Planting Perennials rather than Annuals. The changing face of Non Profit Agencies.

Staying on my gardening theme with this blog today I wanted to speak about a conversation regarding the work of Non Profits in the field of Human Services, but United Way in particular.

Let me say straight away that I am a passionate proponent of the values and mission of United Way and many of those agencies’. They do God’s work in horribly under resourced circumstances. Many unpaid volunteers doing significant work in their own time.

That is what brings me to tell you the story. I am personally highly engaged in the work we do. That’s why I ask the question. There are only limited resources so it is crucial we put it to good work.

What is it that we (United Way) really do? ADVOCATE – GIVE – VOLUNTEER does not get it, I asked and was told.

There is much good that goes on because of the fund raising efforts of United Way. Indeed many small volunteer agencies’ would not exist if it were not for the funding they receive each year. They depend on it!  So it has to go on! Yet the pot of money is getting smaller and more want to eat from it!

And yet, what more can United Way do – Fund Raise?  Are we simply the “Band Aid” for many of the social issues serviced by wonderful agencies and the work of thousands of volunteers?

Over the last few years, I ask, how much of our monies has been resourcing the consequences of social issues like poverty, teenage pregnancy, broken families, battered women, and so on, the list is long.  The answer is MOST OF IT.

So what do we need to do?

Plant the seeds of change and be the change!

Yes, we need to continue to fund the consequences of the current state of society. AND be the catalyst and voice of change, AND find the solutions with out partners AND make it happen!  AND do so with our network of agencies and social and human services teams, AND be RELENTLESS.

When do we do it?

The time is now.

How do we do it?

We will work with our agency partners, combine resources and talents and focus on what our aspirations are. Lets talk about our future state AND what we WILL do, not plan to do.

By channeling more of what we do on tackling the causes.

By uniting our individual strengths, characters, resources and passions and moving from process to outcomes.

By being more than a fundraiser and an advocate for change. We need to be the change that we wish to see in the world.  (Ghandi)

The Result?

Spend less on consequences and more on the causes – making a real and lasting difference. Planting perennials and not annuals.


About HRMexplorer

Managing Director - Human Capital Europe and USA - My ability is to recognize ingrained assumptions and patterns of operation that aren’t productive, and offer practical, cost-effective and value-based solutions.

Posted on November 11, 2010, in HRMexplorer Blogs. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You are right Peter, that is the “root” belief of the Cadillac Area Community Foundation….for good, for ever!

  2. Super post! Thank you.

    Planting and nurturing perennials is cultivating a lasting connection with the land, your gardens.

    Choosing the right person and encouraging their personal development nurtures them, offers them the opportunities of change, and helps them become who they want to be.

    Great article!


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