Keep the Good Information, Let the Other Stuff Go

This weekend, I scrolled through my iTunes library. I have 7,163 songs. I used to wear that number as a badge of honor. After all, I painstakingly loaded each CD into my computer to build this "grand" collection of music. It's valuable. It's gigantic. And in the end, it's pretty dang useless.

The majority of the songs weren't all that great to begin with - usually just a track or two from each CD. And yet, I wade through them day after day. These extra songs keep me from getting to the songs I love.

It's similar to the challenge many nonprofits face when building websites, writing letters or creating other communications. There is often so much good information ... so many stories ... a rich, rich history ... where do you begin? What is okay to let go?

If you find yourself teetering on the fence regarding a piece of information, ask yourself:

1. Does it help answer a basic question about your nonprofit or campaign (who, what, when, where, why, how)?
2. Does it align with your brand and the perception you want people to have of you, now?
3. Does it fit cohesively within the other points of information presented (or does it seem like a strange outlier?)
4. Is it relatively easy to understand? (If something requires a conference call to explain, then it probably doesn't have a place in collateral.)
5. Is it current? (History from the early days has its place if briefly presented, but it mustn't get in the way of what's happening now or what the future could bring.)

And most important, does it clarify or clutter the overall message?

And yes, in case you're wondering, I am taking the leap to get rid of those extra songs. Baby steps ...