~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
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.
Growing Pains: Stages in Organizational Development
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 lifes
work. Its 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.
An infant nonprofit is like a new baby much
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.
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 Im hearing?
ADOLESCENT: Like an adolescent, the nonprofit thinks it probably
knows most of the answers now. It has a board, its incorporated,
its raising money, it has a good cause; its hired some
staff to help bring on the world; we can cope.
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 isnt 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 todays world.
talk more about these stages in future articles.
bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: "The Board
Members Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary", "Leading
Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today" and "Passionate