A refreshing perspective on understanding change at nonprofit organizations with Ingrid Kirst, the CEO of Ingrid Kirst Consulting. She highlights the importance of differentiating between change and transition, using the Bridges model developed by William Bridges. Ingrid begins with the point that, for nonprofits and charities, change represents external events, such as leadership changes or relocations, while transition involves the internal process of how individuals perceive and adapt to those changes. “Just because something changed doesn’t mean we were ready for it mentally.” This quote encapsulates the central theme, highlighting the significance of managing the emotional and mental aspects of transitions within nonprofit organizations.

Ingrid elaborates on the three stages of the Bridges model:

Endings: Organizations need to acknowledge what is ending and give everyone the opportunity to process their feelings and concerns about the change.

Neutral Zone: This is the in-between phase where individuals begin to adapt to the new reality. It’s a time for creativity, brainstorming, and preparing for the new beginnings.

New Beginnings: The final stage involves embracing the change, setting new goals, and involving everyone in shaping the future of the organization.

The fast-paced discussion covers the importance of effective communication throughout the change process, with Ingrid highlighting the need for consistency in conveying information. She stresses how over-communication can be beneficial, ensuring that staff and NPO stakeholders are well-informed about the ongoing changes and the organization’s plans.

As the interview concludes, Ingrid makes a prediction for the nonprofit sector, stating that more organizations are becoming open to discussing and preparing for change and transition. She emphasizes that proactive planning and communication can ultimately lead to more resilient and stable nonprofit organizations.