Getting Your Nonprofit Act Together …

“People support causes, and not institutions.” …

Cause Manifesto Poster 400px overlay

Some of you already know of my background in both professional and volunteer non-profit environments in social services, higher education, and healthcare.  I guess you could call me a “Do Gooder“, who has experienced first-hand the need to bring more to the game than just a desire to do good work to succeed.

So you’ll understand why I am very excited about Brian Sooy’s new and extremely valuable book “Raise Your Voice”: A Cause Manifesto”.  At first, I thought that this would be another fairly short, enjoyable book to read in a few nights. 

A week later, I am still digesting all the important and useful information in this little title.

“We’re informed by what speaks to our minds and thoughts; we’re inspired by what appeal to our hearts.”

Brian is speaking to both my brain and my heart …

Brian does not write like the usual leadership guru … thank goodness.   Brian recognizes the need to speak to both our minds and our hearts, both internally and to those we serve.   Some things have to “make sense”, while others are felt in our hearts with no proof needed. 

RYVCCM-Cover-3DHeart and mind are both essential for the organization to survive and thrive, but too often we focus on one or the other.  Nurture both the rational and the emotional … and you will succeed.

“You must be certain they (your audience) understands who you are, what you do, why you matter, and what difference you make.”

This makes sense, because it speaks to the need for congruence and clarity of purpose in our actions and our communications.  I have seen what happens when you depend on others innately recognizing the value of your  good cause and of trying too hard to be a “business” without the soul.  

Brian also talks about designing your organizational communications in comprehensive and thoughtful ways that move way past the usual corporate mumbo-jumbo.  He uses the same terms we have seen elsewhere:  Purpose, Mission and Values, Goals and Outcomes, and Strategy, but in a very focused way.

For example, he consistently hammers at the difference between a cause and a brand, cautioning us to be careful not to confuse the two. Brian understands how important understanding the distinction is for our success.

This book is all about getting your act together by using solid design principles and effective communication strategies to craft a shared vision. 

Why is this important?  Well, in Brian’s words:

“Your organization communicates with your audience through every verbal, visual, printed, and experiential touch point, where you intend to or not.”

In this highly competitive world, we cannot afford to fail in our communications.  The Cause Manifesto chart above conveys some of the detail that you will find in the book.  These twelve principles neatly divide into four major groups:  Strategic, Inspirational, Relational, and Aspirational … more about these later this week. 

In the meanwhile, check out and reflect on the principles on the chart … I’ll bet you will only find yourself nodding your head in agreement as you do so.

Obviously, I am sold on Brian’s book and will be applying what I am learning specifically and immediately in several venues … but don’t take my word for it that this is one valuable book.  Click FREE CHAPTER to read a sample chapter from “Raise Your Voice” … once you have done that, I can almost guarantee that you will want to BUY A COPY on Amazon … yeah, it’s that good. 

Bonus thought:  While directed at non-profits, most of the valuable stuff applies quite nicely to the for-profit world as well.

Enjoying a book that reminds me of how things can and should be in the Heartland ….




Brian Sooy 200pxBrian Sooy is the founder and design director of Aespire®, a design and marketing communications agency that works with nonprofits, foundations and other meaningful causes. He regularly speaks and consults with professionals and leaders from mission-driven organizations, advising them on positioning, marketing, and communications principles that help them connect their purpose and mission with their audience. As a volunteer, Brian serves on the board of directors of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio in various roles, including as an officer on the executive committee. His new book, Raise Your Voice, is available on Amazon.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Brian’s book for review prior to launch.  Be envious …

4 thoughts on “Getting Your Nonprofit Act Together …

  1. Pingback: The Best of Lead with Giants -July 2014

  2. Pingback: Raise Your Voice – A Cause Manifesto by Brian Sooy - Book Review | Insite SkillInsite Skill

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