Personal communication is necessary for the nonprofit manager, and not just throughout the organization. In their book “The Generosity Network” Jennifer McCrea, Jeffrey C. Walker and Karl Weber make the point that managers need to work at communication, even if the day-to-day pressures of running an organization seem to work against that very communication.
They suggest the following five steps to sustain or improve personal communication.
- Set aside part of each day for personal communication, and keep it sacred. Choose an hour or two at a time that suits, and don’t allow anyone to usurp that time for staff meetings, report reading or other routine activity.
- Never eat lunch alone. Rather than wolfing down a sandwich, use lunch hour as a time to renew acquaintances with someone important, either inside or outside the organization.
- Make time for regular contact. Eliminate those times when you have to call someone asking for a favor and then apologize for letting so much time elapse since your last conversation.
- Expand your list of key contacts. Create an extensive list of important donors, partners, allies and friends of the organization, and talk to each on a regular schedule.
- Use downtime to maintain personal connections. Pull out the cell phone or keep a stash of note cards.