Monday Mixtape 023: Nonprofit Change Management

Monday Mixtape 023: Nonprofit Change Management

Here’s your Monday Mixtape, a weekly newsletter from CauseVox designed to jumpstart your week, challenge your thinking, and inspire you to keep at it.

Each week, we’ll hand-pick must-read articles, thinking, resources, and stories for nonprofit fundraisers and leaders and drop it in your inbox. Have suggestions or questions? Let us know at Enjoy this week’s Mixtape!

Big or small, change has the potential to improve your organization, make you more efficient, and help you advance your mission more than ever.

It also has the potential to totally derail your organization.

If you’ve ever tried to implement a major change, like delivering a program differently or hiring your first staff members after being solely volunteer-run, you definitely know what I’m talking about.

But even if you’ve only tried to implement a small change, like getting everyone to use the same format for their email signature, you probably still know what I’m talking about.

That’s because change is hard.

But it’s also inevitable, so we’ve got to learn how to manage it.

This week, I’m looking at change management of all kinds. From leadership changes to fundraising trends, each post offers advice for approaching change strategically and thoughtfully. Thinking of change as something to manage, rather than something that happens to you, is the first step to making positive change at your organization. It doesn’t make it easy, but it does make it better.

Here’s this week’s mix:

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” —William Arthur Ward

Track #1: Harnessing Superhero Effort To Make Change Happen At Nonprofits by Suzanne Smith at Social Impact Architects

When you’re confronting a big change at your organization, you need the strength and skill of a superhero. Suzanne breaks down a heroic goal into manageable steps. Focusing on a three-part change management strategy, this post is a good introduction or review of solid principles.

Any change requires three phases: preparing for the change, managing the change, and reinforcing the change. If you look at a change in this way and think back on a less-than-successful change attempt at your organization, you may notice that a phase was skipped, or abandoned. (I definitely can think of examples from organizations I’ve worked with). If a change isn’t prepared for or reinforced, it’s hard to make it stick.

In addition to guiding through the phases, Suzanne identifies the biggest mistakes the social sector tends to make in each phase, so you know what to watch out for as you approach a change at your organization.

Track #2: How To Manage Change At Your Nonprofit by Tina Jepson at CauseVox

If you’re trying to make a change at your organization and meeting a lot of resistance, Tina’s post is here to help. She provides principles for good change management with a focus on leading the charge and rallying the troops.

Tips include sharing your vision for the change, encouraging buy-in, facing obstacles head-on, practicing endurance, and what to do when you arrive at your goal. I think this post has good strategies and is a helpful reminder that making changes is a human-centered endeavor.

Track #3: Change Management From The Inside Out by Susan Danish at GrantSpace

Even the best changes can be rocky. In this post, Susan examines internal changes within organizations, particularly leadership changes. She draws from her own experiences as the executive director of The Association of Junior Leagues International, and as a board member at the National Human Services Assembly.

Drawing from the work of William Bridges, Susan encourages nonprofits to plan for transitions, onboard board members so they understand their responsibilities in governance, clearly articulate organizational policies to provide consistency throughout the organization and through leadership changes, plan as an ongoing process, and be people-centered.

I found Susan’s dual-perspective as an executive director and board member really interesting.

Track #4: 2018 Fundraising Trends: Five Shifts That Will Impact Your Fundraising by Tina Jepson at CauseVox

At nonprofits, change is coming at us from every direction. There are the internal changes we make in people, policies, and programs, and then there are the external changes. Things that we have no control over, but that can seriously impact what we do.

In this post, Tina takes a look at five trends that are shaking up fundraising in 2018. They include changes in social media use, email, data collection, digital payments, and donor demographics. Then, she gives strategies and actions for navigating each change.

I like that this post is equal parts news/theory and advice. Understanding what’s changing, and what you should do about it is how you keep your fundraising up to date and effective.

Bonus Track:

Change can be fun!

How to Turn Anxiety Into Excitement

By the way…

Is it too soon to start talking about #GivingTuesday?

We think not! In fact, the one thing we hear over and over again from successful campaigns is that they started planning early, and wish they’d started even earlier.

So, we’re hosting a webinar this Thursday, July 26 at 1 pm EST to help you kickstart your planning!

In this free live training, you’ll learn why the global day of giving matters to your organization, how to run a campaign, and how to rally and organize your supporters. We’ll share some best practices and tips to help you get the most out of #GivingTuesday and have a Q&A session so you can ask our team questions.

#GivingTuesday is 133 days away—stay ahead of the game! Register here.

Thanks for reading!

– Megan

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P.S. Questions about this week’s mix? Suggestions for next week? Don’t leave me in the dark. Let me know by emailing me at

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