The Culture of Curiosity

Culture of Curiosity

I'm off to Toronto to offer the opening keynote and conversation session for the 2014 CAPACOA conference. Their theme this year is "The Culture of Curiosity," which turned out to be an intriguing topic to explore and explain. I'll share some of my key points from the keynote in a future post. … [Read more...]

As it turns out, language matters

Talk Bubble

It's fun to think that the new world of the Internet demands entirely new methods to connect and cultivate supporters. But as it turns out, many ancient practices still apply. Case in point, this recent study of successful and unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign language. It found that phrases connected to value for the audience, and confidence for the initiative, tended to win support more than phrases that lacked connection or confidence of success. … [Read more...]

Ambient intimacy and the rise of the selfie

Rise of the Selfie

This month, the Oxford Dictonaries announced 'selfie' as their word of the year, noting that usage had increased 17,000% since January. A 'selfie,' as you know, is a photographic self-portrait, usually shared over social media, usually shot on a mobile phone (here's a handy infographic). One poll in the UK found that 30 percent of ALL photos taken by 18- to 24-year-olds were selfies. And, of course, there's already an anti-selfie movement. … [Read more...]

Build, buy, or bolster

Build, Buy, Bolster

There are a slew of confusions for nonprofits, and their supporters, that blur the difference between operating money and capital. Even though we may know instinctively that long-term investments and daily operational expenses are different things, we flow them together in our accounting statements, in our planning, in our strategy, and in our brains. Unfortunately, the outcome isn't just about semantics. It's about solvency. … [Read more...]

Express-ercize

Express-ercise

We already know that stories and music can move us emotionally, and get butts in seats at the local performance space. But of course, stories and music can also compel us to move, literally, and get our butts out of seats. Two stories suggest that we've only begun to explore the connections between expression and exercise -- beyond the techno-pump music that drives our current workouts. … [Read more...]

Poking and prying with a purpose

Sherlock and Watson

During the Social Theory, Politics and the Arts conference last week at Seattle University, I got to hear dozens of scholars and practitioners share their research about the arts in social and political context. STP&A, for those who don't know, is the oldest established permanent floating crap game of academic research in arts and culture, founded almost four decades ago by a ragtag cross-disciplinary cluster of curious people. … [Read more...]

The crazy world of capital

SOURCE: Flickr user PT Money

For reasons that elude me, I've been thinking and reading about capital in the nonprofit arts more than anyone probably should. Capital is both tedious and terrifying as an area of study, because the theory behind it is measurement and math (tedious, at least to me), while the organizational consequence of it is agony, ecstasy, or chronic malaise (terrifying). … [Read more...]

Positions, interests, and empathy

A Line in the Sand

One of the basic elements of successful negotiation is a clear distinction between 'positions' and 'interests'. Both sides of a negotiation have positions, of course -- the terms they want or expect from an agreement (pay, benefits, ownership, control, rights, and such). Both sides also have interests, the underlying needs or goals that led them to those terms, either consciously or unconsciously. Positions tend to be binary, win-lose, zero-sum. Interests are usually not. … [Read more...]

What I’ve learned

Question Mark

I have learned that a question is almost always the best approach: to begin something, to welcome someone, to unlock a stubborn problem, to enlist enduring support, to launch a difficult conversation, or to become a part of a community rather than standing apart. … [Read more...]