Nonprofit operations

June 8, 2013

Sustainability…a big deal

I recently read a nice little book called Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit’s Journey. (When I say “little,” I mean short and good. It’s a compliment!)

The book is authored by Dennis G. McMillian of Alaska’s Foraker Group. The Foraker Group is a nonprofit support organization that helps create strong nonprofits in Alaska. The Foraker Group does things like training, consulting, research, and so forth.

Foraker reminds us that sustainability is not just financial! In fact, the book notes that funding “may not be the most important element.”

Focus on Sustainability presents four interconnected factors that are “integral to a sustainable organization.” Focus. Right people. Partnerships. Unrestricted funds.

I like these four factors. Quoting from the book:

A sustainable organization can be identified through four lenses:

  1. Focus: A sustainable organization maintains a laser focus on its founding principles and exercises discipline based on those principles in all its strategic decisions. At the same time, a sustainable organization must look ahead and adapt for the future.
  2. Right people: A sustainable organization has the right people in the right roles. Specifically, it counts on the right board and staff, who work together effectively as partners.
  3. Partnerships: A sustainable organization increases its impact through partnerships with other organizations.
  4. Unrestricted funds: A sustainable organization maintains sufficient unrestricted funds to take advantage of opportunities and handle emergencies.

This book is actually short enough that you could expect all your staff to read it. You could even get some of your board members to read it.

Read the book. Just visit Amazon.

P.S. Foraker is a big mountain in Alaska…really big…the fourth highest peak in the United States…named after Ohio Senator Joseph B. Foraker, in 1899.

Filed under: Resources

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, FAFP, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

© Joyaux Associates 2005-2020     Privacy Policy

10 Johnson Road, Foster, RI 02825      T: 401-397-2534 (USA)      Site Overhaul/SEO by Dianna Huff      Design by cre8d