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Leadership Training Series (video): Episode 7 of 21 - Authentic Passion (part 3 of 7)

Updated: Apr 24

Learn how to turn "lip service" passion into "authentic passion" at your nonprofit in order to create a "Get it Done!" do something, I'm in, culture. Specifically, this video covers the tactic of defining a clear sense of purpose through a nonprofit's mission and vision statements, and statement of purpose.

Intended Audience:

Executives, Board Members, Staff.

About the Series:

Welcome to my Nonprofit Leadership series "How to Build a Gold Standard Nonprofit."

Whether you're a seasoned executive director, or new to the nonprofit world, this video series of 21 videos will give you a set of tools and principles (and good reminders) that will help take your staff, board, organization, to the next level of performance and impact.

The videos are short. There is no mumbo-jumbo theory, just wise advice and practical tactics you can use and apply immediately. It all comes from though lessons I've learned while building eight nonprofits over the last 20 years.

I'll be sending out one video a week. For those who want to binge on the series, or if you missed an episode, you can find them all (and more) on my YouTube Channel -- The Nonprofit Mentor.

Save These Videos

Save these emails in a folder and send them to staff once a week. Or, show one or a two at every board meeting. You can even use them when on-boarding staff, board members, or volunteers. Enjoy and Learn!


PS: You can read more high-quality leadership content in the bestselling books below. (50% off)

by Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat Facilitator”

Hi, and welcome to First Things First. This is Day 7 of Boot Camp—A Leadership Guide to Building a Gold Standard Nonprofit.

On Day 6, we continued our discussion of authentic passion, and what it takes for a nonprofit to transform lip-service passion into authentic passion. I discussed the concept of “commitment” and why commitment it’s essential to fulfilling a mission, unlike many people who just recognize the “idea” of a mission.

Today, I’m going to share with you why a “clear sense of purpose” is another essential tactic you’ll need to put in place to create an authentic culture—a DO SOMETHING CULTURE!

Okay, Let’s assume your board and staff are “committed” and moti­vated to fulfilling your mission. Great! But what “work” should they be committed to make to this happen? What is in place to “guide” their decisions? See, successful nonprofits know where they want to go, what they want to do, why they want to do it, and how they’re going to achieve it. They have a “clear sense of purpose” and it provides a backdrop for every important deci­sion and action they make.

The first three documents you’ll want to develop to define a clear sense of purpose are a mission statement, vision statement, and statement of purpose. Embedded in these statements are the guiding principles and core values that create the unifying purpose to chan­nel and propel everyone’s commitment and passion. They also create standards by which your nonprofit can measure its efficiency and effectiveness.

The other two items you’ll want to put in place to give you a clear sense of purpose are job descriptions for staff members, and a roles and responsibilities document for board members.

Well-defined job descriptions for staff, outline what is expected of staff. They also provide staff a clear sense of purpose, as defined through their work duties and responsibilities. Similarly, well-defined roles and responsibilities for board members, outline what is expected of board members, through their work duties and responsibilities. I’ll be talking about how to develop a best-in-class roles and responsibilities document in another show.

Once you have these core documents in place, you won’t want to hang them on the wall just yet. You’ll want to use the content and intention of all these documents to create and update things such as your bylaws, strategic plans, corporate policies, and marketing materials.

Everything your nonprofit says and does should be connected to the intent and meaning of these documents, including how you manage staff, inspire volunteers, develop programs, and measure success. For exam­ple: “Do the outcomes of our programs align with the purpose of your mission?” “Are the fundraising tactics used in your major donor fund­raising program aligned with the principles outlined in your case state­ment?” “Do volunteers know the core values driving your vision?” “Are board members being held accountable to fulfill their fundraising obligations?”

L>Think about it. How can you expect people to be authentically passion­ate about your vision, and be authentically committed to fulfilling your mission, if they don’t under­stand, believe, and value them? How can people effectively raise funds if they can’t make a good case for support? How can you plan for the future, if you don’t where you want to go? How can board and staff members be held accountable if they don’t “clearly” know what is expected of them?

If you want to create an authentically passionate culture, a “DO SOMETHING” culture, then you need to lay the foundation of who should be doing what, and where you want to go. First Things First!

Well, that’s it for today. Tune in next week, when I’ll talk about how Authentic Passion requires a system to engage people. Until then, remember to do what’s right for your nonprofit, not what’s convenient or easy! Whooya!

And don’t forget to write me. Ask me a question or tell me what you’d like see on the show. Until next week . . .

That’s it for today. If you enjoyed the show, . . . then like it and share it! And tune in next week for Day 5 of Boot Camp, where you’ll learn how to transform “lip-service” passion into authentic passion.

Until then, create a great day! . . . Whooya!

Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Facilitator”

Additional Resources:


Tom's Books, Podcasts, and YouTube Channel

Tom Iselin has built four sector-leading nonprofits and four foundations. He’s written six books, sits on six boards, and hosts a video blog and podcast. Each year, Tom speaks to more than 5,000 nonprofit leaders at conferences across the country. He is considered America's best board retreat and strategic planning facilitator and is a leading authority on high-performance nonprofits, and his impact on the industry has been featured on CNN, Nightline, and in Newsweek.

Tom is the president of First Things First, a business specializing in board development retreats, strategic planning, fundraising, executive coaching, and speaking. To relax, he loves mountain biking, hiking, skiing, tennis, and baking.

If you’re in the hunt for the best board retreat/board development facilitation, or the best strategic planning facilitation, it would be a privilege to learn more about your organization and the aspirations you hope to achieve as you work to propel your noble mission. Jot me an email to set up a meet-and-greet call.

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