Year of Abundance Wrap Up: What We Learned

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Book: The Abundant Not-for-Profit
In this blog post we reflect on our Year of Abundance and what we learned through our organizational assessments and engagement with resource downloads.

 

In April 2016 we launched Vantage Point’s Year of Abundance. We reflected on what we believe an abundant not-for-profit can look like, and created the set of practical tools for organizations to use in their journey towards abundance.

How do we define abundance? Abundance is a culture of confidence and possibility with a belief that openness to new ideas and diverse resources will enable organizations to achieve transformational change. Abundance is not a destination or a management philosophy but a reflection of what we do in our organizations, and how we do it.

We developed four self-assessments for organizations to complete over this past year. More than 300 organizations took part in the abundance self-assessments. The themes included: Framing Abundance, Sharing Leadership, Developing Talent and Engaging Others. Depending on the number of abundant practices and tools currently in place, organizations would fall into one of three categories:

Discovery: An organization is likely just beginning their journey towards abundance.
Exploration: An organization is learning new tools and approaches.
Pathbreaking: Abundance is a core part of how the organization delivers on its mission and vision.

In reviewing the results of the last 12 months, we noticed most organizations who took part in the 4 assessments landed in either the ‘Discovery’ or ‘Exploration’ level.

Overall, Developing Talent showed the greatest number of abundant practices in place, with 49% of participants in the ‘Exploration’ level and 25% in the ‘Pathbreaking’ level. The area for the most growth and development is Shared Leadership, where only 1% of organizations who took part in the self-assessment landed in the ‘Pathbreaking’ level.

During our year of abundance we discovered some interesting results about our four areas of abundance.

During our journey, we published more than 50 resources to support organizations to put abundance into practice. The most popular resources are connected to themes of Framing Abundance and Shared Leadership – two areas where the highest number of organizations at the ‘Discovery’ level can be found. Some of the least popular resources were under the Developing Talent theme, where many participants indicated they already had strong practices and tools in place.

Looking back at these results,, we are left with some insights and curiosities:

  • With Developing Talent the area of the most strength, our hope is that our initial Abundant Not-for-Profit approach – to focus on building capacity in the staff and volunteer teams – has been heard and implemented by organizations.
  • While organizations noted they are Engaging Others in their mission and communicating impact, this nuanced topic area had far fewer resource downloads and completed self-assessments. It seems there is more effort required for Vantage Point to explore what this means for organizations.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on our Year of Abundance journey. Resources developed for the Year of Abundance are still available for download on our website, and you can take part in one of the four self-assessments until May 5, 2017. Please feel free to stop by the Vantage Point offices and pick up a free copy of the Abundant Not-for-Profit 1.0.

About the Author

What excites Carol the most about her role as Director of Learning is the opportunity (her favourite word) for sector transformation and the ability to practice an appreciative approach—a mindset that directs energy and effort into all levels of the organization. Carol is a self-described Prairie...

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