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 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.

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.