Organizational Growth: Taking Your Nonprofit to the Next Level
Moving on from the naysayer is the …
● "We need a protocol. We need a process. We need infrastructure. Everything is moving too fast … we have to slow down!" person. Also very valid, these types can be immensely helpful in exposing program weakness, poor building blocks that will cause problems when real growth hits, etc.
But if they walk around yelling about the fire and don't bring a hose and ladder to put it out, they're not very useful. A blocker can help direct and ask these folks to draft those crucial pieces of protocol for consideration. It gives the infrastructure to come forward with a plan a little more robust than Chicken Little's so the leadership can review and implement as changes happen — rather than before or after.
And lastly, we have the most well-meaning but equally troublesome …
● “I’m not sure what to do, so I’ll just sit quietly in the corner and wait for you to come tell me. Otherwise, I’ll just be here doing what I’ve always done” person. No. Unacceptable. Everyone in key roles in an organization that has agreed collectively to transformative change must contribute and must make his or her own work. And if someone is currently in a role he or she may not have the skill set to do … well … that's another point. But a blocker can encourage project development, offer continuing education opportunities, and keep these people engaged and moving forward with something new. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Remember, the blocker may be the executive director and the visionary may be from development, HR or operations. Unconventional partnerships breed unexpected success. Don't always look to do things the way you've done them (see above for the definition of insanity).
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 ...