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Opinion/Philanthropy Journal – Thinking is an asset

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By Todd Cohen

In a world that moves too fast, thinking is critical.

Led by board and staff, charities need to map where they want to go and how to get there.

Consultants, nonprofit support groups and foundation program officers are geared to advise charities on planning their futures, running their operations and focusing their resources.

These professionals can be useful, although some are blinded by the rigid ideas and vague jargon of philanthropic correctness.

Even if they turn to professionals for help, charities’ first job is to think for themselves, keep it simple and use common sense.

They also can call on smart people in their communities to act as volunteer advisers to help raise and think through tough questions.

The critical challenge for charities is to adjust how they work to meet changes in the markets they serve.

Charities should assess the forces shaping their markets, then weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their mission, staff, board, operations and support.

Then they can think about internal changes they can make, and partnerships they can form, to meet external challenges.

Charity flows from the heart, but growth and innovation require brutal honesty and open-minded thinking to work smarter in an increasingly tough marketplace.

Thinking takes time and hard work. By working their thinking into their routine, and being smart and practical, charities can find their way to the future. 

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