This week we will visit OBSTACLES that keep an organization from changing and ways to overcome those obstacles.

Here is one sentence that dooms a nonprofit organization. “We have always done it this way.”

What would be wrong with continuing practices and procedures that have for decades worked out fine? The problem may be that practices have changed; there has been a shift in what funder’s value, regulatory changes have occurred. There are faster and more streamlined and efficient ways to deliver program services, and even board of directors are now called on to be more engaged.

The difficulty in making changes and overcoming obstacles from within can be:

1. Every employee may have only been trained in the way programs are currently being delivered. In essence they may have no idea how to streamline services.

2. The fear of people they like in the organization who may not be vital losing their jobs paralyzes the process. No one wants to be the “bad” guy. The inclination is to find ways to keep extra positions even if they are no longer needed. This costs your program and the community your program serves.

Here are some suggestions to overcoming these obstacles. Get out of the building once in a while!  Attend national conferences; specifically look for presentations about best practices relating to your services. Keep an open mind and instead of finding reasons why their suggestions won’t work, look for ways to modify the suggestions to make it work for your nonprofit program. Attend classes and workshops. Recognize change equals health. Nonprofits are known for being technologically behind but there is funding available to keep your organization updated. This is extremely important to showing your programs are relevant moving forward. You must have knowledge of how other programs that are similar to yours are running well, and be in the knowledge loop about changes being made in the world of nonprofits, Bring speakers, consultants, best practice leaders into your agency. Send staff to training’s and keep new information flowing through your agency. The response is that you cannot afford it but the reality is you can’t afford not to.

Once you have new information starting to flow from a coalition within your organization to tackle the concept of organizational change. This team could be made up of management, board representation, community representation, and those front line staff who interact in the program delivery. You want a diverse group so you do not fall into the emotional “protection” of any area that may not actually be necessary. By forming a group who can begin to analyze and put together best practices the new portrait of your nonprofit will begin to emerge. It is always a good idea to have at least one outside professional involved in this group to help guide and direct the process.