To Sustain, You Must Sustain

I loved this Tweet  from Gayle Gifford, nonprofit consultant and strategist with Cause & Effect, where she quotes Ron Finley about sustainability (the video is a great Ted Talk, too – go check it out):

The TED Talk, A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA, is about urban gardening.  But his line–‘The funny thing about sustainability is that you have to sustain it”–is a powerful thought.

We all want to see lasting change, but not all of us have counted the cost to make change last.

This is true of business, relationships, nonprofit work, health, and most anything else that is worth improving.

A few years ago, I followed a 12-week exercise program religiously. I lost 22 pounds and had muscular definition like I’d never had it before. But then the 12 weeks ended. Over the next couple years, I slowly ballooned back up. I gained nearly 40 pounds over a 2-3 year period after that.

I made change. But I wasn’t willing to commit to the systems required to sustain the change.

The moral of the story is that lasting change and sustainability requires a neverending commitment.

Are you and your nonprofit willing to fight for the change that is important to you and then put the systems in place to sustain that change?

I’ve since landed right back in the middle of my two weight extremes. I myself need to fight a little harder, but I don’t need to have a weight loss initiative. I need a set of habits that will sustain a healthy life for the long-term. That’s what it’s all about.


You’re a nonprofit pro and have thought much more about sustainability than I have. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Speak Your Mind