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Outreach to Turn Nonprofit Upside DownUgh! If there’s one thing I find disappointing, it’s a nonprofit that settles for mediocrity. Focusing on the headache of the day means fewer opportunities to reach for the stars. Crisis management is good for putting out today’s fires. Yet it’s poor for addressing tomorrow’s core issues. When the most trivial matters keep getting raised to the top of the heap, the big fish don’t get fried. And that all sounds like a sure-fire way to get your donors steamed.

It’s time for your nonprofit to quit stomping on ants!

Brush off those insects from the bottoms of your shoes. Then make a vow to stop getting immersed in so many petty details. Fess up  that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Concede that the potential of your nonprofit isn’t being realized. Face it: long-term sustainability is being challenged and someone is asleep at the wheel. Your organization is settled into a comfort zone that is leading to the ozone. (important note: ozone is good up high but bad nearby)


Now here’s the one thing your best employee may not tell you.

I want to help advance the mission but you won’t let me.


Yes, your meetings are wasting everyone’s precious time and energy.

Ideas are going to file 13.

This ship is going nowhere fast.

The focus is on trifling matters.

Now this house of cards is about to collapse.

Disengage and become an ELEPHANT HUNTER.

What I am about to propose will make your jaw drop. It may break your budget. Work up other staff members. Make your Board members think you have gone off-limits or even  off the deep end.

But that’s o.k.

Because it will shift your focus away from less important matters to bagging the big game. If your results are really good, it will captivate the attention of donors too. That’s worth quaking for.

It’s time to disengage and reconnect the dots. Stop moving in multiple directions with watered down impact. Start tapping the latent power that resides within your nonprofit.

Yes, I can hear the trumpeting and feel the thundering of earth.

Embrace a Spirit of Internal Outreach.

Internal Outreach is concerned with elevating your nonprofit to the next plateau. It’s a continuous journey with milestones but no destination. There is a laser focus placed upon activities within the organization. This is an initiative to systematically improve your nonprofit services.

Internal Outreach activities concentrate primarily upon people, processes, ideas and opportunities. Getting better means surpassing conventional limits to raise the bar of performance.

Signs of building resiliency are very attractive to funders seeking nonprofit staying power. A formal Internal Outreach initiative helps donors to make that distinction. Remember also that supporters prefer to be viewed as investor partners and not enablers.

Internal Outreach opens the following doors.

  • Establishes a culture providing employees with the ability to innovate.
  • Allows employees to discover by exploring alternatives without fear of reprisal. 
  • Empowers carefully selected employees to break (really enhance) the established rules of doing business.

Now don’t panic but here’s what’s being proposed: that your nonprofit create an Internal Outreach Coordinator position. Here’s the key tasks.

  1. Breathe new life into your nonprofit by identifying its greatest opportunities.
  2. Serve as the orchestrator for projects that build resiliency.
  3. Assure the clear highlighting of outcomes for stakeholders.
  4. Listen to learn.

I can hear the alarms sounding already.

“Employees can’t be entrusted with directing the organization!” Internal Outreach can cultivate trust. If you can’t entrust your staff with greater responsibility, why should donors trust you to deliver on promises? A deep concern with authority being usurped raises questions about leadership.

“Project failure is not an option for donors.” Not a desirable option for certain, but an option nonetheless when risk is involved. Failure only results from the complete abandonment of a project- not from temporary setbacks. Great successes require great persistence!

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali 

Is your small nonprofit ready to leave more? Will it advance beyond its comfort zone? Set new standards of excellence?

Your stakeholders will be waiting to find out.

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