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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


They are volunteers, too!
Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

~ November 2003 ~ Topic

Orange Arrow Image Growing Pains: Stages in Organizational Development Orange Dot Image

A nonprofit organization is similar to a human being in its development--growing, maturing; vacillating between mild depression and euphoria, frequently in the same day; and working hard to give meaning to its life’s work. It’s important to recognize the various stages that most nonprofits go through so that we can regard them as “normal” transitions that have opportunities and challenges to offer.

INFANT: An infant nonprofit is like a new baby…Small Dot Imagemuch admired by its “founder(s)” and its family of friends and supporters. These supporters have seen something in society that needs to be changed or improved, and they have banded together to form an organization, raise money and advocate for a cause they believe is essential. They may not know all they need to do to get started, but they are launched and enthusiastic.

Medium Small Dot Image TODDLER: The organization, like the growing baby, is learning new skills and discovering what it is to live in its world. “Oh, we need a board. Oh, we need to incorporate. Where do I go to do that…the Secretary of State the IRS? What are these rules and ‘no, nos’ that I’m hearing?”

Medium Dot Image ADOLESCENT: Like an adolescent, the nonprofit thinks it probably knows most of the answers now. It has a board, it’s incorporated, it’s raising money, it has a good cause; it’s hired some staff to help…”bring on the world; we can cope.”

Medium Large Dot Image MATURITY: Maturity brings a little more perspective. Self examination and evaluation become more important. Are we making the right choices? Are we doing the best we can with our program?

OLD AGE: In old age, organizations, like people, can become “couch potatoes”; reflect on their past successes; and complain that the world isn’t what it used to be. Or they can acknowledge that change is a constant and figure out what they can do most effectively to help improve their corner of today’s world.

Let’s talk more about these stages in future articles.

Jeanne Bradner can be reached at Jeannebrad@aol.com

See our online bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: "The Board Member’s Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary", "Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today" and "Passionate Volunteerism."
Board Member's Guide Image"Board Member's Guide Image Passionate Volunteerism Image
Leading Volunteers Book Image Passionate Volunteerism Book Image Board Member's Guide Book Image

Other good sources for information on boards and committees:

Jeanne H. Bradner
Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

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