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I hope you had a great festive time during this holiday season. We can make this season an expansive time of the year when the holidays can give us the time to pause, relax, and have the quietness we need amidst the celebration and feasting.
William James said that "the art of being wise is knowing what to overlook."
In this season, embracing the new year and letting go of 2021, my wish for all of you is to find what to overlook quickly so that your new year becomes fresh, not an extension of the past, whether good or bad.
To do this requires not just the usual introspection but the consider elements that had to be eschewed for the lack of its value to your life and to what you hold dear. As I heard many times, we need to travel light.
Anything that seems like a burden that is unquestioned or underexamined must become our current inquiry.
To translate this with on-purpose leaders whose organizations' survival (or viability) might be at stake next year. Learn not to insist on certainty. Don't sell out your capacity to give and be of service even when you're experiencing your own challenges. And don't give in to the apathy and despair that are easily tempting to succumb to.
With great wishes for 2022, let's hope for better times. Comfort to those who are afflicted, and challenges to those comfortable. Most of all, peace and strength in the new year.
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How can on-purpose organizations become better at securing more resources for their organizational development and building up their resiliency? The 10% budget for administration will never get you there.
1. Change your mindset
This practice has been ingrained in your psyche long enough that it becomes the proverbial truth. Far from it, this practice squeezes out the smaller organizations from existing and thriving. Anything that involves being strategic will require financial investments. It may not be a large amount but it should be sufficient enough to build capacities through systems and processes that have direct benefit to staff well-being, Board strengthening, and programs and impact-generating activities. You need to educate yourself, build a business case and build a team to champion it. It is an investment, not as cost to control.
2. Link to strategic objectives
Your strategic plan spells out clear alignment over goals and objectives, measures, activities/program, budgets, and performance evaluation. Institutional activities that support strategic aims should be supported by budgets and clear metrics. If the links are clear and well-established, flows out are part of the strategic management.
3. Support from the top leaders
Nobody cares whether your organization exists tomorrow, but you do and you must lead this conversation inside and outside your organization. Your Board, executive team, and staff have a stake and roles to play to make this happen. Organizational sufficiency is worth the struggle and effort so you can build a generational impact around your mission. In the end, everybody benefits.
4. Get donors who understand
You might say 'our donors insist we keep lean as much as possible.' Lean doesn't mean bare bones structure. Your survival is at stake. Get out from the group that rewards this mentality and reach out to funding organizations and donors who have a broader and progressive outlook on sustainability economics. When you're ready, fire the ones that will block you from achieving success in this direction.
These are easy to say but hard to do. Like with everything, getting there takes effort and courage. Don't be proud to tell the world that you have a 10% budget on administration and that you have great volunteers who help out. You're lucky but it's not the route to real sustainability. Get on the right road.
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In the on-purpose world, we still have organizations stuck in the twentieth-century thinking that the public donors do not want to pay for administration. Websites of many of these organizations are proud of declaring that they only get 10% for administration, the rest to core programming. Many think that it's larceny to allocate more than 10% or to some extent bad practice to ask for more.
What we can glean from this based on leadership and management perspective, these organizations have no
- capability of building up and strengthening their core processes
- capability of securing and retaining great talent- a must to survive and thrive!
- capability to build strategically for the future
- see themselves as sacrificial conduits with their begging bowls every year
- always uncertain, tentative and highly disrupted by the larger forces around them
- cannot stand up for their principles, values, and commitments
They maybe good with their programs but they're not sustainable and even effective in the long run. If you're not taking care of your own house, how can you be the most charitable for all?
Don't compromise your organizational sufficiency in the altar of public legitimacy.
At the next blog, I will share some of the strategies to get away from the 10% group.