What is the most valuable, scarcest resource in most nonprofits? Answer: the attention and time of senior management.
The time and attention of the executive director and other managers is a precious organizational resource: one that we must try to use as intentionally as we use other resources.
As nonprofit managers, though, it’s easy to be careless with our time, and we allocate this large resource incrementally, on the fly. But when we make a decision to go to a coalition meeting instead of finishing a grant proposal or talking with volunteers, we are not just choosing which to do, we are choosing where to invest an organizational resource.
This is not to say every minute has to be intentional, productive, strategic . . . that would be a futile, frustrating goal. We can pause for a moment, though, when we face a choice about what to do, and reframe the question: not "Should I do this?" but "Is this the right way for me to invest the organizational resource of my time and attention?"
* For Valentine’s Day we pair some HR advice about office romances with some heartwarming stories about nonprofit love (awwwww). This issue also has How to Hire Your First Development Staff, written as a Days Of Our Lives script: admit it, you’re not going to find that anywhere else but Blue Avocado. We offer some alternative approaches to the board’s approval of the budget in Meaningful Budget Work By the Board, and a trip to the zoo.
* Blue Avocado donors: we’re experiencing a major confluence of transition-to-new-software problems and pneumonia. We hope to get back to all of you very, very soon, and oh, we feel very bad about it. Thank you for being so patient.
Thanks to all of you for the valentine-like messages of appreciation and encouragement you send all year. It means a great deal to us to hear from you — including those criticisms and suggestions! –Jan Masaoka