Book Review: Are you MAD?

Making a Difference III: Still More Tips, Ideas and Stories to Change Your WorldAre you MAD? If you’re reading this blog, you probably are.

No, I’m not commenting on your assumed level of anger, or lack thereof. MAD is an acronym that stands for Making a Difference – and as volunteer engagement professionals, we know you make a difference in big and small ways every day.

It’s not exactly a revolutionary phrase, but it’s one that fuels the fires of our various passions. It is both refreshingly simple and excitingly complex, as “making a difference” can mean so many different things to different people.

Similarly, Making a Difference III: Still More Tips, Ideas and Stories to Change Your World is a book that is both practical and inspiring, informative and fun. Lisa M. Dietlin used this third book in her MAD series to tell the stories of hundreds of people who make a difference, and to help us see how we can do the same, in big and small ways, every day.

Ms. Dietlin is uniquely qualified to fill this role – after all, as President and CEO of Lisa M. Dietlin and Associates, Inc. she works with entrepreneurs and nonprofits to provide strategic advice that transforms the very nature of philanthropy as we know it. It’s as if she is redefining what it means to “Make a Difference.”

Important Lessons from the Book

The book itself is like a nugget-a-day calendar for the do-gooder in your life. Each day we are presented with a new story and a new thought-provoking message to chew on. The inspiration value of the book is enough on its own to warrant a read, but I recognize three additional important lessons for those of us in the nonprofit sector:

1. Storytelling is the super agent of inspiration. If you want to mobilize people to action, tell them a story to which they can relate. It helps humanize your call to action.

More on telling your story:

Keep Your Eyes Open: Visual Storytelling for Nonprofits
New Report Reveals Why the Internet is a Volunteer Manager’s Best Friend
Meet #VolunTweet, a New Way to Find Volunteer Opportunities on Social Media

2. Don’t underestimate the power of nuggets. In this case, short is definitely more powerful than a longer-form content style. Often a few sentences are all you need to convey your message and get people excited – try it out.

3. Remember the “why” of what we do. Sometimes I find myself getting bogged down in the details of my work – but stories like those in MAD III can help me stay grounded in the “why.”

More ideas for staying inspired:

Have You Hugged Your Volunteer Manager Today?
Family Dinner, Free Books and Finding Inspiration
But Girls Can’t Grow Moustaches! (or: Why Nonprofit Professionals Should Volunteer)

How to Make the Most of MAD III

  • Read one nugget each day to keep yourself inspired (see item 3 above).
  • Choose your favorite nuggets to share with your volunteers and keep them excited to be making a difference.
  • Come up with your own list of inspirational ways to make a difference that relate to your organization’s work.

Click here to learn more about the book Making a Difference III: Still More Tips, Ideas and Stories to Change Your World.

Are you MAD? Tell us about it in the comments!