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The Case for Talent

Your nonprofit needs a differentiator only your staff can create.

Hiring the right people leads to increased sustainability, a competitive advantage, and a sustainable funding stream. The success of your mission depends on the people you hire.

In the past, it was easier to have a competitive advantage. Today, we all have access to the same information and technology. In theory, that should make it possible to receive the services one needs from any service provider.

The interchangeability of service providers is common among nonprofits. Think about food banks. The food they distribute comes from the same sources, distribution rules are very similar, etc. At first glance, it would appear that there is very little that differentiates one food bank from another.

Food bank executives tell us clients choose their food bank almost exclusively based upon convenience (location and hours of operation). If that is true, there is no opportunity for food banks to differentiate themselves.

Some of those food bank patrons will travel miles to attend a church on Sunday morning or take their children to a park. For some reason, that church or park is more attractive than others that are passed along the way. Whatever the reason, a talented person created the differentiator that the patron found valuable. Therefore, it is possible for one food bank to be significantly different from all others.

Your nonprofit needs a differentiator that only your staff members can create. In addition, your nonprofit needs a differentiator in every area. In other words, every one of your staff members must be someone who initiates change, which is different from someone who could initiate change or is willing to change. It is great to have a good idea but you need someone who has the courage, confidence, and drive to promote and initiate change. That talent is harder to find, much more valuable, and usually available at the same wage.

Next Step:

Change your nonprofit’s culture to one that encourages, rewards, and supports change agents

Identify the 3 – 5 areas where change will be most beneficial to your community and clients and encourage your staff to identify potential changes

Initiate at least one change each quarter

Encourage your donors to support change by donating specifically for the changes you initiate or will initiate

In a rapidly changing society, every organization must be constantly changing. The size of the change each quarter is less important than the number of changes each year.

Each change increases the sustainability of your nonprofit. If it has been a while since a change has taken place, it is wise to start with a few small changes. As confidence and comfort with change grows, it will be easier to undertake more and larger changes.

The goal of continuous change is to constantly build the strength of your nonprofit. The increasing strength of your nonprofit is the measureable proof that you are hiring the right talent.

Take It Further:

Recruit board members and other volunteers who have the same characteristics you are looking for in staff members (courage, confidence, and drive to promote and initiate change)

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