The Iceberg Effect
How many of you have studied what an iceberg looks like? If you noticed the iceberg closely, only a small percentage of the iceberg is actually visible from the water's surface. Research shows that only 10 percent of a typical iceberg is visible, which means 90 percent of the iceberg is under the water's surface.
Unless you are a student of glaciers you will never know the total mass and presence of an iceberg. It makes me wonder what the ship's officer witnessed from the deck of the Titanic during its ill-fated, maiden voyage in April of 1912.
Think about your nonprofit and its public perception. Most people only understand or care to know a limited amount about your organization. You need to determine what you want the public to know. Try to prioritize ideas and concepts. If you want your various constituencies to remember one thing about you, what would it be? For some charities that prioritization is easy. For others, this process and ultimate solution is very hard.
The reason for that confusion is complex. Many internally do not know the message to convey to the various publics they serve, and the external community receives these mixed messages through a variety of channels. Compound this problem with people who are new to your nonprofit and others who have a history with it and view the organization through different sets of eyes.
Regardless of the message you want people to remember about your charity, before you jump and make a statement for the world to remember, think about the following key words or phrases you would like your supporters to have in mind when they describe your organization. These are just examples for you as you study your mission and vision statement and create this exercise.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.