The Blue Jeans Blues
Kristin O'Malley, President and CEO

I have a serious love/hate relationship with blue jeans. LOVE wearing them. HATE shopping for them. But, when I had worn my Lucky Brand dark-washed, gently-whiskered, 5-pocket, zipper-fly, boot-cut besties way beyond respectability, I had no choice but to hit the mall. No biggie. Dash in. Dash out. A new pair of these made-for-me blues was a quick credit-card swipe away. Right? Wrong.
Lucky Brand had changed my go-to style, and I was in full meltdown over the inevitable denim break-up. I thought I'd never find my perfect fit again, but, to my surprise, I soon left with a new boyfriend--boyfriend jean, that is. The world was right again.
And then, something amazing happened. I started venturing out of my comfort zone, trying new styles and different brands that added depth to my wardrobe. I wasn't a one-fit-wonder anymore.
Okay, now that I've risked sounding totally superficial, this really does have to do with nonprofit work. Research consistently shows that structuring teams with people who are different propels innovation. Not angst. Not chaos. Not stagnation. Innovation! Too often we (consciously and unconsciously) assemble homogenous teams. We try to make sure everyone on our staff, board of directors, committees and volunteer groups is a good "fit" for the team, as comfortable and familiar as my favorite Lucky Brand jeans. For some reason, we think that we will work more constructively and harmoniously with people who think, reason and act like we do when, actually, the reverse is true. Homogeneous teams tend to keep the status quo, take fewer calculated risks and effect change more slowly.
Some of our local nonprofits have bravely looked beyond the "usual suspects" when partnering to problem-solve. Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance supplies fresh, local fish to The Family Pantry of Cape Cod, assuring a reliable income to one, nutritious meals to another. Cape Abilities runs a farm which produces food for the community, creates skill training opportunities and jobs for its clients with disabilities, and generates revenue for its programs. And, through its Art and Alzheimer's Program, the Cape Cod Museum of Art helps patients with memory loss engage in the arts and discover gateways to past stories and memories. This month, we've been checking in with the recipients of our 2016 Strategic Focus Grants and will be reporting on their community impact in upcoming issues of the The Hub. These organizations--and many others--are proving that there are new ways to combat age-old problems and drive social change in our community by thinking outside of the box.
That's what our Strategic Leadership Platform is all about. I've talked about how the Foundation invests in "human capital" through nonprofit leadership development, education and training in earlier columns. In fact, this year's Non-Event directly supports the Institute for Nonprofit Practice's Core Certificate Program, now entering its second year on Cape Cod.
Promoting diversity within organizations, the nonprofit sector and the community is also an important part of our leadership strategy. People on heterogeneous teams become super-thinkers and more passionate doers. They form more strategic partnerships and create projects and programs that solve problems in new ways. Better ways. And these are the initiatives we are powering up together. These are the initiatives, funded through your generous donations and the discretionary income from our endowment fund, that are experiencing an extended impact in the community. Today and for the future.

TAKE THE "FIT" CHALLENGE: The next time you put together a team, challenge your concept of "fit" and let me know how it works out.
LAST MONTH: Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood? READ

It's our Annual Non-Event...
Please don't attend!
Our Annual Non-Event puts an interesting twist on fundraising--you don't have to go anywhere to support The Cape Cod Foundation's strategic leadership initiatives.
As you know, we have been consistently building our discretionary resources so that we can award strategic grants to nonprofits and take advantage of opportunities that strengthen the entire Cape Cod community--like the Institute for Nonprofit Practice's Core Certificate Program for nonprofit leaders and the new Nonprofit Compensation & Benefits study detailed below.
So hang up your little black dress and put away your tux. This is the best event you'll never attend--and your donation will have a great impact in the community. DONATE NOW.

The Cape Cod Foundation helped fund a study we know you'll be interested in. The recently-released Valuing Our Nonprofit Workforce report includes comprehensive data on compensation and benefits for the nonprofit workforce in Southern New England and Westchester County, NY.
We supported this initiative because it aligns with our Strategic Leadership Platform to help Cape Cod nonprofits expand capacity. Recruiting and retaining effective leadership and staff are critical to that goal, and knowledge is power. Prior to this study by TSNE MissionWorks, there was no current, reliable data about compensation and benefits for the nonprofit workforce on Cape Cod & The Islands. And, as you know, metrics from outside markets rarely--if ever--translate to the unique environment in which we live and work. The report also lets us know where local nonprofits fit in with other comparable nonprofits across Southern New England and beyond.
This is a powerful, much-needed, free resource. The 200+ page downloadable report has a wealth of interesting information. The searchable compensation database includes data about 170+ jobs held by more than 35,000 individuals.  Building our community's representation in studies like these is an ongoing, worthwhile endeavor.


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