12 ideas for making it all work

It takes a lot to run a humanitarian organization, but Wayne Elsey, founder and chief executive of Soles4Souls, a nonprofit providing footware to people in need, has come up with 12 ideas that he says he has put into practice and that he suggests can make nonprofits work. They are:

  • Eliminate distractions by practicing absolute clarity. It is important to be simple and clear about objectives and goals.
  • Build the community you want, not the one you can afford. It’s important to hire the best and pay for the best.
  • Sustain impact by engaging others. Awareness is a waste of money. Engagement is priceless.
  • Create more margin to do more mission. Cash creates margin.
  • Make decisions that take you where you want to go. Empowering people with resources and room to act will set the expectation that action is the most important element of success.
  • Get off the couch. Decision-making isn’t the same as taking action.
  • Look for solutions bigger than the problem.
  • Progress only comes through action. Taking actions means intending to accomplish something specific and measurable.
  • Obsess over numbers. Goals shape an organization’s decision making and drive people to action.
  • No more excuses. A predisposition to action creates an environment with zero tolerance for lingering problems.
  • Get comfortable with chaos. Managing an organization never leads to innovation, but empowering an organization does.
  • Look out the windshield, not in the rearview mirror. Failure is part of the equation of success.