ISSUE NUMBER 12   |   JUNE 9, 2014 
How Can You Stand Out From the Crowd?

Dropping my twins off at preschool recently, I slowed down (along with all the other cars on a 6 lane road) to stop and watch a small gaggle of geese walk slowly across the road. After explaining (unsuccessfully) to my kids that the plural of goose is geese, not gooses, we talked about how interesting it was that the geese chose to walk across the street when they could have flown.

What made us all stop and pay attention was that the geese did something unusual, something unexpected. They walked. They did this at some risk to themselves (they could have been hit by a car), but they didn't seem to care.

This year I've chosen to stand out from the crowd of other philanthropy consultants by sharing my own knowledge about philanthropy and grantmaking extensively and freely via articles, podcasts, blogs, and a weekly newsletter, rather than hiding behind the external validation of extensive research and client-approved reports. While I'm not likely to be hit by a car, this did involve a bit of risk taking on my part ("What if it's not well received?" "What if funders disagree with what I have to say?"). But standing out from the crowd means doing something new. It means knowing what you are already fully capable of (flying) and trying an alternative (walking).  People will pay attention. And if you are adding value, they will appreciate it.

Ask yourself:

What can you do this year to stand out from the crowd?

What is the "same old, same old" you are currently doing?  How can you take it up a notch (or two)?

What fear is holding you back?

How will you feel 5-10 years from now if you don't make these changes?

2014 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.

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Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, is the president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. and author of the Philanthropy411 blog.

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Copyright Kris Putnam-Walkerly 2014. All Rights Reserved.