Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12
Performance P m e Nonprofit WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Issue #12 Magazine 360
Three Tips To maximize nonprofiT direcT mail
If you’re a nonprofit, you know how critical direct mail is to fundraising. Here are three tips from the experts on how to maximize your efforts.
direct mail is the #1 motivator for donations.
Your house list is gold.
do more than ask for money.
W ith so many “free” marketing channels out there, it might be tempting to transition much of your fundraising to electronic media. However, direct mail remains the strongest, most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations. According to YouGov 1 , 21% of people gave to a nonprofit last year because of a print solicitation. This is compared to 12% who gave through mass media, 6% through social media, and 10% through email. To keep donations flowing, don’t stop the direct mail!
T reated right, most people who donate to an organization will do so again. That’s why your house list is the most important list you have. Keep this list clean, up to date, and treat your donors like the most important people in the world — because they are. What about prospecting? Purchasing a relevant direct mail list is an important way to bring in new people who might be interested in your mission, but it will not be your primary source of donations. Prospecting helps to expand your donor base, but your house list is the primary source of your fundraising dollars.
W hen it comes to a person’s likelihood to donate, the most important factor is his or her personal connection to the organization. To increase donations, use direct mail to build real, lasting relationships with donors over time. • Make sure your donors understand your mission and where their money will be used. • Write to donors by name and personalize your messaging based on the specific areas or projects to which they have donated. • Provide pictures or stories about the specific ways their donations are being used. If people are donating to an ongoing project, keep them in the loop on the progress.
Print is the most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations.
Treat your donors like the most important people in the world.
Make sure donors understand where their money will be used.
1 YouGov “Giving Report” (2013)
photography and illustrations ©iStock 2014.
People want to help, and they enjoy being part of efforts to do good for the world around them. Use direct mail to make them feel part of your mission, and they will open their wallets to continue to be part of it.
Performance m e SynerVision's Nonprofit Professional WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Magazine
Issue #12 $12.95
Jeffrey Magee Co-Publisher Jeff@ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com Hugh Ballou Co-Publisher Hugh@SynerVisionLeadership.org Todd Greer Managing Editor Todd@SynerVisionLeadership.org Sandy Birkenmaier Acquisitions Editor Sandy@SynerVisionLeadership.org Betsy Westhafer Content Editor Betsy@SynerVisionLeadership.org Claudia Hiatt Communications Manager Claudia@SynerVisionLeadership.org
Cynthia M. Adams 8 Funding Public-Private Partnerships
Mark S A Smith
Building Sustainable Strategic Public–Private Partnerships
Roberta Gilbert 10 The Emotional Side of Partnership
Collaborative Thinking in Lynchburg, Virginia
Conversations are Critical in Partnerships
Nonprofit Collaboration in a Competitive World
Triangle of Value
Park View Community Mission
T. Boone Pickens
Crafting a Community-Wide Project
What makes a Champion?
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Richard Bowers 16 Leveraging New Partners for Success
Unity in Our Community
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Creating Our Own Model
Leading Collaborative Initiatives
Jessica Arrington & Sarah Grant 38 Nonprofit Collaboration
Top Questions for Public-Private Partnerships
Point & Counterpoint
Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine and Professional Performance Magazine are quarterly magazines. Each is published as a digital subscription publication and as a hard copy edition. The views expressed in the ar- ticles and advertisements are those of the con- tributing writers and advertisers, and may not be the views of the management and staff of the publication. The magazine assumes no li- ability for the contributions in this magazine and all content is intended as developmental in nature. SynerVision is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and this publication serves its mission.
Dialogues on Leadership Issues in Partnerships and Collaborations
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4 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Partnership and Collaborations Issue In the world of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), there is much to do and many important things to accomplish. It’s a call to action that is bigger than any single organization (or even any small group of organizations) can accomplish without teaming up with others seeking common outcomes. Some even say that there are too many tax-exempt organizations, resulting in a higher inefficiency due to lack of sufficient resources to support all of them, indicating that some should close. In this edition of Nonprofit Performance 360 Magazine , we offer ideas on how local charities and membership organizations can rally together to provide maximum impact within existing resources. Combining efforts and aligning projects eliminates duplication, exposes blind spots, and encourages donors to step up to a bigger commitment in giving. Donors give for impact.They want to see results, not just activity. Read and learn from the stories and teachings in this issue.Then take the concepts to your community, striving to streamline the efforts and operate at a higher functioning in order to have greater results for those who need the most. I’m especially happy to share the partnerships and collaborations that are shaping the future of the city in which I live and in which SynerVision Leadership Foundation is based: Lynchburg, Virginia. Enjoy!
The Official Guide to All Things Nonprofit Nonprofit Performance Magazine brings impact which spreads hope and direction to those who are changing their communities and the world. This magazine is a great resource for nonprofit executives and religious leaders. • Learn from key thought leaders who can assist you in propelling your organization to reach its potential • Read in-depth stories written by those who have found success at the front line of the social benefit journey • Learn about the impact of community, communication, and collaboration in your organization
Performance P e Nonprofit WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol. 4No. 2 Magazine 360
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6 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Next Issue Highlights
Is your brand understood by your stakeholders, board, staff, and the community? Does everyone in the culture faithfully represent the brand? Is your brand still current? Your brand is far more than a logo. Understanding the components of branding is the key: brand image, brand promise, brand message, brand personality, ways to create and share the organization’s brand. Clergy and nonprofit leaders often don’t really consider why their brand image and brand promise are critical to their success and to their ultimate sustainability in funding. In the next issue, we will deal with branding from the following perspectives: • Strategy - How strategic planning is essential to define your brand • Culture - How everyone in the organization represents the brand • Marketing - How marketing can contradict your brand image or support it • Events - How live or virtual events support and educate people about your brand • Funding - How lack of clear brand image or brand promise limits giving These are the key topics…expect more.
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SynerVision Leadership .org I 7
CYNTHIA M. ADAMS
Funding Public-Private Partnerships
We are also seeing a number of regional funders, particularly foundations, step into the public- private partnership arena. For example, the Frey Foundation primarily supports nonprofit organizations in Grand Rapids/ Kent County, and in Charlevoix and Emmet counties in northern Michigan. The Foundation focuses a lot of their attention on building community, something that is quite in line with public-private partnerships. Their specific goal is stated thus: to foster civic action to improve the livability of existing urban centers and towns. Their grantmaking priorities include building strong and attractive city centers and revitalized neighborhoods, fostering public/private partnerships that further city center revitalization, and encouraging well-planned development with broad community input. The Frey Foundation issued a call for proposals to be submitted during a five- week period in September and October 2018. That request stated that it was to “focus andmobilize talent in the community to generate innovative ideas that will accelerate access to sustainable, quality housing opportunities in Kent County, with an emphasis on ALICE populations (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). The ultimate goal of this initiative is to catalyze creative place-based solutions that help position Kent County and West Michigan among the best in class for housing affordability.” They were clearly looking for collaborative efforts via this RFP (request for proposals). The award was up to $150,000 for such a partnership.
Understanding exactly what a public- private partnership is can be a bit of a brain twister. The World Bank offers a fairly traditional description of these sorts of partnerships that is worth checking out. And I am sure many others in this issue have discussed this in great depth. My assignment is to help you figure out who actually funds these types of partnerships. Let me share with you a few examples of grant makers that completely understand, and financially support, public-private partnerships. U.S.GrantMakers FundingPartnerships There is a whole raft of grant makers stepping into this field, funding partnerships and collaborative efforts of all kinds. The interesting thing is that most of these funders have a much broader definition of how a public-private partnership might look. Instead of being limited to governments working alongside private enterprises and nonprofit organizations, they are also interested in nonprofits working hand in hand with business, not even engaging government participation, or perhaps a group of nonprofits working alongside government, excluding any sort of private enterprise. As the definition of these types of partnerships expands, so do the funding sources. One of the major reasons these collaborative efforts have become so very popular is one word: sustainability. Collaborative efforts that address a particular problem or issue have shown great results when it comes to working together. And they have consistently demonstrated that these partnerships generate a very real, very sustainable effort.
A quick search on the GrantStation data- base, using Community Development and Collaborations as key words, resulted in over 300 grant makers. As you can see, the depth of any sort of collaborative effort drives the number of interested funders way up. Let me share with you a few funders that are clearly interested in the more traditional model of public-private partnerships. Enterprise Community Partners creates op- portunities for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in di- verse, thriving communities. Enterprise prides itself in supporting neighborhood so- lutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations, and others that share its vision. One example of the type of partnership funded via Enterprise is the Community Adaptation Program launched in New Orleans in 2017. This is a huge effort to deal with the city’s continual flooding problems, sometimes due to hurricanes and sometimes due to just a downpour. In this article “Building Resilience in New Orleans through Public, Private and Nonprofit Partnerships” (published March 27, 2018, on the Enterprise website), it is clear that these partnerships can sometimes be fairly complex.
8 I Professional Performance Magazine.com
Funders Forming Private-Public Partnerships Interestingly, you now witness more and more grant makers forming partnerships to address a specific issue. This is happening at the local level, as well as regionally, nationally, and even internationally. A statewide grant maker that embraced the public-private model early on is the Virginia Health Care Foundation. According to their website, in 1992, the Virginia General Assembly and its Joint Commission on Health Care initiated the Virginia Health Care Foundation as a public/private partnership with a mission to increase access to primary health care for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians via innovative service delivery models. And it has clearly worked. You can read much more about them on their website. It is quite interesting. Another public-private partnership worth noting at the international level is the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves which is a hosted by the UN Foundation for this purpose: to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. This grant making program represents a partnership which includes donations from governments (the major portion of their funding), as well as support from foundations and the private sector. In Summary Collaborations of any kind - whether the traditional public-private partnership or one of the many new types of partnerships - are no longer an option just when trying to solve a community problem. In today’s philanthropic world, collaborations are key to securing the funds you need to address that problem.Collaboration is now the new competition, so it is time we all embrace it. Cynthia Adams, President and CEO of GrantStation, has spent the past 40 years helping nonprofits raise the money needed for their good work. GrantStation exists because grantseeking requires a thorough understanding of the variety and scope of grantmakers and sound knowledge of the philanthropic playing field. Her life’s work is to level that playing field, creating an opportunity for all nonprofit organizations to access the wealth of grant opportunities across the U.S. and
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SynerVision Leadership .org I 9
The Emotional Side of Partnership ROBERTA GILBERT
Partnerships can be great. They can be mutually uplifting and affirming - when they work. When they don’t, they can cause pain and heartache, or cause the organization to founder. Thoughts and questions from a reader help us to think about the phenomenon of partnership: Two organizations collaborating for a partnership or project is like two families (cultures) going on a trip together or planning a party together. How do we, as leaders, handle discussions of what we know and don’t know about ourselves and the other group? How do we establish systems for conversations about creating guiding principles for the collaboration? Let’s consider trip-ups we may dealing with in partnerships.These, most often, are our emotions. Emotions are the automatic, not-thought-through reactions we get when we perceive that things are going wrong. They are most often directly or indirectly rooted in relationships. A partnership is a two-person relationship. It is unstable because it can get intense. Members often turn to a third person for corroboration when they get to a roadblock. Now we have a triangle. Triangles are more stable, because the anxiety has more traveling room. But the outsider is constantly working to become the insider, so triangles tend to go round and round as to who is on whose side. Triangling really doesn’t solve anything, though it can make one feel better temporarily. Long term, because issues are not addressed, the anxiety prevails.
whatever is needed.This is an essential part of a partnership and where it will most often break down. • Remind myself to listen a lot to the other. • At all times, take an equal posture to the other. I am not over or under him or her. • Try to avoid triangling, conflict, distance, or over- or under-functioning in the relationship. • Remember to ask, “What do you think about…?” Respect what I hear said. • Remember to say what I think only after I have heard the partner’s view. • Keep a calm inner self. • Remember and have faith that, in time, he/she will come up to meet me in maturity if I stay calm within self, connected to the other (emotionally and intellectually), and clear in what I think. None of this is discussed; it is simply lived. It is always helpful to remember that each of us has a functional position derived from those many years we spent in our families of origin. We’re identified as a star, the funny one, the focused one, etc., and we default to one or more of these more often than we think. Understanding our own functional position and that of the partner goes a long way toward understanding what is going on emotionally in the relationship and what can be done to make things better. More of that in a later issue. Dr. Roberta Gilbert is the author of a trilogy of books on leadership: Extraordinary Leadership , The Eight Concepts , and The Cornerstone Concept . She is the founding director of The Extraordinary Leadership Seminar. email@example.com
A twosome can, instead of triangling, go into other emotional positions: • Conflict, where the two might face off in anger and accusations, ending in emotional or real blows. • Distance, where they don’t speak, or find it hard to. • Over- or under-functioning, where one dominates the other in decisions and behavior. None of these positions are helpful because calm is not restored. The original anxiety that prompted the position is still present. As long as anxiety is bubbling, the partnership is in trouble. How do we handle self in partnership dilemmas? Notice how this question is framed. Our own self is the only one we have the power to handle or to change for the better. We can never change another person. Getting back to the reader’s questions, how do we think about that task?This isn’t a full exposition, but here are some guidelines. • I am the only one I have the power to change. So I never use the ‘you’ word. • Be or get clear on my own guiding principles for the issue under consideration. • Ask that the partnership have a regular recurring time to meet to discuss
10 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Conversations are Critical in Partnerships
Gathering people into a group can be tricky. Sometimes they click, personalities mesh, and the group’s work goes well. But at other times, first impressions and assumptions can win out, and the group deals with tension. This may sabotage the planned work of the group. Even when the people coming together are not strangers, and sometimes because they’re not, there can be simmering issues. What are people really talking about? Do we make time to really talk and listen to the people to whom we are closest and the people with whom we work? In this digital age, where life is changing at such an amazing pace, do we have the tools and support to help us effectively communicate within our own family, work groups, and community? Conversations facilitate teamwork, foster family communication, and enhance authentic relationships between mates and colleagues. There are no limits to the topics of conversation. Beginning new conversations is where the magic happens. Now, more than ever, in this digital age, people need to really communicate on a deeper level with each other. Nonprofit leaders are running religious institutions, membership organizations, cause-based charities, and community foundations. These are people who have a very tight network of people gathered around a particular philosophy. But that doesn’t mean they talk to each other.
between them. And you don’t always have to speak about everything all the time. For some people, that’s a real learning process. Each participant can share as much as they are comfortable with. The rules also include not interrupting. It also helps to use I statements rather than we. It’s a key concept to keep coming back to self. The rest of us go, “Oh yeah, I can relate to that as well.” It gives people permission to come on board without the request or the demand to come on board. That’s an important process. Be very careful to come from the place of talking from within your own experience, so that you’re not putting anybody on the spot, but you’re being more inviting for them to relate in the way that is comfortable for them. It’s also helpful when we recognize that we have different language. Sometimes we can get caught up in the words and it holds us back. If we can go behind the words and get a feeling for what is going on, we won’t get lost in the language. When we use words, especially words that can have a charge, when we talk about love or God or universe or spirit, people have different ways of expressing that. Just allow and be accepting of the fact that ultimately we are referring to the same thing.The energy behind the thought is what’s important. It is important to allow individuals within the organization, who often volunteer many hours of time, a more meaningful continued on page 42
Rules for Conversation In group operations, it’s critical to facilitate open and authentic communication. I am constantly becoming more aware of the need to start with myself. As I analyzed my own actions, I became aware of how easy it could be for me to retreat into old comfort zones and judge what was said by others. I believe real authentic communication is a two-way process. We need to be able to speak and feel safe speaking, authentically speak, and know that we won’t be criticized. I believed that it was also really important to engage in active listening, really listening to each other. I have shifted that, though, because I have done some work with nonviolent communication and empathetic communication. I really believe now that it’s about empathetic listening. It’s not just listening to the words; it’s listening with a willingness to understand the intent behind the words. It’s a whole different paradigm. When you can really do that and tune in, and get a feel for what the person is about, have some empathy for the person, and have some empathy for yourself, you can then relate what is being said to yourself. Create an openness and a connection. When people laugh, we learn. I have a big belief that we can go deep and laugh at the same time. You don’t have to choose
SynerVision Leadership .org I 11
JOE HOMS Featured Contributor
Triangle of Value
How would you like it if corporate sponsors routinely asked to give you money? What if they gave you loads of it at a time? What if you got to keep a sizable chunk for your mission and also got a bunch of valuable gifts for your other donors (increasing donations) and the people you serve (increasing good)? Does this sound too good to be true? Every week, I teach entrepreneurs, for- purpose organizations, and corporate donors how to partner together to get something everyone wants. We even show everyone how to turn up the volume on the whole thing. We like to tell people that it’s not who you know, it’s how you know them, and we share a way to create a public-private partnership that will blow the socks off of other methods you may have tried before. Most nonprofits find they have more than enough donations coming in, happy donors and corporate sponsors, and a community well-served by their mission. It all starts with a triangle of value. What you may not know is that your problems are someone else’s solutions. Imagine that you’re a for-purpose organization at one corner of an equal- sided triangle. You need money to further your mission, or you’d like new and valuable gifts or resources to give to those you serve or to those donors who could use a little something back for their support (which increases donation activity). You know that when you do this, everyone wins, but it’s just so darned expensive or time- consuming doing it the traditional way by
that the other two sides have. This is great news! Everyone can solve everyone else’s problems straight away, and all it takes is a few phone calls or emails to get things rolling. Remember, your problems are other people’s solutions. As a nonprofit, you can usually command a discount from an entrepreneur who has something you want. You also may have a relationship with a corporate sponsor who wants that product or service. If you don’t, they will want to know you since you can help them with that discount and a tax write-off, which we will get to in a second. The entrepreneur would love to do these kinds of deals and get into a longer- term relationship with both you and the corporate sponsor. They have all of this great stuff to teach, provide, or otherwise deliver to people, and they are hungry to help serve the world. Here’s how this works in a real world example. A nonprofit business will call me up (or I’ll call them) and say that their corporate sponsor, a large company called ACME Widgets wants to buy my sales training for their team, but they want the Double Dip Discount of getting something for a discounted price and also as a tax write-off. Of course, I’m happy to provide this to my newfound friends. We invoice you, the nonprofit; the corporate sponsor pays you what I’m owed; that cash then flows to me with a generous broker’s fee being kept by you and/or I give you free access to some information for people served or for your donors to access.
buying expensive gifts, hosting galas or fundraiser events, doing silent auctions, and other well-worn ideas. While you’re at one corner of this triangle, there are two other players at the other corners. The first is the corporate sponsor you either have or would like to have.They have some money, but their problem is that they’d like something done with it. Maybe they have some training needs in their company. Maybe they want to do some marketing in a new channel. Either way, all else being equal, they’d like their money to work for them, beyond feeling good about giving to charity and having a nice tax write-off. At the third corner of this triangle is an untapped resource: a business with some information, a service, or a product that you, the people you serve, your donors, or the corporate sponsor would love to have. It would be world-changing stuff, if only they could get it into the hands of more people than they could reach on their own. They’d be happy to sell at a discount, since it’s usually a digital product or service. They’d love to get the attention of a bigger corporate sponsor. They’d love to reach your donors and the people you serve, too. So our triangle is set and everyone needs something. Everyone needs something
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This works well with something that can be delivered in a group. A seminar, online course, book, product, monthly subscription, and more can all work. If it’s not limited by a person’s time, it’s a candidate for this kind of deal. Seminars and other live events are my favorite, because they create such memorable and lasting partnerships. Online courses are also a great choice to maximize revenue, speed, and delivery for everyone. We once did a seminar for a local nonprofit that serves kids who were at-risk and needed a leg up with training and a job. We used the organization’s name and credentials to go around to local businesses that could benefit from the training we were providing, and offered them a set of discounted tickets with a sponsorship donation. We then turned that seminar into not just a training event, but an apprentice program where each kid got paired up with an adult in a career they might like to be in. The whole event became an impromptu job
fair and many of the kids were hired by the companies that attended. There was great success all around. So, as a nonprofit, you get big windfalls of cash in the door for very little effort, your donors or partners get huge discounts and tax write-offs, your people get great information, help, and a lifelong partnership - and that’s not the best part! Here’s my secret for turning up the volume. This model works well when the triangle gets magnified by the media. Tell your story to the local news anchor or reporter. Have them run a story about how ACME is serving your people with huge donations. Have ACME run a great PR piece on you and how proud they are to invest in your for-purpose business. Send out the news in your newsletters and more.The world is hungry for good stories like this. I’ll warn you: this becomes addictive. It’s fun. You’re providing a great service to the companies you partner with, your donors (who often run companies you could do this with, hint-hint), and the people you
serve - not to mention supporting small businesses that have great information or services to offer to everyone involved. It’s the American Dream! Do good, serve the small-business backbone of our economy, reduce taxes, serve more people with donations, and spread more positive news out in the world so that we all can help each other instead of being divided. Your problem is my solution. No matter what your size, you can do this. There’s someone listed in your phone contacts right now who could use a discount on something they already want. There’s someone providing it who is willing to make a deal. Go make it happen! Or call me to find out more creative ways to help you and your nonprofit thrive. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Joe Homs is CEO of Guaranteed Growth ( https:// guaranteedgrowth.io ), a strategic consulting company that guarantees revenue and profit growth for hand- selected clients, and a Partner at Your Charisma Coach ( https://yourcharismacoach.com ), a company that trains individuals and organizations to be more charismatic, charming, spontaneous, influential, and fun.
SynerVision Leadership .org I 13
T. BOONE PICKENS
• If you’re organized, you’ll find time for everything. Take as big a bite of the apple as you want. • Keep success as well as failure in perspective and always play by the rules. Never think you have to cheat to win; there’s no need to bend your principles. Cheating to win is a hollow victory at best, and you won’t feel good about yourself. • We don’t have an ethics crisis. If anything, it’s a leadership crisis. It all goes back to the top. Leaders must lead by example. • Enjoy what you do. Work hard. Move quickly. Laugh a lot. If there is a screw- up, it’s a team screw-up. Have more than engaged minds in the workplace. Achieving and maintaining good health requires individual effort. Such effort is particularly essential for individuals holding jobs that do not require physical labor. Anyone will deteriorate physically sitting at a desk with no regular physical exercise. Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, but make sure that they are not the same hours. I believe I was put on this Earth to make money and be generous with it. That’s my underlying driver, and that’s what I’ve continually tried to do. continued on page 44
The most important quality in a good leader is to be willing to make decisions. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ready- aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. To stand up, stand tall, and be a leader, you must be willing to fire. Business leaders and entrepreneurs can learn from President Reagan’s management style and communication practices. He always left an audience with the impression he was sincere, approachable, and a regular guy. These qualities are described in James Strock’s Reagan on Leadership in a way that is invaluable for today’s executive. It should be required reading in business schools across America. There are three kinds of business management styles. Some see changes coming well in advance and may even accelerate the process. Some see changes coming just in time to adjust before it’s too late. Some never see changes coming, so they don’t adjust. A management style is an amalgamation of the best of other people you have known and respected, and eventually you develop your own style. I never consciously manage anybody. I try to lead people. Here is my analysis of performance greatness for an entrepreneur, leader, and doer.
• Learn to analyze well. Assess risks and prospective rewards, because there is no substitute for good research. • Leadership transforms good intentions into positive action, turning a group of individuals into a team. • Be a team player. • Be patient. Remember the old adage: patience is a great virtue. • Be realistic. Dream, but don’t be a daydreamer. • Concentrate on the goals, not on the size of the organization. • Forget about age. Give young people a chance. • Keep things informal. Talking is a natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and pinning down details, but talk generates ideas. • Make sure as many people as possible have a stake in the game. • Learn from mistakes. It’s all right to get your fingers crushed in the door, but don’t let the same door crush them twice. • Stay fit. Physical fitness is an essential part of the best-run companies, for it has economic as well as spiritual and psychological benefits. • Practice moderation. Balance family life and work.There’s plenty of time for play, but plan it.
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What makes a Champion?
What makes a champion? We must start with an uncomfortable truth: natural talent helps, especially in sport! I remember about 45 years ago, running in my first competitive race at my school Sports Day. I remember the running track, with the grass freshly mowed. It was a sunny day. The race was over 440 yards, four times around our small track. I settled in behind the lead runner, calculating to overtake him on the last bend before the straight run to the finish. The race went to plan until, just as I reached the bend, I tried to sprint forward. Suddenly, my legs just didn’t have the energy. The mental will was there, but the physical capacity was not. I remember that feeling of shock and disappointment now as clearly as I did then, the disconnection between desire and ability. I still have my silver cup for coming in second. But silver was not what I wanted. I wanted gold. But I chose to try to be a champion in a different field, and it is true that most people have innate talent at something. Performance matters and champions are not just athletes. They are scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, philanthropists. They are people who the world sees in photos and on TV, people of fame and wealth. But they are just as often people that no one outside of a small circle has heard of: champions of compassion, of fortitude under suffering, of works of humanity towards others. Such champions often enjoy less fame or fortune when alive, but are more often commemorated after death.They are champions of the human spirit.
Not everyone can be a champion. But many, perhaps even most of us, have the capacity to do something exceptionally well. Most of us have a gift. The issue is this: how to develop that gift? What are the qualities that take talent and turn it into an achievement, that translate the ordinary into the extraordinary? For sure, there is a part, perhaps even the major part, of being a champion that is not to do with natural physique or natural intellect, but is to do with character, attitude, the dimension of the mind that can be discovered and developed. You can improve. You can, in doing so, cross the line between the average and the good and, in time, even the line between the good and the outstanding. It can be dangerous to describe rules of improvement, to try to codify the qualities. Champions are about exceptions, not rules. Nonetheless, I believe it is possible to identify characteristics you find in champions. I have chosen seven. First, success comes to those who strive. To me, striving is more than wanting to be the best. It means even if you are the best, striving to be better. Second, champions are creative people. They are innovative.They are always pushing to the new frontier. They don’t accept the givens of any field of endeavor. They challenge them. Third, champions are endlessly inquisitive. This also means knowing you can be wrong. You may have to
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SynerVision Leadership .org I 15
Leveraging New Partners for Success RICHARD BOWERS
For centuries, sharing meat from the day’s hunt or cooperating in early agricultural endeavors was a way of life for Indians throughout North America. So it’s not surprising that a consortium of tribes is returning to its economic roots, with member tribes buying from and selling to each other, in a collective approach to economic growth and prosperity in Indian Country. Historically, Indian tribes have rarely worked well together. But these days are different. We’ve moved into the world of big business where cooperation is the key to success. Called the Native American Group, the consortium brings together Indian tribes from widespread geographic regions, and from varied economic circumstances. In addition to the Seminole Tribe of Florida,early participants in the consortium included the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Connecticut; the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin; the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California; the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Oregon; the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Colorado; the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota; the Forest Band of Potawatomi Nation,
Wisconsin; and the Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation, North Dakota. Our big-picture goal is economic development for more than 500 Indian tribes. We want to spread the wealth in Indian Country by encouraging more tribes to get into business and by offering more products and services to each other. The consortium offers a ready-made market for tribes with available products or the opportunity to develop them. To that end, the Native American Group enlisted the support of high- level administrators in the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior, which recognizes the need and opportunity for tribes to establish successful business enterprises. Federal officials began helping to identify tribes to participate, and reaching out to others in government to pave the way to form a buying consortium that would circulate goods and services within Indian Country, along with government purchasing of consortium products. Still in the early stages of development, the consortium relies on the collective buying power of many of the most successful tribes, especially those with major gaming
operations and diverse business interests. The Native American Group is also focused on beef production, thanks to major herds of cattle managed by many member tribes and other tribes operating food service businesses that buy significant quantities of beef. Individually, the herds may not be large enough to sustain ongoing deliveries of meat to major customers. But when working together, the tribes can compete with many of the nation’s largest beef producers. The Seminole Tribe has launched its own brand of beef and began selling to some of the food service outlets at its hugely- successful entertainment complex in South Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. The Tribe’s initial push into beef production generated strong interest, but most prospective buyers required regular product delivery. This included the Hard Rock Cafe restaurants, the global restaurant company purchased by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. 5 Steps to Successful Consortium Relationships 1. Identify those groups that share a vested interest that you have historically worked with, but that you are not
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Unintended Consequences for Nonprofit Organizations
Donors are basically investors. Of course, they are not seeking financial gain, but they are seeking psychic gain (feel-good emotions) and prestige. Large donors can’t afford the reputational damage that would be incurred from donating to a nonprofit that ended up in the news due to financial irresponsibility or, worse yet, being labeled a scam or fraud. Thus, a nonprofit is not only responsible for protecting its own reputation, but also the reputations of every donor to the organization. That is a powerful responsibility which is overlooked by many nonprofits. It’s not intentionally overlooked or avoided; it is simply a consideration that’s missed. The last solution is common sense. The nonprofit leadership, such as the CEO, Chairman of the Board, and CFO should all be insulated for full accountability.With the right checks and balances in place, all leadership can ensure that there is never the opportunity for public misperception. Reputation is earned over a long period of time and is lost in an instant. Chasing from behind is never productive, so the most important consideration is always to protect your reputation. This is possibly more important than the actual raising of capital, because it is the pipeline through which all capital must flow.
Nonprofit organizations are a vital staple of the American society. These groups are the free market counterpart to the US government. The people served through the work of nonprofits are the remnant of those left behind due to gaps in government programs. As such, these organizations must rely on donors and government grants. The most important asset these organizations possess is often overlooked within the organization itself. That asset is the nonprofit’s reputation. Are there scams and fraud in the nonprofit arena? Far too many. And the excellent organizations are impacted negatively by the small percentage of bad players in the nonprofit sector. First, the negative news spreads way faster and further than the good work and acknowledgement of the organizations. The media are always on the hunt for negative news; like they say, “If it bleeds, it leads.” The reputation of a nonprofit is far more valuable than that of any for-profit corporation. A nonprofit is the fiduciary of the money flowing through donors and grants. Due to the nature of fundraising, every nonprofit is judged upon several factors: Full transparency
Due diligence (includes full disclosure, complete compliance,and full transparency) Compliant governance (board of directors, independent oversight) Many of these organizations are woefully lacking in these areas. Those mistakes can dramatically impact their fundraising abilities. There are several simple solutions that can inoculate a nonprofit organization against the perception of scam or fraud. An easy fix that provides an exceptional public perception is for the organization to have an employee become a certified fraud examiner (investigate the Association for Certified Fraud Examiners, www. ACFE.com ). This designation provides two services for the nonprofit: it provides a positive transparency and creates an objective non-biased individual for the governance oversight of the organization. A certified fraud examiner can be positioned to provide financial oversight for the governing board.The expense to the organization can be minimal. An existing employee could be sponsored and gain the certification through a mandate from the board of directors. This person would report directly to the governing body of the nonprofit.
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Leading Collaborative Initiatives Be the TransformationYouWant to See
Leadersinsocialbenefitorganizations that we classify as nonprofit often get stuck in the rut of scarcity thinking. We view donor resources as limited to the community where we function, and therefore develop a competitive stance in seeking donor support. In fact, money is a renewable resource. Instead of thinking about how big a piece of the perceived pie we are getting, we could think about the pie as being much larger. One strategy for creating a larger money pool is to think about community benefit, and to realize that if existing organizations compete for limited resources of people and money, then the focus is on the organization, not on the benefit to the community. After all, our purpose is to create a better world for those who live in the area of our influence. Effective Transformational Leaders seek transformation in order to achieve a powerful mission based on a worthy vision. Sharing our vision is the energy that drives results. That vision could include others working in the community, as well, whether those organizations are doing similar work or unrelated work. Think in terms of a greater impact, which might leave room for groups with contrasting objectives and different types of initiatives to combine their efforts to make more progress. In one local food distribution charity near where I live, additional organizations provide support to those needing food. The other groups serve people while they are waiting in line to register for the day’s distribution in ways such as these: • Councilors talking to people about the challenges that lead to their current
people think about possibilities, it is very easy to get excited about the possibilities and throw caution to the wind, so to speak. Our first duty as the leader is to lead; that includes analytical thinking and sometimes slowing down the process to get perspective on the entire process, including the impact on the community, as well as the impact on each organization participating and the relationships between organizations. Here’s a process for launching a collaborative effort: 1. Define the future in specific and measurable terms so that everyone knows the exact outcomes desired; 2. Ask for commitment in writing from each stakeholder so that fragile memories don’t cloud our thinking or results; 3. Define the roles and responsibilities for each task; 4. Identify the teams and actions leading to the completion of the project or event; 5. List the benefits of the collaborative effort. Plan a post-event evaluation and celebration gathering within 30 days of the completion of the event. Hugh Ballou is a Transformational Leadership Strategist and the President of SynerVision Leadership Foundation. A musical conductor for forty years, Hugh has written eight books on Transformational Leadership, and works with leaders in religious organizations and business and nonprofit communities as executive coach, process facilitator, trainer, and motivational speaker, teaching leaders the fine-tuned skills employed every day by orchestral conductors. www.SynerVisionLeadership.org
issues or that might be keeping them from progressing to a better place • Offering personal conversations related to life and health • Offering used clothing at a huge discount • Offering health checks of weight and blood pressure, with advice on addressing issues when parameters are out of optimal range Other charities combine efforts in live events to bring in greater attendance, get more publicity, and require less effort from any one group to plan and produce the event. The possibilities are only limited by the leader’s thinking and the organization’s interest in stepping out of the past rut into a higher functioning, more productive model. As author and speaker Richard Rohr says, “Transformed people transform people.” Transformation begins with the leader, who is the influencer of the culture. People change because we, the leaders, change. It’s not the other way around, as some might think. Fostering collaborative thinking is the track to consider, whether it’s in the form of a partnership, joint venture, affiliation, or big-time collaboration. The good spirit should, however, be backed by principles and clearly defined expectations. When
18 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
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