Wednesday, October 19, 2011
BIG’s Blog: Leaders in Changing Times
There are thousands of autobiographical and business books that speak about past and present leaders of successful organizations. The authors present the philosophy of these individual as they directed people through difficult times. A nonprofit can learn from past and present business leaders who survived the challenges of their time, while other organizations disappeared.
What are the leaders in today’s fundraising industry doing to help those who rely on you to provide services or jobs? Are you building an organization that will sustain itself even when you have moved on? How do you take the information learned from the past and apply it to today’s opportunities for change?
It is the responsibility of leaders to make certain that the organizations' strengths of today are applied to the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. Consider the long-term impact of your decisions. This is one example that affects nonprofits today.
In the late 90s and thereafter, many organizations made the decision to cut back on acquisition. At that time, its cost seemed to be the problem with declining net revenue in the budget. Yes, the costs were significant. The decision to cut back on bringing new names on the file seemed to be a quick and easy fix to meet revenue goals. Was this really a solution to the problem? Today’s donor files indicate the answer is 'NO.'
Today, nonprofits face even bigger challenges than declining revenue. The result of decreasing acquisition now leaves the organization with a much smaller universe of donors. Postal increases, changing demographics, the threat of possible loss of tax breaks and decline in foundation support are just a few of the challenges of the nonprofit. This does not include the operational demands that confront leaders.
How will the leadership of your organization guide the efforts of your mission through these challenging times? One strategy best stated by David Ogilvy:
"Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it . . . Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine."
Nonprofits that look at change as an opportunity and reach out to those with experience to guide them through the process may enable their organization’s longevity into the future.
This is BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and colleagues.