3 Selfish Reasons to Be More Generous

With payoffs like these, even Scrooge might see generosity as an investment!

If your mother is anything thing like Lucie Carruthers, she’s been reminding you to be generous and share from the time you learned the word “mine.”

While I’m pretty sure mom reasons for being generous are focused on raising good citizens and creating peace in living rooms, it turns out those same ideas might are also good for your bottom line.

Generosity Is Easy

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything
~Mark Twain

Generous employee and customer policies are like that too. Continue reading

How to Shoot your Nonprofit in the Foot


Is this what's standing between you and your supporters?

I’m taking two friends to see a show at a local theatre this weekend.  They are both theatre fans who recently graduated so it seemed like a good gift.

While we have settled on a date and time, I do not have tickets.

I tried to get tickets.  I went to the website, cringed at the $4 per ticket “convenience” fee for ordering on-line or via the phone but attempted the on-line route anyway–the site was down.

According to the website, the box office was open that afternoon so I got in my car and drove downtown–only to be told the box office was not open–but I could come back that evening to get tickets. . . .

So now, I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping the show won’t be sold out and I can buy our tickets the night of the show.

The really crappy part

Unless you are me, this story is not sad because of the hour I spent trying (and failing) to get tickets. Continue reading

The Power of YouTube: A Musical Case Study

In 2008, Dave Carroll checked his Taylor Guitar on a United flight to Nebraska.  The guitar was seriously damaged in transit.  After a year of “conversations” with United staff, the airline still refused to accept responsibility for the damages.  In his final e-mail exchange with United he promised to write three songs about the experience and post them to YouTube in hopes of generating 1 million total views.

United was not impressed–then the first song was released*.

The song was catchy, the video was funny and, most importantly, the message struck a cord with everyone who saw it.  The video made international news, and now, less than a year later, has been viewed by over 8 million people.

So what does this mean for Nonprofits?

Serious problems can be addressed in lighthearted ways.

Lots of people yell and scream about the way airlines treat people.  The reaction is understandable, and yet, it doesn’t resolve much.  Dave Carroll wrote three silly (but awesome) songs about the problem, posted them on YouTube and now, in addition to his musical career, speaks to audiences world-wide about customer service in the age of social media and has a new website dedicated to helping other wronged customers get their grievances resolved.

The lesson?  Even when it’s justified, righteous indignation doesn’t get you very far.  Get the mad out of your system; then tell your story in a way people can hear you.

We can see you

Customer and/or client service no longer happens in private.  There may have been a time when you could get away with saying one thing in public and doing another in private, but those days are gone.  Even if your organization never upsets a musician, one never knows what will go viral on YouTube.

This doesn’t have to be bad news.  It means the amazing things your organization does will also be easy to share.  Zappo’s built a business model around it.

Your turn

  • How are you using YouTube to connect with your right people?
  • Have you seen a YouTube video that turned you into a fan of another organization?

Share your links in the comments!

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*I know this video is almost a year old, and if you keep up with internet phenomenons that makes it seriously old news.  I’m telling the story now because 1) the 3rd video just came out so the story is complete 2) I really like the story and the video and want the people who missed it the first time to get a second chance.