The Philantrepreneur Journal Vol2 Spring2016 - Page 11
An attorney in the Houston Texas area, she is also an avid blogger and speaker advocating for the
nonprofit sector. Erin focuses on startup and emerging organizations that have a social or charitable
purpose and want help with topics ranging from formation, exemption and policy development to
training, audits and business issues.
How to Start the Journey
f you do everything right, money will come in and you’ll hit all the major
benchmarks. Still somehow neither will feel like enough. The surface is
being scratched. But there are so many opportunities and needs outstanding.
At the same time, you might hesitate
to explore these. Do you have the resources,
bandwidth, or large enough coffee supply to
do more? Disoriented and dejected, you circle until the organization starts to stagnate;
or worse, regress.
I want to give you a North Star. A
low-pressure place to start and build momentum. That place is the here and now.
Because the first step to building capacity is to get a grip around where things
currently stand. And the best way to do this
is through an assessment and audit.
Wipe the brow sweat and roll your eyes
back into their forward facing position. Hear me out.
To build capacity you have to understand where capacity is full. And understand how it got to that point. Then start the vision setting and strategic
planning to move forward.
I find a 5-pronged checkup is helpful
here. I won’t spend time on specific audit
points, there’s plenty of resources on that. I'll
talk about what to look at and what to think
With each prong, dig around and take
note of where things are. Do this BEFORE you
whip out checklists and best practice worksheets. It keeps your findings honest and
allows you to compare to your own benchmarks first. Another tip, don’t focus only on
the gaps. Think about obstacles, setbacks or
anything else that could hinder a forward
I list all five prongs below, along with
To build capacity you
have to understand
where capacity is full.
And understand how it
got to that point. Then
start the vision setting
and strategic planning to
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