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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.

~ January 2004 ~ Topic

Stages in Organizational Development: The Second Stage: The Toddler

We have been comparing the stages in organizational growth to human growth. This month we will talk about the second of six stages: the toddler. Anyone who knows a 2-3-year-old knows they are charming, learn new skills every day, are independent (their most frequent word being “no”), full of curiosity and yet still not stable in their ability to maneuver.

Let’s investigate how these qualities are present in young nonprofits and what strengths and weaknesses they can bring into play.

Quality Strengths Weaknesses
  • The nonprofit is now confident that it can gain support because it has survived for a few years.
  • It is determined to continue.
  • It doesn’t take “no” for an answer and is persistent with donors, the press and government.
  • The nonprofit may not be sufficiently aware of dangers (e.g., legal restrictions).
  • It may ignore the need for policies and risk management.
  • The founders may be reluctant to give up any control in terms of hiring staff or involving more volunteers.
  • It is willing to try new things because it is adventurous.
  • Asks questions.
  • Investigates and researches.
  • It may try new things that aren’t in keeping with its mission.
  • It may be undiplomatic and make enemies.
  • What it discovers may not be as new as it thinks.
  • It is persistent with donors and the public.
  • It works hard.
  • It may be too negative when things don’t go well.
  • Its expectations may be too high.
  • Its founders love it, and why shouldn’t they?
  • This new idea on the block may get lots of attention from the press and others.
  • It may lack perspective of its role and relationship to others.
  • May have no feeling for collaboration (sibling rivalry?).
  • May overvalue attention a new idea gets in the media.
  • It is forced to work harder.
  • It may try to run before it learns to walk.

Happy New Year!

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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