So we’re stuck. Why does it seem that “stuck” although not unique to the nonprofit sector seems intractable in many nonprofit organizations?  Why is it that we artfully craft mission and vision statements that reflect our desire to change communities, change outcomes and change the world yet we refuse time and again to change the business of our organization.

Neale Donald Walsch known for his “Conversations With God,” series discusses change in his most recent book, “When Everything Changes Change Everything.”  Walsh writes, “If when everything changes, you wish to change everything, the first thing you may wish to change is your idea about why change occurs.”  He continues by suggesting that, “change occurs because of who you are and why you are here.”   Is it not appropriate for us as leaders, donors, and beneficiaries of the programs and ideas pushed out through our nonprofit organizations to ask the same question from a business perspective.  Who are we and why are we here … now … today and into the future.

“Change occurs because you want it to occur,” says Walsh.  “Everything that changes, changes at your direction.”  His also suggests that until we become conscious of this change it may manifest itself through a silent shift.  This shift, as a response to circumstances, instinctively begins to set change in motion so that, hopefully, we become aware and can successfully grow and adapt.  How many times have we squashed the incubation of silent shifts in our organizations rather than picking up the mantle of change?  How often are we given an opportunity to change, at our own direction, but we remain stuck.

Walsh describes life as being functional.  When life moves too far off functionality it “puts in place an adaptation . . . which assures that life remains sustainable.”  But not just as it was but rather “through it’s new changed form . . . ”

So I ask how will nonprofits remain sustainable and fulfill their promises if the calls to action are merely drowned out by, “I’m not moving, I’m stuck!

By Robyn Fern Perlman