A Message from Mark C. Titi, MBA
Facilitator and Wobbly Nonprofit Founder
There are tens of thousands of public charities in the United States. Wow, that’s a collectively awesome amount of responsibility to do good! Many of these charities are very fragile-running on thin resources. It’s the smallest of these nonprofits- with annual budgets of less than $2 million- that I work with in Multiplying Good.
Organizations, to which I like to more aptly refer to as dis-organizations, are not perfect. Nor are we. To witness a business operation consistently run like clockwork is a rare sight indeed. Yet it is these very imperfections that lead us to continually strive to get better. This is a journey without a destination. But for a charity charged with helping others, it is not only a matter of getting better. In fact, it is a matter of leaving more for future generations to come.
I’m a square peg in a round world, getting my first dose of the nonprofit industry in 1979. Since that time you could say that I have overdosed. I have accumulated over a decade of experience directing the financial and planning activities of small nonprofit organizations. As an ethical steward, trying to help them magically stretch their dollars as far as possible has always been a colossal task. I certainly understand the differences and difficulties associated with operating in a limited resource environment. I always seek those levers where the smallest of changes in one variable can produce the biggest positive changes on the nonprofit mission. This has been a never-ending quest for me.
Sandwiched between this nonprofit work were financial projects within organizations large and small- ranging from sole proprietorships to large international corporations. I was now ready to use this melting pot of experiences and my own ideas to create a program that could help small nonprofits. That’s when things started to get a bit crazy and my sense of urgency intensified.
Shortly after starting to develop the Multiplying Good program in 2012, I narrowly escaped living the rest of my life in a wheelchair. The consequences of a serious automobile accident in which I was nearly killed had finally caught up with me. I faced what amounted to emergency surgery. As I write this, I am hopefully in the last stages of recovery and adjusting to a “new normal”.
I have developed the Opportunity Heat Map and SHINE method of highlighting nonprofit accomplishments . These are all part of the Multiplying Good program. In addition, I am the creator of the Wobbly Grade, a measure of small nonprofit resiliency.
It’s a troubled world that we live in and, before I leave here, I want to make a tiny piece of it better. Keeping in mind that one size does not fit all, what can we accomplish together? I don’t profess to be able to work with everyone. I have found though that I work best with others who share my basic values and beliefs. Here are some of the things that I believe in. See how they compare with yours.
- I don’t believe that any of us are experts and have all the answers. As an extension of this, I don’t believe in consulting experts that produce lengthy reports unable to be implemented (and sometimes paid for!).
- I don’t believe in slapping together a temporary fix or applying band-aid solutions.
- I don’t believe in hesitating to speak up when things have gone astray or bad news must be delivered.
- I don’t believe in viewing people as costs instead of investments.
- I don’t believe in wasting others time and money.
- I don’t believe in hopelessness.
- I do believe in organizations that serve as windows- not walls.
- I do believe in being on time and on budget with minimal disruptions.
- I do believe in being financially prudent but not cheap.
- I do believe in the power of people (but not dysfunctional teams).
- I do believe in planning but not to defer the rolling up of your sleeves and getting the job done.
- I do believe in trends with substance but not industry buzzwords created for the benefit of the people coining them.
- I do believe in leaving things better for the next guy and gal- not just collecting a paycheck for years.
When I leave this world, I want to know that I have succeeded as Emerson said.
“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
How about you?
Important changes can take time with small successes along the way. Never deviating from our core values system will assure that we stay the course. There will be peaks and valleys but the expected outcomes should always be crystal clear. And, when it is time, I will know when to get out-of-the-way.
Life is a temporary assignment for all of us. So let’s get busy! Leave Your Mark and share this journey with me.