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As a leader of a mission-driven organization, you wear many hats.
You may be spending part of your day providing administrative leadership and direction, another managing finances, and another part just staying ahead of day to day operations.
Sometimes you may feel less like you're steering the boat and more like you're just keeping it afloat.
That doesn't have to become the "norm" for your organization though.
Take the time to re-examine how the leadership, mission, and financial framework of your organization can better serve your organization's overall purpose.
The leadership of your organization is your foundation. When organizations have a strong foundation, they are able to grow and thrive.
Most mission-driven organizations are led by a Board of Directors. This group of people guides your development, provides financial oversight, and, most importantly, ensures that everything you do fulfills your mission.
Is your board providing proper leadership over your mission-driven organization? Consider the following questions:
It is vital that your Board of Directors not only agrees with your mission but sees it as the driving force of your organization.
As they lead the organization and practice fiduciary responsibility, their decisions directly affect the staff and volunteers of your organization. As such, these decisions must be informed by your mission and vision.
Your Board of Directors is responsible for setting the annual and long-term (5-10 year) goals of your organization.
We can't say this enough: You DO NOT want "yes men" on your BOD. You want people who will actively participate in the development of your organization. Setting goals is a vital piece of this.
Consider if your BOD has enough data, provided ideally by the staff, to make these goals. Are these goals SMART?
How often does your board meet to discuss the progress of your organization? Boards should meet at LEAST annually, ideally quarterly.
Boards may break up into committees and meet more regularly to govern their specific area of responsibility. However, it is vital that your board be actively engaged in monitoring how your organization is meeting goals.
Since Board of Directors have a responsibility to govern and develop the organization, they must have the ability to guide your organization in the present while also being future-focused. Take look at this article for what it means to have a "future-focused" board.
Your BOD must have a healthy relationship with the staff (and volunteers) of your organization. This relationship is built on trust and defined roles.
Directors should not be involved in the day to day (or even week to week) operations of your organization. Your BOD guides the big picture of your organization, and your staff carries out their plan - that is what you are paying them for!
Now, of course there may be times when you need the expertise of a board member (say in accounting or marketing), and that director may step into the minutiae of your operations. This should be the exception, though.
This type of healthy, delegated relationship is only possible with healthy communication.
This involves communication from the top down but also from the bottom up. Your staff, the ones who get their hands dirty in the operations of your mission, have incredible insights on your organization. Listen to them! Give them opportunities to share their ideas and ask questions of the board.
Looking for ways to make your board meetings as effective as possible?
We've created a checklist for you.
Your mission drives your organization.
Whether it is providing services for those in need, selling products, or educating people, everything your organization does should flow out of your mission.
If your organization needs guidance for writing or using a mission statement, check out our blog on The Power of a Mission Statement.
How do you manage the programs and services your organization offers?
There are many factors that go into the "behind the scenes" of managing a mission-driven organization.
Where would your organization be without the people who make it run?
Whether you rely on fully-paid staff or a team of volunteers, you know how valuable they are to your mission-driven organization. Managing your staff and volunteers is a vital part of fulfilling your mission.
Effective communication is a major part of human resources management.
The way a mission-driven organization communicates internally directly impacts the effectiveness of their programs and operations.
Does your staff communicate clearly? Is there alignment on your mission and expectations from the top executives down to the volunteers?
Reports show that 57% of employees report not being given clear directions. Is this true in your organization?
It may be time to consider the methods and manner which you use to communicate with your staff and volunteers.
Do you give clear expectations regarding roles and responsibilities? Are you giving your stakeholders frequent enough updates on the workings of your organization?
The Village Creed platform offers communication tools to help you do just that.
If your organization depends on the work of volunteers, do you have effective ways to recruit, manage, and thank these tireless workers?
According to the 2018 Volunteering in America report, 77.34 million adults volunteered for a total of almost 6.9 billion hours in 2017. These volunteer hours add up to $167 billion in value!
There is a tremendous amount of time and economic value that is spent in volunteer activities in the US each year.
It is increasingly more important for mission-driven organizations to make strategic efforts to recruit and manage their volunteers in order to fulfill their mission.
The management of mission-driven organizations also involves assuring the operations of the organization are running effectively and efficiently.
This only happens when guidelines for processes and procedures are clearly communicated to all levels of your organization.
Do each of your staff members clearly understand their roles and expectations? Do they know how to solve problems through the procedures set forth by your organization?
One great way to encourage efficient workflows and communication is by using a task-management system like Trello or Asana. Eliminate the sticky notes and help your teams and departments easily work together!
One of the areas where organizations' processes are tested is event management.
Anyone who has planned an event knows the effort and collaboration that is involved in putting on a successful event. Your organization's communication, approval processes, and workflows become essential as your team works together to plan, create, and follow-up after events.
Now that you have clear internal communication and processes, it is time to focus on your external communications, or marketing.
How do you communicate your brand to targeted audiences?
What pain points are you solving for people? Communicating this will attract people to your products and services.
Does your team have a Marketing Framework and Guide to keep your messaging consistent and clear? Adopting a strategy that informs all of your external communications is crucial to creating a consistent and trustworthy brand.
Part of managing your mission-driven organization also involves delighting your customers and clients.
These individuals have participated in your programs or purchased your goods and services.
How are you going to keep them engaged in your organization and keep them coming back?
One great way to keep your clients engaged is by asking for their feedback.
Asking current clients to complete surveys or short forms allows them to share their ideas, which gives them a sense of ownership in your programs and services.
Gathering and analyzing their responses also helps you better serve your future clients.
Check out some of the Feedback Tools offered on Village Creed's platform!
Managing a mission-driven organization involves financial management.
Whether you are selling products to make a profit which will ultimately benefit your shareholders or offering programs funded by grants and donations, effective mission-driven organizations depend on financial planning and oversight.
What goals does your organization have financially?
Perhaps you are getting ready to scale your organization or maybe you are barely ending each year in the black. No matter your financial position, it is important that the finances of mission-driven organization be exactly that - mission driven.
Does your organization depend largely on donations and fundraising to keep afloat? Our Fundraising Guide may offer some insights.
No matter your source of revenue, it is important to keep your mission and values at the heart of your financial management.
Ensure you are not spending vital organizational resources on programs or events that don't support your mission. Assess where you might need to allocate even more resources in order to achieve your overall vision.
Find a balance that makes sense for your organization of how much you budget for overhead versus direct program expenses. We believe it is important to understand your overhead vs. impact.
All of the data your organization collects, whether it is financial information, audience engagement, customer feedback, event attendance, and more, will help you make informed decisions.
Many organizations, no matter their size, struggle to gather important data about their operations, customers, and more. However, mission-driven organizations must also be data-driven in order to be the most effective.
Consider how your organization collects data. Do you have an efficient way of measuring your impact? Do you have enough data to guide your decisions?
Village Creed offers tools to help organizations collect and manage their data to ensure they are making the greatest impact possible.
Managing mission-driven organizations can be a complex task.
Many times, leaders of these organizations feel overwhelmed by the minutiae of their work and feel like they cannot focus on carrying out their mission and programs.
We like to use the analogy of painting a bedroom.
Before you start painting, you are excited by the fresh new look the paint will give to the room. You daydream while picking out the color at the hardware store, and you can't wait to get home to start. You see the finished product in your mind!
However, when you get home, you realize you forgot painters tape at the store. This leads to another trip (or two) back to the hardware store. When you finally have all the necessary tools, you begin laying the plastic on the floors. Then, you begin lining the trip with painters' tape. Then comes the primer.
Before you know it, hours have passed and you haven't even opened the can of that beautiful paint! You're so exhausted after all that preparation, and you are out of time!
Your excitement for the new bedroom has faded when you realize you'll have to wait to paint until tomorrow.
Our team at Village Creed understands how all of the administrative tasks of running a mission-driven organization can at times be exhausting and a hindrance to doing the work you are passionate about - your mission!
We have created tools to help organizations like yours cut down the time and effort you spend on these administrative tasks.
Your mission is crucial to the vitality of your community. We'll help you continue making a measurable impact.