Saturday, April 9, 2011


I like the idea of being interesting.  But it got me thinking about Big vs Little too. Or Old vs New.  In terms of theatre and nonprofits of course.

I attended a very early awards breakfast for a huge well-known nonprofit this week.  They do great work for girls and encourage leadership and service.  They also honored some remarkable women. Some of whom I spoke to and will set up meetings with to pick their brains.  The worst they could have said was “no” and none of them said that to my request to brainstorm about my new professional nonprofit theatre.

At one point in the breakfast the MC said that in the center of our tables were pledge cards. To sponsor a girl for a year was $250 and then he waited an excruciating two minutes or so for us to reach in and get a card to make a pledge.  I saw a few folks feebly reach in for a card.  Next to me was my good friend who also was a leader for this nonprofit some years ago. I said “What if this service organization had said, ‘Listen, for every $250 pledge you will get three girls to come to your house and clean it, do some gardening, whatever you need because this represents what we teach. They will get a badge for that and you will get a clean house and the chance to sponsor one girl a year’”

I know you could pay less for a maid or gardener, but you got something back for donating. An incentive. Make up something else cute.  Get the singing girls in the group to do singing valentines for the donor’s 10 favorite friends. Or let them teach you how to get on Facebook. 

My friend sighed and said, “No that will never happen”.  You know why? Cause they have never done it that way. They are a huge organization. Long time organization.  A big beast.  Hard to move those.

Another investor friend on Wall Street asked me if I had heard about Pepsi and their move to only advertise with social media.  He said they took a 4% hit this quarter.  I guess telling me that was to prove that social media doesn’t work.  ?   What they may not have thought about is:  Did a new power drink come on the market that quarter that was way cool? Or a healthy one? Did they actually have good social media ads or did they force it trying to be viral? Did they make it interactive or just treat it like they do in a newspaper?

 It’s very hard to actually measure your Internet efforts like you would traditional advertising. And why did a big beast like Pepsi totally abandon traditional advertising anyway? There are still old codgers out there who like the ads.  J  It’s a big beast. Hard to move that all at once.

Now a new theatre or business or school teacher or nonprofit, just starting up, has all sorts of interesting options don't we?  We don’t have to be perfect or big.  We can try stuff the big beasts like Broadway can’t even think of.  We are like that little fullback who can surprise the big tackles by squeezing through with spunkiness and speed.  And if we fail, we have learned something that can add to the greater good for that industry.

I wish I could fill you in on all our little moves, but suffice it to know….we are going to be very interesting and maybe even inspire some of the big beasts to adjust their bulk a bit.

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