Are you perfect? Flawless? As a nonprofit, are you all about best practices? Does everyone you serve transform their lives in six months? Do your college students graduate early and debt free? What about your board? Does everyone give a gift, and ask everyone they know to join them?
If this is you, we say “congratulations!” You are a nonprofit superstar. Unfortunately, most of us don’t fall into that category. We have visions and we strive towards them. But there’s only so much any one person or organization can do. Should we be ashamed about that? Or should we ask for help?
We believe in sharing what is going well and where there are challenges, and then inviting others to help create solutions. This is a strength.
We recommend that you start this spirit of openness with your board, staff and volunteers. Take time to regularly communicate with your nonprofit “family.” Too often the “family” is the last to know what is going on beyond their area of responsibility. Yet they often have knowledge, relationships, experience, and skills that can move a challenge to an opportunity.
Here are three things to share with family and stakeholders.
Organizational priorities. What are we trying to accomplish and how? What type of funding is needed, both short term and longer range? Who are we partnering with and who do we want to partner with as we grow? Do we have the facilities we need? Do our buildings need to be reconfigured? Expanded? Upgraded? How are we treating our employees? What are our benefit programs? Do these meet employee needs? How do our salaries compare with similar organizations? Are we providing our staff with the technology and internet access they need to work remotely? Does our leadership and staff represent those we serve in terms of race, gender, age, economics, geography and more?
Leadership and resources. What are the skillsets and experiences we possess and share through our staff and leadership? What skills and experience do we need to add? What types of people do we want to join as staff, volunteers, and board members? Who are our consultants, and what role are they playing? What level of expertise do they bring and how does that tie to our goals? In terms of in-kind resources and services, which do we already have? Who is providing them? What do we need to secure?
Communications and evaluation. How are we communicating and building awareness for our nonprofit? What are we doing well? Who do we need to reach? In terms of evaluation, what are our benchmarks? How are we tracking our progress? Will we be able to know when we are making an impact, or where/how we need to modify our advocacy or services? How do we communicate all of this?
No one is doing it all – no matter what their social media communicates. Don’t be deceived. Build your organization with openness and invite people to join you in bringing your mission and vision to life.
[Copyright 2021 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you plan for 2021 Video and phone conferencing services always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.]