Can you recite your mission ?
Sounds easy enough. If you were asked to state the mission of your nonprofit could you state it clearly, without stumbling, fully and passionately? If you answered yes to this question, part of me thinks you can stop reading.
But another part says “maybe read on” just in case.
Some folks might be thinking “I know our mission, why is this even a question? I mean, every day, I work to make our mission happen”. But the reality is that every single decision you make must be guided in full by the mission you currently have. It is a truth in the nonprofit world that almost all bad outcomes can be traced in some way to working outside or tangentially to the stated mission.
Almost always it’s about funding (usually something like a grant or designated gift) that “sort of fits” but in your heart you know it’s really about “we need money, any money” fears. And that slippery slope of taking money that is not related fully to mission, might feel in the short-term like a solution, but I assure you in the long-term the unintended consequences will be vast.
Another example is something like “there isn’t any money in our mission focus, so we will add on this other thing that is sort of related, but not really, and is more attractive to donors, then we can have some influx of funds to carry our real mission work”. It’s a lie. I repeat it’s a lie.
When you start thinking like that, or you hear a board member or donor start talking like that. Stop. And immediately review your mission statement, and possibly your vision statement, your relevance in your community and especially your nonprofits values. This conversation is critical in all the ways that will keep you on track in your mission work.
I can assist in this conversation. It is one that should be revisited regularly and can revive commitment and generate ideas that keep your nonprofit on track. Don’t be afraid to have the conversation, you will be glad you did.