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    « Be Willing to Be Better | Main | It's Not You... It's Me! »

    March 26, 2010

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    Intersting thought.

    I regularly get asked where my office is and immediately after, why our offices are where they are. It's a fairly central locationin the city I work, it's not the most expensive place, but it's certainly closer to the top of the list than the bottom. Why on earth would we be based here?

    Well, we work with vulnerable children. Sometimes we go to them, sometimes we collect them by car, sometimes they come to us. By bus. So we need to be central so that getting here by bus is easy (or possible, in this city).

    As soon as I explain this, donors and supporters, existing and potential agree, there aren't a lot of other places we could be. They aren't the fanciest, most modern or best decorated premises on the street - closer to the bottom of that list - for what we do, it's the location that is important.

    Hi Michael:

    I don't know anything about your organization, but off-hand, I'd be asking how often does a child come to your location? Is it daily, weekly, a couple times a month or less? Could you partner with a local community organization like Boys and Girls club or YMCA to have them go there and then have the organization contact you? What would happen if you did that? If you saved or reinvested 50K (or more) into a new front line staff person or a volunteer coordinator, how many more kids could you help and/or reach?

    You may well be one of those organizations that genuinely must have an office, or you may not. But be willing to challenge all your assumptions before arriving at that conclusion. You may end up deciding that your office is necessary - but you might also come up with an office sharing arrangement that works for you... or some other alternative that nobody has thought of yet.

    I'd probably approach it in this way - create a brainstorming session that assumes you will be tossed out of your office in 3 months, what alternatives do you come up with and what are the benefits and challenges of those alternatives. After looking at all of those alternatives, is the home office still the best? If so, stay as is. If not... perhaps it's time to change?

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