Wednesday, February 19, 2014

BIG’s Blog: Your Brand

This blog post is dedicated to the people who, for whatever reason, don’t have a sense of urgency in regard the major shift that is about to overtake the fundraising sector. You know that I still like you personally and respect the dedicated work that you have put into your organization. I also appreciate you taking the time to actually read and comment on my blog posts. I also understand that you and your organization, for reasons you more fully understand, will not make the moves to shift your fundraising model as it appears … too politically risky … too much to learn … just too hard.

Soon I predict that the scales will fall from your eyes and somebody will come along who is better able to communicate than I, and will convince you.

But it will probably be too late for your organization and for you personally.

I hope that you will have the time to shift, but if you do not, you will find yourself in the job market . . . and things may have changed since you last looked for employment. This is where this blog fits in. It also has applicability to all my readers, but especially those who need employment in today’s job market.

If you are under 40, do you have a mentor? Or if you are 40+, do you have a wise person to bounce ideas off of? I have a few and I treasure them. The reason mentors and wise heads are so important to us is that we have learned to trust their judgment as they force us to answer good questions. We think our idea is foolproof until we are forced to dissect it.

Authors, bloggers, and commentators are also important, although not as accessible. . . but choose wisely. One of those people for me is Tom Peters. Tom wrote In Search of Excellence in 1982. It is still the biggest selling and most widely read business book of all time. In Search of Excellence was Tom Peters’ seminal analysis of the eight common themes that are responsible for success in well-run organizations. It holds up very well today!

What I like about Peters is that he is always ahead of the curve with ideas that later become accepted.

In 1997, Peters published an article in Fortune Magazine entitled The Brand Called You. This, of course, was several years before digital disruption would begin to tear down industries and rebuild them in different ways using new technology and new business models. Peters understood the coming need for individuals in the marketplace to realize that their personal brand was going to be important for their careers. Today we are seeing this play out all around us in chronic unemployment over 7% and the work environment becoming extremely competitive, even in the nonprofit fundraising business.

You need to understand that prospective employers need to understand your value – your brand – in much the same way they understand the value represented by a national brand.


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