Number One or Two—Or Not at All

Experienced leaders understand that if an organization cannot be number one or two in its “market” then it should evolve elsewhere. A nonprofit should be one of the leading organizations in its defined field or locale.

Below that level is a difficult place to sit. I call organizations that end up there “the living dead.”
In the nonprofit world there are too many organizations focused on the same model. The funding and people resources end up spread over multiple organizations competing for the same important space.

Getting the various competing organizations to merge or partner is almost impossible. Only the funders will be able to make the necessary changes, but few funders are willing to force these shifts.

The end of the year is a good time for honest self-evaluation. If you can’t realistically hope to be number one or two in your nonprofit field or focus — or for a more local nonprofit, in your region — you should reconsider your mission. You will be doing a favor not only to your own organization, but to the entire sector.

  • Is your organization number one or number two in its defined field or locale?
  • If not, what are the next steps that should be considered?
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