By Miraldo Michel
How can nonprofits ensure that their focus areas, their short- and long-term goals are connected to the mission and moving them closer to fulfilling that mission?
If there is any confusion within the organization about where the organization is moving in congruence to the mission statement and may be sidetracked. This is information that should be extremely helpful. Here are a few compiled steps that should be used to achieve mission-based strategic planning.
It needs to be understood why the mission is what it is. The board should without a doubt know that the mission fills a gap in the world (Amy Eisenstein). It also should know that there is a moral obligation, as a nonprofit organization, to fill this duty in a efficient and effective way. Remember why you started in the first place: "Mission is about a group of people imagining the change they can create and exploring these possibilities together. Through their collective action, they discover something in common within one another, a shared sense of purpose.” (Carlo Cuesta)
There should be regular boardroom discussions about the mission, where you were as a nonprofit before and how much closer are you to obtaining your goal. This is where your long-term and short-term goals are put to the test; short term goals should be met while in the process of reaching your nonprofit's long-term goals.
This is where you simply design a strategy and work toward fulling your mission. Nathan Garber and Associates did a great job of outlining a plan, which goes as follows.
- design a strategic planning process that meets your need
- review or create a mission statement and guiding principles
- conduct an environmental scan
- identify critical issues
- develop operational goals and objectives
- design realistic strategies to meet your objectives
- develop and review budgets
- implement your plans
- monitor progress
It cannot be stressed enough! In every meeting, convention, retreat or even on the walls of the building, allow the mission statement to be in plain sight, so that no one will ever forget the ultimate goal. (Hildy Gottlieb) Hildy does a great job in her post Three Statements That Can Change The World, explaining how to keep the mission statement, along with others, in the meeting room. See 3 Statements That Can Change the World: Mission / Vision / Values for more details.
With every decision that the board room makes, the mission statement should be the first question asked in compliance. Will this move work in our missions favor? Or is it steering away from our mission statement? If there is any doubt in the decision, it may not be the right thing to do.
Every now and then there should be a planned retreat. Allow everyone to relax, get away from the everyday stressors of the workplace that can distract someone from the mission at hand. Then refocus on the goal.(Amy Eisenstien) For more information on the benefits of a retreat and how it can help you along your mission way, visit Top 6 Reasons For Having a Board Retreat this Year.
These are a few steps that could be taken in an effort to keep the mission at the forefront of the companies decision making, using strategic planning. If you would like more information on mission-based strategic planning and ways that will keep you and all employees of your nonprofit mission driven, here are a few useful links: