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What If Your Organization Didn’t Exist?

I’m a baseball fan (go Dodgers!). I follow baseball stats. I like the traditional ones – earned-run average (ERA), (pitcher) wins or saves, batting average, number of runs-batted-in (RBIs) per season, number of home runs per season – those kinds of things. In today’s game this has all become much more complex and sophisticated. Maybe on-base percentage (OBP) is more important than batting average. Maybe on-base plus slugging (OPS) is better yet. … OK, enough of that …

What I’m getting to is WAR – wins over replacement. From MLB.com: “WAR measures a player’s value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position (e.g., a Minor League replacement or a readily available fill-in free agent). … WAR quantifies each player’s value in terms of a specific numbers of wins.” It’s a complicated calculation.

I’ll give one example. Mookie Betts is a terrific outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers won 106 games in the 2021 regular season, which is a lot. But if they had a more average player in Betts’s position instead of the great Mookie, they likely would have only won 102 games, due to his WAR of 3.9 for the year.

So in baseball there’s a way to calculate how things would be different if a certain star player did not exist. What about in the nonprofit world? What if your organization didn’t exist? Are there other, similar organizations working in your space that would fill the gap so your absence would not be much missed? Or would your community, or your world, suffer real pain if you disappeared?

It’s a good question to give some serious and deeply-honest consideration to, because:

1.    … maybe the answer would underline the importance and value of your contribution, and thus encourage your leadership, your team, your donors, and other stakeholders.

2.    … maybe the answer would reveal which part of your work is truly unique, what you do that no one else is doing, which could guide you on what to give more attention, energy, and funding to.

3.    … maybe the answer would show which parts of your work could easily be covered by others – or maybe is already being done well by others – so those parts or programs could be dropped, with no great harm to the community or the world.

4.    … maybe the answer will show that your organization is an unneeded duplication and you would do the community or the world a favor by disbanding! (Not likely, but hey I needed to make the list complete – or, to return to baseball, “cover all the bases.”)

love, joy, peace … Michael