Forbes Nonprofit Council members come from a wide range of backgrounds. And with their wide range of experiences, they have a lot to share with fellow members of the community. To help them share with an even greater audience, we’re profiling Forbes Nonprofit Council members here on the blog. This week: Connie M. Gallippi.
Connie M. Gallippi is the founder and executive director of BitGive, which leverages bitcoin and blockchain technology to improve public health and the environment. Gallippi’s work with BitGive has built partnerships and raised funds with well-known nonprofits including Save the Children, The Water Project, TECHO and Medic Mobile.
How did your career as a nonprofit executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
Since I was very young, I have been motivated to make the world a better place. I spent many years working with various nonprofits, and it always struck me that they struggle to gain the resources needed to be prosperous.
The vision for BitGive was completely unexpected. One of the earliest major bitcoin events in 2013 convinced me that the technology would transform everything we do around the world. I saw the potential for significant social impact and recognized that the bitcoin and blockchain industry needed a philanthropic foundation.
I would attribute BitGive’s success to passion, resourcefulness, a strong network of support, and perseverance. This journey has at times challenged me to my core, but I believe strongly in the vision of this organization. I have also had the invaluable support of loved ones and advisors, which has given me the strength and courage to keep working.
How do you keep yourself passionate and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
Balance is critical. My health, loved ones, hobbies and passions outside of work are important to my personal well-being and long-term sustenance. Part of this is providing the space and time to reflect and reaffirm my commitment and passion for what I am doing. Nourishing myself in these ways allows me to remain energized, passionate and focused on my mission. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be able to learn and grow as a person, while at the same time help others through a long-lasting social impact organization.
What do you see as the future of nonprofits?
Nonprofits hold a very important role in society. In many cases, they provide life-saving support in our local communities as well as the most remote and challenging places around the world.
I strongly believe there is a time and place for different models and each has its benefits. The latest trend towards social impact investing is a fantastic option that works under certain circumstances and for particular desired outcomes. Fundamentally, the role of a nonprofit is to remain solely focused on the mission and impact. This affects the foundational structure of an organization and how it is managed over time. Of course, you can run a nonprofit like a business — and in fact, I recommend that — but there is a key difference: the ultimate outcome is about impact. If profits are made, they are put right back into the mission to drive more impact.
There is a shift in the way we view nonprofits. There are questions about how effective or honest they are, and there are suggestions for migrating to different models. Integrating revenue models, increased financial transparency, and donor interaction with a better public understanding of the difference between models and their ultimate outcomes will be key improvements.
What is your best nonprofit leadership or strategy tip for businesses?
My best advice is to leverage your resources. These may include your relationships, skills, past experiences, contacts, value adds, and the strengths of team members. In addition, allow yourself to be creative. When you let yourself dream freely of the vision and the ultimate goal, it can be truly inspiring. The resources will flow towards you to manifest the dream into a reality when you put your mind to it. It is up to you to keep your feet on the ground in the present, while you take each step with the intention to keep your sight on the bright future ahead.