Before I came to Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, I spent more than five years at BoardSource, a national organization focused on improving nonprofit governance. I have to admit, at the time I fancied myself a bit of a governance expert. I was wrong.
In any organization, culture can help align values with actions. It can provide a shared sense of coherence. It helps establish and maintain appropriate standards of behavior and productivity across the organization and may simplify the task of integrating new staff into their jobs.
The start of a new year is always a moment for reflection. As you look to the year ahead, this is a great time to think about your organization's culture. By looking for ways to both codify and improve it, you can better support the people and communities you care about most.
In her last public act before retirement, Valerie S. Lies, the long-time president and CEO of the Donors Forum in Chicago, took the opportunity to speak truth to power and to leave the field that she so loves with several calls for action.
This is the time for philanthropy and the wider nonprofit community to talk about what we have learned from the recession as a starting point for confronting continued uncertainty and this next set of challenges.