Posted by: Don Linnen | 25 February 2008

Fruit of the Nonprofit

It’s been right under my nose all this time, and I just now saw it. I love nonprofits. Actually I love good nonprofits and find myself wanting to gently weed our garden of the bad nonprofits.

What does it take to make a good nonprofit? A lot of seeds are planted to grow nonprofits. Some turn out much better than others. They bear fruit. How do you get that good fruit? The answer was in the Bible right under my nose.

Pull out that dusty old Bible of yours and check out Galatians 5:22-23. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a believer or even a spiritual kind of person to read this (it does help if you’re literate).

That passage says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” To me, these are the common denominators for good nonprofits:

Love – is your organization motivated by genuine love for your cause?

Joy – do the key leaders exhibit a steady, contented joy, even during trying times?

Peace – do staff and volunteers feel a sense of peace as they tackle the mission?

Longsuffering – can you wait patiently knowing you’re doing the right thing and wait for people and programs to grow steadily and strongly?

Kindness – do the people of the organization really care about who or what they serve?

Goodness – does everyone really want what’s best for its constituents…even if it means stepping back to allow others to do a better job?

Faithfulness – are we keeping our commitments to the mission?

Gentleness – is our strength under control? can we speak loving truth?

Self-control – do we have the discipline to stay within budget and make progress towards our goals?

Not a bad checklist, huh? I’d like to take credit for coming up with this, but a guy name Paul wrote it around 50 A.D. (amazingly, there’s a few original copies around, I think). Also, John Maxwell in his Leadership Bible uses the same characteristics to describe leaders.

Fruit is a good thing, isn’t it?

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