I guess it is human nature to constantly look for and examine our flaws and shortcomings. What is unfortunate is how much energy we put into analyzing our weaknesses and so little taking note of the things we do that are good and effective.
As nonprofit marketers, we spend a good deal of time searching for the right way to communicate information that will positively move people and strengthen their support of our organizations. We all know that uplifting messages and statements of positive results are more effective than messages of despair. Yet paradoxically, we spend very little time looking at and examining the things we do that are good and effective. With so much emphasis on what is wrong, what needs improving, what missed the mark, we are failing to see and fully utilize those things we routinely do with great success.
Just take a few moments and see if you can honestly list 10 things you do well to market or communicate the value of your organization. I bet you start to struggle after the first three or four things. That is because we have conditioned ourselves to focus on the negative not the positive.
Think a little harder. Ask your colleagues and friends what they think you do well. I promise you will discover more good things to pay attention to and capture more potentially useful information through this exercise than in time spent lamenting why your last email campaign didn’t quite deliver the result you wanted or why that speech you drafted for your chairperson fell flat.
Sometimes, the things that don’t deliver the results you want are all tied up in complicated, not easy to unravel sets of facts; sometimes it’s just bad timing; sometimes it’s someone’s ego overtaking reason; and sometimes you just didn’t hit your stride.
So, instead of burning up all your energy trying to figure out what went wrong, save some energy for the things you know you do right. Use more time on these activities; delegate to others those that you are weaker at or less likely to do exceedingly well. You and your colleagues will all benefit. And feeling good and acting on your positives is actually so much more productive than beating yourself up on those things that you don’t excel at.
Gail Hyman is a marketing and communications professional who currently focuses her practice, Gail Hyman Consulting, on assisting Jewish nonprofit organizations increase their ranks of supporters and better leverage their communications in the Web 2.0 environment. Gail is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy.