For the better part of the last 10 years I've been taking a class called BodyPump by Les Mills (a fitness company). It's a weightlifting class that's set to popular music. I got hooked at my old gym in NY and was (luckily) able to keep up the habit at my current gym in VA. It's a lot of fun and, oftentimes, the best tracks become regulars on my everyday playlist. 

One favorite in particular is a bicep track set to "The Movement" by Kid Ink. It was playing in today's class and, as I often do during workouts, I got to thinking about the music. In this case, I was curling and considering what it takes to create a movement and, more specifically, how that idea applies to the way we operate our nonprofits. 

Are you running an organization or are you creating a movement? 

Logistically, both options probably involve many of the same things: service, programming, fundraising, administration, and promotion. But, philosophically, creating a movement requires a next-level attitude about what's possible. Leading a nonprofit is mainly nuclear; driving a movement is all about gathering the periphery.

Les Mills, for instance, isn't only interested in selling licensing contracts, workout subscriptions, and gear. They're part of a movement to "create a fitter planet" - a mission that goes far beyond their own company's balance sheet. And, attaching themselves to a larger purpose likely effects the decisions they make and their business practices.

photo of barbell and weights next to a aerobic step and some begonias on the outdoor patio of the gym

(A view from BodyPump al fresco when classes resumed outdoors after a COVID shutdown in 2020.)

Maybe actually starting a movement in your field is way beyond your scope or too pie-in-the-sky for your team at the moment. That's a valid answer. #resources

But what if you spent a few minutes thinking about how taking a "movement approach" to your work would change things? 

  • What type of movement could you create? 
  • How would it change or expand your organization's mission/vision?
  • If you were creating a movement, how would you talk to your team?
  • What would you say to prospective donors? 
  • What shift in consciousness could a movement inspire that your mission has not?

Movements go beyond the here and now: they open minds, change habits, and create a groundswell. They are more than making goal, filing a 990, and not paying taxes on office supplies. 

But, even if you can't start a movement today, you can apply a bit of its perspective to your work from time to time. 

Before I sign off, I'd like to thank readers who answered the less-than-two-minute survey I sent last week - your responses were GREAT. It's still open if you didn't have a chance to do it yet:

Also, regarding another bit of research, I'm interested to know if your nonprofit employer offers health insurance? Click this link if the answer is YES. Click this link if the answer is NO. There's no survey for this one (the links just go to my website) but tracking the links will provide the results. 

Keep Up the Good Work,


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