Maximizing the talent and potential of staff to ensure success of an organization’s mission is of course essential. With this in mind, it is important to remember both that nonprofits differ in their approach to social change and that individuals differ in their strengths and interests.
In their book, “From the Ground Up,” Carol Chetkovich and Frances Kunreuther argue that the central task of a social change organization (SCO) can vary according to both the work of the organization and staff skills and interests.
Some of the varying central tasks, therefore, are:
- Motivating: Turning anger into action. This is the task of linking individual transformation to collective action, engaging constituents in the work. It works for staff who listen, connect experience with analysis, build unity and believe in the power of collectivity.
- Revealing: Providing information for action. It is meant for the work of providing groups with information and networks. It works for staff with curiosity about social structures, who embrace outsider status, serve others’ activism and believe in the power of analysis.
- Recognition as seeing the dignity and potential in others. More individual than collective, this means meeting basic needs and involves staff who acknowledge immediate needs, provide support, nurturing and love, and believe in the power of caring.
- Entitlement: Removing the barriers. Also more individual than collective, it works to dismantle formal barriers and involves knowledge of the law, respect for constituents and belief in the power of legal rights.