One of the hardest but also most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my leadership journey is when to quit.
As the project grew from strength to strength I found myself feeling overwhelmed by its enormity. It started becoming apparent that we were no longer “just a group of volunteers” coming together to “do some good”. Instead we were fast evolving into an organisation with meaning and impact. We were starting to command a following in the community that I hadn’t previously experienced. There is, was and always will be, so much to be proud of.
The decision to call it quits at this stage probably makes little to no sense.
Balancing the demands of the project with the needs of the team started to become unsustainable. Another thing weighing on my mind was the fundamentals. Things like a governance framework that held us legally accountable, the dissolution of the HFB parent body, and lack of funds to keep us in premises long term were all issues too big to ignore. The idea was always to get to a place where we could self fund and become sustainable but this goal demanded a commitment most of the team was unable to contribute.
But it wasn’t for lack of trying. God knows we tried!
To really do the project justice we needed staff, and an office space and a phone line and a website and a business model. When you start looking at the size of effort required to achieve those things, or to even make a start on them you’ll appreciate that some of that just couldn’t be achieved by a team of people, passionate as we were, but otherwise committed to other full time pursuits.
In an ideal world, a bunch of us could’ve quit our jobs, developed a business model for a social impact organisation, pitched it to a group of social entrepreneurs, won the funding dollars needed to re-brand and gone full time into running our social impact enterprise.
Right now is not our ideal world.
So the question on everyone’s minds wasn’t what next, it was, How next?
We did what we always do. Weigh up the pros and cons and started looking at alternatives. One option was to disband the team and support community packing days for interested groups. This quickly lost favour as we realised that the strength of the project was in its continuity.
The option we settled on was one that afforded us the most safety. We opted to extend our existing partnership with Muslim Aid Australia such that the same good work could continue under their banner. This would take care of two of the three bugbears holding us back as HFB.
So that is exactly what we did.
There is no doubt in my mind that this project will exceed the success of Halal Food Bank – Perth. There is much excitement and anticipation for things to come.
Be sure to like their page and start showing some love to the CFH team. You know what they can achieve with your support!
And while you’re there, check out the other projects supported by Muslim Aid Australia. They also do some cool things around the way 🙂
Thanks for everything Perth. It’s been an honour serving you.
From all of us at Halal Food Bank – Perth.
Farewell and we will see you at the next CFH packing day! 🙂