Enchantment for Non-profits: A Book Review

The core purpose of this blog is teach Third Tribe style marketing techniques to nonprofit leaders so they can connect with their right people and change the world.  So you can imagine how exited I was to hear not only had Guy Kawasaki written a book subtitled:  “The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions” but also that he was sending me an advanced copy of the book to review on the blog.

I was not disappointed.

The book is an easy and engaging read, and while the examples lean heavily toward how to use enchantment techniques to build excitement and loyalty around products, the concepts absolutely translate to our realm.  For example:

“Credible” is not a Synonym for “Boring”

I’ve mentioned this idea before, but it bears repeating.  As a leader you need to understand and account for all the layers of complexity surrounding your organization as well as the ecosystem in which you work, but that doesn’t mean you have to explain every piece of evidence that led to your conclusion in mind-numbing detail.  Part of your job is to wade through the complexity and distill it down to ideas that are easy for your people to understand and act upon.

This is not to say you should never show your work.  Including links to source material and explanations of your process along with your distilled message promotes trustworthiness.  They key is to use your analysis to promote understanding, not to cloud it.

In other words, enchanting organizations are  transparent enough to be trustworthy, and simple enough to be likable.

Your Cause is Enchanting.  Your Organization–Not so Much

Most non-profits are formed to  support a specific cause like producing theatre for women or helping teenage mothers complete their education.  The problem is, as they grow, many organizations start focusing more and more effort on sustaining themselves, and less and less in service of the cause that spawned them.

The “fix” for this is a simple paradigm shift:  It’s not about you.  The minute you stop focusing on creating value and solving problems for the people your organization is called to serve you cease to be enchanting.

Enchantment doesn’t happen in a Vacuum

It’s hard to be enchanting when the exciting part of your work happens behind closed doors and supporters are only allowed to “participate” around the edges.   If you want your message to spread, let supporters inside the walls.

Thanks to the internet, it’s no longer easy to predict whose support you need to make a good idea or program morph into a phenomenal success.*  Therefore it’s in your best interest to let as many people in as is possible, give them access to your organization’s most important work and help them see how their contribution is  making an impact.  Then encourage them to spread the word as they see fit.

If your organization is used to working in a controlled way, letting people in may seem scary.  Here are two thoughts that might help.

  1. Your current sense of message control is an illusion.
  2. The amount of support (and funding) you can generate with the help of avidly loyal fans is astronomical.

Your Turn

Ready to take your organization’s enchantment to the next level?  Pick up your own copy of Enchantment at Amazon.com.

Have you already read Enchantment?  Leave (or link to) your review in the comments!

*This is why Guy sent review copies of the book to everyone on the Alltop.com mailing list who requested one.

6 thoughts on “Enchantment for Non-profits: A Book Review

  1. I just heard about Guy’s new book this morning, so your review is timed perfectly! With the huge number of books out there, it’s good to have some idea of where to turn — and great to know that this book won’t disappoint! I’m not an Amazon girl, so I’ll be heading down to Jabberwocky, our local independent bookstore, to pick up a copy!

  2. Hi Maureen,
    Calvin’s tweet brought this to my attention. Book sounds great, and your review is pithy and enjoyable. Love your blog layout! Good info, clear invitation to hire you if any so choose.

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