Putting the Tribes idea to work for non-profits

I put Seth’s conference call for non-profits on my iPod a couple weeks ago and have listened to it four times so far. I guess I’m one of those auditory learners because Seth’s talk really resonated with me. I tossed and turned all night thinking about how to best apply these ideas to my local community association.

Some background: We’re the stereotypical old, boring organization who runs some kids recreational programs, tries to start a few more now and then, installs some new playground equipment every 5 years or so, and bemoans the loss of volunteer spirit in the community (reality is lots of people volunteer, just not with us anymore.)

I’ve been trying to get more action / buzz / excitement going about the work we do. New website, more focus on the neighbourhood at large rather than the association, although my email updates have had a healthy dose of ‘we need volunteers’ in them too.

Seth’s talk got me thinking of how we need to change.  Here are some initial thoughts, in the hope they might kickstart your own ideas:

– Be clear on what we want to accomplish. More community programs? More connection between neighbours? There need to be causes before there can be tribes, and we might be nurturing different tribes for each cause.

– Make it easy for people to connect with each other around these causes — more than connecting with the association.

– Make it even easier for people to tell others about their cause.

– Make it easy for people to support the cause by doing what they already do. (ie. building a squidoo lens about their hobby can still help the cause.)

So how should I change my approach?

Well, shifting away from regular ‘Next Meeting’ emails is one thing.

Focus on getting our most active members (those who are enrolled in lots of programs) spreading the word about our programs.

Get those who are most visible in the neighbourhood spreading the word about the neighbourhood.

We become “the platform”, but really more of the guide for easy ways to spread the word.

Collect permission assets along the way, with the intent of connecting people to start new projects (that they design) Maybe we don’t start projects but guide people along the way.

Celebrate the heck out of everything the tribe does — not what the association does.

I think this is what Seth calls “organizing around a tribe” in his new book.

What am I missing?

Let me know in the comments!

1 thought on “Putting the Tribes idea to work for non-profits”

  1. Hi Mark
    Go to see you have the same issues to resolve. I just read Seth book on tribes and are also trying to get my local community to connect, communicate and share. I am involved with the local civic association and started there.

    I created a room on friendfeed for the community http://friendfeed.com/rooms/simonstown where people rant and rave. But it’s a slow process. I started a once a week class where I teach people how to do the social network thing.

    I have also started a group called WHALES who will teach other local communities on how to share, communicate and network.

    The plan is to put a presentation together and share it with the local community police forum, the art groups, the golfers and whatever. This will spread the word and get them talking at the room. http://friendfeed.com/rooms/whales

    You are welcome to join me at the WHALES room, add to it and use it to educate your community.

    Have fun

    Johan

    Johans last blog post..Johan: You cannot help! Because your room is small. (via FriendFeed)

Comments are closed.