The space and pace of the non-profit social sector is dizzying. Like many in our arena, the realities of strategic growth, infrastructure complexities, staff on-boarding and the constant need to grow and attract donors can often leave your good intentions feeling like broken dreams.
The work matters, those we serve matter and the families we ultimately hope to impact at Safe Families matter most. When encountering these real barriers, it can be easy to feel discouraged and simply stop. But, the challenges present poignant moments to reflect and grow - always with haunting questions attached: Do we have the right people? Are we moving in the right direction? Is there a roadmap to being more effective and more impactful? Is there another way?
The Stand Together Foundation Catalyst Program arrived at the perfect time for us – when we were at the intersection of hope and fatigue. As an organization experiencing increased growth and new opportunities, we needed the time and permission to recalibrate, learn, and listen. Our experience with the Catalyst Program was nothing short of exceptional.
From the beginning, the application of the lessons we experienced felt tailored to our story and were embraced with cautious excitement. Our experience helped us to understand (or perhaps remember) the essentials of what makes our work truly matter - serving to rediscover the essentials of vision, the glue of shared values, and the organizational life that is created through a healthy culture. Each a refreshing reminder in and of itself. Our program coach added encouraging individual application and depth of understanding to help us practice these forgotten skills – guiding us in our desire to pursue an organizational restructure designed to add value and increase individual strengths.
Our initial cautious excitement has moved to enthusiastic endorsement. The excellence of the teaching, the attention in cultivating community and the framework to know that the application of these theories had the backing of a proven framework (Market Based Management Principles) has forever altered our organizational focus and ultimately redefined our vision of success and social entrepreneurship. We have been made better and as such are responsible to make our work across the nation the best it can be.
The pressures, the pace, the realities are still there. Stand Together has simply provided the road map to let our work at Safe Families for Children become less of a rat race and more of a journey into health and societal impact. Through our experience, we have the proven tools to move from the well-worn path of non-profit conformity to be a truly transformational organization. And we are just getting started!
Ken Norwood is Chief Operations Officer (COO) | Strategic Relationships for Safe Families for Children. In January, Safe Families was selected into Stand Together Foundation’s seventh Catalyst Program Cohort and joined a growing national network of 150+ high-performing nonprofits that are transforming communities across the country. The Catalyst program is a six-month training and mentorship program that offers organizational and leadership development along with peer networking to help transformative organizations scale and grow.
Surrounding families in crisis with caring, compassionate community - Safe Families for Children