Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Few Simple But Powerful Points of View That Can Get Your Nonprofit's Team Together and Motivated

We, here at The Grant Plant, LLC hope that you: had a good holiday season, didn't get too terrible stressed (ha!), and also had some time to decompress and relax. We are easing into the end of 2009 and the start of a new year. Beginnings are good for the opportunities, hope, and potential that they offer. Being this is the case, we have a few suggestions to help you implement a new and fresh point of view among your nonprofit's volunteers, staff, and leaders.

__ Consider the agency's mission statement and the organization's goals that have been set for 2010. Be certain that not only the nonprofit's community in general (its donors, volunteers, and community partners) know about its mission (don't assume that they do), but also be certain that they know about the organization's goals that it's set for itself this coming year (the goals, anticipated achievements, and the reason each of these are needed by the community). Also be certain that the organization's volunteers, staff, and leadership each and all know the mission statement and the organization's goals for 2010. Get the internal team clear, excited about their contributions in 2010 to this goal, and get the entire team onto 'one page' and empowered to meet the challenge of the goal.

__ Value the reason for the mission statement. Open the first staff meeting, the first volunteer meeting, and the first board meeting, in 2010, by suggesting a quick discussion about why and how the nonprofit's mission statement is still current and needed in the community. Suggest that the leadership articulate, discuss, and listen to others among colleagues working at other nonprofits, when meeting with your nonprofit's donors and volunteers, and when working with the staff. Knowing how and why a nonprofit's raison d' etre is relevant, still, today is a message that can easily be inserted when recruiting new board members, when raising funds, when recruiting new volunteers, and when striking up new relationships with other organizations in the community. The reasoning why any nonprofit and its work is needed in a community is very compelling and can help people become not just familiar with your agency's work, but value it and its existence.

__ Put the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your nonprofit's reason for existing first and model, for others with the nonprofit this year, how to value the beneficiaries along with the organization's mission, first and foremost always. In other words, for whom or what does your nonprofit do its work? That or they should be equally of first consideration with the organization's mission statement during any and all decision making on behalf of the nonprofit. If your agency educates youth about film making, or if your nonprofit works to preserve open spaces in formerly logged regions, or if your nonprofit assists those with Diabetes: make the mission statement and those or that which it serves first and foremost and encourage your colleagues at the nonprofit to do so, too.

__ Take pride in work and model that pride in work ethic for your colleagues. When they are hard at work on a project, when they have achieved a personal or staff benchmark, or when they have been challenged but are keeping at it; be sure to pat others on the back and state out loud to them the good work that they're doing.

__ Treat others, in the nonprofit's offices and at all of the functions and events, as you would want to be treated. Be professional, act with courtesy, grace, and gratitude. Encourage others to act professionally and graciously, too. Even in heated conversations, over the course of the new year, remember that reasonable people can disagree reasonably.

__ Take time, over the course of the year, to evaluate progress made on goals; review what worked and what needs to be improved and put those improvements into place; and then review again later. Evaluate your own operations regularly and be open to seeing the reality in evaluation results to the benefit of the agency and its mission statement goal. Don't be about hiding mistakes. Be about facing them and understand that mistakes or errors are really just opportunities to catch them and then make adjustments for the better. No one is perfect but all nonprofits' operations can be improved. It only benefits operations, cost/benefit, and the agency's reputation.

One of the benefits of working in a team is having others to bounce ideas off of, to listen to new ideas, and to support one another. The new year is an opportunity to a better nonprofit and more achievements. Sometimes having a fresh lens through which the team views the end goal through is very powerful.

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