by GL Hoffman, founder
Why name a non-profit brainstorming group Assume Goodwill?
Maybe the 'flip' answer is that I had the domain name. It is more than that, however.
Assume Goodwill is how I live my life. Regardless of what I hear or see, I want to assume the best of others, so I try to always assume goodwill. For me, it simply fits in most situations where I am interacting with others. It resets my mind to a better place, a sort of re-boot to a positive-neutral place. Once there, interaction tends to take on positive tones, and I like that.
As my friend Steve Mase says, "Ok, put a period on that."
A brainstorming group for non-profits?
We know that nonprofits primarily need resources, money and people, in order to do their good works. Much energy is spent on resource development - how to get the most out of a little. Make no mistake; they do great things, often with very little. I've been totally impressed with everyone I have ever met who seeks to lead these organizations.
My interest was to encourage others to get involved, and offer whatever they could to help the non-profit community. There seemed to be a general unawareness of how people who work in business, law, and academia could help the non-profit. They do serve on boards and individually do volunteer work. Most often in those organizations where there is an affinity, it is easiest to get involved if a family member has "X" problem. But in a community that might be characterized as creative problem-solvers with a healthy amount of ADD, how could we encourage interaction with a nonprofit that is outside their frame of reference?
Our solution is Assume Goodwill. I simply started asking my personal contacts to get involved to help a wide range of non-profits (wink to ADD). I know they have time constraints, so I asked for only two hours of their time. I assumed goodwill, that they wanted to help. And they do.
My friend Jag says it best, "In business, it often comes down to resources vs resourcefulness." And some times, it's hard to see a solution to a problem when you are inside it. The best ideas often arrive from brainstorming sessions where creativity is encouraged. It seemed to be a natural fit to bring these outsiders into a room that would encourage idea development on behalf of the non-profit.
That is all we do, one evening at a time. Last point: we do not presume to say that we have THE best ideas. Far from it. We just bring a new, caring audience to non-profit organizations and hope that our collective experiences and wisdom help in some small way.