Nonprofit Management Lessons from Obama’s Campaign

There seems no end to the praise for the quality and discipline of the campaign run by President-elect Barack Obama.  Now, smart observers have identified virtues and best practices from the campaign that they believe are applicable to the management of organizations in the nonprofit realm. 

Paul Schmitz, the CEO of Public Allies, * sees five best practices from the Obama campaign that he believes are good pointers for nonprofits that “need to identify the most cutting edge organizational tools, technologies, and behaviors that engage constituents to achieve results” in these challenging times. 

They are:
1. A powerful brand
2. A clear, measurable strategy
3. Disciplined management
4. Face-to-face and online organizing
5. Youth leadership.

One stunning accomplishment of the campaign that speaks to the effectiveness of its organizing is the fact that, with one week to go, the campaign sent an email indicating that there were 845,252 volunteer shifts to fill in swing states – and the campaign filled them. 

Schmitz quotes Abraham Lincoln:
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present… As our case is new we must think anew and act anew.”
and sums up the campaign’s success by saying:
“…if we are to succeed, the audacity of hope must be grounded in innovative and effective practice.”

Read his full comments here.
* Public Allies was formed in 1992 in Washington, D.C.  President Bush’s Commission on National and Community Service named Public Allies a model for national service and youth leadership development.  The organization was the recipient of the first AmeriCorps grants.  Public Allies has chapters in fifteen communities in the United States. Michele Obama was the founding president of the Chicago chapter.�