Happy New Year! While the holidays are a time to spend with family and friends, I suspect we all take a few moments to reflect upon the past year and anticipate the one ahead.
Before departing for the holidays, every employee at the Council and every member of our Board of Directors received a copy of Jeff Jarvis’ bestselling book What Would Google Do? If you haven’t already, I urge you to pick up this book. I spent my holiday dissecting it; looking for ways to weave Jarvis’ insights into the Council’s work.
Jarvis’ premise is simple: Using Google as the lens because of its sheer power and reach, Jarvis explains how Google, along with Facebook, Amazon and Craigslist have transformed the Internet and how we use it. In other words, Jarvis suggests you, your company, entire sectors and even the government should study these online behemoths, their networks and their appeal—or risk being left behind.
As I think about the Council’s ambitious programming plan for 2010 I’ve asked myself: What Would Google Do at the Council?
Our work plans span education, government relations, legal services, conference programming, global philanthropy, ethics and governance to specific initiatives around helping to build public philanthropic partnerships, cultivate next generation leadership and develop trustee education. Perhaps most important and underlying all our work is ensuring that we use various forms of media—particularly social—to disseminate information quickly and easily and connect our members and others in our sector with one another. Information, especially when deployed quickly, is a very powerful tool.
We, the Council, must see ourselves as a platform and a link that connects all engaged in the noble work of philanthropy. It is no longer the information we produce and/or hold that makes us important to this sector. Rather, it is our ability to connect the sector to each other, making all our information available to everyone in ways that produces more effective philanthropy.
Over the year, I’ll blog periodically about the Council’s work and progress. I’ll also share ideas and insights from my many conversations and travels. We have a lot of work to do, but I am a firm believer that small, incremental changes over time will yield big results in time.
With that, I’ll leave you with two events that you won’t want to miss in the first quarter of this year.
Let me close with this final thought.
One line in Jarvis’ book, particularly relevant to the Council, says that “associations…should use links to connect people who share needs, knowledge, and interests.” I hope my blog entries become just one of the links at the Council that can connect you to others throughout our field and enable all of us to continue promoting the common good.
Steve Gunderson is the president and CEO of the Council on Foundations.