"The committee won't go for it" ... and other stories

Circuit  Rider workshopLast week's Circuit Riders conference in Birmingham was a great opportunity to catch up on the front-line realities of working with organisations, as well as co-presenting a workshop with Laura Whitehead and Nick Booth. Paul Henderson helped out and has blogged the session here.

We video-Skyped with Beth Kanter in Boston, and as usual she has followed up with a terrific post summarising her online fundraising advice. I'll post something later too.

Just as interesting as the workshop was the opening session, where we explored how well-prepared Cicuit Riders - who provide technical support to nonprofits - may be to address their needs. We identified a spectrum.

Roof top protestOn the one hand we talked about the Parliament roof protest where protestors used a mobile phone to talk to the world directly via news media ... and on the other about voluntary organisations still struggling to get their offices networked.

We agreed that social media provides great opportunities for better collaboration, promotion and fundraising as well as campaigning ... but what are the barriers?

The reply from one circuit rider really stuck with me: "The committee won't go for it".

In other words, even if staff have the enthusiasm and capability to introduce new ways of working, their management committees and Boards may block them.

This led me to two further thoughts: we need to think about the reality of adoption of new methods in organisations, and in doing so look for the story or phrase that resonates. More later on the power of stories from another conference.