The meaning of social media for nonprofits and the wisdom of Sidney Poitier.

Every day at http://www.YourCause.com, I set out to make the world a better place by empowering nonprofit organizations. It’s an exciting, new landscape of trial and error; ups and downs; fits and starts — well, more fits than starts, particularly in the wacky world of a Web 2.0 start-up. Every once in while, I have the opportunity to be truly inspired, even electrified. I live for those moments. I had such an experience at the AFP International conference in New Orleans last week. Amidst the chaos and cacophony of more than 3000 “jazzed” fundraisers in the Big Easy, I witnessed communication at its finest, clearest, and most meaningful. Mr. Sidney Poitier, one our finest actors, commanded a room of thousands — with the clarity of his purpose and the weight of his presence.  His gravitas was magnetic–elegant, yet with an ease that comes with years of experience as a master communicator. This is a man comfortable in his own skin — and in his own head.  I could have listened to him speak for hours — riveted, in tears many times. The poignant authenticity and intimacy of his delivery were sheer magic — mesmerizing. He focused on those who had most impacted  his own life philanthropically — not through sweeping gestures and grand campaigns,  but through private, selfless, personal acts of kindness and consideration. And he overflowed with the gratitude that resulted from their sincere acknowledgment. Wow! What a privilege. “Philanthropy is the profound manifestation of the best in all of us.”  “Sometimes we need to take an honest look a how steady we are at the wheel of our existence.” – Sidney Poitier