We’ve had an idea for a program at Creating the Future, and in following our own advice, we don’t want to launch anything until we get all the possible insights we can. Programs are so much more effective when they’re built by the people who will use them!
This will be a program for people who are working in the trenches – executive directors, social entrepreneurs, board members (as opposed to consultants or funders). It would be small chunks of education, going deep into targeted topics, sent monthly via audio and worksheets.
We’re thinking about calling them Flash Classes.
There is a ton of information available to program leaders about traditional ways of doing everything from governance to fundraising.
Many people are frustrated that those systems don’t seem to be working for them. But because they are the only systems around, those individuals begin to feel, “Maybe it’s just me,” rather than “Maybe those systems aren’t effective!”
Frustration sets in.
We know this because it is what people tell us when they find articles and videos at our site.
“Where have you been all these years? I’m so tired of banging my head against the wall and being told if I just do more of the same, I’ll get better results.
“But finding your stuff is so refreshing! It is the exact perspective we’ve been searching for – something that will bring us far closer to what we know in our hearts we can accomplish!”
To date, finding practical advice on how regular organizations can create extraordinary community change has required that folks find the articles at our website, or read my books.
If we want this sector to achieve its potential, however, information about how to reach for what is possible has to be just as ubiquitous as the traditional advice currently is. It can’t just be in an article or two at our site, or a book or two. It needs to become the norm.
And the first step towards that becoming reality is that the information be significantly more accessible. More abundant. Everywhere.
The Flash Classes are part of that effort. The goal is simple: Provide small chunks of education that make it easy to do an organization’s day-to-day work in ways that are more effective at making a bigger difference in the community.
We’ve been thinking about two topics to start with:
• Governance and Planning
• Building and Sustaining Strong Programs
Governance and Planning
How do we reach for our board’s potential to make a difference – the reason we got on the board in the first place? What does that mean for recruitment? What does that mean for policies? What does that mean for our agenda? How can we re-energize our board? How can we increase attendance at meetings? How can we deal with micromanagement?
How can our planning make a bigger difference, for our organization and mostly for our community? How can we make it less reactive, moving us forward? How can we get past the same old problems, year after year? How can we reach our organization’s potential to make a difference in the community?
Each of those topics and a slew more would all be addressed from the perspective of creating maximum impact in the community – the focus of everything at Creating the Future.
Building and Sustaining Strong Programs
How can we build programs that accomplish more for our community? How can we embrace others who do similar work, rather than always competing with them? How can we ensure our programs survive? How can we collaborate without all the “stuff” that sometimes comes with collaboration? What does community engagement mean anyway?
And again, these topics and a ton more would all be addressed through the Creating the Future lens.
We’ve been thinking these would audio classes, so people can listen in their car, while they work out or at their desk. They would be quick – hence the name “Flash Classes” – 20-30 minutes apiece, going deeply into a narrow topic each month. Each class would provide exercises and a worksheet.
We also want these to be VERY inexpensive – under $10/month – so that organizations can’t afford NOT to have their ED or board chair learn. We’re thinking there would be no obligation to sign up for a whole year – that again we make it accessible so people can jump in for under $10 and jump out whenever they want.
Prior to signing up, we would want to have a full sample class that someone could listen to, complete with worksheet, so they could see if it is for them without having to pay for it.
Help Us Figure It Out…
So before we head much further down the road with this idea, we want to know from you:
- Overall, what is it about this that you find interesting or exciting? What is ho-hum?
- What has been your experience with similar classes? If you’ve been in a program like this, has it been helpful?
- Do you think there is a need for this kind of “quick and deep” education?
- If you are an ED or board member, what questions would you want answered before you would consider trying the classes?
- Are the two threads – Governance and Sustainability – of interest? If not, what topics might be? (We want to start out with only 2 threads of topics, so we don’t make ourselves crazy.)
- Is the format reasonable – listen in the car or at your desk, with a worksheet? If not, what makes more sense?
- What about the name – Flash Classes?
- Is there something we missed? What do you think it would take for a program like this to be successful, given its goal that there be effective learning about new/different approaches at a VERY LOW price point?
I am sure I have left something out, both in the information and in the questions. So please help us flesh out our thinking. If we decide to do this, we want to launch in the next few weeks, so people can start their year out learning.
Your thoughts, please!