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What Is In Your Genius Zone?

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

We cannot be all things to everyone. We cannot even be all things to ourselves most days. That’s why identifying your genius zone is important to doing a better job for your ​organization.

And, at the same time, you are empowering someone else to be the champion at what they’re great at.

When you work in a small nonprofit, it’s often difficult to segment your job responsibilities. For instance, when I was a Development Director for a $21 million nonprofit, you would think that the organization would have very clear roles for every administrative staff. However, this organization was still run with very grassroots initiatives.

As the Development Director, my job was to identify and cultivate major donors, assist in a capital campaign, research and write grant proposals, plan and execute fundraising events, recruit volunteers, manage the media outreach and social media accounts, update the organization’s website and the list goes on and on.  

If this sounds familiar, I get it! It’s overwhelming. It’s exhausting. It’s not sustainable. The Rayvan Group recently held our signature workshop, Accelerate Your Nonprofit, and talked a lot about genius zones.

When The Rayvan Group formed in 2009, we were a YES company. Yes, we can help you with your grant writing. Yes, we can help you plan your fundraising breakfast. Yes, we can manage your database. Yes, we can ________________. Over several years of helping nonprofits with a lot of their fundraising needs, we decided to take a step back and identify what talents we have on our team. We have been able to pare down our services to the follow five genius zones:

  1. Fundraising Assessments

  2. Fund Development Program (grants!)

  3. Coaching Programs for Nonprofit Professionals

  4. Strategy Days

  5. Interim Executive Services (Chief Executive Office and Chief Development Officer)

We continue to build our team by asking two questions:

  1. What do you love doing?

  2. What are you great at doing?

This is the same for you and your rockstar team. Your volunteers, board members and staff all have areas of expertise. Everyone has an area of specialty that they too love doing and are great at! Ask them the two questions above and help to shift tasks and responsibilities off your plates accordingly.

Here is an exercise that you can use with your team to help identify your genius zones:

Step 1: Write down all of the tasks you are responsible for on a daily basis. Have your team do the same. Step 2: Identify the tasks that you love to do by drawing a heart next to that item. Step 3: Identify the tasks that you are great at doing by circling them. Step 4: Share the list with your teammates and assess if any of your to-do’s can come off your list and onto theirs. Likewise, see if any of their to-do’s can come off their list and onto yours. Step 5: If you are unable to rearrange the to-do’s, identify what resources you and your team need to move certain tasks off your plates that are not in your individual genius zones. Step 6: Identify additional help (volunteers or contract workers) that may be able to offer their services to alleviate the workload from you and your teammates. 


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