Thinking Out Loud

2015 in Review: Nonprofit Sector

By Theagarajan_CML

So I know I haven’t exactly touched on topics specifically within the nonprofit sector in this blog; mostly because I haven’t been working in the nonprofit sector this past year. I have kept up to speed on some local issues and certainly the BIG topics like the refugee crisis and various environmental topics, particularly the newly ratified Paris accord (three cheers).

A couple things seem clear for 2016: a need for honest conversations and assertive action to address the complex issues we face in our sector. Speaking with colleagues over the past several months and given our ever evolving political climate, it seems clear that some of our long-standing philosophies and ways of doing things will have to shift.

Basically, I think people will have to grow more balls. I think we have to. If we look at our top concerns with a sense of urgency like never before, it may lead to actual impact. Here’s a couple things I jotted down:

  • Clearly Defined Values Is CRUCIAL: I learned about this in grad school. There are so many new start-up organizations each year and without a clearly defined and agreed upon organizational value system, the organization risks collapse. It’s easy when you’re in the mix of things to hire the wrong person, take on too many tasks and lose sight of what you started.

  • Dissension Is An Important Part of It: Yes, some people have absolutely ridiculous ideas and/or opinions. I still wholeheartedly think that every opinion has the right to be heard, even if it’s wrong for the organization. Sometimes the conversation that starts rocky and is seemingly going nowhere can lead to other discussions you may have never had. It’s still important to have them.

  • Risk Assessments Are Important BUT: Ahh, the mighty risk matrix. I actually kind of liked doing these. It made me reallllllly think about what could and would go wrong, then go back and change my priorities if necessary (which it usually was). When looking at your internal risk matrix, remember to not be TOO averse to taking some risks. I was speaking with a close friend a bit ago who works for a new startup organization and they were complaining that the organization kept hiring the same type of people. We started discussing the importance of hiring an array of talent within an organization. Say, someone who studied marketing or has a business degree and incorporating them into nonprofit roles. After all, nonprofits are businesses that need marketing, social media skills and a fresh look.

There will always been new millennial goals and new challenges that require adaptations.

I referred to: nonprofitwithballsand my own personal experience.

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