Holding a unique place in communities

Arron Perriam
Executive Director
CFNZ
7 October 2021

A wise head once said, “humility is knowing you’re no better than anyone else and confidence is knowing you’re no worse.”

Having visited most of our Community Foundations over recent months it’s clear that the sun is rising on Community Foundations across Aotearoa New Zealand. Confidence in this model is building, which is super encouraging, but also not all that surprising! Kiwis are very generous and they believe in a shared vision of strengthening communities from within, which is our collective vision, ‘hei whakakaha, i ngā hāpori o Aotearoa.’

Interestingly, I’ve observed several common success traits across Community Foundations that are experiencing growth and making an impact locally. These include;

  • They get in amongst it. Savvy leadership is engaged, energetic, enthusiastic, and enrolling of others, bringing their network ecology into the community connector conversation. Savvy leadership sees investment in the success of others (donors, team, sponsor partners, charities and community groups). Savvy leadership understands we have been given a social licence by Kiwis through their generosity to succeed, and they embrace this with confidence and humility
  • They own it. They know and own their Community Foundation’s unique thumb print and growth model that best serves their philanthropic donors and community. They own their local autonomy, local focus, local energy, and local networks and value a strongly connected CFNZ national membership network and leverage our collective knowledge, brand strength, resources, influence, and impact.
  • They do it. They know successful strategy takes practice and is not just about planning and wordsmithing. Practice is about doing it, trying new ideas, taking risks and sometimes being willing to fail, but fail forward with learning. They know it’s the aggregation of marginal gains which creates lasting impact. They support strategy in action and are always accountable.
  • They protect it. The 17 Community Foundations across Aotearoa are, locally and collectively, leaders and best in class for communities in NZ. They own this privileged space serving donors and communities the very best that they can and protect it with humility, dedication and focused confidence.
  • They get out of it. Too few people understand the value of having a good quitting strategy and knowing that quitting is not a sign of weakness, but rather a strength. Those that are successful know it is more powerful to know why and when they are quitting, rather than just meandering through the years, without making real impact.

In a nutshell, Community Foundations hold a really unique space in communities connecting generosity with community needs and opportunities. My observations are that we are doing this with skill, networks, confidence and humility which enable us to own this privileged space and to authentically work towards building stronger, thriving communities.

Date Posted: 07 Oct 2021

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