Helping Nonprofits Grow and Prosper

Optimal Growth

Five Steps

Mission: Congruent with founding core beliefs.

Guiding Principles: Animating work to ensure mission fulfillment.

Strategic Plan: Aligned with mission and guiding principles; reviewed regularly.

Plan of Work: Tactics to fulfill strategic plan.

Philanthropically Ready: Being financially accountable and transparent.

Growing upon the foundation of these five steps and understanding the dynamics of the philanthropic spirit, is much more art than science and much more theology than ideology.

Lukenbill & Associates is a consulting practice whose mission is to help small nonprofit organizations.

Many of us are called to service in community grassroots nonprofit organizations, and for some that service involves providing leadership--executive or governing--to a community organization whose mission is something we care deeply about.

"Millions of people, who, spurred on by the social Magisterium, have sought to make that teaching the inspiration for their involvement in the world. Acting either as individuals or joined together in various groups, associations and organizations, these people represent a great movement for the defense of the human person and the safeguarding of human dignity. Amid changing historical circumstances, this movement has contributed to the building up of a more just society or at least to the curbing of injustice." (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, Introduction)

Three of the most difficult aspects of grassroots nonprofit work include:

1) the spiritual and physical toll it can take on us over the long term-often balanced by the deep spiritual rewards we receive through providing service to those in need

2) the difficulty in finding and sustaining financial support

3) the often endless array of problems confronting the individuals we are trying to help

The well of faith, moral strength, spiritual refreshment, and increased organizational capacity which will enhance our ability to respond to each of these, is a well drawn on with some effort.

Our work revolves around reducing that effort, while increasing the richness of the well you are able to draw upon and the first level of riches are those within.

"It is hard to imagine making any important change in life without an inward journey. Think of Christ going into the desert for forty days. It was in the desert that he dealt with his own doubts and temptations and from which he emerged having chosen his freedom and his destiny. It is in our own internal deserts that we remember what really matters. It is on the inward journey, taken over time, that we develop the capacity for intimacy with ourselves and with others, with the environment, and with the world. It is deciding that we are deep human beings with inner lives that defines who we are and brings our ideals back into focus." (Peter Block, The Answer to How is Yes: Acting on What Matters, p. 76)

Bringing people together around organizational mission is, essentially, connecting with their truth, their sense of justice and charity, their mission in life; or, helping develop that personal mission through becoming part of your grassroots organization, which then creates a shared mission.

Once that occurs, it is a true game changer.

"A shared vision is not an idea. It is not even an important idea such as freedom. It is, rather, a force in people's hearts, a force of impressive power. It may be inspired by an idea, but once it goes further - if it is compelling enough to acquire the support of more than one person - then it is no longer an abstraction. It is palpable. People begin to see it as if it exists. Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision." (Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, p. 206)