Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nonprofits: Just 2 Questions to Answer

No one can argue with the idea that nonprofits should strive to achieve their stated missions. A good mission statement says something about the impact the nonprofit wants to make, to answer the question "How will quality of life be improved for the people we serve?".

And, of course, nonprofits need to be concerned about developing the resources needed to achieve their missions. Beyond that, there's not much more to discuss. Thus, we can look at nonprofit effectiveness through two simple questions:

1) How can we achieve positive impact in the world?
2) How can we sustain our efforts in doing so?

I contend that everything a nonprofit does should be an answer to one of these two questions. This helps us put all of those things nonprofits are supposed to do - recruit a good board, institute good human resource systems, comply with funder requirements - in the proper perspective.

Thus, instead of spending lots of time constructing thorough personnel policies for their own sake the question should be "How will developing these policies help us achieve impact/sustain efforts?"