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Opinion/Philanthropy Journal – Time for change is now

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By Todd Cohen

Time is fleeting, and charities need to grab it.

Faced with social ills and internal challenges, many charities delay thinking about taking on big changes in the way they do business because they believe they need big blocs of time to think ahead.

Instead, charities can take small bits of time every day or week to map, step by step, the path they want to take to become the organizations they need to be.

Whether they hire consultants, enlist volunteer advisers or simply involve their boards and staff to think through the issues they face, charities can plan wisely if they keep it simple and use common sense.

Focusing on their mission, charities can take stock of their business, and look for ways to build on what works and fix or shed what does not.

Charities also need to involve their clients, board, staff and potential partners in thinking out loud.

They should ask tough questions, listen carefully to the answers and be brutally honest about the steps and risks they need to take to survive and thrive.

And if they build planning into their routine, charities can get into the habit of chipping away at other critical tasks they tend to put off for lack of time.

Those can include teaching themselves to use technology, building donor databases, telling their stories and encouraging donors and clients to include the charities in their wills.

By taking time to think and act, charities can make change happen.

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