Random reflections from working at a non-profit

I’m lucky enough to work at a local non-profit, and these are just some (often stating the obvious) ideas that I wanted to write down and sharpen up a bit:

  • How does an organization create systemic, lasting change that doesn’t depend on the presence of that organization?–ie, how to best build capacity
  • What to prioritize (social media, grant writing, improving data collection…) when you are a small staff
  • How to maintain the organization’s core vision and goals while being flexible/open enough to entertain grant and partnership opportunities that surface
  • It is challenging to communicate with people who are not in your “in-group”, who don’t speak the language of your organization or field, or who might not understand why you do the work you do. It is also necessary because these people might be grantmakers, politicians, other influential people, or your next biggest ally.
  • Need to find constructive ways respond to those who are against the organization’s ethos and approach
  • I’m pretty sure effective work at a small non-profit means needing employees that are exceptionally multi-talented, because a small staff means a person or just a few people doing a wide variety of work. Versus working with a larger staff, which would let you have a communications/website/social media person, a front desk person, an assistant, a grant seeking/writing person…
  • I think it works better when everyone at a non-profit 1) understands the vision of the organization and 2) agrees with and cares about that vision
  • Non-profits need a solid theory of change to check their activities against
  • If the organization doesn’t pay competitively or offer great retirement/insurance, which I’m pretty sure many non-profs can’t, perks are a plus–good vacation, opportunities for professional development, flexibility in schedule, etc.

Ok, brain dump over for now. G’night!



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