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Saturday, November 26, 2005


After whirlwind of slide-making, Susan Vowell and I presented for two hours on Earned Revenue Strategy at the AICPA gathering of NFP financial executives. I 'met' Susan by phone on Wednesday afternoon, and by Friday at 8am we were killing a room of nonprofit CFOs.

In the incoming revenue stream at a nonprofit, earned revenue is distinct from contributed revenue. Earned revenue, essentially, comes from selling things or services--as opposed to contributed revenue which is composed of donations. As the market has become increasingly competitive, some types of revenue have switched teams. Memberships and corporate sponsorships have essentially transitioned from (mostly) being philanthropic contributed revenues to (mostly) being earned revenue exchanges.

Most of what I do as a consultant is earned revenue strategy. I'll be back soon with presentation highlights, and what we learned from participants.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hope Shelterer, Geek?

I thought I hated math and statistics. Then I encoutered Anand Desai. I thought I hated business. And then I met Andrew Taylor, and the swell work of Greg Dees. Sometimes, a new wonky-ness catches me by surprise. Thanks to NetSquared, I might finally become a geek too.

What Anand, Andrew and Greg all showed me were loving (human!) connections between disciplines/tools that I viewed as soul-less and actually helping people. I'd been stocking my toolkit for years with obvious things like consensus building, community organizing, translating between gestalts, and non-defensive communication. Bluntly, the girly parts of working for change. The smooshy stuff: philosophy, dialogue.

I've been on a kick now for a while (a kick I'm going full force on with my consulting business) that strategic mission-based business decisions, backed by smart market research
(SMBBDSMR) have greater potential for world-saving than most other things I've encountered.

Ah ha. My old girly methods of working for change were eventually discouraged because of scale. They need person-to-person interaction and are limited because of that. (Not that being scale-limited is a bad thing necessarily, see: all that stuff we did in Houston.) SMBBDSMR is also (initially) limited by scale, but it was interesting to me because it added sustainability. The old girly stuff I worked on was plagued by burn out. Death by burnout wasn't surprising, it takes an outstanding amount of emotional toughness to keep working for change when you can't see or measure your impact. Adding measures of impact with SMBBDSMR felt (and still feels) good.

But! Yes! Having attended the recent NetSquared Net Tuesday I'm insane for a new tool: geeks who want to save the world. Scale plus measures plus person-to-person. And sustainable (if we pretend that, you know, electricity and manufacturing computers is sustainable). I've got all sorts of world saving plots, and even more colleagues with better world saving plots. Web 2.0, I will use you for my own hope sheltering, world saving ends.

I'm off to become a geek to world saver translator. Blargh...another language for my translating toolkit.

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