Posted on October 3, 2011
An article from shma.com features a discussion between Toby Rubin and William Foster on taking “a good idea and get[ting] it to a relevant size where a problem can be solved.” The point that Foster makes is a good one which everyone both in and out of the non-profit world can benefit from. In a world where Miss America’s one wish would be for “world peace” (an amazing yet lofty wish to grant), it is easy to get swept away in the romantic idea of trying to tackle the world’s largest problems. While these problems can and should be addressed, it is important to remember that thinking practically is one step closer to helping solve a global problem. Foster says that one organization, Harlem Children’s Zone said that, “opposed to saying we’re going to solve poverty in the world or poverty in America or poverty in New York…we’re going to solve the problems caused by poverty for these children in this neighborhood.” They zeroed in on “some 24 square blocks” which became their focus and enabled them to create real change for the community. While “world peace” and ending “poverty” are goals that sound “not realistic but…attractive” it is important to “[paint] a visition that may be more limited but is extraordinarily compelling to donors who will feel and believe that you have a solution.” Zeroing in on specific issues to tackle within the large issue that a person or organization would like to solve, enables much to get done. There is a Jewish story where someone felt that they wanted to better the world. They realized it was too daunting a task to better the whole world so they decided to zero in on their country. When that became too daunting they decided to zero in on their town. When bettering the town became too daunting a task, he decided to better his family. Ultimately the man realized that he could always work on himself which in itself is a contribution to himself, his family, his community, his country, and his world. We all have the power to do great things in ourselves, our families, our communities, our organizations, and our world at large. We just need to make sure to keep sight of the goal and keep our goals as realistic and achievable as possible. If we can be realistic, we can make real positive change in more ways than one.