Management Support Organizations come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the community, the list might include these and others who provide some form of management support for Community Benefit Organizations:
• Nonprofit Resource Center
• Volunteer Center
• Leadership Organization
• Coalitions, Federations, Associations
• Neighborhood Empowerment / Community Organizing Organization
• Community Convening Organization
• Community Foundation
• United Way
This web of groups makes up the infrastructure that supports the many faces of the Community Benefit Sector.
Ask someone inside these organizations, “What would it look like if your organization were 100% successful?” and generally their first answer is something like this: “Organizations in our community would be strong, to do the work they need to do.”
It is when we ask the next question that people’s faces light up: “If organizations were strong enough to do the work they need to do, what would that make possible?”
The answer is always the same, this time said with a smile so wide I can usually hear it over the phone.
“If all those organizations were strong and capable, the quality of life in our community would be significantly better. Our community would be healthy, vibrant, resilient, humane.”
If the purpose of ensuring organizational strength is to create extraordinary communities, then that is not only the highest potential of those individual food banks and arts organizations and after school programs; it is also the highest potential of the Management Support Organizations that support the food banks and arts organizations and after school programs!
What if that potential was the conscious aim of every Nonprofit Resource Center, Volunteer Center and Leadership Organization – of every Coalition, every Community Foundation, every United Way?
What if each of those organizations consciously aligned all their programs and all their own infrastructure behind that ultimate goal – building an extraordinary community?
What would that make possible? And what would have to change to make it so?
Find out in Part 2 of this post!