(Note: several pieces of this review were taken from a recent post I wrote for Chicago Now's Job Stalker blog).
Like many others in Chicago, I am a "consultant" to non-profits and small businesses. Unlike many of my non-profit-oriented colleagues, I don't take an "anything goes" approach, nor do I see an agency's mission-driven philosophy any different than a for-profit's business-driven philosophy. It's less about the motivation and more about the approach.
It's that considered philosophy that makes The Mission Myth by Deidre Mahoney such a revelation - it's the start of a change in thought processes around non-profits.
The book's premise is simple - in order to best serve their missions, non-profits need to adopt a slightly more business-oriented approach to their activities. In everything from money to management to measurement to marketing, non-profits are continuing to have their previous ways of thinking challenged...and quite honestly, I believe this is a good thing.
In a rush to bring non-profits up-to-date in terms of technology and marketing, what gets lost is a formal inventory. Non-profits may be so eager to jump headfirst that they may lack the resources, the thinking, or even the time to begin engagement. It is easy for some to propose the idea that all non-profits should use social media (for example); it's another to do so at the expense of strategy, without considering whether there is adequate staff or ability to take the initiative.
It seems ironic for a blogger involved with tech and social good to state that openly...but part of the challenge means that no one person or agency can do it alone. With increasing awareness and advocacy for non-profits taking a more strategic, well-considered approach, well....it just means that The Mission Myth has come along at the right time.
If you're involved with non-profits at any level, please read The Mission Myth. It will have an impact not just on an agency's ability to integrate tech and online tools...but have a positive impact on its overall work.
As always, thanks for reading!