Founders, executive directors, employees, volunteers and board members of a nonprofit have one important goal: keeping their fantastic organization healthy and successful for the community it serves. Sounds easy enough, right? We know the difficulties involved in raising money and running an organization. Here are five ways to make sure your nonprofit remains successful and healthy and keeps everyone from experiencing burnout.
Your nonprofit has a mission. The mission defines why the organization exists. Everyone’s work is done each day to fulfill this mission. Problems appear when those involved with a nonprofit lose sight of the mission, which can be easy to do. All organizations have seen this happen. New employees or board members arrive with great ideas but they aren’t truly focused on or aware of the mission. Their ideas could possibly add to achieving the mission, but issues arise if the ideas are not part of the core mission. It’s OK to say “No” to an idea that is not mission-aligned.
Those involved with driving the organization forward need to keep the organization’s mission at the forefront of their strategizing. Willingly listen to new ideas, but if these ideas are leading away from the organization’s core purpose, pull back and remind yourself why the mission is important.
All organizations, for-profit and nonprofit, are a singular team. It’s impossible to fulfill a mission if everyone is going in different directions. Executive directors alone are not responsible for single-handedly supporting their organization’s mission. Employees and volunteers should be expected to strive for the organizational goals. Lean on your board members as well for their expertise in their particular industry.
If they put themselves on an island and believe only they can do all the work themselves, executive directors will burn out quickly. Motivate the team, ask for help from the board and bring everyone together. If an executive director can do this, they will see goals reached and their organization’s mission moving forward.
Perfection or “Good Enough”
Stop trying to be perfect. Seeking perfection can hinder you from reaching your goals on any project. The important thing is reaching your goals within the devised timeline and keeping your organization on track. If you’re only looking for perfection – from your ED, from your employees, from your board – you will find yourself disappointed and slipping away from the mission and putting yourself on that island, thinking only YOU can do all the work.
It’s more efficient and effective to reach desired results by following a plan rather than striving for perfection.
This works for more than just your nonprofit. Whether you are establishing an event fundraising goal, developing a program, or any other task that warrants a timeline, work backwards from that final achievement to plot out your journey to arrive where you want to be when you want to be there. Explore your plan step by step. If you can’t get to the goal because one or more of the steps isn’t doable (remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect) then it’s time to re-do the plan.
It’s completely fine to start over or scrap plans. Not every idea will achieve the results you want and there’s no need to force something on your nonprofit that could harm it down the road.
K.I.S.S and under promise, over deliver
Keep It Simple Stupid. You’ve heard it and should repeat this mantra as much as you can. Since you already know that a desire for perfection can harm your nonprofit, keeping it simple will ensure you reach goals without the pressure of needing to be perfect to do so. Streamline all of your processes.
Do not promise anyone the stars. There is no reason for anyone involved in your nonprofit organization to over-promise results. If you under-promise and go beyond, then you are a hero! If you’re focused on the mission, over-delivering will be easy.
Having reliable financials also helps ensure the long-term health of your nonprofit. Numbers 4 Nonprofits is focused on Managing Money with Mission. We work with nonprofit organizations providing dependable accounting services so you can remain focused on your own mission.
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