Passion is what drives most of us in nonprofits. Passion is very powerful. And also very important to be able to keep going when others might give up. But in addition to passion there’s also things you need to know to keep your nonprofit alive. To serve your community or cause well. And to keep your team healthy. So what do you need to know?
What you, your team, need to know depends very much on your approach to your vision. How are you working toward your vision? What role does your nonprofit have in contributing to that vision?
Many nonprofits create space for something or facilitate a process. A learning process. A decision making process. A community building process.
In that role, you do not need to also be The Expert. In fact, you can manage the process better if the expert role is taken by someone else, from outside the team. Possibly from among the participants in the process.
In the role of facilitator you need to know about asking questions, getting answers, group dynamics, etc. These are skills and knowledge you need more than expertise on the topic of the discussion to make sure the conversation leads to the goal.
When you think about learning in your nonprofit, you need to be clear on knowledge and skills you need to have inside your team. (And remember, you can always hire expertise that you don’t have in-house).
- You may need to have knowledge about a topic if you are educating or raising awareness about a topic.
- Equally, you’ll need knowledge and skills for education to convey the information in the best way for people to learn.
- You may need knowledge and skills for managing a process of a (multi stakeholder) group.
- You may need to know about child development, parenting, psychology and trauma if you’re taking care of orphans or children in some way.
In addition to knowledge and skills you need for your core work, you’ll need to be able to run your nonprofit. For instance, you need team members who know how to manage your people, your money, your projects and your paperwork.
But your team also needs to know marketing and communication so that more people can discover who you are and why they want to support you.
So you see, what knowledge and skills you need to have in your team depends on your mission – how you work towards the vision. The nature of your passion-work.
But all nonprofits also need certain back-end knowledge and skills and expertise in PR, regardless of their vision, mission and activities. Skills and knowledge you need to have so that you can continue working on your passion effectively and with impact.