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A Successful Member of Society

Every nonprofit is involved in social change. The social change our communities want is for every member of the community to be a successful member of society.

A successful member of society is an effective change agent. A change agent is someone who changes the world around them. An effective change agent is someone who identifies a problem, envisions a solution, has a plan for creating the solution, and proactively takes action.

Many nonprofits find it challenging to attract community support (donors, referrals, advocates, volunteers, or community services). The community support is available but never offered or freely given. It is because the members of the community are unable to see how their wants (a successful member of society) are satisfied by providing support.

A food bank makes a good example. A food bank that provides a family with a week’s worth of food every week for the next 52 weeks has ensured the survival of the family. Many community members are likely to feel that sometime during that year the family should have been able to become independent (begun the process of effectively changing the family’s level of independence). It is good that the family received food but how were the lives changed?

Every nonprofit has stories about clients who have become effective change agents. Very few are able to provide statistics (evidence) that an increasing number of clients are experiencing success. However, many nonprofits have evidence that demonstrates they are serving the same clients for years.

There is no question that social change is hard work and often takes a long time to take place. The community is looking for the evidence that demonstrates your nonprofit is effective regardless of how long it takes.

Next Step:

Collect statistics and stories about your program’s effectiveness (how your clients have become their own effective change agents)

Determine how to improve the percentage of effective change agents you create (level of proactivity of your graduates)

Report the stories and the statistics to your stakeholders (clients, client families, prospective clients, donors, referral sources, volunteers, and advocates)

Doing what the community expects (creating effective change agents) keeps your nonprofit on the path to sustainability. In addition, it will:

Increase client motivation and outcome achievement

Enhance the reputation of your nonprofit

Fulfill your mission

Build the strength of your community

Provide your clients with greater independence

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