Craft your vision, mission, and values, and be able to articulate them simply.
What do you want the world to look like?
Example: We see a world where children never go to sleep hungry.
What is your organization going to do to make the world look like your vision?
Example: To provide hot meals after school to children in underserved communities.
What are the principles that you care about that you will use to carry out your mission?
Children are the future.
Children must always feel love and care.
Dignity – Children in need, and their families, have innate dignity and deserve our respect.
Humility – We humbly accept the responsibility of feeding hungry children wherever possible.
You must plan! Produce a document! Do this before you solicit donations and dues! Your document should be well-organized, and answer the following questions:
Organizational structure, officers, board members, qualifications….
Services, programs, operations…
Donations, dues, grants, fees…
Maybe you’ve got a plan, but you’re struggling to make it work. Maybe you just need an extra set of hands. Either way, you’ve got a management problem that needs to be solved.
“Structure” can include all of the divisions, processes, and timelines related to the organization’s activities. Your structure needs to include administration, which supports your mission, and then programs or departments that carry out your mission. The organization must be structured so that staff members and volunteers understand their areas of responsibility, and know who to turn to for help. Programs that your organization provides must be funded, and then supported by the appropriate number of staff members or volunteers with the right skillsets, ideally within a well-understood lifecycle.
The nonprofit manager needs to communicate effectively within the organization, but also with external stakeholders. Expectations must be made clear, and then managed. Staff members need guidance, structure, and training. Donors need to know what they are getting in return for their investment. Beneficiaries need to know how and where to access your organization’s programs. Board members, as representatives of the public interest, need to know and believe that the organization is operating within policies that they have established. The media and the general public need to know about your organization and its successes for long term marketing and development purposes.
Your organization needs measures of success, both for you as the nonprofit manager, and for your funding base, who needs to know why to invest their money in you. If you don’t have KPIs, then you can’t tell how successful you are, or when you need to make a course correction. It’s like driving a car without a dashboard. If you have KPIs, then you need to make sure that they measure what you say that they measure, and that you’re measuring it accurately and consistently. KPIs should be established for the organization overall, and for staff members as well.