Are You Avoiding an "Own Goal?"

by Kevin Martone, Technology Program Manager, JCamp 180

In the recent Women's World Cup, England was playing Japan for a chance to make the Finals for the first time in their history. They were tied 1-1 with less than two minutes remaining when one of their defenders accidentally kicked the ball into their own net (called an "own goal"), giving Japan the win and the chance at the championship.

The English player responsible for the "own goal," Laura Bassett, was understandably devastated - she felt like she cost her team the match and potentially the Word Cup.


The "own goal" has to be the most devastating play in sports…and maybe in life in general. In a sport like soccer where goals can be rare, an own goal can be the difference between winning and losing, as it was in the England/Japan matchup.

Own Goals at YOUR Organization?

If we think of an "own goal" as any activity we do that could keep us from attaining our goals, is YOUR organization currently "scoring" any "own goals?" Is your organization "scoring" any of these "own goals" that may keep it from reaching its goals?

  • No succession plan in place for key personnel - Executive Director, Board President, etc.? We all know there will be a time that every one of these positions will change. Without a plan, your entire organization could be disrupted.  #owngoal
  • No strategic plan in place…or a strategic plan that sits on a shelf and collects dust? There is no better way to sabotage future success than to not think planfully about the future and how your organization will reach its future goals. #owngoal
  • De-prioritized technology activities that could potentially help your staff and Board do their work most effectively? #owngoal
  • No budget or plans for your team's professional development? #owngoal
  • No onboarding plans to help new Board Members get up to speed quickly so they feel like they are using their passion for your mission productively from the start? #owngoal
Consider your organization's processes - where do you see potential "own goals" that could be averted with some important changes?

There is already enough external competition for your donors' money, volunteers' time, and constituents' trust; don't sabotage your own efforts with any of these "own goals."

Don't end up like England in the World Cup.