AtoZ Challenge: M is for Manage Your Mission — Janet Cobb Consulting
Folx in the nonprofit sector often reject the notion that they “should operate more like a business.” The problem with the assertion to be “more like” a business is that it fundamentally ignores the reality that a nonprofit IS a business. You can’t be “more like” something you already are! A nonprofit is a business that operates differently than a for-profit business — that’s all. And, for that matter, not all for-profit businesses operate alike!
To successfully achieve your vision and fulfill your mission, to avoid mission creep, and to exist with purpose, you need to manage your mission. Remember, a nonprofit is a business. As you make vision and mission-centric decisions to keep the organization on the right path, don’t ignore legal, moral, ethical, and managerial best practices. Whether you’re a founder, new executive director, or a volunteer board member, if you don’t have a basic understanding of business, surround yourself with those who do. Look for a mentor or coach who’s done this before; take a business course or two; ensure the organization has an effective board and a trusted advisory committee to turn to if needed…. don’t neglect the business aspects critical to longevity. Are you in compliance with federal and state regulations regarding board governance, insurance, fundraising, and financial accounting? How often do you review your bylaws to make sure your bylaws and your practice align? Do you have policies and procedures to ensure you aren’t person-dependent and your systems will outlast any individual? Have you made an effort to know what you don’t know? (Promised Land, The 3rd Commandment)
The important point here is that — to be successful — you must understand how your business operates and then manage it accordingly. Don’t mistakenly believe that it won’t matter because you are a nonprofit — or that human resources, workers’ compensation, labor laws, sales tax, background checks, accounting, insurance, and every other policy or law that applies in your city, county, or state doesn’t apply to you.
You don’t want to just run on a wing and a prayer!
Originally published at https://jcobbconsulting.com on March 30, 2021.