Updated: Feb 4
Hello Change Agents,
My name is Rashaunda Williams, and I want to let you know that everything you do in your community, MATTERS. Your vision matters; the social cause to which you have dedicated your time and resources to bring into fruition matters.
There are people in our world who only focus on, and complain about, the problems, but you have made the decision to roll up your sleeves and become part of the solution. For that, you have my utmost respect.
Running a nonprofit organization is not for the faint of heart.
There are so many moving parts. I say that not from the outside looking in, but from personal experience. I just want you to know that I completely understand all the barriers you may experience as a nonprofit leader such as the wavering commitment of board members and volunteers, self-funding the mission, and working a full-time/part-time job as you also strive to build a nonprofit organization.
I totally get it because I have been in your shoes.
I founded a nonprofit organization in 2017. I was so passionate about serving the community, I would pay for everything out of pocket. I spent thousands of dollars on professional development and training courses, but they never focused on the nonprofit sector. As we all know, representation matters! When I would attend conferences and workshops, there was a lack of diversity in nonprofit subject matter experts. To add insult to injury, our nonprofit was dedicated to serving African American men and women. I never felt our mission was valued and never felt that I received the support I needed. I know how time-consuming administrative duties are. I am a recovering perfectionist and I understand how it feels to get so bombarded with the day to day operations of running a nonprofit that you never have time or energy to do the work that matters.
In all transparency, I am thankful for the lesson; it was an expensive lesson but still worth every penny.
During quarantine, I began to track the time I spent on tasks such as board and volunteer emails, updating financial records, and reaching out to grant funders. In three months I clocked 500 hours. I was frustrated! I was taking time to do everything perfectly, but there was no fruit. I had experienced this before in my life when I know I’m doing things in my strength. So I crawled myself to my prayer room crying crocodile tears and asked God for guidance.
That is when the Holy Spirit lovingly told me, “This was only part of the vision. You got ahead of God’s plan and did it your way.” Humbled and convicted, I knew it was true. In that posture, God so lovingly gave me direction for Collective Impact. And here we are!
In the past few months so much grace has been shown. I learned so much about myself and the importance of including God in all of my decisions. I could have crawled in a hole and let that situation cripple me with lies of failure. I could have had a pity party titled “I just wanted to help people”. However, I know it was all so I can serve you better. Collective Impact is a testament to what God can do when we humble ourselves, allow others to help, and focus on the greater good. It wasn’t about me. This new season has not been easy, but if it was, everyone would do it. However, God has sent Kingdom people to be involved in this project. So many mistakes were made because I tried to do it all myself in the beginning.
I share my lesson learned with you, and I will say this in the most loving way I can: You cannot manage and grow an NPO by yourself.
Focus on what you do well and then collaborate with others who are great at what they do. For example, with Collective Impact, I am the Community Liaison and Branding Consultant. We also have a team of consultants who focus on other areas such as Nonprofit Operations, Financials, Marketing, Grants and more. We’re here to help! We have eliminated the tedious work of scheduling meetings, researching, and going back and forth with emails by vetting our network for you. I took the network I developed, coupled with my skills and experience in Advertising/Marketing, and brought them together so we can serve those who serve others. In addition to bringing expertise and experience to the table, all of our workshops and resources to help maximize impact on the community are based on biblical principles. (Again keeping God first in every aspect of our lives.)
What do we offer to support you in growing your nonprofit?
First, we offer resources, training, consultations, community, and more through our app. The weekly blog, a community of other nonprofit leaders, resources such our ebook for nonprofit leaders, and more are available in the app.
Another valuable resource found in the app is Impact Academy (IA). Impact Academy is a phenomenal value compared to obtaining a nonprofit certificate at a local college. You’ll have access to consultants in every area necessary to run an effective organization. IA will release new content every month, curated by our network of consultants from their field of genius. All of our courses are based on the biblical principles of Stewardship, Unity, and Servant Leadership. The courses are self-led because we know your time is precious and accompanied with a workbook to help you record your thoughts, questions, and valuable information obtained through each course.
Through Collective Impact and Impact Academy you will gain valuable information to run and grow your NPO.
You can also hire our consultants to implement processes to maximize your organization’s IMPACT. Our network can set your organization up for success by gaining access to funding so you can hire qualified staff. You can learn from our network of professionals on strategic planning, board governance, building and maintaining donor and community relations, creative fundraising strategies, branding, sata management and how to write effective grant proposals, team building and leadership development, just to name a few. We do the administrative duties while you can focus on doing what matters, building networks and impacting your community. Not to mention, you will be amongst other servant leaders and be able to support one another.
So again, I fully understand your struggles, and our prayer is to help nonprofits of color overcome internal and external barriers to maximize impact - all for His glory. In order to make progress, we all need to work collectively. Progress in Action United for change!