You Are Not Your Cause

You Are Not Your CauseI’ve seen a scary trend recently in the nonprofit sector: organizations focused on and around their leader (often times the founder) more so than the cause. Greg Mortenson and CAI is a large scale example of this. Mortenson started a nonprofit organization based on his experiences (allegedly). He is a dynamic speaker, successful author, and inspired many to give. He was the face of his organization.

The problem? He was the face of the organization. CAI’s story was HIS story, and while his story demonstrates need, it doesn’t address organizational impact.

Successful nonprofits need more than a leader and that leader’s story. One story? One leader? This does not scale.

At the heart of the nonprofit sector is building community: embracing people who work on your organization’s behalf to impact the cause. These are the people who need be telling your story and representing your organization on all levels. You don’t need an executive director or founder title to be the person speaking to the media or running the show at events.

If you want to impact others — transform lives, save lives, and really make a difference — let others be involved.

One Response to You Are Not Your Cause
  1. Bethany
    April 29, 2011 | 12:40 pm

    So true! An additional challenge of this one person-centric vision and drive is that when that person leaves – as they inevitably must, at some point – the work ends. A tragedy when there is real work to be done and problems to be solved!

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