I’ve heard several stories lately about Executive Directors being competitive with one another and frankly, it irritates me.
What’s the point? Why waste the energy feuding over service delivery?
I remember many years ago working for someone like that. He was so quick to point out the flaws in our “competitors” and talk trash about them. I was quite uncomfortable with it, but wasn’t sure what to say. After all, he’d been there for years and I was new. When I did speak up and rock the boat, I was let go. What made it worse for me was that it was a Christian organization. Surely Christian nonprofit leaders wouldn’t speak ill of others, right?
Now what I know is that there’s no need for competition in the world of nonprofits.
There are plenty of people in need for all of us. And if you do happen to completely meet the need and work yourself out of a job, isn’t that a good thing?
There are plenty of donors out there and more than plenty of money for all of us. If everyone who gives to charity gave 1% more, we’d all be cash-flush! So, if we as professional fundraisers engaged our donors and encouraged them to upgrade their giving just a tiny bit, we’d be able to fully fund our mission.
How would it change things if people stopped comparing themselves or their organizations to others and simply focused on the people we’re here to serve?
Would our service delivery improve? Would staff morale improve? Would staff turnover improve? Maybe nothing would change, but I doubt it. I think the elimination of all that negative energy from nonprofit leaders would have a big impact on the work we nonprofits are doing.
So, I challenge you to stop thinking about your fellow nonprofits as competitors. Look for ways you can partner. Or at the very least, stop saying or thinking anything negative about them. Focus on engaging your donors and fully funding your mission.
It’s much more exciting!