Taking it to the Next Level
Setting Expectations--"Whore to the System Syndrome"

Michele Roy Martin

Michele_martin_photo_5_5 I’ve worked in both the public and private sectors for over 20 years. For the past 8 years, I’ve worked as an organizational consultant and staff trainer for nonprofit and governmental agencies that provide workforce development, employment and job training services. My clients have included the U.S Department of Labor, Job Corps, Goodwill Industries International, State and county agencies in Pennsylvania, Texas and New Jersey and numerous community-based organizations. 

Through my work I have learned a lot about the many challenges nonprofits face and the many opportunities that are available to them. I have seen the ways in which nonprofits soar and the ways in which they can shoot themselves in the foot. Repeatedly. And still not realize they’re doing it.

While I’ve had opportunities to return to the for-profit world, I find myself mysteriously bound to working with nonprofits. I’m passionate in my belief that we need more organizations that focus on doing good in the world, rather than on making money. I’m equally passionate in believing that there’s a lot to be done to make nonprofits more effective in meeting their missions.

 One thing I’ve found in working with my clients is that my role as information sharer and “connector” is a huge part of my value-add. In fact, it has become my goal—to share what I learn with everyone I know and to connect clients with one another so that they can benefit from collective learning and experiences.   

In the past few years, with the growth of inexpensive, easy-to-use web-based and multimedia technologies, I’ve seen even greater opportunities to expand this collective learning. I’ve always been something of an early adopter when it comes to multimedia—I’ve had e-mail since 1995 and was doing web-based audio broadcasts in 1999—so I’m always on the lookout for how technology and the Internet are changing what we do.

The times we are living in now feel like a Golden Age of opportunity for nonprofits to me. We are on the cusp of greatness, I think, if we can only learn how to harness the tech and marry it with best practices to create something really amazing. We have huge potential here and I’m excited to see where the journey will take us.