The Fast Company Blog gives us The Top 10 Best Business Lessons. They’re all lessons in leadership. Here’s how I see them applying to your nonprofit in the coming year:
10 Nonprofit Leadership Lessons to Unlock Your Potential This Year
1. Treat Humans Like People
This holds true for everyone. Donors and staff alike. Don’t treat donors like ATMs and don’t treat staff like slaves. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Otherwise, your donor retention will be a leaky bucket and your staff will leave in droves. There’s a good reason there is so much turn-over in the nonprofit sector. It’s on you.
2. Let Yourself Be Stupid
Silicon Valley says “move fast and break things.” Nonprofits tend to move super, super slow. Consider this a variation of “embrace your errors,” and a reminder to us all that if you never fail you never learn. One of my son’s favorite book series growing up was “The Magic School Bus.” Miss Frizzle always said: “Take chances! Make mistakes!” Nonprofits could learn a lot from Miss Frizzle.
3. Prove Everyone Wrong
Don’t let yourself be put off by “but we don’t do it that way here.” Do it anyway, and show ‘em the error of their ways. Of course this is risky, and you may have to beg forgiveness afterwards. But take a look at #8 below; do what you know is right and true.
4. Family And Career Can Play Nice
This is another variation of #1. Think about what really matters to your employees. Don’t throw them bones. Keeping talent requires talent – yours to be creative with the benefits you offer. Make them relevant.
5.The Big Fish Isn’t Always The Best Fish
Everyone is going after that richest person in your community. But they may not care at all about your cause. They may not even be philanthropic. Don’t waste your time with these folks. They’ll distract you from what you really should be doing.
6. Keep the Message Simple
We all know about K.I.S.S. Why do we so often forget when it comes to our marketing materials? Folks are super busy – busier than they’ve ever been. Capture their attention right away with something dynamic. Better yet, something visual. Boil your mission down to its essence. Otherwise, you’re only kidding yourself if you think you’re actually communicating. No one knows what no one reads.
7. Solve Problems Creatively
Whenever you’re stuck, use the power of the brainstorm. Do it collectively. Do it alone. Just do it. Take out a little time to think and plan. Don’t just blindly implement.
8. Stay Curious, And True To Yourself
When you stop being curious you stop learning. You become boring, to yourself and others. You can’t effectively brand your organization this way, nor can you fundraise passionately.
9. Don’t Ignore The Emotional Side
When it comes to fundraising, emotion wins out over facts every single time. Our hearts rule our heads. Tell emotional stories.
10. Attack Opportunities To Learn
Great leaders are great learners. People — and organizations — learn from their failures. Celebrate successes, but also embrace mistakes. It’s how we learn. And if an organization doesn’t keep learning, it stagnates and eventually withers.
RESOLUTION: Unlock Your Fundraising Potential
Get the 7 Clairification Keys Guide — with worksheets, individual and group exercises to help you think differently and adapt to the way fundraising and marketing have changed in recent years. Get it here and start the new year off right! All Clairification products come with a no-questions-asked full money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy, I’m not happy.
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