“What distinguishes a good nonprofit from a great nonprofit? At the end of the day, the great, charismatic nonprofits are not necessarily those that have charismatic leaders, but those that can create strong social capital,” said Deborah Jospin at a Center for American Progress event about the book she co-authored with Shirley Sagawa, The Charismatic Organization: Eight Ways to Grow a Nonprofit that Builds Buzz, Delights Donors, and Energizes Employees. Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of Fortune Magazine, moderated the discussion with Sagawa and Jospin.
The danger of basing an organization around one person with charismatic leadership qualities is that the focus can quickly become the leader rather than the organization. A leader can always leave an organization. This is why Sagawa and Jospin argue that building a fundamentally strong, team based nonprofit will be a more effective method in the long run than relying on individual leadership.
“There are two kinds of social capital,” explained Sagawa. “One kind brings people together and unites them in a cause so that they want to be part of that community.” This is especially valuable because it means that, in hard economic times, an organization’s donors and supporters will still be there and feel a connection to that cause. The other type of social capital is “bridging social capital.” This means that an organization is able to reach beyond its immediate network, which allows it to expand their donor base or political influence. …read more and see the video at Building a Charismatic Nonprofit – Center for American Progress, published 21 April 2009.
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