Quote of the Month: August 2017

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Our August Quote of the Month comes from Russell Ackoff, an American organizational theorist that taught at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania:

The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. Therefore, when we correct a mistake doing the wrong thing we become wronger. It is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right.

– Russell Ackoff

Here is a question for you to ponder with your staff and board: "Is your United Way doing the right thing, or the wrong thing?" Related to that question, you would have to ask yourself "How would you know?" Any United Way that is doing the same things they did 30, 20, 10, or even five years ago must carefully consider how dramatically society, technology, and charitable giving have changed during that time. Doing the wrong thing, for many United Ways, is continuing to do the same thing without adapting and responding to change. If your number of donors has decreased, and the amount you raise every year is flat or shrinking, that may be a sign that you are doing the wrong things. Go to the source and talk to your donors about what your United Way is doing currently, and what your United Way could do differently in the future, for guidance on doing the right things. Finally, identifying possibilities of what your United Way could do differently in the future is not easy. You might want to consider looking at an issue focus as one thing your United Way could do differently – and it might be the right thing for your United Way.

If you have a quote you would like to share for our Quote of the Month, please let me know at gary@perspectives4uw.com