During this year’s Super Bowl several commercials aired with messages focused on community, equality, equal opportunity and how business products serve the common good. These for-profit companies – Toyota, Verizon, Fiat-Chrysler for RAM Trucks, and Coke like saw value in taking a non-profit approach to connecting with consumers.
What can a for-profit learn from non-profit businesses? Maria Sentelik, Executive Director of Ohio Valley Voices, shared her story with me as to why, for 18 years, she has been able to help children who are deaf learn to talk.
In this podcast you’ll learn lessons about channeling passion, operational management, outsourcing, and hiring that can serve for-profit and non-profit businesses alike.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM MARIA SENTELIK: OHIO VALLEY VOICES
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUCCESSFUL NON-PROFIT? (2:34 in)
In Maria’s words – The very first thing you have to have is passion for it and a true commitment to want to change. You’re really running a small business and you have to have business knowledge
Insight – Having other people with passion and business experience is important to complement the passion of the executive director.
WHAT IS THE MAKEUP OF THE IDEAL EMPLOYEE? (4:16 in)
In Maria’s words – What is the most successful is a unique combination of an individual who wants to be a part of change, a learner, someone who is committed with a good work ethic.
Insight – The best non-profit employees value making a difference in other people’s lives as much as receiving compensation for their work.
WHY DO SOME NON-PROFIT BUSINESSES FAIL? (5:02 in)
In Maria’s words – Continuity. If you keep changing your leadership. That leadership never has a clear vision. I’ve seen other non-profits go from executive director to executive director and they can’t move forward.
Insight – Depth of skill sets within the rank and file as well as the leadership is important because you can’t do it alone.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FUNDRAISER? (6:39 in)
In Maria’s words – Getting out there and getting out into the community. Having the community know we exist and recognizing that we have life altering results.
Insight – Give people a clear picture of what you do and having potential donors see your work in action cultivates the motivation to give.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS? (9:41 in)
In Maria’s words – I expect their support and skills. I use them to help me grow the organization.
Insight – Successful non-profits have a board of directors with a variety of skill sets that match up with what the organization is trying to accomplish and facilitating it to happen.
HOW SHOULD A NON-PROFIT MEASURE ITSELF? (11:34 in)
In Maria’s words – How are we doing. Unless we deliver an excellent service, we aren’t doing our job.
Insight – Fundraising and other financial measures are important too. But those are a by product of the number one priority – providing a service that gets results.
WHAT SHOULD THE FOCUS OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BE? (14:10 in)
In Maria’s words – In the beginning my focus was on developing and making a program. Now my head should be in the future. I’m looking at what’s going to happen in the classroom five years from now. What should be going on to get better.
Insight – The sooner you can take yourself out of doing everything, the day to day tasks of the organization, the more effective you will be as an executive director.