I recently attended a wonderful conference sponsored by The Barker Foundation for Adoption. Their annual Adoption and Foster Care Conference features all sorts of resources, ideas, and inspiration for foster parents and adoptive parents, as well as the people who work with such families, such as social workers. (I was a foster parent before I adopted my daughter from foster care.) It was my first time attending this event, and I loved the energy, tips, and perspectives shared by the presenters and participants.

One of the workshops I attended was called “Therapeutic Writing for the Adoption Constellation,” and it was led by author, therapist, and social worker Sarah Saffian. No matter who you are (adoptive parent, adoptee, birth parent) or where you are (thinking about it, applying to adopt, already adopted a child) in the adoption process – the experience can be intense! This workshop featured writing prompts and exercises to help people explore their feelings around adoption, parenthood, family, and more.

The following writing prompt was particularly powerful for me, and I realized it also could be applied to my work with nonprofits. It’s called Five Important Things.

We were instructed to “write five important things about you. Things that define you or inform your sense of self.” Here’s where it got interesting: We were told that we could write five adjectives. Or list five “titles,” like “mom” or “entrepreneur.” Or list five places – places that have defined us or marked important life passages. After making our lists, we were instructed to pick one or two items and write about why we listed them.

This could also be a great writing prompt to freshen up your perspectives on your nonprofit organization:

  • Write Five Important Things about your nonprofit
  • Write Five Important Things about the people or communities you serve
  • Write Five Important Things about your founding story (why the organization was formed)
  • Write Five Important Things about the problem your nonprofit is trying to solve
  • Write five adjectives that describe your organization
  • Write five verbs that describe what your organization does

You could choose one of these writing prompts, or a couple of them. After you write your five things, select one or two things, and elaborate upon them. Give yourself a time limit for your writing. I suggest no more than five minutes. If you have a brief time frame, you will worry less about form and structure and will focus on just getting out your ideas, which is how (I think) a writing prompt should work. Rather than a finished, polished product, it is a tool to jump start creativity and new ways of thinking.

Five important things about my blog? Inspiration, Ideas, Connections, Resources, Thought Leadership. Feel free to share your experiences with the Five Important Things writing prompt here!