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As I was crossing a parking lot a few years ago, a colleague of mine saw me and starting running after me with some endearing whistling noises to get my attention. Under normal circumstances, I would have ignored someone trying to get my attention this way. However, this was a close friend and we had the kind of relationship that revolved around bantering each other all of the time. It was when we were not trying to get one another riled up, was when outsiders knew something was wrong.

So, while running to catch up to me, he finished with, “Hey you, I need to talk to you!” Which was followed by my usual quip of “what do you need?” His response to this was straight faced and serious like he was making a declaration to the world.

He paused and lifted his index finger up.

“Lots of stuff,” he announced slowly.

We both just looked at one another for a split second and then busted out in hysterical laughter at the true but sarcastic nature of the conversation that was unfolding. Both of us were employed by a tiny rural school with little resources to pay for any extra expenses. He taught a fine arts program and I was in charge of finding extra money for things like the fine arts. We really did need a bit of everything. Both of us were always exhausted but believed in what we were doing and knew it helped the students immensely.

I told you this story to tell you this:

I know when you are in the trenches of trying to make an impact, you could probably rattle off 100 things in 10 seconds that pertain to what you feel is a need. I understand this completely. You need lots of stuff too. However, it is very easy to get sidetracked with the sheer amount of what is needed. Before you know it, you are running around trying to fill every need, exhausting yourself, and not really getting much done in the process.
My advice?

Decide on your needs vs your wants.
Then pay attention to the first 3 needs. Start with meeting those 3 needs and make meeting them your top 3 goals that align with your organization’s mission for the first year. Then, create milestones along with a timeline to meet those goals. Keep the first goal as your highest priority. This way, when fires do crop up and trust me, they will, if you don’t meet need 2 and 3, you will have at least met what you considered the greatest need within your first year of existence.

Make sense?

What do you think?

Let me know if you have any questions!

Sarah C.

Bare Philanthropy LLC

Follow me here on LinkedIn

For more information on how to start and grow a nonprofit organization
Disclaimer ****The material appearing in this publication is for informational purposes only, and is not certified professional advice. Please do not act on any information contained herein without seeking competent professional counsel.

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