Fostering Growth Through Unwavering Partnerships: Lessons we’ve learned as Partner.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”
Despite their passion and dedication, many leaders working to address the urgent issues plaguing our world are isolated and heading toward burnout. They face headwinds that actively work against generating the revenue, clarity, and relationships they need to fuel their missions. Some sputter out altogether.
The growing scale of the problems we face requires leaders to be energized, have the foundational skills to grow and adapt in real time, and belong to a community where they can be open and work together. This comes from realizing that prioritizing well-being and investing in themselves leads to higher programmatic outcomes.
The simple truth is this: not investing in the professional development of our teams is reducing the impact we can have as a sector. It’s time for change.
Being at the helm of RevJen, a social enterprise with the core mission of alleviating these types of leadership challenges and financial instability within the nonprofit sector, my journey has been nothing short of illuminating and transformative. Our ethos revolves around a simple concept: The most profound impact comes from nurturing both individuals and programs within an organization. This, we believe, is the cornerstone of fostering an ecosystem of sustained growth and meaningful impact.
The landscape of nonprofit organizations is often fraught with hurdles. Leadership isolation, burnout, and financial tremors are no strangers to this sector. Our findings, through data analysis, have shown a stark correlation between the level of professional development investments and the overall impact of nonprofit organizations. The deficiency in allocating resources towards honing the skills and capabilities of leaders has invariably stifled the potential reach and efficacy of these organizations.
“It was really exhilarating to see that other leaders are struggling with some of the same issues that I feel like I’m all alone and dealing with.”
Our foray into North Texas (NTXI) serves as a testament to the power of partnerships in overcoming these adversities. In collaboration with both the funding community and local nonprofits, we’ve embarked on a journey to address 3 big challenges facing nonprofits today: financial instability, development team turnover, and leadership isolation and burnout. Our initiatives go to the heart of helping organizations truly build solid foundations of growth. Our mission is to help them achieve their greatest impact. The nature of these relationships, though, mean that funders are entrusting us with helping ensure these organizations have every chance to maximize the impact they can have on their issues. That’s a lot of trust, and we must foster it.
The results speak for themselves. Through our R-Squared program, a whopping 84% of participants affirm their evolution into more effective leaders. Furthermore, 94% assert that post our ‘Fuel’ program, their organizations have notably sharpened their strategic lens towards revenue generation. This data is more than just numbers; it’s a reflection of transformation, of growth, and of the latent potential within the nonprofit sector that awaits to be unlocked.
The vision we have at RevJen is anchored in battling the prevailing under-investment in human capital, which, unfortunately, has been a precursor to high turnover rates, significantly denting an organization’s ability to make a lasting impact. Our venture is not a solitary one; it’s an invitation to foundations, external providers, and community partners to engage in a collective endeavor of capacity building and professional development.
One of the lessons we’ve also learned is the ‘guilt factor’ that exists for nonprofit leaders. Any investment in themselves and away from the core mission, even if encouraged by those who fund their work, leads to a negative feeling of ‘taking away from’ the causes they serve. We’ve found that a combination of unrestricted funding, as well as a separate pool of funds for professional development investments, strikes the right balance. Encouraging organizations to invest in their ongoing growth in impact, as well as removing that ‘guilt factor’ by investing in their own professional development, has increased access to and time allocated to professional development. It meets the intent that these initiatives set out to achieve.
“I feel inspired, encouraged, and resolved to address the challenges I am facing…as a leader.”
As I navigate through this journey, the insights and perspectives from foundations on investing in professional development are invaluable. Are you engaged in direct capacity building, contracting with external providers, or forming partnerships within the community to bolster nonprofits? Your thoughts and insights are not just welcome, but crucial. I invite you to share your perspectives below or reach out for a heart-to-heart discussion.
Let’s collectively unearth solutions and drive a stronger, more impactful nonprofit sector forward.