Color Outside of the Lines! | npENGAGE

Color Outside of the Lines!

By on Mar 13, 2012


At an early age we are taught to color with in the lines, be neat, be bold but never be radical.  For quite sometime I did exactly that.  After all, I was not only a boy from theMidwestbut a son of a prominent business man in a small town.  I think my first steps towards coloring outside of the lines and being an individual was attending my alma mater,StephensCollege. StephensCollegeis a private women’s college and being a male at a private women’s college is really coloring outside of the lines and with bright vibrant colors.  I think as we get older we tend to move back to the safety of the lines.  I know that is a very easy thing for organizations to do.  How many times have we heard “Don’t rock the boat!”

I was asked to read a book for our upcoming strategic planning meeting for APRA.  Our facilitator sent us the book, Race for Relevance – 5 Radical Changes for Associations by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers.  I flew through the book and at the time did not have a highlighter so when I returned to my office, I re-read the book with my bright yellow highlighter in hand.  As I embark today for my flight to Chicago for this strategic planning session, I will once again open the book and absorb how important it is to change.  I believe you can take what the authors say in this book and adapt it for non-profits.  The market is more competitive than ever.  Seeking major gift donors as well as retention of donors is higher than it has ever been.  In order to keep our donors or attract new donors I think we need to think outside of the confines of what is safe.  What we have been doing so far is not bad so let’s just keep doing what we have always been doing is not going to cut it anymore.  It is important as ever to be strategic in our thinking and planning as well as creative and dynamic.  A few of the key factors that I took from the book:

  • The need to be at the top of our game around technology
  • How we empower the staff and leaders
  • Making committees and boards even more productive
  • Continue the professional development of the staff; We can no longer afford to view this as an expense.  We need to see it as an investment to the organization for not only for now but more importantly for the future. 

So I guess I am asking everyone to read this book and not just once but at least two times.  Highlight points that you feel have relevance for not only you as an individual but for your institution.  Finally, don’t be afraid to color outside of the lines and being radical.  Radical is actually a good thing and can lead you and your institution to heights you did not even think you could reach!  I would love to hear from those of you who do read the book and what you think of it.  Please feel free to email me at  Grab your crayons and have some fun!!!

*Michael Quevli is a consultant for Target Analytics. You may reach him at


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