Buzz Words Wednesday: Ideation


Does keeping up with the latest social media lingo leave you feeling left behind? Sometimes too much tech-talk can leave both your head and your hard drive spinning!

Each week the Rebecca Gordon Group will help increase your viral vocabulary through definitions of the latest marketing/technological terms and social sayings. 

This week we discuss “Ideation.”

Does your nonprofit or small business need help turning your concepts into workable content? Ideation is part of what we do every day at the Rebecca Gordon Group. We are committed to working with professionals who want to build strong organizations, businesses, boards and community support to meet their mission and/or goals. Our services include but are not limited to: nonprofit consultingsocial media management and website development.

For even more valuable tech tips for your non profit or small business, follow The Rebecca Gordon Group on Facebook and Twitter

Tackling the Overhead Myth: The True Cost of Meeting Our Mission

overheadmythAsk any nonprofit professional and they will tell you that one of the most often repeated mantras of working in the not for profit sector is “Sacrifice.” Philanthropic professionals are often asked to give up every day comforts that are often taken for granted in the for profit sector. Going home at 5:00? What is that like? Weekends? What are those? The latest advancements in technology? You mean like, mechanical pencils?

In the name of our collective causes and in order to keep our overhead costs low, we happily waive our rights to our potential productivity and, all too often, sanity. Add to that the funding challenges of our current economic climate and complications can quickly escalate, leaving the hard working staff of such charitable organizations feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated  While making a difference involves personal sacrifice, it is important for us to seek the wisdom of that other age-old mantra made popular by well-known author on personal time management, Alan Lakein, “Work smarter, not harder.”

Jacob Harold, president and CEO of GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies, stresses,“Nonprofits need to invest in their organizations to be able to effectively serve their missions.”

GuideStar has partnered with fellow philanthropic powerhouses, Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Allianceto dispel the ongoing myth that the best way to judge the efficiency of a charity is by keeping the percentage of expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs as low as possible.

Harold adds, “When we focus solely or predominantly on overhead…we starve charities of the freedom they need to best serve the people and communities they are trying to serve.”

This doesn’t mean that funds should be funneled to purchasing the latest ergonomically correct office desk, or opening up a lounge outfitted with massage chairs and sleep pods like the pampered personnel over at Google.

By making more room in your organization’s budget for important investments in training, planning, evaluation, internal systems and fundraising your organization’s impact can be easily doubled while your staff’s skills can truly be afforded the time to shine.

Donor messaging plays a big part in this shift from the negative overhead mindset. Whether it is through a monthly newsletter, an annual report or social media updates , it is important to let your donors know that their gifts are being put to use to help further the mission of your organization.  The simple act of inviting board members to attend a training session or a planning meeting not only leaves them with a sense of feeling engaged, but widens the level of transparency between your organization and its funding members. But the messaging doesn’t stop there! It is also important to release follow up messages that show the results of these investments on the home front. Did that spiffy new office computer (purchased with donor funds) help you design some killer brochures? Let your donors know!

The act of working smarter and not harder doesn’t happen over night, and change tends to happen a little slower in the nonprofit world. But, through a combination of increased transparency and careful planning, you can make the investments you need to take the reach of your nonprofit to the next level.

Central Missouri Honor Flight Video

Last month we were approached by a man named Nicholas Monaco who had recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. as part of the Central Missouri Honor Flight program. In addition to being a Jefferson City lawyer, Mr. Monaco is a Korean War veteran and is very involved in his Rotary Club. He asked us to create a 20-minute about his trip, that also gave an overview of the Honor Flight program.


For those who aren’t familiar with the program, Honor Flight transports veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials at no cost to them. Central Missouri Honor Flight has now completed 22 flights, transporting nearly 1,300 Veterans to D.C. Top priority is currently given to World War II veterans and those were terminal illnesses. Next in line is Korean War veterans, then Vietnam War veterans, and all other veterans who served in a chronological order.

With just a week and a half to complete the entire video, including gathering all the footage, interviewing Mr. Monaco, and editing it all together, this was one of the more challenging projects we’ve ever taken on. However — after several late nights — it all came together and turned out to be one of the most rewarding things we’ve done. It was presented to the Downtown Rotary Club in Jefferson City on June 3.

A BIG thanks to Mr. Monaco and all veterans who have fought to protect our country. Please take a few minutes to learn more about Honor Flight, a truly wonderful organization worthy of support. They are funded almost entirely by individual donations. You can also get involved by volunteering to be a Guardian on a flight, or by giving the veterans the hero’s welcome home they deserve upon their arrival in Columbia. The next Central Missouri Honor Flight is scheduled for July 2.