By Louann DeCoursey
The above stands for: “If You Always Do What You Always Did, You’ll Always Get What You Always Got.”
Our social sector in Northern Colorado is somewhat stuck in this frame of mind. We all have breakfasts, galas, events, annual drives, write grants to the same people, compete for the same dollars, and basically all keep doing the same thing with the same results.
I am recovering from this malady, and through this blog on innovation in the social sector, I hope you’ll take a quantum leap with me to help create a sector level paradigm shift. We have the opportunity to tap into the enormous amounts of knowledge and energy in this community to bring about change.
Every day we read how Northern Colorado is beating the odds and doing better economically than the rest of the state and nation. We are on list after list of the best places to do business, live and drink beer.
But I want NOCO to be recognized as the best place to run a social profit in the nation. And I am throwing down the gauntlet because I know we as a community can and want to do better.
We ask our nonprofit sector to take on formidable social problems. We need to recognize the true value our nonprofits bring to the fabric of our community. For example, what if the Red Cross hadn’t been here when the High Park Fire happened?
We need to begin to consider that if our nonprofits didn’t exist, then what would the economic cost be to our cities and counties?
Because I am passionate about trying to figure out how our community can accomplish this paradigm shift, I’ve entered business plan competitions (for both the business and social profit sectors), researched scaling impact, created change and built venture philanthropy through community.
I’ve determined that to make this radical change, it has boiled down to something very simple — a dragonfly.
Dragonflies are marvels of flight engineering. They can fly forward at speeds of 35 miles per hour or more, and they can also fly backwards, change direction in midair, and hover for up to a minute. But all four wings must work in concert with its big, lanky body or the dragonfly can’t fly.
The key to the dragonfly’s body is represented by organizational capacity. This organizational-capacity body must fly, and its wings are represented by impact, innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit. By building up the organizational capacity in our social profits, we can collectively create stronger community impacts with innovative ideas and powerful collaborations.
I look forward to exploring each of the dragonfly’s wings — how we can help our organizations fly higher, sharing trends in the social sector, investigating how we in NOCO can build up the organizational capacity of our many valuable resources, looking at best practices and bringing innovative new ideas to NOCO.
So now that the gauntlet has been thrown, how do you see the social sector in NOCO becoming stronger? What great examples have you seen of nonprofits not being “IYADWYADYAGWYAG”s?