THINGS THAT MATTER IN LIFE AND YOUR NONPROFIT . . .
Just this past week my family and I took a family vacation. My twin boys just turned 6 years old and thus my wife and I wanted to do something special with them. During our trip my wife and I started talking about how fast time was going and how much "older" the boys seem to be getting with each passing year (DUH, I know). Just a few years ago they would hold our hand everywhere we walked, asked for help with doing things, and wanted to do everything with us. Although we have not lost that completely yet, we can certainly start seeing their independence beginning to form.
The thought that someday they won't hold our hand when we cross the street, ask for our assistance with issues they might have, or thinking that our family vacations are lame compared to hanging out with their friends certainly bums us out . . . but only because we love our kids THAT much. Now of course by the time they become teenagers we might be thinking the exact opposite 😂
Transitioning thoughts, it reminded me about the love and passion we should all have for our work as well. The nonprofit you lead should almost feel like another child. You are helping to nurture it, grow it, and you love it. A few random popcorn thoughts come from there:
Do you love your nonprofit like you would a child? Now that does not mean you should love work as much as your family . . . as family should always come first. However what we mean by this is simply, do you REALLY love working at the nonprofit you are at? The old saying goes "If you love what you do, you never have to work another day in your life" but does that describe your relationship with your organization?
Do you spend some quality 1 on 1 time with your nonprofit? With any child, it is important that you spend quality time with them 1 on 1. Maybe you bring your kid out to dinner, go to a ball game, or hit up a movie. Maybe it's just going for a walk or riding bikes together. You need to do the same with your nonprofit. It is so easy to get caught up with fundraising, boards, staff, HR issues, program, building issues, etc. At times it gets to the point that you forget why you do what you do. That's why it is important that you take a day a month (or more) to sit down for a few hours and just REALLY spend time with your organization.
I'm not talking about strategizing or official planning. I mean do some fun brainstorming, read a book, or even daydream. Become the visionary you were hired to be. Find a quiet space, even if it's away from your building, and just THINK, and remind yourself why you love your nonprofit so much.
Are you co-parenting correctly? Just a subtle reminder that OTHER people work at your nonprofit as well. Staff and board members ALSO have a love and passion for your nonprofit. Make sure you are getting input from others and not just making all the calls yourself.
Are you putting your child first? As a parent, how many times do you sacrifice your wants, so that you can afford to do something for your children? That sort of decision making shows how much you love your kids. Can the same be said about your priorities at your organization? Are you making decisions for the benefit of the organization? Or are you making choices based on how you will benefit alone?
Just some items to ponder on. Remember, just like parenting . . . being a good leader for a nonprofit does not mean you have all the answers or know what to do all the time. Shoot, if parenting was that easy, there wouldn't be 4,345,253 books on the subject. However it does start out with love. The love you have for your organization will make an impact to both you and your nonprofit, each and every day.
For more information on how Midwest Studies Group can help better connect your organization with community and donors, please visit us at www.midweststudiesgroup.com.