Robbie Kellman Baxter, in her book The Forever Transaction, poses an interesting question to organizations and associations: what is your forever promise? Think about the people you serve, whether they are clients, partners, members, or people in your community who care about your mission. What is your commitment to them? In other words, if they keep doing X, what do you promise to do or keep doing?
I’ve thought about my forever promise in the context of nonprofits and the associations that serve them: if you continue to push hard on your mission, I promise to make sure the nonprofit learning experiences you create or attend are excellent and outcome-focused. It means that I do a significant amount of work for free, but the long-term impact is that the people I work with know that we are in this together. I’ve encouraged participants in our learning strategy course to develop a forever promise as a way to move from the transaction of selling a class to the transformation of being accountable to their people’s success.
Baxter is not alone in building community around building trust for the long-term. Over the past year, I became an empty nest parent while being COVID homebound, a perfect situation to try out “Yoga with Adriene.” What an amazing teacher Adriene is. She models empathy, invites us to make each situation our own, and demonstrates different levels of engagement for people coming to the practice with different abilities. Through it all, she reminds us that she has our back. Whether we can touch our toes or not, we will be okay. Adriene has over 7 million followers. Having people’s back is good for business.
We are in relationship with the people we work with. Relationships take time and authenticity. We need to believe in each other’s success. I appreciate the reminder once again that generosity is not only a good business strategy but a good mission strategy.