December 31, 2008

I listen to Bob Dylan a lot.

I was a latecomer to Dylan. In 1966 – my freshman year in college – one of my roommates, Donna Jay, was a Dylan fan. But I still didn’t really get into Dylan until the 70s.

I love it all now. Recently, I’ve been listening lots to “Blood on the Tracks.” And for Christmas I gave my life partner Tom the “Bootleg Volume 8,” which is lovely. I said the household needed more of the Dylan oeuvre. But I suspect, it may have been mostly a gift to me.

And last night – one of our date nights at the bookstore – I bought the bootleg “Rolling Thunder Revue 1975”. I was just reading the liner notes by Larry “Ratso” Sloman, dated September 2002, NYC.

And you know what Ratso says about Dylan? He’s “telling the tribe the news of the hour.”

Telling the tribe the news of the hour. That’s our job as relationship builders. That’s our job as fundraisers. That’s our job as leaders. And that’s our job as activists.

Tell your tribe the news of the hour.

Just ask Seth Godin. Read Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us? Have you read the PDF Tribes Q & A.

In Tribes, Godin tells us that a tribe is “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea…A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”

Doesn’t that sound like your organization? If it’s donor-centered and customer-centered and real good at developing relationships?

Tribes reminds us what people want: “…connection and growth and something new. They want change.”

Isn’t that what your donors of time and money want? And how about those activists that signed your petition? How about those people who signed up for your newsletter, or spent lots of time wandering your website and downloading stuff?

The best organizations and businesses and campaigns and movements – and yes, artists – attract and lead a tribe. Hey Seth, you tell us you belong to the Grateful Dead tribe. Do you belong to Dylan’s, too? And how about those members of the Obama tribe?

Seth tells us that people want to belong to lots of tribes. It’s a survival mechanism, belonging.

So do your donors belong to a tribe? Do your clients and users belong to a tribe? Bottom line: is your organization creating a tribe?

You must read Tribes. Buy it at amazon. Download Tribes Q&A here. Check out tribe building tactics at Seth’s website. You’ll recognize lots of them, like celebrating accomplishments and telling stories. That’s what the best organizations do with their donors. Visit Seth.


About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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