Monthly Archives: June 2007

How can a Board do it’s job?

Roger and Tom at The Agitator have a great riff on staff versus board leadership. They point out that since the board is separated from the day-to-day operations, it’s very difficult for them to actually lead the organization.

It’s good enough that I sent it out to my board.

So, if you’re serious about having an organization accountable to the board, I think the board needs to be able to know for itself the answers to three questions:

  1. What kind of information do you need to make your job?
  2. What kind of decisions do you need brought to you?

Of course, the Executive Director needs to know these too, and follow them.

Get your cause noticed with powerful headlines

Jeff Brooks at the Donor Power Blog shares the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.

What does it do? It measures the emotional impact of the words in your headline. Headlines with more emotional impact are more likely to be read. This helps you test the emotioanl impact of your headlines

It’s an interesting tool, but it’s only part of the story. It’s also important to have a headline that conveys informaiton and benefit.

An example: “Emotional Marketing Headline Analyzer” to me sounds like a useless piece of jargon, but it get’s a score of 60%. The headline I used only got a score of 14.29%. Which headline would you have read?

Don’t follow Don Quixote

Why are peace activists obsessed with Don Quixote?

Listen, there’s no need to tilt at windmills.

First of all, wind power is good.

Second, it’s a windmill, not a giant.

Third, if you really want to take it out, burn the arms, smash the base. Rent a bulldozer. There are better ways to demolish it than chasing it with sticks.

We in the peace movement need to strike a careful balance. On the one hand, we need to see a world that does not yet exist. A world with fair wages for all. A world where no child goes to bed hungry. A world without war.

Then we also need to see this world. With that long-term vision in front of us, we need to see what we can do today–what we can really do today.

Here in Ann Arbor, I don’t think we can get Rep. Dingell to vote to close the SOA. He’s too entrenched and intransigent, and it’s not an issue that enough people care about. So, let’s pick a battle we can win. Maybe it’s no more trade agreements that hand out gimmies to big corporations and leave workers and the environment to suffer. Maybe it’s insisting on real human rights standards for Colombia.  Or maybe it’s getting more people involved in fair trade ventures and solidarity exchanges.

Let’s stop tilting at windmills. Let’s start building wind farms.



Do too many activities mean not enough peace?

So I keep wondering if at ICPJ we try to do too much.

What if we did less, but we did it better?

What if we only took on projects if we were sure we could put in the energy to get the right number of people there*, follow up with our new contacts, train volunteers to take leadership roles, and get good visibility outside of the choir?

If we made this change, would we have more members?
Would we reach more communities?

And most of all…
Would we make more of an impact?

* When I say the “right number of the right people,” I’m not being elitist. Sometimes the “right number of right people” could be 5 clergy members from different traditions, or maybe 2 welfare recipients and a member of congress, or 300 people from throughout the community. My point is that some events are big events, some events are small; sometimes we reach out to wide audiences, sometimes we want to reach a more specific segment.