Over the last several years, I’ve noticed that my holiday and birthday packages are shrinking. No, I’m not getting diamonds, rubies, and emeralds-exactly.
Moreover, I blame my presents diminishing size on my parents. They were raised during the Depression and taught me a do-it-yourself mentality. With books, magazines, and YouTube, you can learn many things.
I realize I’ve been doing things the hard way. I’m wasting time and money. Doing-it-yourself requires you to suss out reliable resources. The poor-to-helpful stuff out there enjoys a 4:1 bad to good ratio, with the bad surpassing the good. To find the worthy, you must invest, not only time but in solutions that don’t work. I have cupboards full of vitamins and uncomfortable shoes as proof.
Furthermore, when you do find useful information, it embodies teasers that fail to tell the whole story. For instance, I love the book, Never Split the Difference, but when I read it I ask, “How exactly do I do that?
What I’ve learned is that for a small investment, I can skip the do-it-yourself hunt for information, buying tools that don’t work–and go directly to my goal. When family members ask me what I want for presents these days, I request expert advice. The shrinking presents contain gift certificates for advice about clothing, health, exercise, and my misbehaving hair. These small gifts provide quick solutions, and if not complete challenge eradication, pathways to swift upgrades.
You run a complex nonprofit. You must manage staff, a board, a community, and maximizing seven income streams. To optimize your mission, you run your organization as close as possible to a shoestring. While I applaud your frugality, if you’re not supplementing your work with expert advice, you’re doing things the hard way. No one can be an expert on all aspects of running a nonprofit.
Your thrift costs you time and money. Worse, you hurt your cause. Instead of implementing solutions, you circle them. A client called just before the holidays. They’d been stuck for months getting a program started. Could I help? For a nominal fee, I developed a start-up plan that they liked, hashed out several questions, including a couple they hadn’t considered, and helped get them underway.
When your supporters ask what they can do for you, ask for expert advice. Build funds for your continuing education in your budget. While workshops and presentations provide great information and inspiration, they are samples, tastes, and teasers. To leap forward, you need one-on-one help or a mastermind group. How can you make this your year? Invest in expert advice.
You could be getting a treasure trove of wisdom and insights on leading your nonprofit, based on Karen’s 20 years of advising work guiding nonprofit CEOs and leaders.
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