If you're wondering why I've been a little scattered lately, it is because I'm about five weeks away from moving 3,000 miles across the country. This has been no small task - closing up a house we've occupied for twenty years, finding a new place to live and the right schools, and countless other details. All in the backdrop of cross-country commuting, getting acclimated to a new working environment and systems, and the added stimulus of everything being unfamiliar.
A big move forces you to let go, pare down to essentials. The less stuff you move, the cheaper the moving costs. I've been looking at everything I own with a question - "How essential is this?"
Take for example, my vast book collection which I've accumulated over the last thirty years. (Okay, I confess I'm a book addict) Unfortunately, books are heavy and when moving costs are based on weight, well, sadly, I had to say good bye to a lot my friends. Over the past couple of months, I've been shipping them off various nonprofit libraries, friends, and doing giveaways on the blog. The batch of books in the photo above found a new home at In Defense of Animal and Funding Information Center in Texas.
Simplicity is a good thing.
As you may have read on Allison Fine's blog, we are co-writing a book to be published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley & Sons early next year. It's tentatively called the networked nonprofit and is how nonprofits can work more like clouds. As we've been discussing different themes in the book, the concept of simplicity is a good starting point.
The array of social media can appear to be very complex. But social media and social networks respond to the same needs that drive people; the need to connect with one another in meaningful ways through conversation. Social change happens through conversations, and the job of nonprofits is to organize themselves in such ways as to catalyze and manage those conversations.
Organizations that can really adapt and use social media need to simplify. Simplicity boils down to:
1. Identify the essential
2. Network the rest
It's about letting go - the staff or the organization doesn't have to do it all. It's also about having the ability to stop doing programs or activities that don't work. It's also about streamlining decision-making and being more nimble. It's about a lot more things, but I'm hoping you will share your thoughts on that in the comments.
I got a few responses when I asked for examples via Twitter. Meghan Keaney, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, responded
So, do you have a story about how your organization has embraced simplicity in its quest to use social media?
The best comment gets the above copy of Secrets of Simplicity!