Non-Profit resourceful change agents.

Technology is a non-profit change agent

Most people want to improve their community and their lifestyle.

Your lifestyle could well be linked to businesses and non-profit organisations in your community. Normally these links are weak and lack impact. In order to improve your lifestyle, these links need to become more meaningful and worthwhile to all parties concerned.

When developing your non-profit, the key is not to let yourself get too psyched out by what’s already out there. Remember, if there’s no client problem, frustration, want or need,  it is very likely that there is no real need to change. There is unlikely to be a market-driven opportunity, so why are you doing what you do?

Coming up with good ideas for change is doomed when people over analyse in the initial stages. Initially, you see the ball, then you hit it to make something happen. When a big overwhelming change is needed, apply the “Swiss Cheese’ approach, poke holes in it..

Creating a model for community development.

At the core of a good lifestyle are good health and well-being services. This is where non-profit organisations can have the biggest impact in bringing about change, in both businesses and the community. When businesses start to partner with the not-for-profits, the magic starts to happen.

In terms of chasing a great idea to pursue, the most common pitfall is people over-rating what they see as worthwhile, based on ‘market realities’. None of that matters if you’re not good at executing the idea or are passionate about it. Take a fresh look at creating new partnerships across these four areas.

Good communities put people front and centre

Build a sustainable model that will actively engage all four areas.

The four areas, when working together can bring about desirable changes in your non-profit sections of the community. Indeed every section of the community. Expertise and motivation will be far greater than anything most governments can provide. In a way, happiness requires that you be perfectly selfish in order to develop yourself and your organisation to a point where you can be unselfish in the way you provide help and support to others.

The key to happiness is to dedicate yourself to the development of your natural talents and abilities by doing what you love to do. Doing it better and better in the service of a cause that is greater than yourself, just enhances your lifestyle. Being happy requires that you define your life in your own terms and then throw your whole heart into living your life to the fullest. Non-profit organisations, businesses and the community working together can be an unbelievable catalyst for better outcomes.

Focus your passion as a catalyst.

To most people health and well-being and other non-profit services is something other people do until they need them. Organisations can quickly become disorientated when the pressure of work builds up, or the organisation is struggling for money or other resources. Should this happens you will tend to forget the reason you are doing what you do and the passion you have for it.

When you lose your enthusiasm and passion, it’s time to look for a catalyst. It could come in the form of an advisor, or simply taking an afternoon off with some of your staff and volunteers. A good question to ask is, “Why do some people have it so easy, while we tend to stumble and struggle”?

Do you believe that you and your non-profit organisation are whole, complete and worthy of support? Is the world around you an abundant and benevolent place? Or do you believe your passion is fundamentally flawed and unworthy of support? Is the world you live in a cold and unfriendly place, where there aren’t enough resources to go around?

Why are you doing what you do?

The fact is, each one of us is born completely deserving of all of the wonderful things that life has to offer. However, the one essential thing to make this real is to have a clear understanding and focus on your passion. The ‘why’ you are doing what you do.

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it and how it will impact on what they want and need. Therefore your first step is to find out what your ‘why’ is and understand what it reveals. By discovering what your ‘why’ is, you can make your own luck which will make your life easier. Everyone is drawn to and feels trust for a person or organisation who exudes confidence and passion about what they do. Why are you doing what you do,

A clear and present danger.

Fear and procrastination is an enemy that poses a clear and present danger to your organisation’s future. No enemy is more insidious or vicious than excuses based on fear and procrastination. Many people think that if they just find their passion and do what they love, they will automatically be successful. But the truth is, once you’re there, you still have to push yourself to get out of your comfort zone to continue to grow your non-profit organisation and the services it offers.

Optimism can grease the wheels and cause a change.

Optimism can turn a situation that looks negative into an opportunity. It is something to learn from and action to improve the situation. It can replace bad stress in your non-profit, along with the draining thoughts of pessimism. Giving you something that will give you more energy and enthusiasm again.

The very best way to assure the happiness of others is to be happy yourself and then to share your happiness with them. Suffering and self-sacrifice merely depress and discourage other people. If you want to make others happy, start by living the kind of life and doing the kind of things that make you happy and do them with optimism.

Optimism can help you to jump over struggles and act as a change agent. Adding more of it to your own life and the lives of others is a good idea. In the long run, you tend to get back what you give. In the short run, you get to enjoy the smiles when you spread optimism. Here are some simple ways to help you to get started. 

Just be there for your people and something will change.

Listen and lend an optimistic and grounded perspective to someone in your life who is struggling. Just being there will help people to let the emotional tension out, analyse the issue and to find a solution or to let it go. Together the two of you might be able to find a solution or a first step they can put into action.

Take time to give a genuine compliment.

Think about one thing that makes the other person feel good about themselves and your organisation. It often means more than you might guess and it costs nothing, no matter how many times you give them out.

Smile at every opportunity.

A smile puts you and the people around you into a better and more relaxed headspace. It even works even when you don’t feel that much like smiling. Force a smile if you are feeling a bit negative and see what happens to your mood. A hug can mean even more than a smile, something that can make someone feel a little better and a bit safer again. Don’t underestimate how that little nudge can turn someone’s thoughts around towards something brighter and more positive again.

Help someone to unwind from their struggle.

Being busy with work can over time add a lot of tension and stress. This can certainly get in the way of optimistic and constructive thinking. Help someone in to wind down and enjoy their work again. Having a break with them can do wonders for the mood and perspective for both of you.

Pay it forward.

If someone adds a bit of optimism to your life, don’t just return it later. Pay it forward to someone else as you go about your work. Uplifting music is, of course, a great way to boost your own mood and opens up new perspectives as a change agent. Together build a growing upward spiral of optimism, encouragement and kindness.

Non-Profit organisations as change agents.

When you think of a not-for-profit organisation, “change agent” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But maybe it should be. Today, more and more not-for-profit organisations are not only making a difference, but they are also making it by doing things differently.

As the old proverb goes, necessity really is the mother of invention. Combine skyrocketing demands on social services and decreasing funding especially as markets and economies experience volatility and out springs innovation.

Over the years working with many non-profits, I have seen some truly awesome achievements, but nothing compares to the kind of innovation that’s going on in the not-for-profit sector these days.

The psyche of today’s new breed of not-for-profit organisations is all about innovation, it’s entrepreneurial. This mindset will serve you well as your population continues to age, becomes more diverse, and needs more help.

In fact, innovative thinking will add momentum to the already large and growing non-profit sector. The non-profit sector has expanded rapidly in the last few decades and is now a major sector in the economy, supporting a large number of jobs and creating significant economic growth.

And, to be clear, innovation is no longer just the turf of high-tech companies and sports manufacturers. Non-profits have joined the ranks of the cool kids. Their innovative approaches are making them today’s change agents. They are the unsung heroes on the front lines who are making a difference by thinking and acting differently.

Businesses as change agents.

I understand the disheartening feeling when you see your organisation not growing as you’d hoped. Or when you realise that you barely have enough revenue to pay wages. Or when you’re working so hard that you can’t take a day off to spend with your family. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When your heart has a clarity of who you are and why you’re doing what you do, you have the ability to bring your gifts to the community you serve. When this happens you attract more clients, more money and more passion for what you do.

Non-profits are not the only one with financing problems.

When you are on notice from your bank or another financial provider, you have to repair your budget or face losing support. This could change everything from having to do more with less and exposing your organisation to risks you never really understood.

Apply entrepreneurial characteristics.

You can learn many of the entrepreneurial characteristics of an entrepreneur. Phoney entrepreneurs are easily spotted. I have come across many people with big egos. They want to be entrepreneurs because they think entrepreneurs have an air about them, are wealthy and have all the trappings of success. Fortunately, they don’t fool many people, because they spend their time focusing on their ego instead of what they are supposed to be doing.

I believe entrepreneurs are born, not made. However, there are many characteristics that can be learned. This post will list many of  them, some of which you may already have,

Paying the price.

What is the real price of success, businesses are challenged to pay that price or go broke?  This is in stark contrast to many in the non-profit sector, who just move on. If a business is to pay the price it has to do many things right, including:

  • Clarify and really become 100% committed to achieving their vision.
  • Break down limiting beliefs of what is possible.
  • Overcome fears that hold them back.
  • Focus on health and well-being to maintain the required energy.
  • Have a no-excuses approach and be even more productive with less.
  • Eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed and focus on modern marketing.
  • Be even more focused on the activities that produce results.
  • Organise their time and their work/life balance.
  • Stop leaning on their own understanding, they seek practical help.
  • Master the challenges of profitable growth and sustainability.

Even though running a business can be a gamble, I’ve always said I would rather say I did it and fail than never to have tried. There are many things that businesses and non-profits have in common.  I believe the cross-fertilisation of each other’s ideas, can be a positive catalyst for them and the community they live in, by offering easier ways to connect and engage.

Good businesses can be good role models for non-profits and vice versa. As a starting point seek cross-marketing opportunities to help each other. You could factor online and offline engagement and personalisation to generate new ideas and opportunities.

Identifying the best change agents.

Change agents, both people and organisations, have the courage and the drive to do whatever is best for the organisation. They define, research, plan, build, support, and partner to bring about necessary change. Often they are the ‘movers and shakers’ in your community.

They rise to the challenge of shaping the way an organisation and their community move forward. They are not locked away in a back office doing paperwork all day. And you won’t find them stuck on the phone for hours trying to cut through the bureaucratic red tape. Working nine to five has no meaning in their world, they do whatever it takes to get the job done.

They spend their days in perpetual motion, on the front lines wearing many hats while managing and focusing people on the challenges at hand. In order to make a real difference, we must go to them, not the other way around. They are too busy making things happen to chase you.

In addition to day-to-day work, to drive big picture change, you need to make connections with catalysts to help you bring about change.

Create a community development framework.

What specifically are you doing to develop people so they can face challenges in their non-profit organisation, without you?

Community development frameworks aim to increase social capital by enhancing social, economic and environmental activities and services to better meet the needs of the community. Development principles are premised on the basis that you can positively shape the future through connected community-driven efforts. Shared responsibility between individuals, organisations, businesses and all levels of government must be a feature of any framework.

Building resilient communities requires initiatives that benefit the community for the long term, equipping them for future challenges. A community development framework is an approach that blends ‘bottom-up’ community-driven change, with ‘top-down’ resourcing, facilitation and coordination.

Community development enables communities to identify and address their own needs. It starts from the assumption that communities have existing strengths and assets that make them part of the solution. A framework may include a range of methods designed to strengthen and develop communities. They do this by enhancing individual and group capacity. To confidently engage with community structures, non-profit organisations and businesses, to address problems and issues.

To make sure you really make a difference, you should be connecting people to any type of service that is appropriate for their situation. This could include jobs, training, really any number of services. Ultimately, this leads to self-sufficiency, where people gain more control over their lives. To do this well a technology platform needs to be in place.

Key objectives of a framework might include:

  • Improving sustainable social and economic outcomes for the community and its organisations.
  • Strengthening the culture, local knowledge, values, identity and self-esteem across the community.
  • To improve the design and delivery of community services.
  • Increasing the capacity of government and other service providers to work more effectively
  • Improving economic independence, leadership and governance.

The aim of the framework is to provide a basis, or catalyst for working with people, businesses and non-profit organisations. Not only on issues of local concern but also when developing the community’s programmes and policies. All too often external experts seem to have more influence over the change in non-profit organisations and the development of policies and priorities. The result is a development process that is unsustainable, unfair, of little relevance to those directly affected. It fails to make the best use of available resources, experience and skills.

A framework creates a different approach. It is about working with communities first and recognising their interests, expertise and experience as the basis for development. It is this approach that will create the catalyst and as a result, there will be equitable, relevant and sustainable change.

Quotable Quotes.

“Work overload and constant day to day challenges can cause you to forget what really matters in your community”. Peter Sergeant

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. Winston Churchill

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