A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
I want us all to work ourselves out of a job. Yeah, I mean all us. ME and YOU. I want this industry that we love – this giant beast we call philanthropy -to go away. FOR. EVA. Now I know many of you think that I have lost my mind, but stay with me while I explain. Over the past few weeks I have begun to watch people talk about an issue I have discussed for years. Our 1st and only mission should be working our way out jobs. Achieving our mission as quickly as possible and getting the hell out of Dodge. Letting communities care for themselves.
The goal is to shut your doors not make yourself a bigger organization.
Over the past few weeks I have heard the non profit sector referred to as ” The Philanthropy- Industrial Complex“. Of course this is play on the phrase Military–industrial complex According to Wikipedia this is a concept commonly used to refer to policy relationships between governments, national armed forces, and the industrial sector that supports them. These relationships include political approval for research, development, production, use, and support for military training, weapons, equipment, and facilities within the national defense and security policy. It is a type of iron triangle.
Sounds familiar? Its a whole lot of truth in that statement.
We worry about our Brands and our donors, our reporting systems and our pedigrees, our media hits and our marketing plans . Our funding is tied to the government and foundations and other complex institutions with their own agendas. In our quest to be everything to everybody, we sometime let our communities down. We let ourselves down. Do not get me wrong… I LOVE this industry and have committed 25 plus years of my life to it. I just do not see many organizations closing their doors because they accomplished their goal. They close because they were not sustainable, or they close because they sadly had the wrong leadership, but not because their goal was accomplished in a timely manner.
So I am going to throw a crazy idea out on the table. In 2011 I want your organization to create an EXIT STRATEGY. How quickly can you accomplish your mission and get out of dodge? Strategically how do you make yourself obsolete? How do you do this as quickly as possible? How do you then get out?
It may mean working with groups you never thought to partner with before. Or not taking money from one donor so you can tap into a new set of resources. You may have to take some HUGE calculated risk. It may mean your brand will get bruised in the market place or you may not make a top ten list next year.
Do it anyway.
Do whatever you have to do that is not illegal or immoral to serve the communities that need your help. Find that complex solution to that crazy complex problem . Go alter the course of history.
Then close your doors, get the hell out of dodge….and go find the next complex problem.