Monday, September 27, 2010

Walt Otto

Walt Otto (1895 – 1963) - Vintage Pin Up Illustrator
vintage girl illustration
Walt Otto Walt Otto pin up
Walt Otto art Walt Otto vintage pin up

Winning Support for a Nonprofit - Design Thinking

I'm doing quite a bit of design thinking and sketching right now... finding the intersection between design and everyday life. Life is designed.

If you are involved in a nonprofit, or a school, or the arts, or anything else where you have to continually advocate, it is vitally important to think through your potential supporters' point of view. For example, you can't win a new donor if they don't know you exist, or a fan if they haven't seen what you do. Your job is to help them move along the arrow to the place where they are most comfortable. Some will just be an occasional patron, some will go all the way to being an advocate.

For each step, you ask questions and design your communications to answer them.

I believe that most of the effort should go into those bottom three levels - because a nonprofit needs many oars in the water to thrive. Having the same three ardent supporters all the time might work for some (like if those three supporters are all zillionaires), but it's not really a model that's going to work (what if they don't put you in their will).

If your work is good, those who are enthused about it will naturally move up the arrow.

So ask yourself, how am I building relevance for people who don't know I exist?

Life is Designed - Packing Lunch

If you are a person, you are a designer. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how Design Thinking applies in everyday life, and how we might do it more consciously...

Designers are very organized about how they solve problems, and when you are a parent it seems you problem solve, on a very fast timeline, all day long.

Here is an example where I applied Design Thinking to packing lunch. Designers spend a lot of energy up front defining what problem they are solving. Parents do too, but it's often in reaction to their feelings and the opinions of their kids as opposed to an organized or proactive plan. Parents also do a lot of assessment at the end of the process, noticing what comes back unopened or half-eaten, what didn't stay fresh very well, what disappeared.

Interestingly the shortest list, "Implement," is where I expend the most energy, stumbling around the kitchen in the morning trying to get all the parts to come together into one lunch bag.

Also in my case, since we use washable lunch bags, there should be a step in here called "Is the bag all stinky from open food or juice that leaked all over in there?"

Life is Designed.

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