The Moment of Re-Think

on in Nonprofit
Maybe it’s because I’ve been on vacation, but I’ve had several moments of “re-think the plan” since I’ve been back. And so I’ve been realizing how useful that can be.

One was for an organization whose development director is taking another job. Of course there’s the race-to-replace; but we spent some time on the phone talking through what kind of a development department they’d need in 3-5 years (as opposed to what they’d home-grown through the skills and contacts they had on hand). By the end of the call, the job description they were thinking through – indeed the very job of development for this organization – had shifted. The way they might most profitably spend their staff time and energy had evolved.

New possibilities had opened up.

Another was for a nonprofit – like so many others these days – approaching the end of its fiscal year with a noticeable budget gap. Instead of just re-shaking the same trees, we took the occasion to rethink the whole formula – the relationship to the board, the percentage of earned and unearned income the group was striving for, even the timing of when the group was aiming for economic independence (that holy grail when expenses equal business-as-usual income). We ended up creating a 3-year-framework to climb towards that mountain, and the group is sounding out its board to get buy-in (and start-up funding) to move towards that trajectory.

A different game plan.

The final “re-think the plan” moment was for Cause Effective ourselves. We’re coming up on celebrating our 30th Anniversary, and we’ve had trouble settling on the right space to hold our celebration. Last week we broke through our miasma around a sea of options, none of them perfect (what is?), changed the date, and signed a contract. Done! (and on to the next decision-point…)

What links these disparate occurrences is an out-of-the-weeds moment of clarity – when we pick our heads up from doggedly following the plan, and choose an alternate route.

These days, that can be a really important moment in the day-in, day-out struggle of running a nonprofit.
Last modified on