It’s time for the empirical truth.

It’s been a recurring comment in recent conversations that a nonprofit is essentially a business and how it should be run as a business. I caution you to not get out of one box to simply move into another.

We need to shift our conversations away from merely labeling what we do and toward encouraging constant innovation — at all levels and across all functions — starting with the board. Regardless of titles, structures and systems, you have a better chance of getting on the right path if you ask the question: Does the culture of my organization support change where and when it needs to happen?

There certainly is a business aspect to managing a nonprofit, but why maintain a fragmented approach? It is not the entire picture. The empirical truth is that a nonprofit is a community where we constantly have to connect the dots for the people we serve, individuals who want us to succeed and those who can carry us forward. Some of them are one and the same.

It’s about relying on the relationships, the emotions and the stories to fuel what we hope will, one day, become a sustainable community.

Time to see things and act on them more holistically.

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