All You Need is Love... and a Whole Lot of Communication!
If I've learned anything in my brief six years, 10 months, and 27 days of marriage, it's that, in addition to love, communication is key in growing and maintaining a good relationship. Funny thing is, I learned the exact same thing in just one day while attending the ASU Lodestar Center's 2011 Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness. Well, we all care deeply for the missions of our organizations and those we serve — you might even call that "love." But, without good communication, we may fall short of our goals. With keynote speakers Travis Manzione (Director of Assessment Tools for The Center for Effective Philanthropy) and Charles Best (Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org), and a panel representing local nonprofits and funders (including Ear Candy, Phoenix Youth at Risk, SRP, and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust), you could not miss the message: Ongoing communication between grantees and funders is an absolute must.
Over the course of the day, there was so much communication going on — networking between nonprofits; sharing of ideas, knowledge, and experiences; and, maybe most thought-provoking, grantees and funders empathetically listening to each other's stories and gaining a glimpse into the "other side" of the process. Many of the participants left the day motivated to keep that communication going — beyond the request for money and the call for reports.
So, as I anticipate the celebration of my seven-year wedding anniversary (in one month and three days), I am reinforced in my belief that communication is key — not only in marriage relationships, but in all relationships. And, just as I have yet to master communication in my marriage (and neither has my husband, for that matter!), we mustn't forget to keep this communication going. The connections you made at the Forum, the messages you took home, the plan you created — don't let them fall to the wayside. Maintain them and help them grow through communication!
Didn't attend this year's forum? Don't worry! Take a look at the video below in which participants answer the question, "What does the forum mean to you?" And while you're at it, check out some of our other forum videos on the ASU Lodestar Center's YouTube Channel.