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 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.

3 Questions Before Talking About a New Program

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.

Mark 4:21-24

In the nonprofit sector, most tragedies and PR nightmares have roots in a misconception or something revealed before it was ready for public exposure. It’s like the metaphor of a candle. Without some preparation of wax, oil, and matches, an idea can’t spark light in others. Likewise, putting an idea in public before others have their candles ready to accept the light can be risky and damaging. To protect the small flame of an idea, program, or concept, consider when it is appropriate to expose it to the cold winds that it could find in the public square.

For example, a board is facing the challenge of starting a new program. The CEO sounds really excited about it, but the math isn’t lining up on how much this new program will cost. A board member walks to their car after another turbulent meeting, and a friend runs into you. Fresh from the meeting, they ask how things are, and you are honest: “We’ve just been though another meeting. While there’s exciting things happening, I’m just not sure of the way forward for this program.” Unbeknownst to you, your friend is friends with an employee at the organization. In fact, this friend was on the way to meet up for lunch. Guess what the topic of the lunch conversation is?

Where is it appropriate to talk about those items that could be sensitive to share with people? A board meeting, the staff meeting, and with people already involved (and not by permission of gossip). That is the time to battle out possible issues, ask about sustainability, and to prepare for the announcement.

I read a book Great at Work that helped me understand this concept more of fight and unite. In the book, Morten Hansen discusses how it can be okay for people to have differing opinions in a meeting. Consensus decision-making can be fatal to a great idea. Instead, during a meeting about the topic, air the items that may cause conflict to refine ideas and reveal roadblocks. After the brainstorming, the refinement (which can’t be done without a little heat!), and the selection, the team should unite. Meaning, they leave the meeting knowing that although they have stated their disagreement and were heard, ultimately, they support the decision the team will move forward on publicly. The team will be united in their forward motion.

This fight and unite concept negate the needs for meetings after the meeting, sent emails with a request to delete after reading, and rumors that may hurt the nonprofit seeking to reach its mission. As today’s verse says, what you give you’ll receive even more. Being respectful of the team’s decision means your decisions will be respected, too. If you talk about the nonprofit’s inner workings, what you talk about will come back around. You’ll hear yourself from someone else and you might not like what you hear!

So how do you know when it’s appropriate to share something about a nonprofit? Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Has it been approved by the board officially? (Fight and unite.)
  • If the CEO was in the room, would I hesitate to talk about it? (In other words, if it ended up on the top of tomorrow’s social media feed, what could be the repercussions?)
  • What is my motivation on sharing about the issue? What will be gained?

A bonus question to ask yourself is, do I have the time and energy to engage on this topic as a subject matter expert? You may not feel like the expert, but your role will position you to be viewed as the expert.

Board members, staff members, and volunteers are still human. They will want to connect with people and that is okay. Let your light shine, just don’t give away all your matches and spare wicks in the process.

Prayer: Lord, it’s hard to know the way forward sometimes. Guide me in my thoughts, actions, and words so that I can see your kingdom light up.

Consider a time you saw a team “fight and unite.” How was the outcome of that project? Successful or not? Share your thoughts on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

One final tip–your personal core values can become a stabilizing factor when you are launching a new program. Join me for a a one-hour FREE webinar this Thursday on January 21, 2021 at 5:30 pm PT to find your Core Values Re-Imagined. Learn more and register here.

Photo by Ai Nhan on Unsplash

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

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.