Toni Pergolin, Author
(Hmmm…how did that happen?)
I was introduced recently as an author, and it took me by surprise. It was never something I aspired to. In fact, I’m a numbers person, numbers speak to me…not words! But I had a lot of good information to share. And, the words just started to flow.
Too Important to Fail ~ Leadership Lessons for Nonprofits is the story of extreme challenges that we had to overcome to literally save our century old nonprofit from certain demise, and the lessons we learned along the way. It was an experience at Bancroft that looked dire time and time again, and yet we were able to not only survive, but grow and position ourselves for sustainability. I know the strategies we employed and the lessons we learned along the way are valuable leadership lessons that I just couldn’t keep to myself.
When I arrived on the scene as CFO 15 years ago, the organization was operating on the edge of bankruptcy and I had no idea just how bad it was. It took just a few days to get a full understanding of the situation, but even then I had no idea the challenges we would continue to face. Fortunately, I had the business experience to understand what was happening. I was able to focus on the highest priorities to “stop the bleeding” and get us through pay day after pay day. I felt like I climbed a mountain to cover each payroll, only to have another mountain to climb two weeks later. And, two weeks after that and so on.
We survived that difficult period only to face challenge after challenge over a prolonged period of time as we worked to turn things around. The business of running a nonprofit should never be underestimated.
Other nonprofit leaders will find my story reassuring that it is possible to get through the problems and succeed with the right business knowledge, skills and experience and, equally important, a strong passion for the mission. If you don’t have the skills required, recruit for them. If you don’t have the passion, look for another job.
I hope other nonprofit leaders will be able to read the book and learn from my experiences at the helm. Through my words — and not numbers — readers will get a true sense of why nonprofits are simply too important to fail, and things that can be done to prevent failure.
Bancroft today profoundly impacts the lives of many children and adults living with disabilities by delivering high quality services to empower them to realize their best life. Failure was never an option.