Category: Commentary

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How Much #BigGood Does BECU Do?

As you know, my goal on this blog is to encourage individuals and companies to #DoBigGood. But what if you are a company that already does #BigGood? You ask the next reasonable question: how much? Founded in 1935 by 18 Boeing employees as a mutual aid society, Boeing Employees’ Credit Union (BECU) does an incredible amount of good in the community. In… Read more →


Pain is a Super-Power (If You Master It)

Pain Creates Empathy With Others’ Suffering Painful personal experiences often bring people into the fields of nonprofit work, activism, and volunteerism.  This is because our own pain causes us to empathize with others’ suffering. For many activists, their pain became their purpose.  We see this when the parent of a gun violence victim becomes an anti-gun advocate. Even in less dramatic cases, there is often… Read more →


President Obama on How to #DoBigGood

President Obama believes that massive social change occurs in three steps: Propose a change Make it happen Make it last As commentator Adam Gopnik noted recently in The New Yorker, Obama believe in “radical change made through practical measures.”  Obama believes that great change must be undertaken slowly and with attentiveness to the concerns of opponents. As Obama said in a recent interview… Read more →

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The Visionary’s Path

Sometimes I’m too wordy by half. Here’s a quick visual summary of how I take my clients from vision to practical next steps.  It’s a one-on-one consultative process that often takes as little as an hour. More details on this process are available here. First Comes Vision Picture of the Future that you want to achieve Motivation that lights an enduring fire… Read more →

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Communication Strategy for Change-Makers

Is Your Communication Helping Your Cause? Activists communicate to persuade their audiences to act. Learn if your communication is getting you closer to your social change goal with this easy 7-step checklist. Know the Basics of Activist Communication Strategy Here are the basics of strategic communication for activists: Goal: Know what you want to achieve. Audience: Know who you need to persuade.… Read more →

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Activism Campaign Components (Includes Cake)

Note: cross-posted from An activism campaign is like a Choose Your Own Adventure where you know the social change goal you want to achieve, have control over your own actions, but have no control over how the external world will respond.  How can you make the best decisions possible, given this uncertainty?  You use the tools of theory of change, strategy,… Read more →

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Concord: Guest Commentator on The Exchange

Yesterday I was a guest on The Exchange, NHPR’s daily morning call-in show hosted by Laura Knoy. The other guests were Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, and Deray McKesson, who has emerged as a media spokesperson for the Black Lives Matter movement.  The topic was digital activism.  From the show notes: As internet natives, brought up in the… Read more →

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Seattle Progressives: Sign the Open Letter for Black Lives

Note: This is cross-posted from I’ve been thinking about the Black Lives Matter action last weekend and the horrifying response by many progressives in attendance.   It was angry, intolerant, ugly, and – yes – racist. Bernie Sanders responded with irritation.  But the largely white crowd was far uglier in their hostility to the black activists who took the… Read more →

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New Project: Activism Help Desk

I and a couple of collaborators are developing an online community for organizers and activists. It would be a sort of “help desk” that connects experienced activists with folks who are new to activism, providing coaching and a peer learning community. If you feel like the help desk is something you would participate in, we’d like to interview you to… Read more →

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The Quickstart Communication Strategy Method

Communicate Smarter, Not Harder You are already communicating. You might as well do it strategically. Organizations are communicating all the time.  Whenever staff describe their work in conversation, send an email, or post content on a website, they are communicating the organization. However, not all organizations are communicating strategically.  They are not conveying content in a way that persuades their audiences to take the actions… Read more →