Nonprofit organizations seem to be diametrically opposed to change. My friend Mary always says that one of our greatest problems we face as a profession is overcoming the resistance of our organizations to change.
Let's face it, many of us are solidly stuck in the 1980s when it comes to change management. I've written about my change management theory called shaking the snowglobe before here.
But how do we overcome the obstacle of tradition in our profession and allow for progress? We ourselves must be fearless in the pursuit of evaluating what is currently working, pushing for best in class programs and making a future for ourselves and our donors. Let's face it, most of our donors work in industries that have fully embraced the new millennium and beyond. Yet when they interact with us, they are driven back into the stone age by being respectful to our "traditions". To this I say, there has to be a better way.
One challenge is that being a risk taker in a traditional environment isn't always rewarded or applauded, but when it happens and when we embrace calculated risk and change, the results can be remarkable. Charity:Water is a great example of a non profit that embraces the new, different and challenges the status quo and they've been very successful doing it.
I find it ironic that nonprofit organizations' missions are tied directly to changing the world they're in, yet they resist change at every turn (cue Alanis Morrisette here). Is it because we lack the resources to affect change? Nope, not a good excuse. Is it because our leadership is risk adverse? Not necessarily, when I come in as a consultant I find leadership most welcoming to new ideas have sound reasoning behind them. So what is it that gives us the WADITWA disease?
Is a cultural shift in nonprofits that difficult? I don't think so. Is now not the right time? Nope, carpe diem! Let's together stop making, accepting and allowing excuses to get in the way of fantastic progress. I'm here to help, provide resources and challenge your status quo. Join me as we venture forth bravely to banish WADITWA and all that comes with it. We must be the torchbearers for change from within our organizations.
What are your thoughts? What challenges do you face?