Salesforce, innovation, and the power of failure for nonprofits

Nothing is perfect but it is possible to use our inevitable failures to inspire innovation, and build the collaborative learning practices needed to become more competitive, effective and resilient organizations.

- Vision Statement of Failforward.org

Let’s face it. We screw up. We make mistakes. We miss the target, or realize after scoring a direct hit that we were aiming at the wrong target all along.

We fail.

This is all the more true when we have lofty goals which are chock full of difficult targets to hit. And nonprofits are nothing if not organizations with lofty goals. They are looking to foster the social good by curing ugly, intractable problems that don’t have easy answers or tried-and-true remedies.

Nonprofits need to fail. It’s often within failure that true innovation happens. As one who spent a decade working for nonprofit organizations, both domestic and international, prior to coming to PICnet, I greatly appreciate Fail Forward’s vision statement. Ditto for the insight shared in the New York Times article from November 2012 that I stumbled upon recently called The Power of Failure.

As a former nonprofit accidental techie, I can appreciate the challenge of implementing technology solutions to support those world-changing efforts only to realize that they were the wrong solutions.

And as a PICnetter, I can appreciate the power and flexibility of Salesforce and our tools that integrate with it that allow nonprofits to reshape solutions based on lessons learned from failure to scale success.

So, go head. Fail. Take calculated risks with that donation campaign or application process or membership model or client intervention that could have shockwaves of success but absolutely no guarantees that they will work as planned.

And when they don’t, learn why, revise the approach and the technology as needed, and try again.

And again.

And again.

It’s a big world with big problems. It will take a lot of failure before you find success worth having. So fail brilliantly, and make sure you have technology that can adapt from the lessons you learn in those failures.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at 7:10 am and is filed under nptech, Salesforce.com, Soapbox Engage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Salesforce, innovation, and the power of failure for nonprofits”

  1. Tim Forbes says:

    For more thoughts on the power of failure for nonprofits, check out this article by Michelle Chaplin, Senior Manager of Online Fundraising for PBS, posted on NTEN this week: http://www.nten.org/articles/2014/failing-forward-why-building-failure-into-your-organizational-culture-can-make-it-more?utm_source=eli&utm_medium=hootsuite&utm_campaign=socmed

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