red carpet up stairs

For every Golden Globes show, a consensus emerges as to who The Big Winner was, the Biggest Winner of all the Big Winners. And, without any doubt, the most favored of the star-studded night (beyond the impressive Sandra Oh)…was “Fiji Water Girl.”

In case you haven’t heard, Fiji Water Girl (AKA model Kelleth Cuthbert) traversed the pre-show carpet in a bold blue dress and had a knack for finding the perfect camera angles while carrying a tray of Fiji Water. Her immediate job was to hydrate the stars on the red carpet, but, she went above and beyond. By working strategically, she made it into the background of photo after photo of high profile stars. Fiji Water Girl was so noticeable she soon became a meme-worthy “celebrity” herself, and her employer undoubtedly appreciated the free/extra publicity.

Fiji Water Girl’s moment of fame is also a moment for nonprofit pros to learn three important lessons.

Everything you do, do well

There’s an old saying in Hollywood regarding bit parts, “there are no small roles, only small actors.”

I don’t have to tell you not every job in the nonprofit world is glamorous. Sure, sometimes you’re receiving accolades from your peers, scoring that massive grant, or your board is celebrating a particularly successful program you started. But, often your day is taken up by gobs of paperwork, stay atop of fundraising, field messages from donors and potential donors, and handling a veritable ocean of other administrative tasks. But, when you do have to do mundane tasks, do them unceasingly well! When you keep up an enthusiasm for tasks, no matter how seemingly small, your reputation for being dependable will bode well with colleagues, donors, and board officers.

Stay Current With Your Calendar

There are certain community events that nonprofit leaders must attend. You likely know what they are in your situation, for example, the grand opening of a donor or potential donor’s business or the big annual gala in your town. Make certain that you, or representatives from your nonprofit, are properly seen at these must-attend events. The vast majority of such events will be publicized well in advance, so it might be good to do a little brainstorming at a board meeting, to identify must-attend events and decide who’ll attend on your nonprofit’s behalf. Before anyone does attend on the nonprofit’s behalf it’s a good idea to be sure they are well versed on talking points, and fully understand the connection the nonprofit has with the event.

Go Ahead and Rock the Boat

Think about doing conventional things in unconventional ways. As many have written before, sending a receipt to a donor is mandatory – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, imaginative, or convey a meaningful message in a memorable way. Make waves! Or, let’s say your fellow board members or staff are hesitant to invest in a set of influential, important policies. Maybe they’re dragging their feet on updating a set of outdated formational documents. Make your mark by explaining the many benefits and how it will further the organization’s mission. Or, bring in a speaker (like me!) to explain the legal consequences of NOT having quality policies and procedures in place.

In short, when you’re working with a nonprofit, you could just keep to the status quo. Or, you can seize this moment, your moment, to find your light and shine. Sure, the Internet may not make a meme of you, but you can smile knowing you’re making a difference where it matters. Want to strategize? Don’t hesitate to contact me or to read more information useful for nonprofit pros.