Developing a Growth Mindset

Philip Manzano • Jun 29, 2017

Tips for Nonprofits to Move Away From a Scarcity Frame of Mind The post Developing a Growth Mindset appeared first on Keela.

Changing the world is no easy task. But it’s a burden that so many amazing people take on every day in the non-profit sector. These amazing individuals take on some of the most difficult situations, both natural and systemic, and do whatever they can to positively affect the outcome.

As with any big task, the best way to go about it is by breaking the problem down into smaller pieces and start tackling those. Bite off more than you can chew, and chew it.

But sometimes, the obstacle that gets in the way of accomplishing our mission.. is us.

Alyssa Wright of GlobalGiving , took a look at this very issue – the scarcity mindset.

It is the mindset that gives small nonprofits the idea that they cannot accomplish what they hope to accomplish and force them to aim lower. So, instead of talking to donors about scaling the organization’s work to touch more lives, nonprofits scramble to get a one-time donation or something else that they feel is more “realistic”.

This thinking is common in the non-profit sector – and it’s easy to see why. Nonprofits deal with a lot of things that force them into a mindset of scarcity: constant rejection from potential donors, lack of capacity and technology to make jobs easier, board members who might not fully believe in the mission or the bigger picture. And these are just a few of the examples.

So, how can we break this toxic mindset and start developing a growth mindset? Well, here are a few tips:

Practice at home and at work

Make sure that you walk the talk. If you have a growth mindset at work, and then forget about all of that as soon at the clock hits 5:00PM, then you might find id=t difficult to really believe in what you’re doing. Changing your mentality about a subject is about consistency, at home, and in the workplace. If you don’t have consistency, it’s easy to slip into what’s comfortable. And if a scarcity mindset is the most comfortable for you, your non-profit might be stuck.

Don’t be afraid to let board members go

Nonprofits put a lot of time and effort into choosing their board members. These individuals are usually a mixed bag of passionate community advocates, business professionals, and organization alumni. They each bring skills that the nonprofit desperately needs. But they also give the nonprofit direction and can be quite influential.

This is why it’s so difficult to have unpleasant discussions with them. But, if there is a board member that promotes a scarcity mindset – be bold and have a conversation about it. Remind your board of the mission that your organization is trying to accomplish. Give them examples of how the status quo is actually regression.

And if you have to – let go of board members that hold you back.

Use “Yes, and” instead of “No, but”

It seems like a basic step – but it’s an effective practice. By saying “Yes” more – you psychologically begin to remove barriers and look for solutions. As a community-focused non-profit, this is exactly what you should be doing. There will be tons of barriers in your way, naturally. The last thing you need is to have your organization filled with people who not only reinforce those barriers but create even more.

By saying yes more, you force yourself and your team to be creative and look for alternative solutions. At the end of the day, your creativity could mean the difference between accomplishing your mission and remaining at the status quo.

Engage with other sectors

One of the areas of creativity that you can look into is by partnering with other sectors for inspiration, or even capacity building. Who else is in your community? Who is doing a good job? Talk to them, and see if there is something that you can do together.

For example, let’s say your small organization wants to run a huge fundraiser, but have never done a good job of recruiting volunteers. The scarcity mindset would tell you to scale down and be more realistic. But the growth mindset would encourage you to be creative: take a look at the local schools or universities, and see if they have any students who want to volunteer. Perhaps there is a partnership here. By saying yes, and by looking at partnerships – you start to overcome obstacles.

If you want to make your mission, possible — then this shift towards a growth mindset would be very beneficial! Using powerfully simple tools can help you in that shift as well! Check out Keela for more:


– Growth Mindset in the Nonprofit Sector
– 3 Tactics To Shift Your Nonprofit From Scarcity To Abundance Mindset