Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm Cheating on My Church

I’m cheating on my church.  After lengthy conversations with my husband and long-suffering friends, we left the house on Sunday at 9:45 and drove in a different direction to arrive at ... Well, if I told you the location, it wouldn’t be cheating.

Infidelity is tough.  I feel sad, sorry, and sneaky – like betrayer and betrayed. I also feel excited about the possibility of finding a community where I can fully participate that better aligns with my values.

Here’s the thing.  People change.  The world changes.  Nothing stands still.  (Actually, some people and organizations do stand still but only at their own peril.)

Here’s another thing.  You’re not unique.  Lots of organizations exist to do exactly the same thing that you do.  That’s why there are so many "nonprofit prophets" out here telling you to PARTNER or find a fiscal sponsor instead of starting the 1,500,001st nonprofit.

In the for-profit world, they call this conundrum - competition.  It’s the reality of living in a global marketplace, where making knock-offs is not difficult and the next start-up is around the block.

What’s a church or nonprofit to do?


Survey like it’s going out of style.  Ask your members what they WANT.  Be a servant of their desires.  (Please don’t tell me that you still think that your organization is all about you.)   

Don’t reinvent the wheel, but do find ways to stay relevant and keep your best donors, volunteers and members engaged. And, don’t wait for Divine Intervention.  Do it now.

I may or may not find a new faith community.  You may or may not find a unique value proposition for your organization.  But you can LEARN to be responsive. (And, that may be unique enough.)  Keep the pulse of your community.  CARE enough to ask questions. ACT on the information you receive.  Wake Up!

The point here is that you cannot rest on your laurels if you want to stay in business.  You must REQUEST and RESPOND to the needs of your members.  You only do this by LISTENING and realizing that you don’t exist to serve the institution.  You exist to serve the community



Kivi Leroux Miller said...

Love it Jocelyn, as usual! If we are willing to switch churches (and many of us are), think how easy it must be to change the charities we write a check to once a year!

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