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Why Would They Care?

I recently read an article that focused on IBM’s former CEO Sam Palmisano and his recollection of his first meeting as the Chairman of the corporation back in 2003.  According to the article he only wrote down 4 questions that day:

  1. Why would someone invest in us?
  2. Why would customers buy from us?
  3. Why would someone work here?
  4. Why would society allow us to operate?

Great questions.

Not that Mr. Palmisanon needs my approval, but I’ll give it to him anyway.   These questions, especially the last one, speak to the value a company offers and the purpose they serve.  See, even in the profit-driven corporate world innovate leaders are recognizing that if they want to last, they better be worth the space they take up.

As I continued reading the article I couldn’t help but think, how could we apply these questions to the nonprofit sector.  So in the spirit of “not reinventing the wheel”, here are 6 questions that every nonprofit leader should ask today:

  1. Why would someone donate to or fund us?
  2. Why would clients seek services from us?
  3. Why would someone work here?
  4. Why would someone volunteer here?
  5. Why would another agency/organization collaborate with us?
  6. Why would society allow us to operate?

If you want your nonprofit to last, provide value, and serve a purpose, these are the types of questions you need to be asking and answering substantively.  If you can’t answer them, then why should we care?

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