Q: How do I figure out what group or organization to be involved with and what are good pre-requisites to have?
There are many organizations, startups, enterprises working in community and global development.
It is up to you to pick and choose which ones would lead you to you closer to your desired career, contribution or business pathway.
As I have written in the blog, Why is passion overrated? unless you have determined your interests and skills set as part of self-discovery, this is going to be an endless task.
There are no perfect organizations but a few signals about them would reveal if they are a good organization to work with either as an intern, volunteer or paid staff.
-Are they self-sustainable or are they living from one grant /donation to another? Are they downsizing or on a growth spurt? If they are having difficulty retaining staff, they are not in the best shape for sure.
-Do they have a good, dynamic, and effective Board/Trustees? Do they retain their Board for a long period of time but also get new Boards to take up new responsibilities and provide fresh insights? Both of these signal interest and continued commitment to the purposes of the organization.
-Do they take care of their staff, volunteers and their Executive Director? How is the structure of the organization convened? Do they have a non-hierarchical and flat structure or they have an overwhelming red tape that it is cumbersome to get things done on time and with less hassle? Do they value self-care and leadership development for their staff?
-Are their programs and services continuously being improved? Do you see a lot of innovation and assets-based engagement? If yes, then you will learn more from these types of organizations who are always striving to increase the effectiveness of their efforts.
-Are they a learning organization? Do they carry out studies, evaluations, and assessments about how they are impacting their constituencies? How frequently do they take a stock of their achievements and the changing environment they operate in? Are they market-oriented and future-oriented?
This is not an exhaustive list but I think you get the point. The more you look at the operational and strategic elements of the organization, the more you will understand where the organization is headed and if it's in the best health moving forward.
Large organizations do not mean they are successful and impactful and smaller organizations do not mean that they have a smaller impact.
It is not about the size but how their strategies and the resources are deployed for their intended results.
Small can be way more efficient, effective, and smart about its footprint in the world.
Big organizations have more complex systems, operations, and people to look after and develop.
Make a choice. Try working in a small organization and a big organization (one at a time) and see the difference.
In your sector, what are the elements of a good organization? Share your thoughts here.
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