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  • Jim Jewell
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The Importance of a Vision Statement

The Importance of a Vision Statement

#1. Have a motivating and achievable vision statement that drives critical business decisions. In one of the best-known passages from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat-- "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where---" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "---So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as a...

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Who do you trust?

Who do you trust?

Reversing the pervasive loss of trust in American life Who do you trust? In the public square, that’s a more troubling question than it should be. There isn’t enough trust to go around and nearly every institution—government, media, business, sport, and even churches and charities--are responsible and suffering the impact. All of these institutions have one thing in common.  They are all human institutions. Government doesn’t violate laws, the people who should act as our public servants do...

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The 7 Most Valuable Assets of a Nonprofit Organization

The 7 Most Valuable Assets of a Nonprofit Organization

When you turn to the financial statements of a nonprofit organization, one of first reports is titled Assets and Liabilities.  I know this an important report, but as a longtime non-financial manager of NPOs, I’ve always been less interested in this report than the statement of annual revenues and expenses and the break out of these results. However, as important as any of these corporate financial assets may be, for the nonprofit organization millions of dollars worth of buildings and cas...

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Choosing Gelato and the Value of Values

Choosing Gelato and the Value of Values

I tried a new gelato café that opened riverside in my town in the Fox Valley this weekend and had to make a difficult choice from about 35 amazing flavors. Do I take a risk, venturing into some new area of taste, or do I stick with the familiar, with something that begins or ends in chocolate or peanut butter? Choices like this, the trivial choices that fill our lives, are made according to taste or curiosity or whim, but even they can be directed by values.  For instance, risk aversion or ...

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“Your young men shall see visions”: Importance of a nonprofit vision

“Your young men shall see visions”: Importance of a nonprofit vision

As an organizational leader, do you have a vision? Is your organization focused on a clear and broadly understood vision of your corporate purpose and future? “If there is no vision, ” a 1599 version of Proverbs 29:18 reads, “the people decay.”  Without a vision, missions can stagnate or waste away. A vision is an answer to the question: “What can and should we accomplish?” Scott, Jaffe and Tobe in their book Organizational Vision, Values, and Mission, write: “Establishing a vision is pictur...

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Trust Me

Trust Me

The tough work of building organizational trust. Trust is a provisional grant that if not supported by action will be removed. It’s a slippery word because of frequent violations! Trust took a hit with the Joe Isuzu farcical television commercials of the 1980s, and Ronald Reagan redefined trust as he created an arms treaty with the Soviets, coining a kind of conditional trust with the phrase: “Trust, but verify.” Most of us are great fans of trust because at its most basic level, trust is sel...

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7 reasons nonprofits flounder or fail

7 reasons nonprofits flounder or fail

By Jim Jewell A group of our friends led a wonderful start-up that was trying to bring new perspectives to the environment cause, to reach faith-based constituencies who were not traditional supporters of environmental concerns.  They had the plan worked out on paper, and even had a foundation to underwrite the effort for a couple of years.  But although there were many who cheered from the sidelines, very few people were committed enough to provide significant financial support.  When the ...

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7 Disciplines of Highly Successful Charities

7 Disciplines of Highly Successful Charities

How to build the trust that fuels program growth By Jim Jewell  In the last year, some two thirds of Americans responded to appeals from charities for support of projects to meet human needs, create new initiatives, advance faith, and reverse wrongs. Nonprofit organizations received $298 billion in donations and were supported by about 64.5 million volunteers. Unfortunately, the support is fleeting. For every 100 new donors, American nonprofits lost 107. A new report concluded that for ev...

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