Nonprofit people are some of the busiest people around. We are busy meeting needs, advocating, raising money, collaborating, and bringing people together to advance positive visions for who we can be individually and collectively. Our endeavors are meaningful, impactful, and often life-saving. Collectively we are transforming the world we know into the world we want our children to live in. And we seek to respect each other and feel good about doing good.
But how does this all happen? Is there a magic team builder who transforms everyday humans into nonprofit superstars? Our experience has shown that while the hearts of those in the nonprofit sector are full of love and hope, we aren’t collectively blessed with any greater ability to work together than others.
We need to invest in our people, systems, culture, and understanding of each other. Unfortunately, many nonprofits try to allocate “just about everything” to programs, services, and advocacy and overlook investing in our teams. Organizational development can be seen as a luxury we can’t afford, something we don’t need because we’ve got it all together, or something we can do on our own. Sometimes we don’t even know what our organizations need, or that there is help, processes, and new approaches to working that we can benefit from.
Take a moment to read and answer the following questions. Ask your team members, board members, and volunteers to do the same. Is there consensus? Your answers are at the heart of your organizational culture and effectiveness.
- Who do we serve, support, or advocate for? Is this clearly defined?
- Do we meet a “need” on an individual or community-wide basis?
- Who are our partners and who are our competitors?
- What are our organization’s values? Does everyone know these? Do we all buy into these?
- How are management decisions made?
- Where does the buck stop?
- Who provides oversight?
- Who sets goals, defines/refines the mission and values?
- Where does our funding come from?
- Who is responsible for the financial health of the organization?
- Are we operating from a strategic plan, business plan, or other plan?
- Is the budget a “make-do” budget, or does it provide the finances we need to fulfill our mission?
- Are we in a position to go after funding to support your organization?
- What checks and balances have we put in place to hold ourselves accountable? Who is part of these systems and what processes are in place to surface issues, concerns, harassment, embezzlement, fraud, misrepresentation?
- Do we invest in the development of our employees, volunteers, and board members?
- Do we have the capacity and infrastructure to sustain and grow our operations?
- Do our employees, volunteers, and board members understand their roles and responsibilities?
- Do we have the tools we need to monitor trends within our “sector?”
All of these impact and help create organizational culture. Take time to invest in your organization’s health and development: You and your team are worth it.
Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
When you are ready to build a fund development program, grow your fundraising, or increase board engagement we are here to help. (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.