And yet I am troubled by the trend of organizations to steer all conversation towards data. No data bashing here, we go to work in organizations because love, embrace, and breathe our missions. We need to show success, we need to show an impact to stay relevant but sometimes I feel that data is over-kill. When an economy is strong and fewer people are accessing a food pantry I don’t need a data set to tell me that economically people are better off.
When a museum installs a new learning exhibit that appeals to all age groups, the sound of cash registers ringing in the gift shop can tell me what the data report will tell me faster and with a lot less extraneous material.
And yet we have some how come to believe that we should embrace as much of the corporate practices as possible but to what end?
Organizations do have an obligation to be fiscally prudent and provide an annual statement and comply with all tax laws. Moreover an organization must always remember that once public trust is lost reclaiming it is an epic uphill battle that will leave a dark stain.
Organizations should also remember that even though we are not for profit it is ALWAYS in our best interest to respond to all feedback and criticism in a positive manner and learn a lesson.
Organizations should be proactive: DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY, never count on one funding stream no matter how popular or how long you have been funded by any one source.
Times change. I have lost track of the number of organizations that have become dependent on one funding source, and when the well dries up they go into crisis mode hiring a director of development who will allegedly be able to make it rain Money. Be proactive, hope for the best, but always plan for the worse.
Your organization should make a point of inviting other organization with similar missions to planning meetings so you can pool resources! THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION WE ARE NOT CORPORATIONS.
More and more I am hearing funders at foundation who are impressed with organizations who are joining resources to tackle tough areas be a leader and stand out.
Remember at the end of the day we chose this line of work because we wanted to make a positive difference in the world.