Which ‘Harry Potter’ Hogwarts House Would Run the Best Nonprofit?
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter movies. The milestone has been celebrated by reunion shows and trivia competitions that pit house against house to determine which is the best — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Hufflepuff.
Most of us likely assume that our younger selves would have been sorted into Gryffindor House. Let’s face it — it’s just the coolest house. So much was my dismay, then, when I took the Discover Your House quiz on the Wizarding World a few months ago and it showed I would be sorted into Hufflepuff.
What? Hufflepuff is bland, no one cool hails from that house, and the symbol is a badger of all things. My inner Potter geek was sorely disappointed. But then I read the characteristics of each house and gave it some more thought. I realized that each Hogwarts House has admirable traits and that they could be combined to create some truly stellar teams.
If we look at the descriptors of each house, we’ll see that the nonprofit arena needs Hufflepuffs as much as it needs Gryffindors. Let’s check out the Nonprofit World Houses.
Gryffindors exhibit traits such as courage, bravery and determination. They stand up for those who need help, challenge authority and often act first and think later. In independent sector terms, they might be entrepreneurial nonprofit founders who test boundaries and find new ways to address issues. The solutions they create may not always work, but they will not be dissuaded; they will get back up and come at the problem from a new angle.
But, if nonprofits only employed Gryffindors, they might have brave employees jumping into the fray to vanquish the proverbial dragons while never getting any real work accomplished because those same brave souls would spend most of their time in the hospital wing.
Ravenclaws are known for wisdom, wit, skill for learning and being a bit eccentric. Most great inventors and innovators hail from this house. Ravenclaws are overachievers and analyzers, but they can also get mired down in the details and be hard to keep on task.
In the nonprofit sector, they are likely to be the people who search for the root causes of issues. They won’t be satisfied with just temporary fixes; they’ll want to know why things are happening in the first place. They’ll collect and analyze data and test solutions. But they’ll need to partner with some Gryffindors who will take the leap to implement the solutions.
Slytherins get a bad rap. While it is true that some famous Slytherins have gone off the rails, those who hail from this house often exhibit admirable characteristics, such as being ambitious and shrewd. They are often planning strategy several steps ahead and are concerned with managing reputation. Some high-profile nonprofit executives could be said to embody these traits, especially those who work in the advocacy space where they must rely on quick thinking and thick skin. These leaders may not always be easy to work with, but they do get things accomplished on a grand scale. To be on the safe side, they may need to partner with some Hufflepuffs, as described below, to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Hufflepuffs are known for being trustworthy, hardworking, loyal and for having a strong moral compass. “There is an idea that Hufflepuffs are the least clever … but that is not true,” according to Wizarding World. “Hufflepuffs are just the most humble [and] don’t shout their achievements.” In the nonprofit sector, these are likely to be the people who move the needle. They may take over from Ravenclaws, who analyze the problems and posit solutions, to then implement those solutions and make change happen.
The best, most highly functioning teams mix people with a wide array of complementary skill sets and personality traits. Some organizations may rely on the more traditional Myers & Briggs or DISC Profiles to unlock their teams’ potential. But now we know, we need look no further than Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when creating successful nonprofit teams.
Tracy Vanderneck is president of Phil-Com, a Florida-based training and consulting company where she works with nonprofits on fundraising, board development and strategic planning. Tracy has more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, business development and sales. She holds a Master of Science in management with a concentration in nonprofit leadership and a graduate certificate in teaching and learning. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and an Association of Fundraising Professionals Master Trainer. Additionally, she designs and delivers online fundraising training classes and serves as a Network for Good Personal Fundraising Coach.