A vision and they must care, a lot.
I’ve worked with many Nonprofits, as well as volunteered on several boards (currently president of one and vice president of another). I’ve seen the good and the bad, the purpose driven and the lost souls.
One day going back and forth with a good friend discussing the growth strategy of Nonprofit organizations she pitches me, “if you want to run a successful Nonprofit the person in charge has to have a vision of what they want to create and they must care a whole lot.” This struck me as odd because how could something so complex as the leadership of a Nonprofits be summed up by satisfying two variables? It couldn’t possibly be that simple could it?
This moment in time reminded me of a Woody Guthrie quote.
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
Nonprofit leadership comes down to two things. Having a vision and caring. A leader with an inspirational vision but doesn’t care is a snake oil salesman. They have grandiose ideas, they’re smooth talkers, they could sell a Ketchup Popsicle to a women in white gloves. But when the chips fall, when the going get tough, when the real work begins, this snake oil slinging fella is nowhere to be found.
A leader who cares a lot but doesn’t have a vision will seem like they have good intentions but continuously spin their tires struggling to move the organization in any direction. Without a purpose, without a core why it’s going to be dam near impossible to motivate staff, let alone volunteers within an organization. Yes caring is a wonderful thing, but caring without a vision is wasting your time.
When you find a leader who has a vision and deeply cares about an organization magic happens. The stars align, people want to support initiatives, volunteers love the work, and most importantly, other great people are attracted to the organization.
As a part of a Nonprofit, one of the most valuable things you can do as a member is attract other amazing people to be a part of what you’re creating. If you have a vision and you care, others will be naturally attracted to what you’re doing.
Doing amazing things is contagious. Thanks for the blog post idea Stacey.