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.

The Best in, the Best Out

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

Matthew 15:10-11

I’ve heard the last three months described as the end of the fifth quarter of 2020. To which some might say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It’s been a rough 12 months for most of us.

I remember the first time I heard that saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” A youth pastor shared it decades ago. And it applies to my job today: I work in systems and databases, and if there’s bad data, you won’t be able to make a good decision.

Jesus says it’s not what you put in, but what comes out that counts. And yet, he also says to wash the inside and the outside of the cup. If we are to be pure and holy and blameless in God’s sight, perhaps we need to pay attention to the front end to make sure the back end isn’t defiled either.

Starting out right can make a big difference. I met a new friend recently who found me online on LinkedIn. He wanted to have a discussion about next steps in starting a career in the nonprofit sector. While there’s many possible steps (ie, volunteer), he was a reader, too.

Therefore, today I’m providing a longer list than what I provided to him. It’s a list of books that I’ve found useful while serving in a nonprofit. Good stuff in, good stuff out. Perhaps you will enjoy them as well:

On communication:

On fundraising:

On the sector:

On change management:

On leadership:

And just a few other favorites:

What book is your favorite? Have you read any on this list? Share on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Ed Robertson 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.

Finish What You Started PART 3

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 

1 John 3:21-23

Have you ever felt compelled to do something because in your gut you knew it was the right thing? If that thing came from a motivation of love, I believe you are on the right track! (More about being motivated by love in Part 1.)

A handful of sentences has stuck with me the past few months. The gist of it was: “Don’t do things right. Instead, do the right thing. It will take you from running around in circles to forward motion” (Manager Tools, see also this article). It seems to me that’s what today’s verse is pointing out. If our hearts are motivated by love to do the right thing, we won’t be stuck in a Pharisee-mindset of doing things right. Don’t work and love out of obligation, but instead be motivated by love to do the right thing.

In the nonprofit sector, it’s easy to get wrapped up in following the rules laid out by others. Funders, regulators, and even volunteers will have a lot of opinions on what you should do and when. Usually, it’s wise to consider the idea, but pursuing good ideas cut off the possibilities of finishing great ideas.

Last week, I shared with you how I’m learning a lot about finishing from Jon Acuff’s book, Finish. Today, it’s the same song, second verse. I’ve been able to apply some of Acuff’s pointers and combined that with some great pointers from Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. If you’re learning how to do the right thing, prioritization often comes as a first step. Here’s the steps I pulled from David Allen’s book that made a difference for me:

  • Write it all down. Literally write everything on your mind on paper (or digitally).
  • Organize those items into a system that you can take advantage of when you have spare moments.
  • In the end, “done beats perfect” (also a quote of @ShilaMorris from the John Maxwell Team).

As @DavidAllen says, “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.” Finish what God has asked you to do. Your heart will not condemn you. And if you feel your heart condemning you, then take the bold step to ask for a bold outcome for what you are working on in order to finish it.

What are you finishing this week? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

If what you are finishing is identifying your leadership style, join me for a free webinar this Thursday, April 1 at 5:30 pm PT. Together, we’ll Identify Your Leader Language. Register here.

Photo by Adam Winger 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.

Finish What You Started PART 2

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:19-20

Learning about yourself is fun. And edifying. And challenging. I’m a junkie for personality profiles, so when I heard that Patrick Licioni had discovered a pattern for work behaviors, I couldn’t resist. I won’t go into the details of that test called “Working Genius,” but would encourage you to take it yourself and discover more of what God created you to do.

I am, however, bringing up this resource because I learned I’m both a starter and a finisher. I found out that I am strong in Wonder and Tenacity. For me to be on a mission, I have to take on the challenge of how to not start everything today and then try to finish it tomorrow. I love to create the new systems and processes that help people get where they want to go—and then see them accomplish what they set out to do. It’s exhilarating. And exhausting.

These days, I’m learning a lot about finishing. And, I’ve finished a lot, too: a few projects at work, some overdue chores at home, and some books. Speaking of books, Jon Acuff’s book, Finish: Give Yourself The Gift of Done, was read in three days. It’s that good. And, it felt good to finish. I read Finish because I found myself vacillating between two scenarios and the extremes were growing further apart.

Perhaps you’ll recognize one of these two scenarios:

1) You get excited quickly. That new program, that new product, that new donor possibility. They are just waiting to be invited! There’s much to accomplish together, and the community benefits. What’s not to lose? Time, of course! So, you think, “Don’t lose another second! Invite that donor to the event (that hasn’t been planned yet), buy the software (that does what your current software already does), start that program (without getting board approval)! No time like the present to live life fully. Carpe diem!” I usually find myself saying these things when I have some spare hours, energy from the last cup (or it is pot?) of coffee, and a thought partner who ramps up creativity. It’s exciting.

2) You get overwhelmed quickly. That new program, that new product, that new donor possibility. They are all waiting on you. There’s so much to accomplish together, and the community benefits, so you continue to take steps forward. What’s not to lose? Time, of course. So, you think, “I don’t even have a second! I need to invite that donor to the event (that I still need to plan), I should buy the software (that maybe will make the current software better), and start the program (and I know I’ll be slowed by board approval)! There no time to live in the present. Forget carpe diem!” I usually find myself saying these things when I have no hours, no energy, and I’ve asked for no help. It’s draining.

(Spoiler alert ahead!) In either case, Finish helped to get things done and finished. For me, it was a one-two punch to stop rotating between the scenarios above.

  • Cut goals in half, and/or
  • Double the timeline.

Here’s the secret sauce: What made the biggest difference was spending time in the Word. I needed to rest in His presence, knowing that God would not condemn my heart if I didn’t get it all started…or accomplished. Set your heart in truth. Finish what God has asked you to do. Your heart will not condemn you, nor will I, and nor will God.

What goal are you going to change so that you can mark it as finished? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Lance Grandahl 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.

Finish What You Started PART 1

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

1 John 3:17-23

In the next three weeks, we’ll be looking at this entire passage closer. This is part 1 of a 3-part series to look at a handful of verses each week. In each week, we’ll learn how they might apply as someone who works at a nonprofit. Today, we are looking closer at the beginning of the end: How do you continue toward the finish line? Let’s look closer at the first two verses which go like this: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

When do you know you’ve given enough? It’s a frequently asked question, especially asked of those who work in the nonprofit sector. When should someone give to a beggar at a stoplight? (See blog about How to Serve a Nonprofit Well for more on this thought). When is it appropriate to make that sacrificial gift—the one where you have to give up something in order to give something else away? Do you have to do that for everyone that asks, every nonprofit that shows a need and a pledge card?

The answer is…up to you to discover. My suggestion is to search God’s Word and your heart. I believe a gift given in gratitude is the best possible motivation, and when you give out of obligation, the gift means nothing. Love should be the cause and reason. Love is shown in action—whatever action that may be—is the evaluator. And we know that God is Love (1 John 4:7-21), so anything done in Love’s name is a fulfillment of 1 John 3:17-18.

It’s in the day-to-day loving actions that get us one step closer to finishing.

Here’s a question to ask yourself: Think about yesterday. What actions did you take out of love, and what actions did you take that were less loving? What about for your work, your local nonprofit, your community?

And, if you’d like to join in on the broader conversation about being on mission at a nonprofit, head over to Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Next week we’ll take a peek at 1 John 3:19-20, and then wrap up with 1 John 3:21-23.

Photo by June Liu on Unsplash

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