Our job is to connect the passion and resources of the donor with the vision and needs of the people that our nonprofit organization has called us to serve. But how do you bridge the gap between your donor and the vision and needs of your organization? You can’t just have a clear vision of service for your organization; you also need a distinct, clear plan for adequately staffing and funding the call.
Small businesses tend to have an imaginary hat rack at the front door. As each employee walks in they grab the hat that is still hanging, whether it fits them or not. That same method is often applied to nonprofits. How many times have you heard someone say that their organization doesn’t have job descriptions, and that everyone just does what needs to be done? Sounds like a servant’s heart, but it’s most often the response to poor planning and a misinterpretation of how to steward the people resources in an organization. We miss the boat when we don’t manage our people resources with understanding and discernment.
It can be especially frustrating when board members are giving their time, energy, and money to an organization they believe in, yet nobody stops to evaluate how they could best be used within the organization. What strengths do they have that could bring great influence and wisdom? What down to earth contributions could each board member make? It’s important to spend time learning about how each board member is wired in order to facilitate growth and harmony among board members and between the board members and the organization.
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, repeatedly advises to get the right people in the right places doing the right things. This is not easy. Some questions that can help you figure out a plan to better steward your people resources are:
- What are the visionary’s strengths and weaknesses? The staff? The board? The volunteers?
- Who determines the “highest and best use” of each person?
- What is the plan for additional staff? Board members?
- How clearly defined are the roles and expectations for fundraising efforts from the entire organization?
- What can you count on in terms of people resources right now? In three months? In nine months? In two years?
If you have a revolving door of staff and board members, it could be due to the misuse of passion, skills, and personalities. You need clear roles and expectations of all the people resources for the organization instead of trying to put square pegs into round holes. Fundraising is much easier when you have the right people in the right place doing the right things.
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