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Allyson Kapin 5 min read

Nonprofits Need to Focus on Results

Last week we gave you a recap of Majora Carter's keynote at the Nonprofit 2.0 Unconference, and we promised to keep 'em coming. This week, we'll dig into what Craig Newmark had to say during his keynote.

Craig Newmark is the founder of craigconnects and craigslist, and tends to focus on getting stuff done. He's pretty much a pro at that, and had some really great feedback for the nonprofit community.

Some highlights from Craig's talk that you'll want to make note of:

  • He talked about social justice in the US: "We put a lot of money into feeding people yet a lot of people are hungry. We put a lot of money into education, and that doesn't seem to work so well. Which I don't get. We put a lot of money into housing, and yet there's still people without houses."
  • Long term, Craig wants to figure out how to give  a voice, using the internet, to everyone on the planet. 
  • Craig believes that you can't make change from the top down. He said, "The president is the most powerful person in the world, but not that powerful. What's powerful is when people in the trenches work together to get things done, and that's what makes a difference."
  • Craig encouraged us look to take a look at the social media leaders in the past who were good at doing things. An example he gave? Early blogger Julius Caeser, who "blogged" in a very low tech sense.
  • On the modern printing press: "the Internet should be everyone's printing press. Everyone should get a break like this. The internet is our way of doing things. The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends  for justice."
  • On skills: "I've seen C3s who are only good at telling good stories, cashing checks, and moving on. I know of one group in the DC area, ran for a while, cashed checks, tried dirty tricks, and is now a goner."
  • On success: "In any job you're in, you're responsible for your own branding."
  • On funding charities: "I'm kind of tired of passion, especially as I enter my sunset years. But the deal is, you really want commitment from people. You want the excitement, but then they need to follow through. Following through is the hard part, and that's what I look for. Instead of passion or excitement, I'm looking for commitment and results. People can get excited about something, realize it's hard, then that passion might now count for anything." In short? Follow through with your passion,  truly carry out your mission and show me results."

Have you ever struggled with ensuring that our mission, your actions, and your passions are all congruent? How does your nonprofit handle that? And do you have a truly effective elevator speech about what you do? I know they're talked about flippantly, but they really are key to talking to funders and constituents who may want to get involved in your organization.

I know there's a lot to digest, but stay tuned for sneak peek into Michael Smith's (of the White House's Social Innovation Fund) keynote. And in the meantime, you can check out the Storify recap of the Unconference.


Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.