Recently, in a 5 day stretch, my wife, Denise, and I attended funerals for three friends of ours and, maybe more importantly, friends of SpringHill. These three men and their families each made incredible contributions at critical junctures in SpringHill’s history. And by contributions I’m not referring just to financial contributions (though they’ve made plenty of those) but the kind of contributions that come as a result of hard work, energy and wisdom.
For example, one of these friends, Scott, was on our board during the sensitive transition of leadership following the death of our second President, Mark Olson. Another, Herb, spent 23 straight weekends coming to our camp in Evart, MI to help prepare it for it’s grand summer opening in 1969. While our staff gave the third friend the nickname “Saturday Jim” because he was so faithful volunteering every Saturday. And believe me, this is just the short list of their SpringHill contributions. Frankly it’s hard to over state the deep, long and lasting impacts these men had on SpringHill, its staff and their ability to fulfill their mission and vision.
As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure these men, before they passed on, were able to see with their mortal eyes the 100,000’s of people whose lives were, and will be, transformed forever because of their service. But the good news is I’m convinced that all three are now in Eternity and so are blessed to fully see the extent of their effort, including knowing every single person who benefited from their work. I believe this kind of sight, the sight we’ll have in Eternity, is one of the “jewels in our crown” we’re promised for remaining faithful like these three men were.
Speaking of mortal sight, from my perspective, I can’t even begin to imagine SpringHill without people like Scott, Jim and Herb. Together they reflect the nature and beauty of non-profits. You see non- profits, like these three men, exist to benefit the common good and their only fuel is the passion, commitment, time, energy and resources of people who receive no other benefit from their contributions than the anticipation it all will make a lasting difference in the lives of people and in the world.
So Herb, Jim and Scott thank you on behalf of 100,000’s of child, students, young adults, families and churches, past, present and future, for including SpringHill in your life. We’re all in a better place because of you.
And every once in a while I’ll hear a leader of a non – profit say “wouldn’t it be nice if we had one big donor who would cover all our needs so we won’t have to spend so much time fundraising?”
And I always reply, like I do with basketball players I’m coaching, “yes, that would be good and it would be easier, but it wouldn’t be the best shot you can take for your organization.”
And exactly what is the best shots for a not for profit organization to take?
First, it’s simply to have donors.
Second, is to have lots of donors.
And third, an even better shot is to need all those donors to achieve your mission and vision.
Why are these the best shots for a non – profit?
First, because, as Jesus said, “where’s one’s treasure is, so is one’s heart” (Mt 6:21). So if you want people’s hearts with your organization, you need a bit of their treasure.
Second, when people hearts are with your organization they’ll do more than just financially support you, they’ll volunteer, promote and endorse your work.
Thirdly, having many donors provides a broad level of accountability. With few donors, the accountability isn’t broad and the possibility exists that the accountability will not represent the interest of all those involved with the ministry.
Finally, being dependent on a large numbers of donors keeps an organization appropriately humble; open to input, and listening for opportunities to better serve.
So remember, don’t just take a good shot for your organization even if it’s an easy one, instead work for the best shot and your organization will benefit for years to come.43.928283-85.286682
Somewhere early in my career is when I decided I wanted to work for something (organization or cause) that’s bigger than I am. I wanted to be a part of something that’s making a difference in the lives of people, making a difference in the world, and ultimately, making a difference in God’s Kingdom. But what I discovered was that just being a part of something bigger than me isn’t enough, nor, as I’ve also discovered, is it enough for most people.
What most people want to know is “what do I need to do to contribution to our organization’s success – the fulfillment of its mission and vision?” This question is the final question every organization that desires to make an enduring difference in the world needs to answer, not just for its self, but for the people who work, volunteer, and support the organization. As a good friend said to me recently “I want to know what piece of the SpringHill puzzle God wants to me to be”.
Unfortunately most organizations, including many times SpringHill, don’t always provide clear answers to the people who, not only want to be a part of something bigger than then themselves, but also want to make a meaningful contribution. Yet helping to bring job and role clarity becomes essential for the organization’s ultimate success, because it’s people who make visions and BHAGG’s reality.
At SpringHill we help staff, volunteers and others answer “what do I need to do to contribution?” by clarifying the answers to these simple but critical follow-up questions:
- Where do I fit into the organization? Position, job title, team and reporting relationships
- What am I responsible for? Defines the scope of the position
- What do I do to meet my responsibilities? Goals and objectives (aligned with the answers to the other organizational questions)
- What are the personal qualities do I need to fit within the team culture and be successful? Defined leadership competencies
- How will I know I’m being successful? Evaluations and performance appraisals
Helping people understand how they can contribute to an organization’s success may be the last question to answer, but it’s also the most important one.
This is part 6 of 6 in a series of posts about the questions every organization needs to answer to achieve their vision.
After a four-day business trip to Indianapolis Denise and I took advantage of the spring like weather in northern Michigan and walked around camp (last weekend we snowshoed around camp). As we walked around Copper Country I reflected on the incredible support SpringHill has received over the decades.
Incredible support comes from incredible people who believe in what God has done and is doing in and through SpringHill. They align with the answers to the 6 key questions I’ve been writing about over the last couple of weeks. There’s a mutual commitment to making the answers to the 6 key questions a reality.
It’s important to understand that at SpringHill we include in our definition of supporters – volunteers, prayer partners, ambassadors, and donors. Every person who falls into one or more of these categories is absolutely critical to our effectiveness. We’ve been blessed over the years to have many people in all four groups.
While in Indianapolis I, along-side Craig Soderdahl our Regional Vice President and Kate Wilson our Regional Development Representative, met with friends of SpringHill who included corporate donors, long time supporters , former and current board members and staff, and over dinner, a group of future camper families, prayer partners, ambassadors, volunteers and donors.
Each meeting in Indianapolis was a powerful reminder of the essential role our supporters play in SpringHill today and into the future. The walk around Copper Country reminded me of the critical role our supporters have played over the years. So whether it’s past, present or future, on this early spring day, I’m deeply thankful for our supporters and what they’ve done and do for SpringHill, kids and Jesus.43.928283-85.286682