The Non Profit Emergency Kit? Despite all the warnings and common sense in the world, sometimes we simply don?t get to things we know we need to address. If threatened with big and immediate penalties, such as the ones the IRS can mete out, we do force ourselves to do unpleasant or unfun things. But without a looming threat, we so often allow disaster to strike.

But how can this be done, sooner rather than later, amidst all the other urgencies, and for some as yet unseen and undefined threat? A rainy day is a nice concept, but specifically what do you need?

First Things First

This part should be easy:

  • What is your mission?
  • What is your vision?
  • Why are you doing this work, what is your purpose?
  • What is your ideal scenario for your mission and cause?

Know the language and story of your organization reflexively and deeply. Be able to clearly and definitively state who you are. The ability to immediately define yourself may clear up some misunderstandings right off the bat.

In math and science, it is important to define your units of measurements as you unravel a problem. Define your organization: its goals, its limitations and its boundaries.

Secondly: What Is Being Said?

When anyone feels attacked, it is only normal and reasonable to want to defend. It is essential to fully see what that attack actually IS, as much as much as what it might feel or look like. What is the fire and what is the building?

So hold off a sec, wait to catch your breath before reacting or speaking. Don?t allow a molehill to become a mountain. With the immediacy and reactionary nature of instant communications, there is tremendous danger in allowing some steam to escalate into a war of words.

Be clear with the exact wording, exact meaning and intent, and if you are not, ask for that. With active listening, repeat what you hear, not how you would like to respond, and be certain you are getting the message being sent.

Ooops: I Didn?t Mean You

Sometimes the attack is misdirected; the heat is toward something that may in fact not be the irritating problem. Someone or something can be an easy or too visible target, when the real issue is elsewhere.

By assuring that your ears are open, the decisions about the nature and severity of the problem can be best conceived.

Recap: Do this First

  1. What are you and what do you do?
  2. Why do you do it?
  3. What do you want to achieve?
  4. What is the problem?
  5. Who is having it?
  6. Is this something we caused?

Next week – Part Two: Now What??

If you’d like help putting the kit together, get in touch by email here or by voice on 310 828 6979.

Cindy Lauren - Lauren Associates - non profit consultingCindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting

As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations. Connect with Cindy: Twitter, Linkedin, Quora

Written while listening to: Wishes & Lies | July 2013 – Music to Create Flow .