Today I went down to volunteer for a committee. I love being on committees: I feel so…official and important. Like I’m in charge. After all, I was the president of my 4-H chapter. I know Robert’s Rules of Order and everything. And I have a special fondness for officialspeak: “WHEREAS the party of the first part, blah blah blah…”
Sorry, got a little sidetracked…. Where was I? Oh yes, the group I’m volunteering with is planning to hold a summit. It’ll be their 8th. And I can already tell that it’s not my slice of cake. Seriously. I want to build movements, not piddle around and watch a bunch of eco-insiders pat each other on the back. Did I tell you this summit is invitation-only?
Maybe I’m being too critical…?
Maybe. But I can already see that the group is missing out on some serious marketing and outreach opportunities, here.
For outreach, in addition to the local non-profits, I would invite local for-profit companies that are geared toward sustainability. In my opinion, not including select members of the business community ignores an important part of the “change” equation. I think back to the triple bottom line philosophy (People, Planet, Profit), and it seems pivotal that we not ignore any of those bottom lines. After all, people have to make a living, so why not encourage those who already do so sustainably and compassionately? And the continued alignment of business and environmental needs can only be good.
As far as marketing is concerned, what an opportunity this presents to broaden the audience! Even if the organization can only manage logistics for a handful of people, it can utilize the event to generate enormous interest in their organization. The best way I can think of would be by filming the event and putting interesting snippets on Youtube or even the organization’s homepage.
And, in addition to inviting people it has had on its list for years, it could be proactive in finding and inviting new movers and shakers in the local community. C’mon guys, don’t make them find you, go find them.
This organization holds other, more inclusive events, and it does some great things for the community. But I think the way the summit is structured is indicative of an old-school us/them mindset that is no longer necessary or beneficial. There is an astonishing amount of consensus about sustainability now, and that consensus needs to be leveraged before it’s lost.
In my opinion, any organization that rests on its laurels and continues to engage select groups risks insularity and, ultimately, irrelevancy.
But that’s my opinion.
So…I have a poll for you. Check it out and let me know what you think. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m crazy smart. You decide.