- Thu, February 02 2012
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
I get a lot of email from people who are trying to better connect with their supporters, but they encounter resistance to new approaches from within themselves or, more often, from within their own organizations. If you’re hitting a brick wall, this post is for you.
It’s not easy to turn the focus from your own perspective to that of your audiences, but turn it, you must.
When you hit a brick wall before you even leave your own building, don’t give up. Don’t stop pressing for taking the perspective of those you must reach. Don’t abandon the quest to do things differently and better. Because it’s the only way forward.
No one ever built a great organization by navel-gazing and never changing. Ever.
Advocate for meeting the needs of your donors and your beneficiaries and your customers above all else. It will lead to success, I swear. As a wise CSO recently put it to me: “Meeting the needs of the customer is always the winning hand. Always.” The best companies in the world get that. And their stock prices show there is positive payback.
If you do right by your donors, the money will come.
If you do right by those you serve, the mission will come.
If you do right by the status quo, nothing will come. And that has to be more scary than trying to make things happen.
Don’t turn back at the brick wall. Find a way around it, over it or under it. There’s usually a secret passageway - in the form of a different messenger, a different message, or different positioning. And if you can’t find that, there’s always the fallback: Do it right and then seek forgiveness, not permission. More likely, you’ll get more than forgiveness. Perhaps even applause - because the results will be something to celebrate.