WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, October 1, 2020 — Ten years ago, American Humane, one of the country’s most storied and influential national charities, was at the brink of disaster – the victim of a historic economic recession and a lack of focus on effective leadership principles. Now, a decade to the day after taking the helm of this 143-year-old nonprofit, which is the country’s first national humane organization, Dr. Robin R. Ganzert is sharing 10 tips from her forthcoming book, “Mission Metamorphosis,” on the nonprofit governance tenets that saved the organization and led to a 2,000 percent increase in its humane outreach capability:
- Mission Moves Everything – For mission-driven non-profits, the intent and purpose behind every operation must be crystal clear. Many historic institutions have suffered from mission drift when they take on too much and lose sight of their goals. Refocus your programs and operations on delivering on your mission.
- Do Well to Do Good – It is not enough to want to change the world – you must be able to sustain your programs. Organizations can only do good if they balance their books to ensure that they are doing well.
- Ethical Leaders Are Effective Leaders – Culture starts at the top. Ethical leadership at non-profit organizations is essential to cultivating a hardworking, grounded culture that encourages great work. Hire and promote ethical leaders.
- Invest in Employees – For most organizations, payroll is the top expense. Invest in building up your employees with continuing education and training so that they will stay with your team for the long haul and improve your operations.
- Flatten Structures to Boost Productivity – Reporting structures that require too many checked boxes can slow down important work. If things aren’t being accomplished in a timely manner, flatten hierarchies and encourage cooperative teamwork.
- Hold Town Halls – Seek feedback from all your employees – they know best about what is happening during the day-to-day operations. Regular town hall meetings where everyone who is a part of an organization can speak and have their voices heard are a vital aspect of every healthy non-profit.
- Mind the Emotional Bank Account – Every interaction with a person can be viewed as an emotional exchange – you are either depositing or withdrawing from another person’s emotional bank account. Mind that bank account’s balance and be sure to build up your employees.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Think Big – It is easy for organizations to get comfortable and complacent. When new opportunities come up, some may be wary about swinging for the fences when everything is humming along. Thinking big, as long as it’s in line with your mission, should always be encouraged. Large risks come with large rewards.
- Build a Lasting Brand – The constituencies you serve should recognize your brand. Build a brand that clearly and concisely reflects what you do and who you are.
- Have Fun – At the end of the day, life is short. Find meaning in your work, but also find fun – laughter is free and smiles can make every day better.
Dr. Ganzert’s new book, Mission Metamorphosis serves as both a 10-year retrospective of her tenure at American Humane and a how-to guide for business leaders interested in achieving programmatic success. The book will equip both non-profit and for-profit business leaders with essential tools needed to boost revenue and efficiency while effecting positive change in the world. Fast Company Press is publishing the book, which will be available on October 20 through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore.
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane pioneered virtual every major advance in the compassion movement and today saves, shelters, feeds, protects and improves the lives of nearly one billion animals around the world each year. For more information or to support their work, please visit www.americanhumane.org.
About Dr. Robin Ganzert
Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., serves as president and CEO of American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the first to serve animals, whenever and wherever they are in need of rescue, shelter, or protection. Under her leadership, American Humane continues to earn recognition for its commitment to transparency, accountability, efficiency, and financial responsibility, including the top Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, the “Seal of Excellence” from Independent Charities of America awarded to fewer than three percent of charities nationwide, a “Top-Rated Charity” designation with an “A” rating from CharityWatch and Great Nonprofits, and membership in the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance for meeting all 20 standards of charity accountability. Since her appointment in 2010, Dr. Ganzert has spearheaded unprecedented growth and transformational change at the historic 143-year-old nonprofit, which has reemerged as the most effective humane organization in the country, directly impacting the lives of more animals than any other in the field through innovative, life-changing and life-saving programs that set the gold standard in animal welfare.
She is regularly featured in the nation’s leading news and media outlets as an authoritative voice on animal welfare. She has appeared on the TODAY Show, World News Tonight, CNN, Fox Business News, Fox and Friends, among many other media. Her perspective has been featured in leading newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe.