Coaching Resources Goals Journal About Contact Us

Entries for the 'Non-Profits with Rodney Walker' Category

Appreciation Fuels Volunteers

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

“Thank you. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for showing up fully and bringing yourself to our shared mission. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.”

Its value seems obvious, but appreciation of one’s volunteers too often gets overlooked in the busyness of our non-profit efforts. Make yourself one promise today. Promise yourself never to let another day go by without finding a way to express thanks to those who work alongside you.

Remember from our latest podcast with Rodney Walker, that a core source of motivation for volunteers is the opportunity to contribute and make a difference. Expressing gratitude is a way to communicate the specifics of how someone does just that.

pdf iconFor simple guidelines on the what’s and how’s of a meaningful “Thank You,” download my Say Thank You and Mean It worksheet.

On your side,

– Karl

Building In Volunteer Accountability

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Key with volunteers is the opportunity to contribute and make a difference. Take that away and why not just stay home and catch up on chores?

A position without accountability is the same as a position that doesn’t matter. If it’s not important enough to have standards and expected outcomes, then it’s not very important.

By treading lightly and avoiding confrontation over sub-standard work by volunteers, we rob them of one of the key benefits of getting involved—the opportunity to make a difference. Work that matters is work worth insisting on people’s best efforts.

Try including expected outcomes in your volunteer job descriptions. Lists of tasks or responsibilities leave too much to individual interpretation. Many arguments or misunderstandings about performance can be avoided from the outset with a focus on outcomes.

Accountability is not a threat to those who care about their work… it is a gift. How do you go about giving the gift of accountability?

(Find the entire Challenges Facing Non-Profits series here.)

When It’s Difficult to Say “Thank You”

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Rodney Walker asserts that volunteers are the non-profit’s most valuable resource in this week’s podcast interview.

But volunteers don’t always do a good job. They do not always come with the skills we need. Some arrive with too much time on their hands and set up a home away from home in our office. Awkward, to say the least! Bless their hearts for helping on the one hand, while we curse under our breath for the complications, on the other.

pdf iconYou might consider developing a simple job description for each task or role for which you plan to recruit volunteer help. (Click here for free pdf template download.)

Such a tool would help you and your team define more clearly what you actually needed help with. More importantly, prospective volunteers would see up front how much time was being asked, the duration of the commitment, the tasks involved and the skills required.

This job description could serve as a talking tool or discussion guide when interviewing interested recruits. You would be able to highlight how the person’s heart fits with the organization’s mission, without sacrificing the substance or quality of the job that needs to get done.

How do you keep volunteers both motivated and on track?

(Catch up on the entire series here.) 

Listen In -> Non-Profit Challenges #4: Working With Volunteers

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Is there such a thing as firing a volunteer? For organizations that depend on volunteers, this can be a tricky subject. What about motivation when there are no raises or promotions on offer?

This week’s interview with Rodney Walker focuses on the challenge working with volunteers presents the non-profit.

Listen in.

powered by ODEO

Listen In -> Non-Profit Challenges #3: Can You Measure Success?

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

“Isn’t it enough merely to do good?” goes the line of thinking.

But what if you could do better? What if funds and resources entrusted to you by donors and volunteers are missing their mark? What if key opportunities are being overlooked, or lurking threats are infecting your system?

This week’s interview with Rodney Walker focuses on how to evaluate success in a non-profit organization. Without the metric of profit, which, for all its faults, has served the working world well, we can stumble along never really knowing if we should be making different decisions than we are.

We have no criteria for improving our decisions.

Listen in.

powered by ODEO

Who Is Serving Whom?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Fund raising can twist two ways. For some it feels like the annoying child whining for your limited time while you’re trying to focus on more important things. For others it is the insidious demon that has somehow possessed your soul without you even realizing it, and all you do and see is related to money.

Helpful may be to ask, “Who is serving whom here?

Money has its place, a reality we have acknowledged in an earlier entry. But its place is not the primary place. When you feel like you’re serving the money demands of your organization instead of money serving the world-changing goals of your organization, it is time to realign and/or get some help.

Find creative ways to keep money and fund-raising in your service. Funds are a vital and necessary tool to have in the arsenal. But we want to be able to choose how we leverage its power on behalf of our cause. When we can no longer choose, we are no longer in charge.

Who is serving whom?

If you haven’t heard this week’s interview with Rodney Walker, then be sure to click on the player in the right column and enjoy!

Drowning in $ Desperation

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

At the other extreme, there are those for whom the reality of funding their non-profit enterprise is an all-consuming responsibility.

Like a hungry beast always prowling for its next meal, these leaders see others through the eyes of donation potential. Everyone becomes financial prey, so to speak. We can feel it too. And as a result we take evasive action to protect ourselves.

The heart-breaker here is that these leaders are no longer passionately involved in the cause for which they are raising the money. Their focus has been diverted by the need for funds. The need is real. But the response is out of balance. Like a drowning swimmer who panics trying to get air, they pull down the would-be rescuer with them.

Our plans for ensuring we have enough oxygen, need to include tools for staying in touch with our original passion. How do you keep fund raising in perspective?

Be sure to hear the podcast interview series!

Money = Oxygen?

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Oxygen. Interesting word to use when talking about money.

It forces a reality check for the non-profit. Rodney’s insight in this week’s podcast interview is that there is no avoiding, getting around, or wishing away the simple fact that no enterprise, even a not-for-profit one, can function without funds.

Many non-profit leaders look down on, or are simply annoyed by, money, fund-raising, and the capitalistic context of our work. All power to them on their convictions, but unless they find a way to pay their staff, pay their rent, buy supplies, postage, computers, etc. etc., they will be out looking for a new job themselves.

What is your view of the role of money in the non-profit? How do you keep fund-raising in perspective?

Listen in.

Listen In -> Non-Profit Challenges #2: Never Enough Money

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Many choose non-profit work because they’re not interested in chasing the almighty dollar. Then they wake up one morning and realize they’re chasing it more than ever as a non-profit.

In my conversation this week with Rodney Walker of Walker & Associates, we tackle the money demon. Listen in. I think you’ll find our discussion helpful.

powered by ODEO

Me, A Tyrant?

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Some non-profit directors want the hands and the hearts of a board, but not so much their brains. (Continuing our discussion of this week’s interview with Rodney Walker.)

We love the funds they raise, the connections they provide, and the muscle they bring to our projects. But when it comes to our own accountability to perform or soliciting input on core values and strategic direction, we too often give our boards the straight-arm treatment.

Especially if we founded the non-profit, it can feel horrible when the circle of support closest to us disagrees or pushes back.

What might an appropriate posture of humility, respect and collaboration look like that does not involve betraying our passion or leadership responsibility? Think with me.