Organizational Growth: Taking Your Nonprofit to the Next Level
How many nonprofits have you been associated with that have a dream to be bigger — and not just a little larger in overall operation but really big? And how many nonprofits have you been associated with that have actually done it?
Ever wonder why the number is so small? What stops nonprofits from making that transition — that leap into another category? There must be a moment or moments in time that divert the course for success for some but not others. Aside from all that "on the bus, off the bus" chatter, there is some magic that some nonprofits seem to find that evolves them to a completely different playing level. Or is there?
Having had the opportunity to work with nonprofits that hit huge growth periods and those that wanted to and talked about it but could never achieve that takeoff, I offer the following observations.
I'm not going to spend much time on this point. We all have relevant missions out there, or we wouldn't exist. But the reality is — because of time in history, really easy to explain case for engagement or powerful imagery — some nonprofits are positioned a little better than others. But I wouldn't rule out any nonprofit with the desire and some key ingredients to grow.
A desire to succeed
More importantly, a collective desire to succeed. If the organization is split on what the idea of success is, and if that disagreement is never confronted and met with a collaborative goal, it's destined to fail. When one or two people are dead-set against something, their power to stop it is amazing. So before you assert that you want to be big, your leadership and key support team members need to come to agreement, stand behind that goal, and get truly excited and committed to making it a reality.
So, I'm a fundraiser having a mid-life crisis. And that's perfectly fine with me.
I am taking time to look around, lift my head and find REAL people who really want to change the world. And people smart enough to do it. Join me in this fun journey. I have no idea where we will end up - and that is the beauty of it. I'm nonprofit passionate, a hopeful world changer, and always ready to share what I know, learn what I don't, admit when I can't, and ask the hard questions.
While you're looking around for other areas of inspiration, check out The Moth Project at themoth.org (the podcasts are AMAZING), TED talks (doesn't matter which ones - find topics that interest you) and Volunteer Voices (again - love the podcast) written by volunteers from the Peace Corps. Don't see the immediate connection to being a better fundraiser? Just listen, you'll hear the message ...