3 Play on Strengths: Focus on yours and others. Build new ones (see #1, ‘build capacity). When we focus on using our strengths and working with others to use their own, we have a greater collective impact, because we get the benefits of truly strong work. We work to build up our strength in all areas (capacity building) because that is how we respond to “learning.” Our organization and our communities utilize strengths to get the most bang for the buck, regardless of a focus on projects in the field or the development of our nonprofit.
Outputs: When we help build Community School Building Committees we help people utilize their strengths. Leadership isn’t a one-time effort, but it is incremental based on experience, wisdom, knowledge and passion. So in all situations we play on people’s strengths.
Outcomes: Our communities and our organization get better collective impact by using people’s strengths. Putting the best skilled stone mason onto the job of masonry in a classroom building project creates not only better walls, but more opportunities for junior stone-masons to learn the craft. The same holds true with volunteers and interns inside the organization. We put people into positions to succeed and the outcomes are that we get high motivation, more success and more opportunities to develop new strengths.
Impacts: The impact of this is that communities succeed more often in preparing for future development work. We know that school buildings, and programs that break down barriers to girls education isn’t the ONLY way forward in poverty alleviation. But by focusing on strengths we’re providing necessary examples of success that can be transferred into all the other development initiatives that may confront communities: economic development, agriculture, finance, maternal health, human trafficking, etc.