Making it Better

on in Fundraising

We’re fixers – those of us in the nonprofit world.

You know the saying: “We envision what’s not there…and build it.”

We’re not satisfied with the way things are.

But are we complainers?

And does that turn us into glass-half-empty observers?


And is that a problem? Doesn’t our quest to build a better tomorrow, so to speak, lead us into a fully-productive workplace, harmonious relations, cordial agreement?

Sometimes. And sometimes not.

 Complaining, whining, grumbling.

It has its place, indeed a better world is built from those who’ve refused to settle for less than a fully social good.

But taking action and expressing annoyance are not necessarily synonymous. And one can take action, as a nonprofit advocate, without letting the whole world hear your grumbling.

I was reminded of that a few weeks ago when I came across the Complaint Free World campaign.

sour-lemons.jpgYou get one of those ubiquitous rubber bracelets, purple this time, and use it to remind you to stop complaining – the goal is to go 21 days without a complaint.

10 million of these bracelets have been distributed.

We talk often, in our consulting practice, about focusing on the positive – seeing, recognizing and celebrating even the smallest instances of the changes we’re looking for, and not getting dragged down by sniping, negativity.

The function of complaint, I reminded someone recently, is to make the complainer feel better – but not necessarily to fix the problem. And sometimes, moving forward means ignoring the abhorrent behavior, not calling attention to it.

A complaint free world? Probably impossible.

But moving in that direction – towards rewarding productive behavior and ignoring the opposite – would go a long way in the nonprofit world (nay, the world at large) toward encouraging healthy management practices.

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