Randy Hawthorne

Filament Essential Services is thrilled to announce the appointment of Randy Hawthorne as our new Director of Nonprofit Innovation and Education. Randy brings with him a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to the nonprofit sector, promising to be a transformative addition to our team.

What led you to join Filament Essential Services?

When working in the nonprofit sector, you should look for mission alignment. I discovered that I’m a purpose-driven individual, and the idea of continuing to serve a broad base of nonprofits fulfills my personal mission.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing nonprofits today?

The self-perpetuating scarcity mindset. It’s true that lack of resources prevents nonprofits from doing all the work they want to do. Good nonprofits take this challenge and become innovative and more efficient. It frustrates me when I hear the excuse that “we’re a nonprofit.” We need to change the narrative to further our missions and do more. Our volunteer board members need to help and embrace the innovation.

What strategies do you believe are key to driving innovation in the nonprofit sector?

Evolving the sector is a team effort. Change comes from both supporters and the professionals doing the work for the causes we love. In innovation, everything is on the table. We need to involve the community and focus on the existing strengths and resources to drive sustainable change. We need to invest in the people working in the sector both in pay and education. Lincoln has an uncommonly high number of nonprofits. Are there opportunities for more partnerships or even mergers? How can we embrace technology and use data-driven decision making? At the core, we need to work on improving policies so the industry can be more efficient. We need to remember that the nonprofit industry not only drives change for the community, but they have substantial economic impact. The industry is worth innovating.

What are your primary goals for Filament Essential Services in the coming year?

I’m in search of meeting needs in the nonprofit sector, focusing on essential services nonprofits know they need but deny themselves because they are too busy working on their cause. Beyond that work, nonprofits have the same technology concerns as any business. They have to manage their finances and have a strategic plan while finding funding and promoting their mission. Filament can be an effective partner in addressing the business of the nonprofit and I just want to help more organizations achieve their mission.

How do you plan to leverage your past experience in your new role?

I’ve been working with nonprofits as a volunteer, consultant and employee for most of my career. I have seen the good, bad and ugly that the sector offers. This unique experience positions me to quickly identify challenges and work on solutions that best meet the needs of the organizations we are helping.

How do you stay motivated and inspired in your work?

As a problem solver, I’m not going to lie, there are some difficult days. Nonprofits are solving big issues with limited resources. While they can’t save all the starfish, when I hear the stories of the nonprofits that do make a difference, that’s what keeps me energized to do the work.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I’ve had the opportunity to build a lot of cool things. Forming the Foundry Community has to be a highlight. Seeing people collaborating to do good in our community is incredibly rewarding. The throughline of my career, however, is the teams I’ve been humbled to build and the people that were a part who are now out in the world making a difference.

When you aren’t helping nonprofits innovate, how do like to spend your time? (What are some of your personal hobbies or interests outside of work?)

When the nonprofit sector is your day job, you find yourself volunteering for many causes you care about. I’m also a good seat filler for auctions and galas. Outside of that, helping people find their next big thing fills the soul. Additionally, I enjoy teaching college classes, staying in touch with friends, adventure dining and occasionally making my way to a theater stage.