The challenge of the coronavirus grows daily and continues to be very much top of mind. We’ve awakened to a conversation about race and equality that is way past due and sorely needed. With these challenges becoming our daily reality, we sometimes need to seek out special opportunities for gratitude, positivity and forward thinking. One way I do this - in fact, one of the true joys of working side by side with nonprofit leaders - is to enter their world of possibility, optimism and creativity. At a time when some in the nonprofit sector struggle to see beyond the current moment, I wanted to highlight these inspiring leaders and skills we might want to cultivate:
Scaling the Smart Way - Starting Small and Learning Big: When I met Peggy Welch about a year ago, she was incredibly motivated to launch her new nonprofit Justified Ministries. Peggy had plenty of ideas and passion for having a positive impact on women who were leaving prison. After developing her focus, she’s been able to hone down her programming to her best offerings. She’s launching her operation with a simplified yet powerful model where she and her team will work closely with a cohort of four women and build from there. Peggy has also started to raise the funds necessary to support this approach. Equally important, it allows Justified Ministries to be a learning organization, perfecting its’ model before scaling up.
Adaptability - Making the Most of the Current Environment: Billy Coleman, Matt Benford and Barry Tonge head up the leadership team at Today’s Youth Matter (TYM) a youth development ministry that provides year-round services in West Contra Costa, CA. As I highlighted in another post, the team did a fantastic job of transforming their annual fundraising walk into an engaging and inspiring virtual event. Next on their agenda is reimagining TYM Summer Camp, their signature program, into a virtual experience for kids. Given their commitment to providing a holistic transformational experience, the team moved quickly to meet the new reality and is hard at work creating an engaging online experience for the nearly 200 young men and women they serve through this impactful program.
Creative Leadership - Building Connections and Community - As an adult with congenital heart disease, the work of the Adult Congenital Heart Association is extremely important to me. The ACHA is committed to improving and extending the lives of folks like me through education, advocacy and research. Beyond the high quality programming however, what’s stood out to me during the last four months is the dedication of Aliza Marlin, one of their national board members. Since the beginning of April, Aliza has been creating and sending a weekly calendar of virtual events that volunteers like me can participate in and connect with others. This includes ACHA Cafe, Yoga Classes which she leads, a Trivia Night (I’m really bad at these!) and so much more. She has provided true leadership in building a connected community through these events, a true gift during this time of separation.
I hope the stories above provide you with inspiration of the possibilities that are there for us even in difficult times like these.
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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