Louis Fawcett, President of National Association of Nonprofit Organization & Executives asks the questions, “Who Cares?” Here’s what he has to say:
Really. I mean really? Does anyone really care?!
National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE) is a network of like-minded professionals who understand that caring (i.e. mercy, compassion, understanding and love) is the foundation of every worthy nonprofit mission. Yet, in a world filled with strident language, shocking Twitter feeds, continual breaking news, escalating global tension, national division and community conflict, we must ask the questions, “Who Cares?! Is anyone listening? Is any of our hard work worth the effort? Why won’t people return our calls and emails?
See below CineVantage’s Television Production “Who Cares?” featuring nonprofit veteran and world traveler Jimmy LaRose.
You face frustrations, challenges and barriers to growing your nonprofit’s impact as leaders, staff members, volunteers or board members, precisely because you care. NANOE was formed because of you; because you care. The reason NANOE exists is to alleviate frustrations, provide tools to meet challenges and break down barriers to impact.
Let me be clear about what NANOE is about:
NANOE is about Anna. Anna faced a terminal diagnosis as a child, but because of a nonprofit, Anna is now 28 years old and is a certified instructor in the field she loves.
NANOE is about Jeremy. Jeremy served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was in a barn one night holding a gun to his head. Because of a nonprofit, Jeremy now has meaning and purpose in life and is walking with other veterans through their struggles.
NANOE is about Jean Pierre. Jean Pierre was born with a disability and left on the streets of Haiti to die. Because of a nonprofit, Jean Pierre is sheltered, cared for and loved – he smiles every day.
NANOE is about John and Melinda. John and Melinda were in subsidized housing and feared everyday for the safety of their children. Because of a nonprofit, John and Melinda are now homeowners and their children are headed to college.
NANOE is about Xavier. Xavier grew up on the streets of a crime ridden city and was in juvenile detention three times. Because of a nonprofit, Xavier is in a mentoring program, performing in school and preparing to enter the police academy.
NANOE is about money, because money is the tool we have been given in this world to achieve impact for these precious people and thousands like them. Money, combined with caring, is what makes a difference in this world. Therefore, all the barriers that get in the way of nonprofits having the money they need should be removed. Nonprofit leaders should be rewarded for seeking revenue and resources, not castigated for spending time with donors and investing in the future.
NANOE seeks to end the days of doing things the way the nonprofit establishment dictates. To end the days of large, dysfunctional boards. To end the days of low nonprofit pay, high staff turnover and nonprofit budgeting with a poverty mindset. To end your days of going home tired and frustrated and wondering whether it’s all worth it.
Here’s what you have been told for decades: “Because we are a nonprofits, we have to keep salaries low and benefits at zero so we can have more money for the mission.” But this is a lie.
Keeping salaries low means we hire people with the least talent and drive, work them like dogs and then criticize them when they leave. We bottom feed on talent because we are afraid to pay people to join our causes and compensate them to stay for the long term.
Believe the truth: when we offer higher salaries for top talent, we get better employees who stay longer. The best work in the nonprofit arena is done by people who have experience and find efficient solutions to problems over many years.
When we keep quality employees longer and evaluate their ability to grow impact and revenue, then have MORE money for the mission, not less.
But you already know this to be true. Where do the hardest working and most talented nonprofit people end up working? At universities, hospitals and national foundations. They get paid top dollar for performance. If they don’t perform, they are out. Large institutions reap the rewards of paying for top talent in billion dollar endowments and multi-million dollar buildings.
Why should it be any different for small and medium nonprofits? Why should we not adopt a performance metric mindset for our employees and evaluate their abilities to grow impact and revenue?
You see, caring is not just about compassion for the people you serve. Caring is about empathy for your employees, colleagues and family members. If we really care about those we serve, we will spend more resources on the very people serving those in need.
Nonprofit leaders should set two goals: one for revenue growth and one for impact growth. Their performance should be evaluated on these two things and nothing else.
Caring about people also means caring about your donors. I mean truly caring; not just looking at donors like ATM machines. Do you care about their needs? Do you seek to serve your donors just as much as you serve others? How much time are you spending with donors? I guarantee you this: your donors need you more than your staff needs you.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. I’m just giving you permission to talk about it with your board, staff and donors. And I’m asking you to talk about these things without apology, without shame and without hesitation. Those on your board who understand incentive compensation and the importance of employee retention will appreciate your perspective and your desire for change.
Do you think for one second corporate executives apologize for demanding high salaries? They don’t and neither should you.
So who cares?! You do.
Who cares?! NANOE does.
We stand with you. You are our heroes.
Louis Fawcett – President, NANOE
Louis Fawcett Asks, “Who Cares?” was written by Reverend Louis Fawcett who holds a BA from Randolph-Macon College and two Master Degrees from Wake Forest University and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He was honored in 2016 as AFP’s Outstanding Fundraising Professional.
For more articles by Louis Fawcett VISIT HERE
For more articles by Jimmy LaRose VISIT HERE