Getting change to occur in any organisation is difficult. Often it seems even more so in the NFP/charity sector. We explore some of the reasons why and seek to answer the question; “Who holds the most effective keys to facilitating change.”
If you’re involved in the charity/non-profit sector, this piece by RSM Hayes Audit is worth a read.of
We all know the truism that “change is constant”. And it is. However in many organisations, being able to instigate change, or effectively respond to change, is often very difficult. Generally the barrier to change is not the nature of the changes needed, but rather the emotional or human barriers to accepting the need and then moving to doing something about it.
Interestingly this situation is usually more pronounced in NFP organisations than it is in For-Profit organisations. This is understandable when you consider some of the key differences between the two types of organisations. This includes that most For-Profit organisations are generally more command and control in operational style, and more binary in their decision making, i.e. the driver for most decisions are: Will this make us more money – yes or no?
NFPs by contrast are commonly much softer in governance and management style because they often involve elements of volunteering and social motivation, as well as being driven more by service delivery rather than a single minded financial profit driver like the majority of For-Profit businesses.
Sadly however this can translate into NFPs being much more inefficient in how they do what they do, and much more resistant to change. By not being forced to innovate as much as many For-Profit entities they can become flabby and inefficient. Conversely, some NFPs are too lean, such that innovation is unable to flourish through lack of skills, time and resources.
Ironically though given the above, in times of financial crises or stress it is usually NFPs that will survive, or survive longer than many For-Profits. Even though they don’t have the same single minded focus on their financial bottom line and financial sustainability, when times get tough their key stakeholders will generally support them “just enough” so they can struggle on. Whereas by contrast, the situation for companies is much more binary; they either make enough money to stay in business or they go out of business.
Related to the above is the concept that; starvation often forces innovation. And those that don’t innovate generally decline.