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Capability Company

A Message from our President

June 2014

Dear Colleague,

Fiscal Year End is approaching for many organizations. It often is a time to take inventory of what we have, what we did with it, and what we need next to do what is coming. We review our resources and activities and assess whether we stayed on track with our goals and plans. Most of the time, we made progress. Other times, we realize the clutter of the unnecessary made our efforts less efficient or effective than we hoped. One way we add to the misdirection is accepting resources that drive us away from where we need to be or complicate our path. In the article below, I delve into one form of misdirection: saying yes when we should say no.

One "yes" I am excited to report is a warm welcome to Laura Meyers, the new administrative coordinator of Postpartum Education and Support, Inc. This is a new position for the organization and doubles their staff. Congratulations, Laura and way to "grow", PES!

Don't forget to fill me in on your upcoming trainings and conferences, referrals, and updates. I am always eager to hear from you.

All the best,

Sherry Heuser
President, Capability Company

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Article of the Month

Word count: 378
Approximate Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Can't Say No?

by Sherry Heuser

Look around your office. Are your bookshelves a mismatched collection of unsold yard sale items, more likely to fall apart than last until next year? Is your desk chair a hand-me-down from a board member's office renovation that is so uncomfortable no one wants to claim it? Is the printer leftover from another company's upgrade, its ever-increasing offline time regularly causing frustration and delays? I'm a big believer in reusing and repurposing, but if your entire office looks like the rejected extras from everyone else's, it might be a symptom of "Can't Say No Syndrome".

We have all seen or experienced it: an overextended program director who reluctantly teams with a dedicated volunteer who steps in to assist staff-and steps on their toes in the process; a relenting development director who accepts an unsuitable, restricted gift from a longtime donor; a frustrated board that agrees to a new program that doesn't exactly line up with organizational plans but wants to appease a vocal contingent.

And all that furniture. We need a place to store our office supplies, but is it the best solution, or just the first one presented to us? Once you start receiving, accepting, and collecting, it can be hard to stop.

Don't worry-Can't Say No Syndrome is contagious, but it can be resolved. The organization needs help, funding, and materials, but consideration can be given to managing these so that they do not overwhelm or control the organization. When offers are presented, ask yourself: do they fit into the current activities and future plans, or are they miscellaneous and extraneous activities that distract staff and leaders from their work and detract from the organization's purpose?

By accepting support and resources that align with your mission and programs, you will strengthen the organization. Each addition builds, expands, and enhances the work accomplished, by broadening and deepening your volunteer base, donor connections, and programmatic impact. Be a gracious recipient, but also a savvy steward and knowledgeable leader. Know what you need and communicate it clearly, and be prepared to redirect well-meaning but inappropriate offers. Have a plan ready for donations of all kinds-time, money, and materials-and a "wish list" of your most-needed items. Educate your inner circle of volunteers, donors, and board members about your goals and what you need to get there. If you are specific, you are less likely to receive random clutter and more likely to garner valuable resources.

Bottom Line: Saying no can be difficult, but it also can be essential to maintaining integrity.

Sherry Heuser is president of Capability Company Consulting, a Raleigh, N.C.-based firm supporting nonprofit organizations' searches for key hires.

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In This Issue

Current Searches
Article of the Month
The Bottom Line
Event Calendar


A Client's Perspective

"Sherry... I can't thank you enough - could not have done it without you!”

Camilla Herlevich
Coastal Land Trust


Heard Around Town

"You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person"

~ Author Unknown

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