I founded two organizations just recently. As the world needs it, it has to take place and along with it is my amazement with the people I work with. This is a good thing because in every organization, the main asset of it is its people.
I have always believed that in order for a team to work, you have to capitalize on your people’s strengths. When I was interviewed for various roles in the corporate world, I have always said the same thing because it worked as a good leadership strategy for me in the past. I was a student leader for most of my life in school, and this leadership strategy kept people going in order to do what they have to do. I worked with people with different personalities, different backgrounds, and different interests, but when they were asked to work for their strengths, they comply and give more input. It is not because they are just good at it, but because it is something that they enjoy, given that it reaps for them a sense of fulfillment.
When I started my organizations, I had the same ideology. I wanted to get the best people who would work for their strengths in the organization. Our screening process was basic; I screened people on how they answer our hiring questions, and made them send their CVs and other requirements that could help us gauge how they could potentially perform in the organization. People were placed in departments where they would most likely contribute to the best of their abilities. While we gave them the chance to choose what position they would like, we also looked at different positions vis-a-vis their backgrounds and strengths.
However, what sets our hiring process apart is the willingness to be in our field. I asked our applicants if they are advocates like us — in fact, I have two to three questions on this. These are not the same hiring questions that corporate employers would have. I wanted to delve into their passion, something that the corporate world sees bluntly because some of them believe people only work for money.
In the nonprofit sector, people work for passion and willingness to serve.
Being in the nonprofit sector made me realize that people give more when there is an opportunity for them to do so. People also give more if your organization’s values are aligned with their own. Most of our volunteers are advocates themselves, and have dedicated their spare time for different causes, such as mental health awareness and youth leadership.
The real challenge for nonprofit leaders is to remain in the same advocacy that they have started with or, at least, keep the same advocate mindset in them and stay highly principled. The principles of nonprofit leaders along with their advocate mindset keep them going. Their principles help them examine the world in their own eyes in an objective way, and their advocate mindset drives them to make things better. Nevertheless, it makes the world a better place.
Coleen is the founder of Food for Frontliners Philippines (FFFPH) and The Frontliner Today. Her organizations were founded as an answer to the “call of the times.”