Here are a few lessons I’ve learned, in no particular order:
- You need to make sure that your mission, operations, and desired outcomes are aligned with each other.
- Movements for equity, inclusion, and belonging have the potential to revolutionize both mission-based organizations and philanthropy.
- Carefully tailored one-to-one desk-side coaching usually increases a worker’s effectiveness much more quickly than classroom training.
- The nonprofit/philanthropic sector in Massachusetts is different from the analogous sector in any other state in the U.S.A.
- Poverty is an insufficient reward for devoting one’s professional life to a nonprofit organization.
- In a mission-based organization, many problems that initially appear to be about information and communication technology are really about organizational culture, knowledge management, or a combination of organizational culture and knowledge management.
- Age discrimination is alive and well in mission-based organizations.
- It makes much more sense to aim to run a nonprofit organization like a highly effective organization, rather than to aim to run it like a business. There’s nothing inherently superior (or inferior) about businesses.
- Every human being is eligible to help others and to be helped by others; moreover, it’s a mistake to stigmatize being helped by others.
- Bringing token members of various demographic minorities into the building isn’t enough; real power means being at the table when crucial information is disseminated and crucial decisions are made.
- When you decide to solve a problem, you need help from the people who are deeply affected by the problem in order to determine:
- the real nature of the problem
- the possible solutions
- a clear and specific idea of what success in solving the problem would look like
I invite you to leave comments about what lessons you’ve learned from working with mission-based organizations!
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