Altering the Societal Status Quo: A Practical Change Initiative

September 20th, 2009   •   no comments   
We Can Make a Difference: Four Non-Profits, Five Consultants Offer Proof

September 2, 2009 was a monumental day for this challenged country and state: a small change, perhaps big impacts.  From a small conference room at a tech incubator in Rohnert Park, California, four non-profits went away with help from five skilled, compassionate and experienced business consultants.  Change in realtime.  Common people — not politicians or bureaucrats — working together, to make a difference.

Now called “The Minerva Project,” this was an effort born of dreams.  And frustration.  On more than five occasions, with more than four different local and state agencies, an idea of creating an army of consultants in California was ignored, spurned.  A friend and colleague provided comfort and inspiration after one such meeting: “forget them…we’ll do  it ourselves.”  Julie did  more good than she knew.

A simple aim of employing the unused capacity and good will of consultants was the “big idea.”  No one was willing to buy.  Unfortunate.  What does this say about our non-profit and volunteer institutions?  Seth Godin, an international marketing guru, had something to say about the non-profit world in one of his recent blog posts:

These organizations exist solely to make change. That’s why you joined, isn’t it?

The problem facing your group, ironically, is the resistance to the very thing you are setting out to do. Non-profits, in my experience, abhor change.

To read the whole thing, go to .

Am I harping about the resistance to change?  No.  Am I blowing my own horn?  Perhaps, in a way, sure.  What I want to emphasize is that we/I are not beholden to outmoded ways of operating, thinking: I — and you — can make changes.  I don’t have to be thwarted by resistance to some new ideas; I can make things happen.  And, in fact, I am. 

I’m hoping, too, that this kind of thinking provides some needed inspiration for others to do similar things: harness unused talent and expertise for the social good.  I see the need for all of us, any of us, to provide inspiration for others: you can do this, too!  You can do something that will make a difference?

Now, I reflect on that May 2009 meeting with the Senior Management of a Volunteer Center; their response was not unfamiliar in my travels on this subject; I’d received a less than tepid response at the State (California) level, too.  I scratched my head a bunch of times: “why would some Volunteer organization whose mission — to encourage Volunteerism —  turn down an offer of help from a group of consultants?”  (BTW, you can’t find that organization’s website anymore: Pity.)

Let’s go forward and do something great.  Together.  It’s more than possible; it’s probable.

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Graduates have made it clear that they are generally ill-prepared for the practical issues they have to address in their early employment brown et al

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