Have you noticed that non-profit organizations seem to go through cycles?
There will be times (often after a new executive comes on board, a major program is launched, or significant press coverage is received) when your staff will be energized, work will get done ahead of schedule, new ideas will spring up, and people will gravitate to your organization…
And, there will be times (often after the completion of a major fundraising campaign, or when a negative report comes out, or when you have a “down” fundraising year), when you board and team will seem de-energized and tired, when work will sit on people’s desks, when calls won’t get made and when it will seem like a fight just to keep your own board and donors engaged, much less find new donors and volunteers…
This life-cycle affects non-profits of all shapes and sizes. The one thing I have noticed, however, after living and working through many such upturns and downturns, is that the organizations that fare best are those that take proactive steps to turn the ship around and re-energize their team.
If your non-profit seems to have lost its mojo, here are some tips for getting it back:
#1 – Remember that only YOU can get your mojo back!
It’s up to you, as a leader of your non-profit, to work with your team to get re-energized and refocused. Take responsibility for the situation and get your team on the same page. Work with other key staff members to get the magic back.
#2 – You must acknowledge the problem.
Too many non-profits are afraid that if they acknowledge that their team is de-energized and de-focused, things will only get worse. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have found that recognizing and naming the problem greatly speeds recovery time. So hold a staff or board meeting and state the obvious: we’re in a rut, and we need to get out of it.
#3 – Get focused on your mission.
Many times, the reason an organization loses its mojo is because the staff and board get focused on the process… they spend all of their energy working on the little problems and issues that pop up, instead of focusing on the big picture: your non-profit’s mission.
The best way to get moving again is to get your team focused on your mission. Remind your staff and supporters why your organization exists in the first place. Then get your staff and board out into the field to do some work on the ground (for example, if you are a civic organization, spend the day cleaning up the city… if you’re a soup kitchen, have your executive staff work the food line for a day). Nothing gets your energy back more than seeing all of the good work your non-profit is doing for real people.
For more on staying focused, read Stay Focused Fundraiser!
#4 – Have a plan. A BIG plan.
Finally, develop a plan for moving forward. Not a wishy-washy, here’s what we always do so I guess that’s what we’ll do this year too kind of plan. No, develop a BIG plan for the coming year. One that is worthy of your mission. Develop a plan so big and exciting that it can’t help but to re-energize your team (and maybe scare you a little bit too!) Plans like this serve to re-focus your efforts and get everyone on the same page. (For more on the benefits of planning BIG, check out this case study).
Then… get out there and do it! Implement your plan, and keep your vision and your mission front and center.
Photo Credit: DavidRPhoto