Q&A: Finding the Time to Engage

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Our series continues…

This week’s question comes from Joel in Calgary.  He asks, “Our managers and supervisors are already running as fast as they can. They can’t take on one more thing, and you’re talking about a complete cultural shift. How do we find the time?”

This may be the most common question we’re asked by people who are intrigued by the concept of an abundant not-for-profit. 

Joel is right. Building a people lens culture isn’t an overnight process. In fact, it took us about ten years! (Though we didn’t know where we were going, so we hope we can save you a few years). Engaging and integrating new people into an organization requires a lot of planning and support. It is time consuming, especially on the front end.

The good news is… you can start small.

There are a plethora of little actions you can take to move your organization towards abundance.  This week, you could:

•    Identify one person whose skills you’d like to engage and take them for coffee. Ask what kind of role appeals to them, and consider creating it as a pilot project. Experiment and learn together.

•    Experiment with language. Remove the phrase “use a volunteer” from your vocabulary, and “involve” or “engage” people instead. Try replacing the word “volunteer” with “talented person” or “knowledge philanthropist”. Notice what conversations ensue.

•    Explore your current engagement processes. What would happen if the Vice-President of Marketing at a local company approached your organization to volunteer? Would they be automatically connected to the person overseeing your volunteer program or might they be connected with your Director of Marketing?

If you’re leading your organization, there’s no better way to change culture than by demonstrating the change you want to see. Hire your first knowledge philanthropist and share their impact, and lessons learned with your team. Starting small is a great way to gain some quick wins while also getting a taste of what this cultural shift can make possible for your organization.

If you build it, they will come.

Have a question about building an abundant organization? Send it our way! If we answer it on our blog, we’ll send you a free copy of The Abundant Not-for-Profit.

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