Influential Champions — Got One?

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With all of the hullabaloo about individual social entrepreneurs, I fear we are losing sight of some of the principles of collective enterprise. There is no doubt that leaders matter, but the conversation about them sometimes smacks as one great big group hug. Okay, I find it a bit nauseating; mostly because I believe that individualism, whether it’s on the part of people or institutions shouldn’t have as large a place as it has recently had in our immediate future in this sector. We all have to be about the whole rather than just our part and that requires us to be vigilant on each other’s behalf.

We need to champion each other.

I am proud to say that the Nonprofit Quarterly would not be here today to serve you if it were not for a number of champions (you know who you are) who made its existence and development very much their business. These people spent innumerable hours and piles of social capital on NPQ, never missing an opportunity to act as connectors on our behalf. Recently I was talking with one of them and he told me “If NPQ hadn’t been there, it would have to have been invented, so of course I was going to do the best I could.”

Unfortunately, this type of stance is still unusual.

Of course, being an NPQ champion also gives them a lot of extra license to kvetch about our failures, but that also is a blessing.

The results of our relationships with champions can be pivotal and yet we rarely discuss the way they work, except sometimes pertaining to fundraising. So we are interested in your real life stories, starring either someone else or yourself as a champion. Help us all understand how influential individuals in our networks function — and talk specifically — because these human connectors may be among our greatest treasures in the next few years.

Send your champion stories. We can’t wait to read them. As always, we won’t print or use them without permission.