Jeff Henderson was one of my favorite speakers at this year’s Catalyst Conference. His talk was on what non-profits can learn from for profits. One reason I identify with Jeff is because of his background in the business world.
Here are a few thoughts Jeff shared:
- The solutions non profits are trying to provide aren’t keeping up with the problems they are trying to solve. (For example, there are lots of ministries working with homelessness, doing good work, yet homelessness remains the same percent as it did a decade ago.)
- Non profits think like non profits.
- The deeper systemic issues are not being addressed.
- The rule books are different in non-profits.
- For profits put the best people on the front lines. They find the very best and put them to work.
- Non profits sacrifice their best talent and put them on their boards, because they can’t or won’t pay them enough to work on the front lines.
- Talents, system and strategies matter.
- We pay a corporate executive that makes sugar water more than someone who is trying to cure the world of AIDS.
- Charitable giving in US has remained at 2% of GDP since 1970.
- Finances handcuff non-profits.
- The number of organizations crossing the $50 million budget. 46,000 for profits. 144 for non-profits.
- If we increased giving by 1%, it would generate $150 billion for causes.
- Excellence matters. Excellent people. Visions. Systems. Strategies.
- The common pushback. “Sounds like you’re taking God out of the equation.” At what point did we begin to think excellence is offensive to God?
- If we’re not careful we can spiritualize laziness. (As we “wait on God”)
How to be as wise as serpents and gentle as a dove as non-profits:
1. Keep your character several steps ahead of your talent.
Walking with humility and confidence is a beautiful thing.
2. Ask more questions.
What’s it like to be on the other side of me?
What would we do if we had no money?
Here’s what we are trying to do…will you help me?
(Told story of getting a near $50,000 bill paid for a church plant simply by asking this question.)
3. Listen more than you talk.
To God and others.
Great talk Jeff. Thanks for the wisdom.
I’ve added a supplement to this post with “4 Things For Profits Can Learn from Non-Profits“.