How to Use This Book
We write for enterprising nonprofit leaders who approach their sector not only as an avenue for service, but also as an exceptional arena for professional development, partnership, and entrepreneurial endeavor in pursuit of profound restoration.
At Praxis we have worked closely with hundreds of entrepreneurs like this: founders, teams, and funders of growing nonprofits, where the leaders have the prerogative to set vision, make strategic and operational decisions, develop programs, build teams, allocate capital, and create coalitions with a high degree of board partnership. These leaders—and those who aspire to follow in their footsteps—are the primary audience for this book.
We are a community dedicated to putting our Christian faith into practice through redemptive entrepreneurship—in our leadership behavior and in the programs, services, and organizations we build. That faith empowers redemptive entrepreneurs to pursue the good of all stakeholders from a mentality of abundance and blessing rather than scarcity, fear, or competition.
This should be good news for everyone. Indeed, we believe that enterprising leaders who are spiritually serious, culturally astute, and embedded in accountable communities are uniquely suited for entrepreneurial work that makes the world a more just and humanizing place for all—regardless of legal or financial structure, scale, audience, or messaging.
So, though this book is not exclusively for Christians, it is written to Christians, as it is rooted in Christian conceptions of human identity, purpose, and the common good.
The playbook is structured in two main parts: a First Principles essay, followed by six sections covering areas of nonprofit organizations that we believe are most vital to redemptive impact: Story, Programs, Team, Board, Funding, and Identity. In each Commitment area we suggest several “redemptive opportunities”—actionable principles that you can adapt and apply in your organization.
Some of these may feel natural or even second-nature; others may seem purely aspirational. We hope to introduce tension where you are complacent, clarity where you are confused, and hope where you are jaded.
After reading the playbook alone or with a team, we suggest that you work through the six areas one at a time. Use the text first for assessment and discussion—identifying areas of strength, weakness, and possibility. Then choose one or two where you sense the greatest energy, and use them as a starting point for adaptation, prototyping, and designing your own creative ways to approach the redemptive edge of your organization’s mission.