Getting involved in the community and supporting nonprofits seems like a natural way to spread generosity and gratitude - so what's the problem?
Studies have shown that generosity and gratitude lead to happier, more rewarding lives.
At the end of the day everyone wants to be happy, right? So how do we get there?
Time is the problem.
People are busier than ever. In most couples both adults are now working full time. Kids are more involved in activities at younger ages. People are connected to technology 24 hours a day. No one is looking for more to do. So how do companies and nonprofits get people to volunteer? How do individuals make space in their lives to figure out how do get involved in a meaningful way?
Structure. It's all about making it easy and helping people find their passion. Think about a time where time passed quickly - what were you doing? What do others always ask for your help to do? The intersection between what you're good at and what your passionate about is your starting point. If you are a company -what is the change your business seeks to make in the world? How can a strategic philanthropy program help achieve those goals?
Talent is the problem.
Finding a qualified workforce is hard enough in the corporate world so imagine paying lower salaries, having worse benefits and more complicated reporting structures. Now imagine your boss is not just one but 10-30 well-meaning volunteers that may or may not know how to govern. And did I mention they are volunteers? Meaning they don't get paid and they don't get performance reviews. How does that work?
Training. Everyone needs a good understanding of what their role is and how to be most effective. The first step in training is to make sure everyone is there for the right reason. Are they committed to putting the organization above self needs? The second step is carving out time - real time - to create plans to support growth and development. Everyone from the Board Chair to the CEO to the Development professional needs role clarification and coaching to be most impactful. Both companies and nonprofits need to provide these training opportunities.
Treasure is the problem.
Limited resources can cause pressure, which results in short-sighted thinking. Nonprofits often lack long-term funding plans to ensure sustainability. When the pressure is on, people don't make choices that strengthen the organization for the long-run, rather, they look for quick fixes to meet payroll or meet an emergency programming or facility need. How do we get out of this hand to mouth cycle?
Planning. When nonprofits create and sustain long-term, meaningful relationships. they are more likely to thrive financially. Planning for and securing diversified funding streams is more important than ever since funding priorities can shift overnight. Relying too heavily on one source - corporate, foundation, individual or government funds - leaves nonprofits open for unexpected shifts that can have crippling effects. A good fundraising plan will help mitigate this risk.