Experiential Learning

Board members are community members, however broadly or narrowly you define community, and they are passionate about your organization, its programs and services. Board members are sharing their time, wisdom, skills and much more with your organization on behalf of the community.

What if you offer board members new ways to tap their passions, re-energize, and increase community engagement with your organization? What if you take the often dreaded and always on fire “fundraising” topic off the table for a while and see what happens when you engage your board members in new ways?

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What Does Sharing Make Possible?

Community benefit (nonprofit) organizations will regularly serve up a list of volunteer needs, seeking people to sign up for pre-determined time slots to complete pre-determined tasks, or to provide pre-determined wish list items. Sure, the envelopes must be stuffed for the mailing, and a table host is needed for your info booth at the farmers’ market. An assortment of very legitimate organization tasks is not being challenged.

What opportunities are being missed that can have a far greater impact in the community? Community benefit organizations exist for the benefit of the community, not the organization. What might be possible if the focus shifts from WHAT WE NEED to WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Ask yourself: What gifts/passions/skills/wisdom/stuff would you want to share with your community, but you have never been asked? Sit with that question for a while, as it may not be one you’ve ever considered before. What did you unearth, or awaken inside of you? What excites and energizes you when you think of sharing THAT with others?

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Self-Labeled Pragmatic People

A common self-label I hear in conversations is “I’m pragmatic.” This is the response served up when I’m asking questions about a shared vision, or what the community would look and feel like if there was an abundance of resources and the individual/organization was 100% successful in everything they were setting out to achieve. Words mean things, and that means words mean different things to different people.

PRAGMATIC – def: When we deal with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
PRACTICAL—def: Concerned with the actual doing of something rather than with theory and ideas.

Yet is it not sensible and realistic to start with what we are aiming to achieve before we actually do something?

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