Do you know an organization that is disorganized and crazy, but somehow manages to do important work? (Yes, we all do.)
And do you also know of an organization that is perfectly organized, could check off every box on the management audit, yet is accomplishing absolutely nothing? (Yes, we all know one of these, too.)
What does it tell us that both these two types of organizations exist? Answer: that strong management does not necessarily result in strong impact.
Most of us in nonprofits unconsciously make an assumption: that if we improve our organization's accounting, HR, planning, operations, or other processes, our mission impact will be stronger. But while better management can support impact, it doesn't necessarily do so. If it did, we wouldn't see either the disorganized-but-high-impact or the highly-professionalized do-nothing agency.
To strengthen the degree to which we change the world, we can't just see organizational improvement within a management framework. We have to tackle impact as a distinct matter, and address it with the courage to call our own impact into question. But wouldn't we rather be remembered for having amazingly accomplished something in the world rather than having always up-to-date personnel files and clean audits? (Um, yes.)
* This issue we welcome a new writer, Jeff Angus, writing on donor-advised funds. Let us know what you think.
* We also discover whether a person needs to show up for work, whether a board composition matrix is useful, whether nonprofit CEO salaries are too high, and of course, how to get away from your desk for a soaring, 3-minute vacation.
Enjoy your summer. Thank you for being understanding about our less-frequent publication schedule. And don't forget to pass Blue Avocado on to a friend or colleague. Take care, Jan Masaoka, Susan Sanow, and the Blue Avocado team