Practicing Engagement Right Here Now

Engagement - 2way conversationI received this question via email this morning, and it made me smile. First, the message:

In today’s world, is an annual report of the traditional kind important for nonprofits? Smaller as well as larger? We are debating how much money and staff time to put into some kind of publication – we haven’t done a paper newsletter in a couple of years, and typically do a monthly enews that’s got a very different purpose and focus – the paper one is stories and pictures that really give a feel for the big picture; the enews is more “here’s what’s happening this month that you can do.” Our annual report has been very traditional – pretty pictures, stories and the financials and donors. Curious what people you talk to think gives you the most bang for the buck/time/effort!

My response was simple – don’t ask me, ask them!

Which brings me to the two reasons I smiled so wide when I got this note. First, last night we sent out Creating the Future’s monthly e-newsletter.  This month’s newsletter is dedicated entirely to Community Engagement, to celebrate the 5 Year anniversary of FriendRaising. It appears Jenny was penning her note to me at almost the exact moment we were sending her the answer!

The second reason has to do with the way we have been building Creating the Future – making all our decisions by engaging transparently with everyone who might be affected by those decisions. There have been several reasons for our doing things that way, one of which is simply to model what that might look like if you were to engage more transparently in your own work.

So let’s turn the blog into a mini-classroom right here, right now.

Off the top of your head, share with us a decision you are wrestling with.

If you work at an organization, perhaps it’s a discussion you’ve been having around the office, trying to decide on an approach to some problem or opportunity. Perhaps it’s a strategic direction for the organization, or an item you’ve been bumping from meeting to meeting on your board’s agenda.

For consultants, it could be a new direction for your consulting practice, or a book you’re thinking about writing.

For anyone at all, it could be something in your personal life.

Share at least one of those decisions right here in the comments.

Let’s all brainstorm together how engaging others in your decision-making might enhance your decision AND your work overall. And let’s come up with a list of people you might engage.

Let’s start breaking down those walls of transparency right here now!

6 Responses to Practicing Engagement Right Here Now

  1. Hildy, I’m delighted you’re using my question as a jumping off point – I’m very excited to put this into practice and share the results. And yes, after I pressed send to my question to you, I got your newsletter – I did have a laugh at that!

  2. Thanks for the invite. I am still struggling with how to focus and position a book about leading with integrity in the community benefit sector. While I see it as having to cover issues such as creating and maintaining an ethical organizational culture, and conflict of interest, how would Creating the Future thinking influence and update this topic? What role might this community play in guiding such a book?

  3. Jane – what a great thing to be struggling with – writing a book! How could the book be enhance by engaging others? What might you want to know from them, that would make the book more effective? Who might you engage? A gajillion answers come to my mind (all exciting!). What comes to your mind?

  4. Hi Hildy, Jane and Jenny — I too was pondering the book I would write and it sounds like it has elements of Jane’s but I would like to create a book that would inspire women to talk about how we lead differently. I had a wonderful discussion with my daughter this morning and she thinks girls are able to access the full spectrum of their emotions that that her generation (she is 14) will be unapologetic about that, and hence, transform the world to a place where people are in integrity with their whole selves.

    I guess the question that Creating the Future would point us to is…what is the highest potential of this book in the world? What is the highest potential of the very process of writing the book? What is the highest potential for myself in the exercise of writing the book?

    And btw, about annual reports, seems like these same questions would apply.

    Cheers — AJS

  5. Yes and yes, Andrea – AND who might we engage to not only help figure out all that, but to help the book achieve even more?
    HG