It's All About Love
While standing in the gallery, I thought that every Head of School and Executive Director would do well to have a neon copy of this piece on his or her office wall. When I’m in a new city, I try to make time to visit that city’s largest art museum. I know that at least one piece in the collection will inspire me or expand my realm. Controversial British artist, Tracey Emin’s 2011 work in neon titled, Love is What You Want at the University of Michigan Museum of Art drew me in this time.
Each person that engages with your organization does so in the name of love. They love someone (or an animal) affected by a cause that you champion; they have been cured, educated, or otherwise healed by your organization and feel loved as a result; they love people who work or volunteer for you, or they feel loved through their gift or involvement. Love is what we all want and successful organizations know how to communicate and show love to their employees, volunteers, clients, and donors. Both Tom Ahearn and Bernadette Jiwa do a brilliant job of teaching us how to communicate the importance of a cause by appealing to our collective idea of love.
When people stop engaging with an organization it’s because they don’t feel the love. That’s the bottom line. It’s hard to figure out why each person, donor, or volunteer stopped feeling the love, but you can start with your key employees, your trustees, and most dedicated volunteers. Invite them in for a conversation. Ask them the three essential Appreciative Inquiry questions. Listen carefully. Think about your organization’s mission and philosophy. Is it aligned with its actions? Change what you can to frame your interactions with love, respect, and understanding.