Stand Out: How to find your breakthrough idea [book review]

Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark is an inspiration. Insightful. No-nonsense. Encouraging. Prolific. (Does she sleep?!)

Her work is extremely relevant to those of us in the non-profit sector. The opening to her most recent book, “Stand Out: how to find your breakthrough idea” says it all:

“You have something to say to the world. You have a contribution to make.”

Indeed you do! You’re on a mission to make the world better, brighter, safer, kinder. More sustainable and equitable. Heck yeah you’ve got a contribution to make. You’re making one every day.

Dorie goes on to say:

“Yet too many of us shrink back when it comes to finding and sharing our ideas with the world.”

She kind of nailed it on the head there, didn’t she?

As non-profit and philanthropic leaders, we have been trained to not “toot our own horns”. To not draw attention to our work. To put away our soapboxes and megaphones. And, to some extent, that makes sense. It’s not about us. It’s about our mission, our work, the people we serve.

But here’s the thing: if you don’t share your ideas for how to make the world a better place, no one will know about them.

Now, I’m not a betting gal, but I’d lay money on the table that you have some good ideas about how we might do things better. Those ideas would mean fewer kids on the streets, more people fed, more acres of land protected, healthier communities, happier people, etc., etc., etc.

So I’d like to encourage you to 1) read Dorie’s book because it’s great and inspiring, and 2) to reframe how you think about “tooting your own horn”. There’s a big difference between tooting your horn and putting a breakthrough idea out into the world, especially if that idea will make the world a better place. Then you’re kind of obligated to put it out to the world. Keeping it to yourself would be downright selfish. (How’s that for a reframe?)

What’s your breakthrough idea for making the world a better place?


5 Last Minute Tips to Get People to GiveBIG

Get them to GiveBIG!If you’re in throes of planning for GiveBIG, you’re probably wondering how someone could NOT know it’s GiveBIG tomorrow?!

Because they have a lot going on.

AND even if they know it’s GiveBIG, they may not have decided whether they’re going to give to you. Bear in mind they’ve been asked by a lot of non profits to give.

If you’re sending out a Day Of email (which you should), here are 5 tips to up your open rate–a critical step on GiveBIG day:

  1. Put the most important information at the beginning of your subject line: It’s now or not until next year. Make it happen today. Right now. Stat!
  2. Stand out: Again, lots of donors getting lots of email on a busy, busy day. That’s the scenario. Make them laugh. Make them pause. Shock them. Delight them. Make them see how they can play a Big Role on the Big Day. Don’t simply say it’s GiveBIG. That’s expected and they’ll read it a bunch of time. Say it in a way that’ll make them notice YOUR email.
  3. Keep it short: 40-50 characters max. This also goes for the content of your email. This isn’t a ‘getting to know you’  moment. It’s a ‘get on it’ moment. Quickly remind them why they should give and then get out of their way and let them do it.
  4. Use ‘You‘: By using ‘you’, you help people see how they fit in. Sure, it’s about all of us and you’ll be tempted to use ‘we’. In the subject line, it’s all about the ‘you’.
  5. One Call to Action (CTA): Don’t distract with other Calls to Action. In your follow up email (which, of course, you will also send), give them other ways to engage. On May 2, it’s GiveBIG or go home.

Good luck tomorrow! 


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?