Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Embracing the Challenge

By Sarah Fischler, Interim Co-Director

I spent last week on a landscape photography tour in Oregon. I signed up for the tour to experience watching a professional photographer working in the field and to get to some great photo locations at the right time. What I got instead was a huge kick in the pants. For the first time in many years, I felt constantly challenged and inspired. With horrible weather, challenging conditions for photography, excruciatingly long days, and lots of tiresome physical activity, I created some of my favorite photographs…ever.

So what does this have to do with nonprofit management, you ask? For me, this trip pushed me beyond many of my personal boundaries and at those points, I found a lot more success and learning than I anticipated. This can be an important lesson in leading and managing an organization, especially now. For many of the nonprofits I come across in my work for CRC, the downturn in the economy seems to have encouraged some stagnation. This sort of stagnation could, in the long-term, lead to irrelevancy. Sometimes we all need things to challenge our thinking to get us to the next level or out of a rut.

Instead of writing an article focused on practical tips for this month, I am going to let some interesting articles and blogs speak for themselves, with the goal of encouraging our readers to get out of their comfort zones and think differently about our work within the nonprofit sector and your work within your organization. CRC is not endorsing these resources, but we are encouraging you to read a few of them to help you in thinking differently about your organization’s future and possibly finding clarity and inspiration in an unexpected place.

We have included a few articles that look into some structural issues that the authors say inhibit progress within the social sectors and some others that focus on more tactical issues that nonprofits confront each day. Hopefully all of our readers can find at least one item that is relevant for you and your organization in the list of readings that follow.

Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector

The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Achieving Better Results through Shared Leadership

Ethics and Nonprofits, Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Sustainability Formula, TCC Group

2020 Vision: What might be the future for fundraising?

Gender Trouble at Nonprofits

Are there too many charities in America?

The End of Charity: How to Fix the Nonprofit Sector through Effective Social Investing

Blogs worth checking out:

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