I think we can all agree on one thing - none of us "won" in this election. We voted (we should certainly celebrate how many of us did!), and those votes were counted, and we elected leadership. But we, the people, emerge bruised, disoriented, and bewildered.
In these days after an election that once again directed a spotlight at how divided this country is, and cast shadows on a clear path to unity, I hope to share tools that we can all agree on, especially for those of us in the nonprofit sector and employed and volunteer leadership.
The nonprofit sector can be the glue that begins to put our broken pieces back together. Maybe because we are designed to be nonpartisan, maybe because we were created to provide a social network for all, or maybe because empathy is the root of every mission, I believe that we are in the best position to start the healing process for our communities.
These are the truths that we hold to be self evident:
Power should be shared. The design of nonprofits require a shared power structure, decisions built on we - not me. We require multiple and diverse funding streams. The nonprofit sector was designed around a volunteer workforce, putting others before self.
Values and ethics matter. Nonprofits live and work in a fishbowl, working transparently in the light of day. We operate solely on the trust of our community, donors and constituents. If we sacrifice this trust, we sacrifice our mission.
Flexibility is critical. The world is constantly changing and the needs of our communities evolve. The strategies that used to work may not work today. Evaluation is a reflection of how we did and must be used to plan and adapt. Change is certain and modeling how to change is key.
Equity matters. The voice of one is as important as the voices of the majority. We seek unique and diverse perspectives in order to point out blind spots. Just because "most of us" prosper doesn't mean the programs or services work. We must always examine the views of all and determine what we can learn, ensuring barriers are reduced.
I hope that all leaders spend time reflecting on these lessons, and are living them out in our own roles.
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