By Chris Gandy
Met with a Not for Profit CEO last week who’s organisation is facing considerable difficulties and he told me….
“We’ve gone after every “White Knight” we can think of for help. We have pleaded with the Government, looked for sponsors, tried to pull off a favourable merger deal. I have taken a pay cut and others have reduced their hours. You name it we have tried it”.
“Can appreciate you’re in a really tough bind but perhaps you could revisit one of those White Knights you mentioned”
“You!” I said.
I then went on to explain with as much empathy as I could muster and trying not to oversimplify the gravity of the situation facing the CEO.
I have written before about my view that for a not for profit to have any degree of certainty about its future it has to be an outstanding provider. And the only way I know to do this is to stay totally focus on its mission. To stay cause or mission focused the CEO and Board must continually ask and appropriately respond to these fundamental questions:
“Is our cause or mission still relevant in our community?”
“Do we truly understand and are we addressing our community’s needs?”
“How can our programs deliver greater social impact?”
In terms of ensuring future survival and growth, nothing else matters. Government’s support organisations with their fingers on the pulse. Donors only want winners. And communities stick like glue to services that address their real needs.
By zoning in on these core issues and resisting the temptation of being distracted by other seemingly more pressing matters a CEO will become their organisation’s White Knight!
What have you got to lose by chasing illusory White Knights when your true one is staring at you in the mirror?
About Chris. He is a former not for profit CEO and Founder of Cause & Effective – an organisation that places vetted, affordable experts within the reach of cause-based organisations. You can find a Cause & Effective expert here