As a nonprofit professional, tackling huge challenges is a part of your daily grind. You are fortunate enough to have higher-than-average levels of motivation, but even the most seasoned changemakers have moments where they need a little boost. In those moments, a short quote from someone we respect can serve as the simplest form of inspiration.
In fact, some experts believe that quotes from people we admire can inspire us on a biological level. In an article for Fast Company, media psychology expert and communications consultant Scott Sobel says: “Humans are aspirational. We want to look up to role models and leaders and follow what they ask … their words—inspirational quotes—affect us on a primal level.”
If you’re in need of a burst of motivation, check out these 13 quotes by nonprofit leaders—many of whom shared their wisdom at the Collaborative—on leadership, staying true to your mission, and supporting beneficiaries.
Motivational Quotes for Nonprofit Leaders
“Leadership is about finding your unique blueprint and expressing that courageously, confidently, and vulnerably.”
“Leadership really comes down to two fundamental things and if you get them right, then you’re 80 percent of the way there. The first one is establishing the vision for a team; the second one is establishing a culture for your organization that helps contribute to mission success.”
“We care a lot about the product or mission, which is extremely important, but I love focusing on understanding the people behind it. When you take care of yourself as a leader, when you understand who you are—what makes you tick, what energizes you, what keeps you up at night—and when you understand your team and say ‘what do you need to accomplish the goals that are set in front of you?’ … and can truly understand them, you have an opportunity to really make a difference.”
“I would ask you to question who’s at the table and who’s not at the table and to think about those voices that aren’t represented when you’re making decisions.”
“You fight for what’s right, you set that vision of where we could be—and then you go after it yourself.”
“We try to come alongside people and interact with our supporters so that they know that we see them, we’re with them, and we’re in this together.”
“When the president of the United States and politicians in positions of power stand up and make LGBT people feel less-than, or make them feel their rights are being taken away from them, that has a significant impact on their self-worth.
That’s our reason to be here: to say, ‘No matter what anyone in Washington says, you are worthy, you are loved, you have dignity, and you are who you are and who you love does not lessen you as a person.’”
“Fear is useless. What is needed is trust. As social innovators we’ve got to be tenacious, gritty, and courageous. We deal with cynicism and rejection, especially when what we’re working on is important. So we can never give up. Ever.”
There’s a reason people tattoo quotes on their body, stick them onto their car bumper, and jot them down on sticky notes. Reading a particularly well-crafted phrase, think parallel structure and powerful metaphor, is an effective way to jumpstart your own creative juices. In some cases, quotes can even have the ability to inspire us, provide support, and put things in perspective.
For more ideas on how to inspire your community, check out the Leader’s Guide to Motivating Employees below.
And if you’re looking for a more immersive experience, explore the impressive list of speakers who will be at the upcoming Collaborative in Boston.