This is the transcript of a conversation I had with a new client. The Executive Director and her partner have a small but successful after school acting program for kids from 4 years old to teenagers. Having operated for 8 years, the time had come to consider expansion and growth.
The E.D. had obtained her master’s degree in social entrepreneurship; however she has little practical skill in communications, public relations or resource development.
- Me (LA): What do you want?
- Potential Client (PC): We want to be the most well-known children’s acting program in Malibu.
- LA: Fantastic, how do you want that to happen?
- PC: We want to be the third choice for all Malibu kids behind after-school stuff and soccer.
- LA: Ok, how do you want to make that happen?
- PC: We want to be part of the dinner table conversation and the choice for the parents and kids.
- LA: Perfect, how do we introduce this to the conversation?
- PC: Umm, not sure, BUT, we want everyone to know what a great job we we do, so we are a good choice, and we even give some scholarships.
- LA: It is clear you are that good, but we still need to figure out how to let people know about you.
- PC: Well, there are a lot of actors and producers and rich people who will want their kids to go to our school.
- LA: No doubt, we still need to figure out WHAT you want to say, and HOW you are going to say it to the people you want to hear it.
- PC: How much will this cost & how long is it going to take?
This is not an untypical conversation. The client knows what they want at the end, but no idea how to get from wanting it to achieving it. My role is to find out not only what they want, but what is feasible, realistic and will indeed bring in the desired results. The easy part is knowing where you want to go, it is tougher to figure out how to get there. When we hear screams for ‘more awareness’ I think about this chat; there is a long way from wanting others to talk about you to making that occur.
Have a goal, absolutely, but consider some tangible things that might need to be part of that goal. There’s no mystery, no magic wand; you will need planning, logistics and implementation, metrics, numbers, goals, timelines and activities.
Need a map? Want to set up the steps? Give us a call on 310 828 6979 or send us an email and let’s get people talking about your organization.
Cindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting
As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations.
I Wake Up Screaming (1941) by Marsmet525 on Flickr