Mindset for Nonprofits

“There is not enough money. We don’t have enough manpower. There are too few resources available to us. We don’t have enough time.” This pervasive sense of “not enough” is crippling too many nonprofits who do good work. Changing this set of limiting beliefs from one of “not enough” to one of abundance is a powerful force to changing your nonprofit and it’s approach to strategic planning.

Living under this weight of scarcity actually rewires your brain. It doesn’t take long for your work to then become an insurmountable chore. In fact, you can change the narrative and rewire your brain. A famous Harvard University Medical School study had piano players play the piano while their brain activity was monitored. Next, they had the musicians simply visualize playing the piano. Their brains couldn’t tell the difference between playing and visualization — the brain activity was the same.

I know what you are thinking already. “Visualizing our nonprofit’s having resources doesn’t make it so.” That is absolutely true. But changing the way you think and removing the limiting beliefs that hold you back CAN propel you forward by opening you up to new options and creative thinking. Far too often, strategic planning involves the traditional SWOT analysis and perceived obstacles are reinforced. “We can’t do that because….”

You can focus on trying to get a million dollars, or you can focus on DOING something that requires a million dollars. Only one of those opens you up to tapping into your creativity and network to make it happen. Creating a theory of change for your nonprofit and going beyond your flowery mission statement to visualize the social change necessary to put you out of business is powerful. Your board, your leadership, staff, and volunteers will all benefit.