When You Feel Guilty About Leaving

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:19-20

My clients—women who are feeling stuck in the nonprofit sector—often feel guilty over leaving their role, whether that is volunteer, staff, or board member. Most likely, the attraction to the nonprofit sector began because they could fulfill a need and found a place that suited their passion and style. And, of course, they connected with the nonprofit’s pursuit to make the world a better place. But what happens when those needs are no longer a challenge? What happens when she totters on the edge of burnout? What happens when the woman knows it’s time to move on, but can’t because the thought of that exposed need is uncomfortable?

Jesus knew the needs. He knew when people needed him, and he was the only one who could do what would make them whole. He also knew when to leave.

In fact, the people he called to be part of his team left the job. Not with a month’s notice. Quite literally, they left the job unfinished, when the clock on the shift was running, with the need exposed. Even worse, it was the family business! Yet, they left.

Jesus says elsewhere that the poor will be on the earth for as long as the earth exists (Matthew 26:11). The work of those in the nonprofit sector will never be done. The need for one more person, one more passion, one more service to make this world better for one more person will exist.

And sometimes, you have to leave before the celebration from a job well done. If you know that your time at a particular nonprofit is drawing to a close, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Be honest with yourself, and those around you in what is coming next in your life.
  2. Wrap up as many projects and tasks that makes sense, or at least to a place where the next step launches a new phase. Do the things only you can do. Settle yourself in knowing the work won’t be done when you are done.
  3. Find your finish line through prayer. There will be things undone but being able to say you are done is powerful.
  4. Pray for the person who will be the next to fill the gap. Pray for their growth, and empowerment to bring their own strengths and flavor to the role. Ask the God of Peace to provide for that person…and for you!

Once Jesus calls, you must follow; Even with undone tasks and projects.

Prayer: Jesus, I can appreciate feeling needed at a nonprofit. But I know you have great plans for me, and for the people in the nonprofit I serve. May I be attentive to your call when it is time for me to move on.

Do you have a finish line in your sights? Like this post so I can pray with you, or share your story on Facebook. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation

You know that feeling when you have finished a big project? That satisfaction, pride, and enjoyment? I’m feeling that this week and wanted to share it with you. This week, I’m sidestepping the usual devotional for exciting news you won’t want to miss.

It is with great joy that I am able to announce that Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation will be released on September 28, 2021! This short book is a 28-day devotional designed not to help a person determine if divorce or reconciliation is the path forward, but simply a hand to hold when no hope is found.

Would you consider helping me in one of four ways? The first should only take you a minute:

  1. Share my Facebook post, pinned to the top of this page.
  2. Pre-order your copy (or two!). Please pre-order a copy or sharing with friends who would benefit before September 28. The more pre-orders, the more visible the book becomes on Amazon when it is released.
  3. Save the date for September 28. There will be a launch party, with guest speakers and celebration!
  4. Save your spot on the launch team. This group of people will be invited to the virtual launch party on September 28. Before then, I’ll send you ways to help share about the book. For each action you take and let me know about, the more points you earn. The more points you earn, the more times you are entered into a raffle for prizes after the party! Want in? Email me at mollie@nonprofitsonamission.com and I’ll get you started on the first Points for Prizes activity.

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Find the latest on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Are You Failing as You Finish?

…but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.”

John 14:31b

I was at a conference where a woman shared her struggles about succession planning, but she wasn’t struggling with finding the next leader. She knew her executive director was making plans for her to take over, and she didn’t want to take the lead. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this expressed from a female nonprofit leader; That while they love the organization, they don’t want to lead the organization. Oftentimes, the desire to be on the front lines instead of administration, or younger children at home, or even just evaluating the hours a top leader puts in is enough to keep a woman from wanting to be the leader.

In this particular case, she felt that if she were to leave, that the organization would be let down…that there was no one who could fill her shoes and enter leadership within the next year or two. Not only would the executive director be leaving, but also the one who had been in training for 11 years. That’s no small decision, knowing the organization might flounder.

Yet, she said something profound that has rattled in my mind. While thinking about what would be left undone, and what would be difficult for the organization to achieve without her institutional knowledge, she felt a deep sense of failure on her part for leaving. The guilt of knowing that it would be difficult for new leaders to learn the lessons she learned. And then, she realized that “it’s not failure. It’s a finish line.” What profound words.

How many times do we continue to push, just one more task, campaign, year…only to realize there’s another task, campaign, year? How many times do we claim that this job was the calling, and that without it we aren’t doing what God “wants?” How many times do we determine that our vocation is our calling, when in fact, it may be part of the calling, but not the ultimate vision God has for us?

In her release of the guilt and responsibility, this woman physically looked happier, brighter, and more loving. She found what Jesus may illuminated in John 14:31.

Jesus sets the example to do what our Father says to do. But he doesn’t stick around to make sure that everything gets done the way we want it, or that the person coming after doesn’t experience failure. Rather, Jesus makes a bold statement that he does “exactly what my Father has commanded” (emphasis mine), and then, he leaves.

Quite literally, the disciples hear the lessons of how to love well and prepare better, and then they physically leave the room. However, metaphorically, I see how this could be an indication that after we have done what God said to do, we leave. There’s no permanency. When the task is done, leave. It’s not failure, it’s a finish line.

Don’t get stuck in the prep work or the guilt of moving on. When it’s clear it’s time, finish, even when it feels like failure. The leaving is a way to follow God’s command.

In what spaces are you potentially hindering the mission because you feel guilty for stopping? Where are you stuck in leaving? If the struggle is real for you, give a like on Facebook so I can pray for you. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Attend a free one-hour webinar, Organize Your Organization on this Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. This webinar is to help you set up your organization, and also a few tips on how to organize your own work. Register here.

Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

What are Your Habits?

Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him…but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.

John 7:44; 8:1-2

Email, meetings, donor calls. Or maybe, clients, reports, timecard. Or perhaps, payroll, complaint, handbook. Our days fill with what our roles require. However, we have the power to choose and end each day with a routine that allows for consistency. And, as John Maxwell says, “Consistency compounds.” What you do on a daily basis grows into easier tasks, stronger projects, and more strategic living and working. Habits are the key to consistency.

Habits provide comfort and stability, and habits can also pave the way for growth. Those things that you mark daily or tick off in routine can advance your mission if you have intentional habits. To start building your habits, try these steps:

  1. Review all your projects. I mean all your projects. David Allen has a great system in Getting Things Done, and perhaps one more project you want to add is to read his book (or listen to the audiobook as you collect your “open loops!”)
  2. Categorize: Doing, Done, Delegate, Defer.
  3. Out of the doing, what are things only you can do? What will most likely advance the mission?
  4. What are the three things that must be done daily—consistently—to create forward motion? Those are your habits.
  5. Create an ideal week. Literally make a week calendar of what you would do if the world was your oyster and you could do whatever it took to advance the mission. (See a link for my favorite template here.) Make sure your “doing” is on the calendar, as well as your habits.

It’s been said that to know a person’s passions and priorities you only need to look at a bank statement and a calendar. It seems to me that Jesus’ calendar included death threats, prayer, and teaching.

Jesus had done some miraculous work. There were threats on his life, but he went to the Mount of Olives. There are other occasions where Jesus goes to the Mount. Perhaps it was a place of retreat, a habit of prayer and peace. I imagine that Jesus got away so that he could engage in the work again. The habit formed a multiplying effect. In other words, the habit of getting away made way for productivity.

What are those habits that help you engage in the work? What is your sanctuary? When do you go? Share your three “musts” that you do each day on Facebook. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Make it a habit to invest in yourself and become more productive! Attend a free one-hour webinar, Organize Your Organization on Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. This webinar is to help you set up your organization, and also a few tips on how to organize your own work. Register here.

Photo by Jason Hogan on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

What if I Don’t Want To?

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.

Ezekiel 33:6

You know that part of the job you don’t like to do? Everyone has that one task that drags on them. The one that you avoid, postpone, procrastinate on doing is usually the one that isn’t quite as fun. And yet, necessary.

Nonprofit work is fun. There’s an element of creativity, innovation, and passion which adds up to bringing new ways of serving. The mission is in sight—if only it weren’t for that one task standing in your way!

There are certainly parts of nonprofit work that aren’t as fun. The paperwork and reports, the failed events and lack of funds, the clients that won’t apply themselves and the volunteers who don’t show. The things that can’t be delegated to someone with that strength, or isn’t available, or it’s just flat out your responsibility. These parts are necessary, but not fun.

Some nonprofit leaders shy away from the hard or the parts that make them uncomfortable. They hem and haw, procrastinate, whine. As leaders, though, they should set the tempo for holding the ground and pushing through those necessary tasks. Sooner or later, leaders are held to account. In other words, accountability counts.

God holds people accountable. In my Bible, I wrote next to today’s verse, “I am not responsible for their reaction, but to obey what God asks of me.” This verse reminds me of another that motivates me to stay accountable in the same chapter: “Yet, O house of Israel, you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to his own ways” (Ezekiel 33:20). If God holds us accountable to do as He asks, we should also hold ourselves and our employees accountable, too.

How do you hold someone accountable? Try these:

  • Set a deadline. If you or the other person miss it, get curious and ask why. A lack of motivation doesn’t count.
  • Set an award. Find what brings a little joy and save it for after the hard task.
  • Set the intention. Realize (together) why this is a need, and communicate it in a way that will resonate. This can’t be done without knowing you or a person better. Understand why this task is a road blocker and help the person to see the importance of what is before them (or you).
  • Set the stage by asking questions. Learn how much of a need this is, and how much of it is something that would be nice to have and can move to stage left. Your expectation may not be met, but it may not need to be met.
  • Set your eyes on the horizon. Look at your mission and see how this piece fits into the grander vision. A shifting of perspective can motivate to stay accountable.
  • Set the outcome. Establish what success looks like. Low hanging fruit is easier to pluck, so consider what is the next success if it is a larger task or project.

Perhaps these quick ideas are ones you can apply when there’s something you will be held accountable to, but isn’t your favorite thing to do. In the end, fun or not, nonprofit work is valuable to your community. Your work is valuable. Staying accountable gets you one step closer to the mission that can change the world.

What do you do to stay accountable and motivated? Share your tip on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

If organizing your organization is what is that unlovely task that is holding you back from productivity, join me for a FREE webinar on Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. Register here.

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

What To Do With Problems

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

If you work in the nonprofit sector, then you know of problems. Problems in getting clients the support they need, problems with internal systems, problems with budgets and paperwork. Personnel problems, software problems, facility problems. It’s a lot of problems that may overwhelm a person! So, how do you overcome all these problems?

I read recently in John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates Few Connect that there will always be problems. The goal is not to live void of problems, but have better problems. A better problem is one that means you are on track to reaching your mission. For example, your current software program isn’t flexible in the way that your growing nonprofit needs it to be, and so now you have the problem of finding a different software solution. Or, you had an event that brought in so much money that your team is maxed out on entering in donations, calling donors, and storing the new banners. Those are better problems to have than the alternative—an event that didn’t bring in donations and donors, or no need for new marketing materials.

There’s even better advice to share on better problems. Jesus says to have peace. You will have troubles. It’s a reminder I need too; Next to this verse, I wrote my name to remind myself that I am not immune from problems.

So, the next time you run into a problem (and you will), consider first if this is a better problem. And then, take heart and ask Jesus for the peace that has overcome the world.

Prayer: Jesus, problems aren’t fun, but I know You didn’t promise a problem-free life. Help me when I run into problems and give me a creative spirit when I have better problems. Thank You for supplying me with peace in those situations.

Will you choose peace today? If so, give a like to this post on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

To Begin a Nonprofit, Be Trustworthy

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Luke 16:10-12

We ran into each other in the hall at work. She was an extraordinary student I got to know through her part-time job with my department. Her story of trial and triumph was inspirational—foster care to serving in Africa—and she truly had a passion to help people who had experienced what she had. So, as we walked the halls, she asked, “What tips do you have for a new nonprofit?”

To which I answered, “Who are you currently helping?” The slightly awkward pause told me that this particular student didn’t help anyone…yet. She hadn’t asked what her community needed…yet. She hadn’t been among those she wanted to help…yet. She had a passion and an experience, but not the trust factor with clients, donors, or volunteers to be in a place to start the nonprofit.

Did she have the passion? Yes. Did she have the capabilities? Yes, to a fault. You see, this student had already started 3 other nonprofits before which had permanently closed. The conversation reminded me of a mentor who once told me there are those who start things, and those who maintain things. You need both in life.

Starting a nonprofit is fun. It is also hard work. No one starts in greatness, with a stable influx of clients, flush with cash, and every programmatic element running smoothly to help millions of people in the first year. And, if it does happen, there’s often a sharp incline downward because the experience needed to handle crises hasn’t formed yet. Rather than celebrating centuries of service, they celebrate completion when the nonprofit closes its doors.

Jesus teaches us that to be trustworthy with big things (like big vision and big plans), prove yourself trustworthy with the small things. If you are involved with a big nonprofit, this means taking care of the little things, like paperwork, donors who don’t give large donations, and responding to the many requests for the many needs. It may seem insignificant, but it is a step toward trustworthiness. As Dr. John C. Maxwell states, “Consistency compounds.” These consistent actions over time will prove yourself capable to handle the bigger issues and challenges larger nonprofits face.

On the other hand, if you are a smaller nonprofit, get good first (Paul Martinelli). Develop your people, processes, and policies to be timeless resources. Prove yourself trustworthy with all the small details. And, while you’re not looking, you’ll grow into that world-renown nonprofit helping millions.

And if you are a student looking to impact people who have experienced a past similar to yours, use that. There’s no need to get a 501c3 to extend a hand or provide a listening ear. You don’t need millions of dollars to connect with another and ask how you can help. A systematic program doesn’t need to be followed by the one you are helping. Go, make a difference in your community one person at a time. And then ask, “What tips do you have for a new nonprofit?”

What will you do to help another person today? Share your story on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

How to Find Treasure

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33:6

What’s your favorite movie? I am a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean. I remember quoting lines with a friend who loved the movie just as much when it first came out. We talked about the ship called the Pearl that was the treasure in the movie everyone wanted. My friend bought a car and named it the Pearl. The purple sheen overlaid a white car, so the name fit.

People will do a lot of things for treasure. Some of that activity is not so good: stealing, lying, cheating. In the nonprofit sector, employees will change entire programs and the way people receive services to receive dollars from a particular donor.

Other activities that earn treasure are good: building character, learning patience, growing. The individual activities that make individuals better ripples into the sector. When people in the nonprofit sector become better, everyone gets better: clients, staff, volunteers, and board members. As John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Consider your circles of influence and how when you earn “treasure” how they will also benefit.

Seeking treasure begins on the individual level. But what is that individual to do first? To find that pearl of value, Isaiah says to fear God. Of course, this isn’t the quaking-in-your-pirate-boots fear, a scaredy-black-cat fear. This is respecting God for who He is and what He does in and through you.

Perhaps the better way of saying it is that God:

  • Is a strong place to stand, a sure foundation.
  • Is the wisest and deepest, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.
  • Will show you the treasure map if you are willing to follow His path.

In fact, it could be said that finding God is finding the ultimate treasure. And if that’s the case, then the search for treasure is the search for God. Even in a car named Pearl.

How are you finding God as the treasure today?

After seeking God as the Treasure, find your success principles in a free webinar called 7 Proven Success Principles. You’ll learn how to set goals based on your beliefs and core values on Thursday, May 6 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. Register here.

Photo by Marin Tulard on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Celebrate Good Times

They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

2 Samuel 6:17-19

Who doesn’t like to celebrate? The foundation of the new church was complete, the Haitians ready to celebrate, and the memory was already special. Locals placed some rocks and mud around the outside by the locals (because the Americans had neither the muscle or the skill to do that!). The floor was level thanks to the buckets of dirt hauled by hand. That’s all to show for the days of work: a dirt floor and some rocks. Then the roof went up and my heart swelled with excitement and the rush of knowing we completed the first part.

Time to celebrate!

The following day, we gathered to have a dedication service in conjunction with a church service. Usually, the church met outside under a tree. Today, they could meet on the floor and away from the hot sun. Perhaps there weren’t walls, but everyone could envision what the church would look like when it was done. We prayed, exchanged words of encouragement through a translator, and sang a song or two with clapping and stomping creating the beat. Some sang in English, and some in Haitian Creole. A celebration doesn’t always happen at the end of the project.

It wasn’t the first time a temporary building was “good enough” for a celebration. The ark of the covenant hadn’t arrived in the temple yet—the temple had yet to be built! Still, David accomplished the first step and then stopped with the people to celebrate. Sharing food and giving gifts may have been like Christmas before Christmas!

Celebrations—the pauses—give life and energy for the next step. Celebrating is part of the journey, not just for the finish line. Stopping to pause and celebrate, even before going home at the end of a day, is important in nonprofit work.

In Haiti, perhaps it wasn’t possible for myself to lay the stones or carry the cement bags the three miles to the church. Maybe I couldn’t be there when the tin walls were installed. Perhaps I don’t know what it’s like to have that final celebration. But while I was there, I did what I could, and then I joined in the celebration.

What are you going to celebrate today? Encourage others below or by sharing on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photos by Mollie Bond, 2017

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Have an Effective Pace

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

Have you ever asked this question? You know, the one said in a hurried state of mind: “How much longer?” And if you haven’t asked it recently (#pandemic), then that question will pop up soon. We all get antsy, wanting more, wanting forward motion. It’s that feeling when you need to use the restroom but the line is too long. Hurry up!!

For nonprofit work, when an idea strikes, it’s hard not to put that idea into motion right away. It will help people, so why wait?

Instead, we should mimic God who waits for us to catch up with Him. The pace of God may seem slower than our desired pace. Trusting His patience means we can display some patience ourselves. For example, consider waiting for the community at large to ask to put into motion the program or fundraiser or process. Then, when the community needs it, the nonprofit has had an incubator period to develop a plan that isn’t a band-aid, but instead is a real permanent solution. That time spent planning provides the ability to make sure we aren’t leaving anyone out in the solution or process. Sometimes a nonprofit will leave out a client—the needs of who are being served are left out in pursuit of the grant, or the community awareness, or the notoriety. Being like God and slowing the pace allows for patience, full engagement, and inclusion of everyone.

Instead of asking, “How much longer?” ask “How can I be patient?” Wait, watch, see. And be slow. It will result in changed hearts and changed lives.

Prayer: Jesus, I often get ahead of You. You keep Your promises by being slow and patient. I want to do the same.

Is being patient hard or easy for you? Share your tips at @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.