Thursday, June 14, 2012

NonProfits - Failure Is An Option

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It's hard to work at an organization where the head honcho is always saying, "Let me tell you why that will not work."

Both for-profits and not-for-profits are often exhorted to innovate in order to succeed, but the will to innovate often loses to the status quo. Maybe because change is scary. Maybe because not changing is easier. Encouraging the birth of innovative ideas and then shooting the messenger is pretty commonplace in most organizations. Don't let it be that way in yours.

Your Small Nonprofit Has An Advantage - Its Size

Because your small nonprofit has less layers, it will probably be easier for you to try something different. You have more freedom to pick social communications platforms and tools, decide your content mix and posting schedules.

Think of innovation as less implementation and more experiment. You come up with an idea, set a goal, try the idea, review the results. What you learn may cause you to change the experiment or revise the idea or even abandon it. It's a gamble, but the odds are better than what a casino will give you because you have your experience, your staff, and board to help you vet the idea, set the goals, and evaluate the results.

Your nonprofit is more nimble because of its size. You can try more things faster than bigger organizations - use this to your advantage. Let innovation become a regular part of your toolbox. The results in terms of better interactions, better fundraising and outreach, better content, can more than outweigh the snafus and slightly embarrassing points of What We Learned From This.

We only learn by trying and failing, and we only succeed by building on what we learn. To make innovation a part of the culture of your small nonprofit, you have to embrace the concept of failure. Inform yourself about what's available, get an idea, take a chance.

Failure's not as bad as it's made out to be and without failure, there could be no success.

What Sparked This Post:

Social Fish - "Encouraging Innovation: Walking the Talk" by Jacob Smith

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