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.

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.

When Do You Launch a New Nonprofit or a New Program?

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

It’s the new year, when people think about new habits, new programs, and maybe new nonprofits.

Yet some of the longest-running nonprofits I’ve come in contact with started with someone already doing the work. The founder jumped in because they saw a way to help people and started working with the people needing help. Their passion was contagious. Then, others started taking up the mantel and joined in. Those first volunteers, donors, and friends became board members. And those board members of long ago knew when the time was right to make it a nonprofit, and not a second too soon. From there, whether the founder was around or not, the work continued.

Whether the founder, staff, or board, it’s important for a group to know when it is appropriate to move and when to step back and watch the nonprofit and its program(s) grow on its own. Sometimes an organization will sprout into a new program before the original had a chance to show if it will thrive or not. That first program has to be ready to run itself before the nonprofit ventures into a new program. Know when your program is ripe.

Today’s verse shows the power of giving space for things to grow and not getting caught up in the details. This is an important lesson for board members or founders, who feel the rush of starting something new, whether that is a new nonprofit, a new program, or a new capital campaign. The important take-away is to know when it is time to harvest and time to plant; One program at a time.

Board members need to know when programs or policies are ripe, by watching what is occurring. That does not mean they are fertilizing the soil, transplanting, or otherwise getting involved in the process. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day duties and needs of the nonprofit. Boards exist to note when it is time to harvest or plant new seed. In other words, the board is there not as primary volunteers and definitely not staff, but as policy creators and strategy advisors for the executive team.

Whether your organization began small or big, consider these key take-aways:

  • Don’t move into a new program until your other programs are self-sustaining.
  • If you are a board member, be cautious in getting involved in the day-to-day unless there are no staff.
  • Be brave enough to focus on one movement at a time, then harvest the rewards.

Here’s the lingering question: When do you know the time is right to harvest? Share your thoughts and stories 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 Warren Wong on Unsplash

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

How to Overcome Burnout

Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God….And all the people gave a great should of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezra 3:9, 11b

Have you been overwhelmed? Burnt out?  Tired of being tired?

For me, I find myself in that state during the holidays. For those who work in nonprofits, Christmas is a busy season: fundraising before the calendar year closes, hosting extra parties, feeling compassion fatigue from the extra needs from clients during chilly weather and chilly relationships.

I remember one particularly crispy burned-out season. Yet again, I was tired, agitated, and emotional beyond what was “normal.” It’s the sign that I once again reached burnout. It was Thanksgiving, and all I could do was lie on the bed. And, to boot, I was on a mission trip. I couldn’t get out of bed. How embarrassing for a Christian not to serve on a day aimed to remind us of what we have to be thankful for!

That day, the last time I acknowledged my burnout, was also the turning point on my understanding of my calling. When someone phones-a-friend, and that friend is me, I have no problem saying “sure” in the attitude of servanthood. I had said “sure” to so many things that I was involved in nine different organizations, all doing amazing things and reaching for their missions. How can something so great make you so tired?

While I read today’s passage, Ezra struck me because he could have been burned out and tired before the end of chapter one! Rebuilding the temple is a big job and God handed it to the right person. But God didn’t hand it just to Ezra; He handed it to the Israelites.

Ezra shows us by example how to overcome burnout:

  • He had the backup of leadership (Cyrus)
  • He allowed people to self-select and opt-in on their own
  • He put supervisors into place and made sure they were of one mind and tribe—that they had a singular mission
  • He celebrated the bench marks along the way

Ezra inspires me to empower those on the team already, and to help find new volunteers who are excited to grow.

Burnout is real. That Thanksgiving so many years ago started me on a journey of understanding calling, burnout, and my mission better. I want to offer you two options to help you on your own journey:

  1. Read Burnout by Brad Hambrick. This short book is one of the few books in my life I’ve read more than once.
  2. Discover Your Why (or re-define your why) through a one-hour FREE webinar on January 7 at 5:30 pm PT. It will be a great way to kick off the new year and light your candle for the mission(s) you love.

In the meantime, who is on your team that can lighten the load by growing under your leadership? How will you celebrate the work you do together? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks: https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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.

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.