct services.

What would happen without these expenses?

Alternatively known as the “Doomsday Scenario.” Who couldn’t you reach if you didn’t have these funds available? What direct services would you need to halt in order to cover for these necessary costs? People often assume that donations of time, services, and money can make up the difference – but what if they can’t? How can you justify cutting back on overhead when it is vital for keeping your services afloat and effective?

Better definition of allocated costs

Specifically joint allocated costs. While some donors, in researching nonprofits, look to see the total percentage of income spent on overhead, others like to see specific information on what it costs to provide services to one person. But much of what people consider to be “overhead” is actually a joint cost (meaning it is attributed to expenses that go beyond a single service) that allows your nonprofit to provide services to many constituents.

Putting it another way – you wouldn’t calculate a staff members salary down to .79% of their job helped a single constituent – beyond being impractical, it doesn’t fully tell the story of how many people are being reached by employing this staff person. In purposefully and strategically investing in overhead expenses, you are creating more value. And more value should be what drives donation and contribution decisions, not arbitrary austerity metrics.

What constitutes abuse?

While nonprofit fraud and waste are a concern, the idea that many nonprofits take advantage of donors is largely overblown. Embezzlement and fraud are huge breaches of trust with donors – but also have little to do with the concept of cutting back on overhead.

Nonprofit abuse and mismanaged overhead are two very different concepts, that unfortunately draw similar ire from donors and community members. And by conflating these two together, nonprofit efficacy if being harmed. When your donors and supporters worry about wasted spending, bring it back to the points above – the people, the effect, and the financial impact. In doing so, and by adding transparency, fears of abuse should be alleviated.

Nonprofit finances are not easily understood, which is why simple narratives of waste and abuse have become so popular. By redefining what overhead means, and by showing how these capital resources are helping your community, you can help shield future organizations from tackling the hypothetical situation of operating with even less.

  1. Tammy Gordon, Vice President of AARP Studios, shares how AARP is adapting to digital communication channels.
  2. The NFL finally gave up their tax-exempt status! Rick Cohen of NPQ discusses why they may have done that now.
  3. Network for Good published a post-webinar Q&A with Vanessa Chase, founder of the Storytelling Non-Profit.
  4. We love good podcasts. We love Salesforce. Here’s a podcast that combines the two.
Pushing Through Institutional Inertia

Pushing Through Institutional Inertia

Change is hard. Preparing your organization to adjust to a new business practice, technology, or policy can be challenging. Avoiding this challenge can slow down progress and growth.

How often are you slowed down due to institutional inertia? What program adjustments, change in communication, or new technology have you been putting off because they’ll take too much time or effort? How do you break through this inert state and gain energy for change?

Most of us operate in work events that are short on time and resources. Dedicating energy to improving a business practice takes time and mental energy. Because of this, we often put off making changes because they’ll absorb too much time. How often have you heard a colleague say, “We already know this system so well – why do we need to change?”

I can often be reluctant to change. Almost every day I add more to my To Do List spreadsheet then I get done. Allocating the time to make institutional adjustments is increasingly hard. In these situations, I tend to evaluate change in a cost/benefit analysis. How much time will this change take? Is it worth that investment? What is the long-term improvement? How much time/money/energy will I save in the future by doing this? Will making this change allow me to strengthen the quality of my work and help more people?

Hopefully these questions and the subsequent conversations you have on the subject can help you find the time to make change and find the force to drive your organizational forward.

Below are a few links that we enjoyed this week:

  1. M+R launched their benchmarks study. It includes 3D graphics, though you don’t need 3D glasses to read it.
  2. Facebook is always adjusting their news feed. Jennifer Van Grove of the Street explains the recent change and how it might affect organizations marketing themselves.
  3. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey wrote a guest blog post on the San Francisco Foundation Center website that discusses how people can use data to improve their health.
  4. Marcella Vitulli of Every Action shares three statistics from their 2015 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study.
Communicating in Meetings

Communicating in Meetings

Powerful and meaningful messaging isn’t just for communication to those outside of your organization. Equally important are the conversations and dialogues you have with your own staff, board of directors, and volunteers. And in no place is this more crucial than in how you conduct meetings.

Here are three ideas we’ve found to be exceptionally helpful in maximizing your meeting efficacy and building better relationships with your teams.

Brainwriting

How many times have you been in a meeting where it seems like one person is dominating the conversation? Where all ideas seem to be coming from the loudest in the room? Leigh Thompson, professor at the Kellogg School of Management, suggests a new concept when brainstorming ideas – brainwriting.

Brainwriting is simply giving everyone a little quiet time to gather their own ideas before jumping to collaboration.

By writing down ideas before discussion starts, and by having anonymity enforced in reviewing ideas, you can have a more productive conversation around improvements to your organization’s strategy.

Objective Focused

LinkedIn recently received some feedback after posting their tips to successful meetings. Were so many steps really necessary to ensure a productive meeting?

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To be honest – yes and no. If your organization is habitually disorganized and ineffective when meeting in groups, then it makes sense to add a more regimented structure to your meeting agendas and implementation. But regardless of how successful communication is within your meetings, one key component of this list stands out – defining the meeting success criteria.

Put more simply, announce why you are meeting. Whether it is making a decision for an event, deciding to shift strategies, or agreeing on who will reach out to a specific volunteer, before the meeting starts, identify and communicate with the larger group the goal of the meeting. By explicitly labeling the purpose, you will have greater engagement and focus from the rest of your team.

Limiting Size

Finally, the CEO of New Relic made waves recently when he announced that if the meeting has more than six people in it, he won’t go. Why six? He believes that six is the right amount to continue an open dialogue – otherwise you are just receiving information, and odds are, this information likely could have been distributed in a more time effective manner than having a large meeting.

Consider it this way – when at a large dinner party, what is the size of a table where people talk and converse with the whole table, without breaking off into smaller sub groups? Or without one person dominating the story telling? The same communication patterns appear in meetings. By limiting the size of the group, you will have a better opportunity to solve problems and create positive outcomes.

If this blog post didn’t meet your expectations, hopefully these links will quench your nonprofit communication and strategy thirst:

  1. Pam Fessler of NPR discusses the changing dynamics of peer-to-peer fundraising on All Things Considered.
  2. Struggling to raise money from foundations? Marilyn Hoyt of the Foundation Center shares five strategies to streamline your approach to foundations.
  3. Rob Roy of Adobe highlights the need for responsive design as mobile usage continues to skyrocket.
  4. Charity Navigator is looking for a new leadership after President and CEO Ken Berger stepped down. Paul Clolery of the NonProfit Times provides the details.

 

 

The Immunity to Change Model

The Immunity to Change Model

Change is hard. Not exactly a revolutionary statement, but one that is important to consider as you try to embark on a new challenge or program. Both personally and professionally, changing behaviors and seeking new outcomes is inherently difficult. But why is it so difficult? And in what ways do we each contribute to slowing down this progress?

The Immunity to Change Model, pioneered by Robert Keegan and Lisa Lahey, attempts to help define these issues. In assessing the behaviors you commit that run counter to your goals, identifying areas where you may be unconsciously fighting against (like your immune system) your efforts, and analyzing the assumptions that you bring with you that stall your progress, they provide a basis for attempting to better understand the change process.

The model breaks down your improvement needs into the following steps through their Immunity Map:

Identify Your Goal

What have you been striving to accomplish that you just can’t seem to get off the ground? From a personal perspective, an easy analogy is the New Years’ Resolution. For an organization, these goals can include being more proactive on social media, updating your website, or finding a new revenue stream for fundraising.

Behaviors That Work Against Your Goal

Eating that bag of chips instead of a salad is a quick way to break your resolution to eat better. Similarly, relying on volunteers to continue to run your social media can be hindering your ability to be more proactive. Delaying progress on a new website because of resource limitations counts as a behavior counter to your goal as well, as does not attending a networking event or hesitating in making the ask to a donor when considering your longterm fundraising goals.

Hidden Competing Commitments

By far the most difficult area to identify in the model are your hidden competing commitments – the word hidden is used very deliberately here. What they mean by hidden commitments are the obligations and ideas that you may not realize are affecting your ability to change. Maybe you grabbed that bag of chips because the salad place had a long line, and you hate being late to meetings for fear of disappointing others. The fear of disappointing others is your hidden commitment – the main factor (while not obviously so) that is affecting your ability to carry out your improvement goal.

Organizationally, this can be even harder to identify, as numerous individuals may have reasons to delay or obfuscate new ideas or approaches. Using our previous examples, you may continue to rely on volunteers for social media because of the fear of seeming reckless of donor dollars if you invest in an area that’s value is not easily understood by most. Perhaps you keep delaying the new website because of a fear that the time necessary to complete this project will keep you from launching that new program initiative that you know more obviously relates to your work. And finally, in not sending that email to a new donor, you might be afraid of the rejection that might come, and a fear of the disappointment that person or your leaders might have in your failure.

This is where you can have an a-ha moment – that can tie into multiple areas of your life and work outside of the goal you are assessing. Another way of thinking about the hidden commitments is – if you were to do the opposite of your current behavior (grab a salad and show up late), then what are you most concerned about happening? Why is that?

Big Assumptions

Once you have identified your hidden competing competencies, you then need to identify the “big assumptions.” These are the ideas and opinions you bring with you that are derailing your progress.

To wrap up our resolution example, the assumption you may hold is that the opinion you have of your timeliness is more important than your individual health. For our organizational examples, you might be assuming that donors won’t understand the importance of investing in new resources outside of direct services; that the website isn’t affecting the success of your other programming; or that in failing to secure the donor you are approaching now, you aren’t possibly opening up another opportunity with that person or with their network.

If you’d like to learn more about this model and possible use cases, check out their EdX Course that should be starting up again soon.

The Immunity to Change Model won’t decide a course of action for you or your organization, but it is a tool to help discover why you aren’t hitting your goals. Why you aren’t being more effective at new initiatives or outreach. And at SCC, we sure do loving thinking about the “why.”

Here’s a simple goal for you to accomplish this week – read our links to stay up to date on important topics – you should definitely assume they will help you be a more effective leader:

  1. We’ve run across this many times – when can we use images we find on the internet on our own social media or blog posts?
  2. Fellow UCLA and Dance Marathon alumni Jaemin Yi discusses the 3 mistakes to avoid when writing a nonprofit video script.
  3. Elizabeth Chung dispenses her 3 important parts of a strong donation page.
  4. Expect a decrease in likes on your Facebook page – Greg Kumparak from Techcrunch explains why.
  5. John Haydon outlines 3 strategies to increase website traffic from Facebook.
  6. Real life examples of relevancy – Shana Masterson shares a few examples of email communication sent on Valentine’s Day.