/ ˌnän-ə-ˈtach-mənt /
- a state in which a person overcomes their attachment to desire for things, people, or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective.
The title of this post has been sitting in my drafts for at least 6 months — well before COVID-19 hit. Every time I’ve written a new post, I’ve seen it and thought about how I should finally write something, but other things always were more important. Maybe it was meant to be that way because now is perhaps the best time for this particular topic.
If there is a silver lining to a global pandemic, it is that organizations are discovering new ways to innovate and connect. There is a sense of being free from the perceived necessity of precedents because there are no precedents for this situation.
This freedom will hopefully inspire us to make meaningful changes to how we operate. I offer that we look to the tenets of mindfulness and non-attachment to guide us forward as we move back into the new normal.
- We can’t hold onto past practices that aren’t effective anymore.
As Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo says, “The more we grasp, the more we are afraid to lose.”
When we grasp and hold so tightly onto how we have done things in the past, it intensifies the fear that we are going to lose everything if we change. Just because a particular practice, method, or way of doing things feels comfortable doesn’t mean that it is the most effective. Let’s learn to release it in favor of something that is more effective.
This process should start with a truly honest audit of all practices — internal and external. Start with a clean slate and establish the KPIs you’ll use to identify what is effective at your organization. Delve into your Google Analytics data, social media performance metrics, and campaign ROI to create a baseline from which objective analysis can ensue.
2. We must mindfully create content that is compelling.
We’ve got writing the usual “donate now” or “buy tickets now” messaging down pat. Now, let’s put our energy toward creating content that is focused on building relationships. Rather than creating those Facebook posts that practically scream at people to “donate now!”, why not focus in on storytelling to create a deeper relationship that will make people want to donate.
We can integrate mindfulness in our writing practices in many ways, but a good place to start is by slowing down, calming the mind, and putting yourself in the place of the reader. Imagine you are them and you’re seeing the words appear on the page as they read.
3. We need to take a wider world view to determine what our patrons expect.
We think we know what our patrons want, but do we really? We constantly look to our own industry for “best practices”, but many of those things aren’t best practices in the rest of the world. Our first task is to identify what the consumer sees as a good experience with an organization or brand.
In a world where we can buy almost anything they can think of in a matter of a few taps on a smartphone, many of our methods and mediums are quite out-of-date. Let us do the market research outside of our nonprofit bubble and be open and honest about what our patrons expect from and experience with other brands.
Think about your last interaction with a major brand (Target, Zappos, Amazon, etc) and focus in on each element of that experience. Identify the positive things as well as the things that caused friction. Use that information to create the best possible patron experience at your organization.
Now is the time to release our unnecessary attachments and mindfully create new ways of doing things. We’ve seen the positive results from the “radical” (for our industry, anyway) changes we have been forced to make already.
I welcome a drastically different approach, because it means that we are brave enough to embrace the change of which we have been fearful for so long.
Let’s make it so.