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Leveraging Thought Leadership


Sep 25, 2022

There are a lot of hard-working thought leadership practitioners in the non-profit sector!
What's it like to face the challenge of communicating complicated, multi-generational problems to a global audience?

We're glad you asked!
 
To better understand the role thought leadership plays at established non-profits, I’ve invited Meghan Quinn, Director of Thought Leadership at Habitat for Humanity International, to chat with me about her work.

Meghan defines her role, elaborating on the meaning of thought leadership means at Habitat for Humanity. In a non-profit, conversations around thought leadership often start by focusing on the role and goals of the greater organization: for Habitat, that's the global affordable housing crisis.

In order to have a real impact, Meghan's work needs to reach policymakers, stakeholders, and donors. Meghan tells us how moving these people to action means taking technical research and creating content that is both curated and simple-to-approach. Rule #1: If your audience doesn’t understand what you're saying, and why, they certainly won't be moved to act on your information.

As with many thought leadership programs, measuring success can be a difficult task. Sales data and leads aren't as tangible in the non-profit sector. Meghan shares how success at Habitat is measured, through anecdotal evidence, making connections with new backers, and deepening relationships. Her primary goals are to spread the word, and to increase credibility and trust in the organization. This kind of vision can't be measured in weeks or months - it can take years to see real results on a global scale.

This conversation gives a glimpse into the unique world of thought leadership in the non-profit sector, and offers valuable insights for organizational thought leaders everywhere!

 Three Key Takeaways:

* Curation and Digestibility are the keys to making complicated data into something a general audience can understand.

* Thought Leadership isn’t successful overnight. A plan and vision that spans years is needed to properly measure success.

* Thought leaders need to be able to follow their instinct and not be afraid to experiment – and even fail from time to time.