by Anne Desrosiers
A life-changing experience, I recently joined the Penn Social Impact House (PSIH) Fellowship community. The importance of community – especially as the leader of a young nonprofit has been made clearer to me than ever before. I've often felt like being a young nonprofit entrepreneur was a lonely road. There's no denial of my own personal network of support, but the challenges, successes, and grind within the startup landscape present a different set of stressors requiring different ears and insights.
After my time in PSIH I truly understood the value of community and development as a leader within that context. Here are the top 4 reasons that every nonprofit startup leader should create, find, and/or join a community of development for themselves and their ventures.
1) You Are Not Alone
While there are many different types of communities, a community of development allows you to realize you are not alone in your struggles! The resource generation and sharing in a space dedicated to developing the leader and the organization allows one to realize that it is difficult but others have been right there ... and have made it.
2) Problems From Another Perspective
There's a Wayne Dyer quote that says "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." This is one of the most valuable lessons gained from being a part of a community of development. As entrepreneurs we, and those around us can easily get stuck in the thick of working. When you are forced to step back and hear others' perceptions of your problems (whether perceived or real) the revelations can be priceless for getting out of any rut.
3) Creativity Connections
Whenever development of a person is part of an experience, the best communities include creativity and imagination. For any leader or young organization, creativity is a viable mandate. The focus on work can make one lose the ability envision other things - but this is why the community of development works. If two heads are better than one just imagine 5-10 more engaged minds?
4) Growth & Vision
It takes such a high level of dedication and commitment that it's easy to think you'll be in that realm forever. By being a part of a community of development you are forced to realize that no phase lasts forever and that you too can build your own community at every level in your own organization. Communities present assets in experience that only add to the growth and toolkit of any young organization.
Communities create and sustain change. Ultimately we’re all part of something greater than us as individuals. Have you found your something’s community yet?