20 Years in Review
This month I begin my 20th year as a consultant. My oh my! I remember the first few months like yesterday. It was an exciting time of faith and watching God teach me many things. I sent out letters to everyone I knew letting them know I had started my own business.
As I reflect on this milestone, I thought I would share a few of the more interesting points I observed.
- My big grey "brick" cell phone was so cool. I could drive down the road and EVERYONE knew I had one of the new cool electronics. It was so big, that when I parked my car outside the mission where I was working, someone broke my window and stole the phone! They then made hundreds of 1-2 minute phone calls until 2 in the morning when the phone was finally shut off. How many phones have I had in the past 20 years?
- I remember thinking, "I doubt that I will need an email address, but I will sign up for the AOL thing so I look cutting edge." Ha, it wasn’t but a few months and I was totally dependent on checking my email throughout the day.
- Anyone remember when we got off airplanes and RAN to the nearest pay phone to call our personal 800 number and check for messages?
- Development – what has changed? To me, the building of relationships with our ministries has not changed much. But various components certainly have changed.
- Strategies always adapt and change. We have added social media, more technology, and someone always creates the latest and greatest. American Idol raised $45 Million on one night, and during a recession!
- Speed. Everything must be done faster. Nuff said!
- Donors continue to change, and not all for the good. There is more skepticism, more doubt in our nonprofits. Somehow, and I have some opinions why, there is more of a concern that a nonprofit will rip you off, or waste money.
- Another change is the belief that any businessperson can run a nonprofit better than the executives who currently run the nonprofit. This growing belief is very disconcerting. I find that rather than have more educational programs about leading nonprofits, more business schools are developing school programs that have “social value”. While these seem to be helpful, an underlying belief is that nonprofits should be run more like businesses.
- Nonprofit and Development Education is growing, yet it cannot keep up with the demand. More and more trained people are needed to work in nonprofits.
- Nonprofit clients are great to work with. I love meeting people who dedicate their lives to making an impact in others. And travel, hotels, airports, and the people who work in them continue to degrade and become more of a hassle. Travel is not fun and is very draining.
Finally, my website update is to be launched XXXXXX. Please take a look and send me your thoughts.
Till next time,
Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE, CSP