Remaining relevant in a changing world: Learning from the Girl Scout’s long-term success
How can nonprofit operations be relevant to companies not in the same sector? The answer is simple — successful businesses share commonalities regardless of how they are defined.
Gone are the days when any organization, nonprofit or otherwise, can exist, let alone thrive, on goodwill and longevity alone. Efficient and effective business practices must be embraced throughout an organization.
So what secrets have allowed the Girl Scouts to remain strong for 102 years, while other companies have collapsed? Five key concepts are the bedrock of Girl Scouts’ success in this rapidly changing world:
A clear vision communicated and embraced throughout the company is essential. Defining your purpose and intended outcomes is important to every organization’s success. For Girl Scouts, investing in girls through leadership development programs has been a longstanding purpose since its inception in 1912.
While Girl Scouts has prevailed over the past 100 years by adapting to meet the changing needs of our customers (girls and volunteers), the organization’s basic principles and values have remained the same.
Today, girls have more choices than ever before, so what attracts them to Girl Scouts? Forward-thinking programs and new technologies address the needs and dreams of girls today, ultimately helping them reach their fullest potential. Girl Scouts cultivates these interests from a local, regional and global perspective — presenting programs that the girls need in a way they want.
Commitment to diversity
Data shows more women are attending and graduating college than men. Yet major discrepancies in the balance of leadership still exist.
So why aren’t more women rising in the ranks? Among the many reasons, young women aren’t encouraged to enter non-traditional fields, they lack mentors and they enter a workforce that is still top-heavy with men. Until leaders, both men and women, commit to diversifying all levels of an organization, a pluralistic workforce will remain illusive.
Companies also need to be innovative with their products, delivery systems and marketing. Girl Scouts has been a leader in entrepreneurial innovation with its Cookie Program since the first sale in 1917. It has grown into the largest nonprofit social entrepreneurial program in the world.
Why have cookie sales been so successful? It allows girls to become the CEO of their own cookie business, learning and applying the vital skills of goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics. These are all things business leaders need to master to keep their companies relevant and growing.
An organization’s success also lies in its people. Whether it’s the dedicated employee who carries out the company’s mission and demonstrates its core values, or the consumer who relies on your services or products, special attention needs to be paid to both internal and external customer experiences.
Employees want to feel fully prepared to fulfill their job duties, and customers want to know they are valued and receiving the best service or product available. Fully tapping into and investing in your human resources ensures a loyal workforce and customer base. Without people, a company or organization can’t survive, let alone thrive. ●
Learn more about the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, at: