Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Innovation is Overhead

My bestie, Laura Caligan, shared this brilliant thought with me today.

"Innovation is overhead."

If you want to ensure that your nonprofit stays relevant, which is code for continues to inspire funders, employees, and other key stakeholders. And achieve greater IMPACT in the world! Then you MUST innovate.

Why?

Because the world keeps turning!  Technology shifts, governments collapse, businesses go out of businesses. 

Don't believe me?

Borders. Kodak. Circuit City. May they all RIP.

You simply can't stay still and remain a success.

The challenge for nonprofits is innovation = overhead.  You can't develop new programs or services, change the way you communicate with constituents, update your brand identity, and overhaul IT without paying for it and this money goes to overhead, not programs.

There is currently much buzz in the nonprofit sector about changing the conversation regarding how to evaluate nonprofits.  Namely, some folks are tired of being judged by the percentage of their fundraising spend vs. the merits of their impact. Great!

If we want innovation in charitable organizations (and we do!) this is another reason to investigate how we think about overhead.  

Do we really want a dearth of innovation for the programs, services, and communities that need change most?

Your thoughts?

Jocelyn

37 comments:

Kirt Manecke said...

Hi Jocelyn,

I agree. First I think nonprofit staff and volunteers need to be trained in basic customer service and engagement skills, and how to ask for the sale (donation).

I walked in a animal welfare building the other day to see if some have improved service since I volunteered years ago. Three non-profit staff were at the front counter. Nobody greeted me or said hello. When I went back to look at the adoptable dogs and cats, nobody approached me or said a word to me. I felt awful for the animals that this is the best they have working for them. I donated four of my books to them to help their staff and volunteers.

I agree that tech will help many, especially with their donation pages, Donate Now buttons, etc. but we have to get them to get the basics down first, I think.

Thank you!

Warmest regards,

Kirt

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