Hi. This is Russ Dennis, your Possibility Engineer. Some of you may be wondering how I managed to get into this line of work, and started working with nonprofits, to begin with.

I’ve got to tell you that I was a business student fresh out of the Airforce, and it was not actually my intention to do that; but I found myself working for the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, a federally-recognized native-American tribe, fresh out of college with my newly mentored diploma.

So, my thinking was around small business. When I walked in the door, my first assignment was to write a Department of Education grant. Welcome to the world of “use your skills where they’re needed.” Also, welcome to the world of seeing people in front of you who have multiple needs. I had to learn very quickly about a lot of different things because we as human beings are complex, we’ve got a lot of needs.

When people walked into my office, they were not numbers, but they were people I knew personally, people I know by name, and it was a personal mission for me to get in there and support and help them.

One of the things I learned, though, was that we needed systems. You need business structure, you need systems for doing things, and you need a whole lot of different skills. You also need a very diverse set of funding, and to have people with different talents in your organization to help you forward. This was a good career. I also worked for Child Development Services as their Business Manager. Now, the things that I found out in those two careers was that the impact that you make doesn’t always neatly fit on those spreadsheets. Sure, there are things to measure, but what happens? Where are people at as a result of using your services, coming in contact with you? Where do they start? Where do you want them to be? This is why I do the work that I do.

After I finished that work, I moved to Denver, Colorado; and as strange as it may seem, I ended up as an auditor for the Internal Revenue Service – talk about a different career. I had some success in that, as well, but I learned more and practiced more about systems, and putting systems together, and complying with the law.

Talk with me if you want to fix your nonprofit, or structure your nonprofit, in a way where you get more done. You are providing value to the people. Whether they’re getting your services or paying for them, you are a business. Nonprofit is a tax status, not a business strategy. We want you to get the revenue that you need to bring that impact, because there are people who are out there waiting for you to step into your greatness, to come out and help them – to give them a hand up, not a handout.

So, my name is Russell Dennis, and I’m your Possibility Engineer for Nonprofits. This is the place where compassion meets compliance. Let’s have a conversation about helping you to do what you are already great at, and be better all the time.

I will see you inside.

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