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Nonprofit Culture - Celebrate Your Culture (episode 20, part 9 of 10)

Updated: Nov 17, 2023



In this short video provides an overview of the importance of reflecting a culture in the workplace and boardroom, and making time to celebrate a healthy culture the organization has worked so hard to adopt.

by Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat Facilitator”



Hi, Tom Iselin, here . . . and welcome to First Things First.

This is Day 19 of Boot Camp—A Leadership Guide to Building a Gold Standard Nonprofit.


Today, as we wind down this series on building a “Get it Done!” culture, I want to talk with you about two key topics: 1) reflecting your culture, and 2) celebrating your culture.


All right. You’ve written a culture statement that encapsulates your culture. You’ve elected to adopt the culture. You talk about it staff and board meeting. Great! But are you “reflecting” your culture.


For example, let’s say you’ve define a board culture by saying you want to be a culture defined by “work,” “excellence,” “accountability,” and “teamwork.” But how is the board “reflecting” these culture facets in their work, speech, behavior, and policies?


If I walked into a board meeting, how would I be able to “SEE” that the board culture you defined is visible and alive? If a board is serious about adopting a culture, than it needs to be authentic in the ways that “reflect” the culture they define.


Take time to “check in” with your culture and ask yourself, “Are we reflecting the culture we defined?” “How are reflecting the culture we define?” “How could be better reflect the culture we defined.”


We you can consistently “SEE” and “HEAR” the culture you defined manifested in people’s work and words, you know you’re culture is alive and well.


Your culture is just as important as your mission or vision. It defines who you ARE, what you stand for, and what you believe! Defining a culture will take some effort, but nurturing it and keeping it front and center will take work.


This is all the more reason why you should make time on occasion to celebrate your culture. It’s a defining component of your organization and it’s important – for your culture and all those connected with your nonprofit – to express joy for the ethos that binds people together and unites them in a common purpose.


Celebrating your culture does not have to complicated or time-consuming. Simply find time a few times to year to express your pride and appreciation for the beliefs, standards, values, and behaviors that define the great organization you care so much about.


There are lots of things you can do: You can host a party with staff, board, and volunteers. Have an award that acknowledges a team of people who have best modeled your culture. Give out an award for the best idea to celebrate your culture. Or, create a culture appreciation day.


I’m sure you and your team can think of many more ideas. But whatever you do, make sure you allocate some throughout the year to celebrate the essesce of what unifies the hearts and minds and actions of all those connected with the noble mission you’re trying to fulfill.


That’s if for today. In the next episode, the final episode in this series on culture, I’ll wrap things with a summary of some of the most important points I covered. Until then . . . Who-ya!



Tom Iselin

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


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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.


To learn more, visit:

858.888.2278


Looking for answers?

I’m here to help. Contact me . . .

TomIselin@gmail.com, or 858.888.2278


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