“Tonight, try to sit back and just listen. Don’t do some much of the talking, and see what happens. Just listen.”

I’ll never forget it.

It was the advice given to me by my father one evening before I was leaving the house to meet my friends. Although, I’m not certain his advice was intended solely for that occasion.

To be honest, OUCH was my initial reaction.

But he was right, and I knew it. The truth hurts sometimes.

It’s an important reminder for us all. Too often, on our individual journeys to success, we forget to stop and listen to each other, to learn from each other.

I was reminded again during a session at SXSW of the importance of listening. Austin Kleon spoke about how true genius doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We don’t grow by shutting ourselves off from criticism or feedback. No, true genius is fueled in a scenius, a place where we share.

A place where we shut up and listen  – to each other, to our donors, to our peers, to our competitors, and to our friends.

Here’s who I’ve been listening to this week:

  • 1.1 – Ben Baker says you’ll want to remember that number. In his open letter on npEngage, From a Millennial: The Truth Behind’s My #Selfie, Ben answers the question : Are selfies the millennial generation’s  cry for attention? Maybe. But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe selfies are indicative  of our generation’s desire to be known. If we’re to join your cause, your organization’s fight for a better world, get to know us. Talk with us. #nofilter
  • Everyone’s got an opinion. When it comes to rebranding your nonprofit, those opinions only get louder. This feedback is great, but only if you’ve got a process in place to streamline and manage – otherwise it becomes noise. On the Big Duck blog, Megan Linz of Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy shares her rebranding experience and some dos and don’ts in her post, How to streamline the feedback process during your nonprofit rebrand.
  • What’s worse than a donor that doesn’t come back to make a second gift? An angry donor. Without a secure gratitude system in place to ensure your monthly givers are feeling appreciated, you might get a taste of The dark side of nonprofit monthly giving. With help from Simon Scriver of Total Fundraising Ireland, Pamela Grow uncovers some of the biggest barriers standing in your way to sustainable donor love and income.
  • On Firespring’s blog, Jay Wilkinson talks of The Importance of Empowering Your Volunteers to Raise Money. These are individuals that are already invested in your cause. It’s time to be intentional. Empower them to share their story. Stop expecting your volunteers to “feel” empowered to speak on your behalf, and equip them with what they need to feel confident about speak up.
  • Sometimes, getting into a routine means forming bad habits. In his post, Marc Pitman reveals the common (mis)uses of donor databases, social media, and email newsletters and suggest more lucrative alternatives. Re-examine how you’re using these tools and channels, and then ask yourself- Are you using them all wrong?

What about you?

I’m listening.

Madeline

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeline Turner is the Online and Social Marketing Manager at Blackbaud. Prior to running Blackbaud’s social media and thought leadership blog npENGAGE, Madeline worked as a Managing Editor for Blackbaud’s Content Marketing program. It is her goal to create content and share ideas that challenge the status quo of the nonprofit industry. When Madeline isn’t tweeting or writing blog posts, you can find her drinking coffee out of her ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ mug, wearing giant headphones and singing off-key.

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