Non-profit leaders and managers in Slovenia seeking inspiration for how to better lead their organisations have a new book to turn to.
Playground: Play to Effectively Run your Organisation is written by Livija Rojc Štremfelj, president of the Slovenian fundraising association Združenje ZRNO, who has 20 years of experience in both Slovenian and international non-profit organisations.
A fun look at leadership and management for both new starters and experienced leaders, it uses gamification to capture the reader’s imagination, using a playground as a memory palace.
The playground is the metaphor for the organisation itself, with 14 commonly found elements representing key areas of focus for anyone leading a non-profit organisation. These include: mission, represented by a climbing wall; creativity and ideas, represented by a sandbox; budget, represented by hopscotch; and fundraising, represented by the metaphor of a Tibetan bridge. As the reader works their way through the book, they travel through these 14 areas, interwoven with a discussion of good practices and experiences gained during the author’s 20 years in the sector.
Rojc Štremfelj chose the technique to help managers, especially keen rookie volunteer leaders, to remember what they have to pay attention to within their organisation in order to lead it better. Training sessions for NGO leaders, based on the book, are currently being prepared and will be held throughout Slovenia from October onwards.
Rojc Štremfelj commented:
“After observing the Slovenian NGO sector for 20 years and finding out that in that period the employment rate in NGOs has not risen significantly, despite the need for our work growing, I decided to make a funny, appealing, colourful guidebook for all those who want to understand the sector better and learn to be better leaders. When I read research that people learn better if metaphors of familiar places are used and then more research about the effectiveness of the memory palace method, the idea struck me to put them together. The Playground is a map of what is going on and GPS for those who want to travel further.”
The Tibetan bridge, especially its use, reminds us of fundraising. We have to be persistent, we progress step by step, and many times we have to rebalance and hold on to the fence, so we don’t slip or fall.
The Tibetan bridge is a metaphor for balance training, which is important in non-profit organisations. Our progress has to be constant and planned long-term. The chains are heavy, which reminds us of the challenges of the business we are in. The connecting pieces between the fence and the chains have to be very firm, so think about what your protecting fence is going to be. Is it funds from other sources, under-utilised potential within your organisation, powerful board members or maybe knowledge and a strong will to fulfil your mission? The last is the most important and strongest safeguard.
Playground is available for €20 here.