Quaker A-Z: D is for Doing Good

handwritten word - Doing

Don't just sit there...

I remember the children’s meeting resource called, ‘Don’t just sit there do something!’

But so often people feel overwhelmed with the amount of needs and demands they see in the world. Even in the same worshipping community there can be differences of opinion as to what needs focusing on.

I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about.

Don't confuse objectives and activities

Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on activities without first clarifying your desired outcomes. As I’ve mentioned in our last two training workshops, it’s a bad idea to get hung up on productivity for productivity’s sake. 

Instead pause, register where you are, think about where you want to go and why, then come up with simple steps to get you closer.

Within a group a good starting point is to share joys and challenges related to the group’s topic, focus, or responsibility. Begin by defining the three to four outcomes you want to achieve over the coming season. 

Also, try to think of other pain and pressure points for the scenario you chose. There are so many different parts of running a charity or any organisation, and often there isn’t a helpful crash when a plate falls. Instead, it’s not noticed until something starts to fall apart, or someone asks “don’t you xxxxx?”

Define "Good"

Before you start creating to-do lists and SMART* goals for your outcomes, ask some questions.

What would be “good”? What would “good” look like? How would you know if you’ve reached “good”?

Is someone else already doing this work? Can you join with them, or learn from them, rather than starting from scratch?

Is someone else responsible for monitoring, designing, or managing this work or result? If so, does that mean some decisions have been made for you?

For example – knowing that your end of year accounts have to meet SORP 2015 specific criteria and be signed off by accountants means that trustees don’t have to decide on what criteria to report on.

*SMART goals

S.M.A.R.T goals is a mnemonic acronym – first proposed by George T. Doran in a November 1981 article. He suggested that SMART stood for “Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, & Time-related”. But when I did my diploma in business management a decade later I learned it as “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely”. Both give you a sense of how to create a goal!


Mission Statements

The questions asked above are a good starting place to create a mission statement for your committee. This is a short (aim for a couple of sentences) explanation as to why the group exists, what it does, etc. We’ll be exploring this in a future blog post, but for now when looking at the questions above, muse over why you are doing what you are doing.

It is not enough to have ideals. We must translate them into action. We must clear our own little corner of creation

Wendrie Heywood

Wendrie Heywood

MBS Founder

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