Unfortunately, there are all too few accomplished enablers. Instead, organizations employ very good technicians who don’t use enabling.
The thing is, it’s easier to do the work yourself than enable others. Enabling requires enormous amounts of energy, unlimited patience, and deeply held values, which buoy you when the hassles are huge.
Furthermore, the nonprofit/NGO sector does not yet focus enough on enabling. There is little evidence that professionals gather together to analyze enabling functions, explore the skills and knowledge, and discuss successful and unsuccessful experiences. It’s difficult to find documented models of success or analyses of failures.
Fundraisers talk in generalities about volunteers—but don’t talk explicitly about these functions. Job descriptions mention volunteer management—but don’t actually understand the scope. Performance appraisals hold employees accountable for effective volunteers—but don’t provide tangible feedback about how to do the work.
Chief executive officers and fundraisers must be good enablers.
This must change. It can, and it is changing to some degree. The nonprofit/NGO sector focuses more on leadership, and enabling is leadership. More publications, more continuing education, and more sector leaders promote appropriate for-profit business theory and discourage the tactic-dominant focus.
Still, more needs to be done. Will you help?
Action Steps for Your Organization
It’s time that institutions demand proficient ...