I woke up this morning thinking again that this third sector of ours needs to stop apologizing for the way it works and stop idealizing some fictitious “smarter than us” for-profit business and leadership model. Instead, we need to reclaim and boldly proclaim our unique way of seeing based on quality of life, a belief in public service and a philanthropic compass to guide our action. It’s time to take the high ground for the what, the why and the how of the work we do.
Poet John Donne may have coined the words “No man is an island, entire of itself” more than a half millenium ago, but I interact with too many nonprofit board members who haven’t discovered the power of systems thinking that Reina experienced in just a few weeks.
Each of us, both individually and within organizations are parts of larger systems – think “ecosystem” – that span both the natural systems which supply our water, air and food and also the global web of people, organizational, family and business systems.
Paul Schmitz of Public Allies offers a great overview of what nonprofits can learn from the Obama campaign in his article in NonProfit Quarterly. Paul cites five key attributes nonprofits can emulate: A powerful brand. A clear, measurable strategy.? Disciplined management. Face-to-face and online organizing. Youth leadership.
In my view, the most unexpected of these factors is the success (and recognition) of old- and new-fashioned community organizing. And this, I think, is where nonprofits badly need to pay attention. Read more
Block argues, and I agree, that “How?” isn’t the most important question. “How?” is a distraction from the important question “What resistance am I postponing?” or, in other words, “What am I really willing to commit to and act upon?”
?Most of our problems upon this planet … Have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage.? Frances Perkins