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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

Thought Exercise For Organizations

What if you received a call from MacKenzie Scott (see below) informing you that your organization was the recipient of a sum of money larger than any you’d ever received? After the initial shock and perhaps the thought that this was a prank, what would you do?

While this experience probably won’t happen to most of us, it does raise important questions that any organization might want to think about. You don’t need to answer all of these questions or in this order. However, spending some time with yourself, staff, board members, and community to reflect on these questions will contribute to an organization that is healthy, responsive, and fulfilling your important mission.

10 Questions to Reflect Upon if You Are Given a Boatload of Money

  • What impact will this money have on your organization and community?

  • Do you want to expand or change your mission now?

  • Do you want to add programs or services?

  • Are there people in your community who are slipping through the cracks that you could now serve?

  • Do you want to expand and diversify your staff? Who would you hire? Is your staff representative of the people in your community?

  • Does your staff earn a living wage and receive benefits? How can you ensure that they are treated with respect and recognized for their work? Would you offer more flexible schedules and hours?

  • Would you reach out to other organizations to share the wealth or would you keep the money for your own organization? Would this be a time to partner with other organizations and/or re-grant some of the funds?

  • Would you make decisions quickly or would you take time to consider these questions and others?

  • How much of the money would you spend in the first year and how much would you reserve for the future and/or for an endowment?

  • What process will you use to think about these questions and make decisions? Who will be involved?

I believe that any organization would benefit from thinking about these big questions. In fact, if you think about them before hand, you will be much more prepared if you do receive the call.

Even on a limited budget, you may re-imagine your organization. Who do you serve? How do you serve them? How do you treat your employees? What is your direction? What is the best way to get there now and into the future?

And if you never receive that infusion of cash, you will have thought about your organization’s programs, services, and staffing in meaningful and significant ways that may result in important changes going forward.


Wondering who MacKenzie Scott is? Below is a link to her blog and a couple of articles about her and her decision to give away her wealth.


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