We’re knocking on the door of a new decade that we all hope will be better than the last one. Those of us who have devoted our professional careers to the third sector probably started our journey in the hope we could “move the needle” for a movement, a cause, an organization, a person. And along the way, we have, in ways both small and large.
The nonprofit sector is now a formidable part of our economy and a partner that government depends upon to do much of its bidding and social work. This is a good thing, given the state of affairs in which we find ourselves. You and I, along with millions of other nonprofit professionals, donors and volunteers, should feel a sense of accomplishment for making this happen. Think of how things would be without a robust third sector. We would long for caring healthcare, novel research, accessible arts, human services, progressive education and preserved wonderlands.
Together, we are moving the needle. And in here lies the lesson. It cannot be done alone. It takes team work, partnerships, coalitions and vision. The food banking movement began in the early 1980s and now is central to keeping millions of people afloat. It started with a few people with a vision, who built partnerships, coalitions, networks and a new industry the feeds the hungry in America. The needle was moved from empty to full.
The modern environmental conscientiousness of the world began with Earth Day in 1970, and four decades of Earth Day milestones have touched 175 countries with benefit concerts and celebrations, armies of advocates, media awareness, new legislation, advanced technologies, international treaties, conferences and commitments. The environmental movement has a long way to go, but the needle is moving.
The profession and professionals in development, philanthropy and nonprofit management have provided the vision and money… the loving mother’s milk of progress, which is moving the needle in every corner of our nation and world. In large and small ways, through our own personal commitments and efforts, we are players in an enormous progression of thought and action for which we can all be proud.
With 2011 upon us, let us not forget that the work we do is very important—at times, humanity-changing—and it is our responsibility that it be done well. For let us not forget, so many people depend on it … and depend on us.
- To be most effective, build a team, a network, an alliance.
- You can move the needle in small and large ways.
- Nonprofit advancement officers have a special responsibility to succeed.
For more information about Copley Raff and its spectrum of not for profit consulting services, please see www.copleyraff.com.
Have a development, executive recruitment, or campaign strategy or management challenge? Let’s talk! Click here to connect with Rebekah Kaufman, Director of Consulting Services at CRI.