A few years ago, my colleagues on the faculty of Georgetown University’s Center on Public and Nonprofit Leadership had a bright idea: We would bundle all the course material from our very successful week-long, intensive training program for nonprofit managers and publish a book about nonprofit management. It would be good for CPNL and its wonderful director, Kathy Kretman, good for the faculty, and good for the sector as a whole. I was assigned to write a chapter on marketing and communications in the nonprofit context, based on a class I have taught for more than decade. It was fun to pull together my presentation material into article form.
When the book project foundered, predictably, I lost track of my article. (This was back in 2009, and there were more immediate client needs to address.) So I was pleased to learn recently that the good people at CPNL have repurposed a couple of the essays from the failed book effort under the rubric of “Essays in Excellence,” including my 16-page screed on nonprofit marketing and communications. In addition to my contribution, take a look at the piece by Gary Bass on nonprofit advocacy and Michela Perrone’s essay on governance. As practitioners rather than academics, we all approached our respective subjects from the perspective of the person actually having to do all these things. So we’re light on theory and long on anecdote. And most of the anecdotes are mostly true!
The biggest weakness in my piece, looking back almost four years? I totally whiffed on the potential transformative impact of social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc. on the communications landscape. But that’s another story, for another post.
(If you want to learn more about the great programs at CPNL at Georgetown, take a look here — you will also find those links to other “Essays in Excellence” penned by my esteemed colleagues in the program.)