We Always Have Choices
In these columns I address real-life obstacles and challenges that nonprofits face in creating sustainable funding to deliver their missions and achieve real impact. Readers write via email to receive a quick consultation and perhaps have their particular problems addressed in these columns.
We all have choices. All of us. Always.
I recently heard from a past client with with whom I had been involved in some rather unpleasant work several months back. I say "unpleasant" in as much as some when confronted with this situation manage to avoid dealing with it for years — to the detriment of many.
We all have choices in life. The key is recognizing these when they appear and knowing who should make which choice. Some of the choices with which we're presented will not be easy to make. The tough ones, those that we might seek to avoid, are usually the ones we need to make — indeed, we must make — to achieve the best outcomes.
I was met at the airport by the board chair, who was my ride to the board retreat I was leading. Immediately upon entering the car, he informed me that we were having breakfast with another key board member.
After being seated at the restaurant and making the expected introduction, the conversation very quickly went to the matter at hand. It wasn't to entertain me with a pleasant meal.
The executive director of this social-service agency was also its founder. Like many founders, genuine passion generated from personal experience had given birth to an embryonic undertaking. Twenty-five years later, the organization had grown into the significant force of community renewal it is today.
The simple truth was that the organization was in full throes of what some call "founder's syndrome." The founder had become the problem rather than the solution.
An internationally recognized philanthropy and fundraising thought leader, Larry C. Johnson trains the staff and volunteers of worthy causes to achieve real impact through the creation of reliable, growing revenue streams. He emphasizes principles before methods as the key to long-lasting success. He stresses the simple, the practical and the joyful.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles, the premier brand for educational products and services in relational fundraising and philanthropy. The Eight Principles provides digital education, live workshops and structured coaching to nonprofit organizations.
Author of the award-winning book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising," AFP named Larry Outstanding Development Executive in 2010. The Wall Street Business Network ranks him in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the USA. Larry is a graduate of Yale University. Larry speaks widely and serves on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards, including The Philanthropy Council of The Carter Center, the philanthropy of the 39th President of the U.S.