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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.

~ March 2004 ~ Topic

Stages in Organizational Development: The Fourth Stage: The Mature Organization

We have been comparing the stages in organizational growth to human growth. This month we will talk about the fourth of five stages: the mature organization.

Mature organizations like “mature” people may think that they have all the benefits of age: perspective, experience, and an enviable record of support and program delivery. But, maybe, just maybe, they are fooling themselves. Like younger organizations, they need to question themselves. Have they just become lazy; are they just doing the “same old same old;” or are they truly keeping up with change and making sure that what they are doing today is what the community needs?

Let’s look at the possible strengths and weaknesses of mature organizations.

Quality Strengths Weaknesses
  • They have been around long enough to see some organizations come and some go. They are pretty sure that their organization must be worthwhile because it has survived, has donors, and has respectable people on the board.
  • What they view as perspective may be laziness or even, denial, an unwillingness to make the effort to see if any changes are needed in their programming in order to carry out their mission. “We’ve always done it that way,” can be a dangerous statement.
  • They have been through bad times and good and have confidence in their ability to choose the good.
  • Times change and what was “good” yesterday may not be the best tomorrow.
  • They are justifiably pleased with their success and prestige.
  • They can become bureaucratic and arrogant.
  • They have been around long enough to believe they are not only effective but aware of all the possible pitfalls.
  • They may lose the enthusiasm, daring and passion that can make a nonprofit successful.

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 nonprofits, 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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