04 August 2005

I love the smell of crisis in the morning.

I suppose that most of us get drawn into the nonprofit sector because we want to save the world.

Or some corner of the world.

Or at least postpone the end of the world for another week.

Or maybe hold it off for just for today.

Even though saving the world is a very noble goal, does it ever occur to you that you shouldn't try to do it on a crisis-by-crisis basis?

Remember a couple of years ago, when the big buzz words were "strategic planning?" Well, even though strategic planning is so 2002, it's not such a bad idea. Going from crisis to crisis in your nonprofit is not the best way to effect long term change, and it's not the best context for making financial decisions.

If we could all manage to do without the adrenaline rush of coping with an emergency, maybe we'd actually have fewer emergencies.

A tsunami is an emergency. The departure of a key staff member, the breakdown of mission-critical equipment, the shortfall in a fundraising campaign....none of these things is an emergency. These are things that will probably happen at some point in every nonprofit agency. Deal with it.

You know how people sometimes say, "get a life?" Well, I say, "get a contingency plan." Get it long before an alleged crisis occurs, and keep it up to date.

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