Gathering Momentum Toward your Small Nonprofit VisionPosted: April 29, 2013
Is your nonprofit organization moving closer to or farther away from its vision? Take a close look at your historical positions and current strategic plan to evaluate progress. At the end of a typical day, it will be difficult to assess the degree and direction of movement. Momentum towards your vision can be best discerned and measured over longer time periods.
Negative momentum can ultimately result in a death spiral. Be careful in differentiating between temporary setbacks and fundamental sea changes though. Contribution to momentum can be categorized as follows.
Areas that Decorate enrich and elevate your organization toward its vision. Durable areas are long-lasting and offer a dependable foundation. Areas of Decay are rusting out and showing signs of decline. Death is indicated in areas where activity has ceased. Sometimes death has knowingly occurred. In many other cases, you will need to find the dead wood yourself. When the trend in momentum moves down this spectrum towards death, a death spiral is forming.
As a starting point, take a close look at the following five key areas in your own nonprofit. How much momentum are these providing to (or taking away from) attaining the vision? Under which category should they be classified?
- Ideas. Is input from key stakeholders including employees being actively cultivated, evaluated and acted upon?
- Processes. Does a systematic program exist to proactively address potential problems and opportunities?
- People. Have they been properly empowered or do they contribute to the vision in a muted fashion?
- Funding. Is your return on investment acceptable?
- Quality. Are measured outcomes above or below the bar?
Where do your organization’s greatest opportunities lie? The author Norman Cousins was quoted as saying that “death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
Gather positive momentum and don’t keep one foot in the grave!