Growing Your Organization’s Political Capital

Dan Charobee

Dan Charobee

Political capital? Can a nonprofit use political capital? You bet! A term that became part of our lexicon in 2004 to describe the capacity to utilize hard earned respect and influence will surely surface in this political season. But, how can it be beneficial to a nonprofit organization? There are five characteristics and five qualities of the organization, its management, and its board that enhances the capital of the organization.

Your executive management and your board of directors infuse a major portion of your organization’s capital. Different from a brand, board capital represents the influence your organization has on outside forces affecting your vision and mission. It also directly influences your capacity to gain funding and provide services.

The characteristics essential to board capital are:

     

  • Relationships – skills at developing, maintaining, and enhancing strategic relationships.
  • Credibility – earned by providing useful valid information, services, and programs.
  • Experience – being in the field for a length of time.
  • Knowledge –authority gained from the study of events, problems, and solutions.
  • Respect – earned by positions taken and defended.
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The individual qualities are:

     

  • Trust – ability to produce outcomes based on the above characteristics.
  • Reliability – the person will maintain their promised course.
  • Tenacity – effectively moving mountains, climbing hills, and overcoming obstacles.
  • Demeanor – effective outgoing characters can be gregarious or subtle, confrontational or accommodating, humorous or stoic.
  • Toxicity – not someone that “poisons the water” under stress
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Team development teaches that every member of a team brings something valuable to the team. Organizational management calls on the skills of team leadership to focus this capital into productive activities meeting the objectives of you mission. 

Like spending political capital, organizations use this capital to develop programs and accomplish their missions. Organizations that understand and manage that capital find that their influence becomes stronger and more effective enabling them to meet their objectives, accomplish their mission, and come closer to their vision.

 Author:  Dan Charobee, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

2 thoughts on “Growing Your Organization’s Political Capital

  1. You asked for feedback so I will be blunt. Pros: You offer a fresh perspective on an idea that many nonprofit managers probably haven’t considered. Cons: Making use of new insights like yours is always in the details. You did not offer any ways to implement you ideas, and frankly, some are so general that it is hard to organize them into a meaningful, practical application if you are trying to apply the lessons you present in the context of running a non-profit agency. Perhaps you can follow up with some case examples or how-to’s.

  2. You asked for feedback so I will be blunt. Pros: You offer a fresh perspective on an idea that many nonprofit managers probably haven’t considered. Cons: Making use of new insights like yours is always in the details. You did not offer any ways to implement you ideas, and frankly, some are so general that it is hard to organize them into a meaningful, practical application if you are trying to apply the lessons you present in the context of running a non-profit agency. Perhaps you can follow up with some case examples or how-to’s.

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