Giving Compass' Take:
- Here are ways to support and invest in effective nonprofit coalitions by using regenerative principles to find solutions.
- What are the benefits of coalitions? How is the nonprofit space currently siloed?
- Learn about these silo-smashing trends in philanthropy.
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In the dozens of nonprofits I have led as COO and CFO in the past 35 years, financial stability, growth, and cash flow have been common problems. However, similar types of solutions have usually resolved these problems: proper budgeting, capture of overhead in grants, cash flow monitoring, proper fundraising systems and procedures, credit lines, and even human resources management.
Apart from a constant need for capital, nonprofits also share a common desire to do something positive for the benefit of humankind and/or the planet. Although I’ve found this to be a prime motivator of many executive directors, this beneficent desire to improve the future also implies a lack inherent in the present. And this feeling of present inadequacy can lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression among our nonprofit leaders. After all, nonprofit work is spiritual, no matter what your mission statement is. It is about connecting to people, animals, and nature—and connecting is a spiritual practice.
And so part of what we need to do as nonprofit leaders is to reorient our perspective, moving away from what is missing towards what abundance there could be for all.
As environmental nonprofit leader Paul Hawken says, “Evolution arises from the bottom up—so too does hope. The older the forest the more resilient its capacity to regenerate. Humanity is older than the oldest forest. Its capacity to adapt and restore is vastly underestimated. Evolution is optimism in action.”
Let us take that optimism and the passion we have to join together in action.
After all, there are over 10,000,000 nonprofits worldwide. As a collective, nonprofits are the largest movement the world has ever known. That is amazing!
And yet, we are divided. The system of how nonprofits raise money inherently keeps us separate and creates the same financial instability and cash flow problems that we all spend so much time trying to solve over and over again. This separation means that we all have our own wells of resources that we protect and keep close to the vest. After all, the way foundations dole out resources—small amounts to many organizations—only enables us to limp along. This is part of the problem.
So, what if foundations stepped up and joined together? What if pooling resources enabled real change?
Because the problem is that we are not working together—not as those who provide resources and certainly not as those who require resources.
The question becomes as simple as it is seemingly unattainable: how do we begin to work together? Or, put another way, what might a nonprofit coalition look like?
Read the full article about regenerative principles for nonprofit growth by Richard Wegman at Blue Avocado.