Recently CNBC hosted a townhall forum at Columbia Business School with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Mr. Gates said: “business schools teach people about value.” And, we know that in the business world, time is money.
But, what about our nonprofit world? Often, we give our time for free. Sometimes as volunteers, or board members or in pro-bono arrangements. We give our time for free because we share a belief in the cause. In return for our time, we accept the opportunity to be a part of something important to us, something that fuels our soul, or fulfills our need to contribute to the world.
What about the times we, as nonprofit staff and representatives, give to other nonprofit organizations? Are collaborations always free? Who bears the brunt of the costs and how do we recognize the value contributed?
In the nonprofit sector, time, knowledge and experience are often our most important assets. We should spend our assets even more carefully than we spend our money and their exchange should be negotiated rigorously. The truth is, nothing is free. Someone is always paying. There are always costs. And our value, our assets, should never be underestimated, least of all by ourselves.
The better we understand the true costs of doing business and the real value we offer our partners, the better we will be able to leverage our assets towards our organizational and collaborative goals.
Our time is not free. Time is money. Spend it wisely.