6/100 Things – Put those 2 degrees of separation to use

By now you know the concept of “Six Degrees of Separation” from the John Guare play of the same name. In the world in which I live, it’s more like two degrees. Here’s an example from last week:

Ilene Perlman, a friend of mine, is a fabulous photographer and documentary photojournalist. She shared a new promotional video via Facebook with her friends and the friends of her friends. The video was aimed at wedding photos, though Ilene’s work has taken her around the world (we first met her when she was commissioned to shoot photos for PLAN International). The videos included a few testimonials from satisfied clients in Boston.

Wouldn’t you know it. The next day, a RI Facebook friend (colleague and client) posted on my wall… a friend and colleague of hers was in the video!

This happens regularly. I like to think it is part of the Rhode Island mystique, but when I talk to friends and colleagues in other states, they frequently have the same experience.

Why does this matter to your nonprofit? A few reasons:

1. Never burn a bridge. You’ll never imagine how how frequently people who matter to you or your organization have family ties to the relationship you’ve set on fire.

2. Want to meet someone? Looking for a contact? Ask your board members, your staff, your volunteers, your supporters. Chances are, someone has the connection.

3. You want to connect to Kevin Bacon. Okay, maybe not Kevin Bacon, but perhaps an author, politician, sports figure, or other celebrity who might be available, with work, to appear at a future event, annual meeting, charity auction. You’ll be surprised when they turn out to be the former roommate or childhood friend of someone in your organization’s relationship web.

4. If you use Social Networking sites, you’ll be closer than you think to just about anyone.

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