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Friday, June 13, 2014

Manifesto Revisited: Defining Our Core Values

The Holstee Manifesto
http://www.holstee.com/pages/manifesto
On my desk is a frame with the Holstee Manifesto (right). I look at it every day I'm in my office; it's been there for many years now. But even before I was introduced to this document, I created a manifesto of my own.

Years ago, after a particularly frustrating week, I wrote the "GoalBusters Manifesto." We had been doing what a lot of entrepreneurial businesses do in their early days--taking any business that came our way--and I was unhappy. So I decided to write down what we were about.

Jim was chagrined by the initial draft. His reaction was, "Are you sure you want to put this out there?" Some of it, we didn't. With Jim's input, including a very important "Jimism," the manifesto ended up morphing into our philosophy statement, which has appeared on our "about us" page since then.

As our team has grown, however, I started to wonder if this really what we were about. Do our team members have to believe in the same causes we believe in? Does the manifesto still work?

As I discussed various projects with our team, I realized that we have common values:
  • We believe in our clients and their causes.
  • Fundamentally, the cause always comes first, not personal agendas.
  • We treat people with respect and expect others to do the same.
  • Being the recipient of a philanthropic gift is a privilege, not a right, and therefore the mission of the organization and the donor's intent must be respected.
  • We value loyalty to a cause and to other team members.
  • A person's title is less important than a person's contribution to the team.
  • Everyone in an organization plays a part in philanthropy.
  • We want to make a lasting difference in the culture of an organization and the impact to the community.
  • Philanthropy is always about love.
With this in mind, I present the "GoalBusters Manifesto 2.0."

Our Philosophy (version 2.0)
We work with causes that we personally believe in, because ultimately, we can't fake it. That's also why we work with teams that show mutual respect for one another--because workplaces where people care about each other are generally more productive and more fun to be in.

We work with teams that are passionate--about the cause, about learning, about improving, about making the world a better place--because if you're not committed to your cause, why should anyone else? Charitable organizations must put the mission first, at all times. Personal goals are fine, but not if they conflict with the cause or are put ahead of the needs of the organization.


"Not my job" is not the right answer. Everyone in an organization plays a role in philanthropy: sometimes they just need to be shown where their talents lie.


Fundraising is not about "shoveling coal into a machine." Fundraising is about empowering people to make a lasting impact on their community. It's philanthropy: love of humankind.



Maybe someday I'll make this all pretty and put it on a coffee mug. For now, it's on the "about us" page. Perhaps it will trigger your own thoughts about what your manifesto is. We look forward to seeing you make a difference.


Thanks to J.C. Patrick and Richard Pirodsky for unintentionally helping me clarify my thoughts. Thanks also to our team, including J.C. Patrick, Annagreta Jacobson, and Elta Foster, for living these values every day. And of course, thanks to Jim Anderson for sticking with this crazy work we call our company. June 13, 2005 was our first day working together, and we never, ever, thought it would last this long or lead to so many interesting connections, challenges, and friendships. Jim, you have done what you set out to do at the end of 2004, "Change minds, change the rules, change lives, change the world." I look forward to more adventures.--Alice

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