More advice for nonprofit fundraising
I wrote Wednesday about a workshop I went to about how nonprofits can improve their fundraising plans. Then I got an interesting email from Larry R. Correa, president of Computer Cost Control, an Oklahoma City company specializing in nonprofits and small businesses. Here’s the information he sent:
Most people take time to prepare their thoughts before going on vacation. They take five very primary and essential steps to ensure they have covered all aspects that could arise while they are away from home. And, in the event of unforeseen circumstances, they prepare contingency plans as a safeguard.
These steps are simple and most of us do them without thinking. But, it is essential for us to formally introduce them. They are:
Each of these action steps are required to lead a business to success.
First, “share the vision.” It is of paramount importance that all concerned know the organization’s vision. It is the only way to ensure everyone is working toward the same goal – that they have the same focus and understand the applied vision.
If staff members, when giving a tour to visitors, cannot clearly identify each department’s function, then you have a problem – you have not shared the vision.
Every staff member should have a general knowledge of what each department does. Clear lines of communication are a vital key to success.
Second, senior staff should prepare a plan that outlines the organization’s vision. Be careful to avoid a plan that produces detailed documentation. Rather, it should be an easy-to-follow “flight plan” to guide managers, and should address three basic questions:
“What market standing is required to maintain leadership?”
“What innovative performance does the organization require to support that standing?”
“What is the minimum rate of return needed to earn the cost of capital?”
The senior staff planners should work with the operating department managers to map out broad strategic guidelines for achieving the corporate goals under various economic conditions. Remember, too, visions are dynamic – they change with time.
Right now, your company is in a stage of growth and what is needed are certain structures to:
• Maintain the growth
• Control the growth
• Provide for functional accountability
To this end, it is mandatory that everyone understand the mission statement – the focus upon which the organization is built. Everyone should know who you are, what you do, why you do what you do, and how they can help achieve what must be done to succeed.
Third, get organized! This is accomplished through the development of a policy and procedures manual.
Again, it is important to keep in mind the five formal steps to follow to ensure success:
Policies and procedures are a necessary evil. Some people like to take them to their limits, others live comfortably within them, and some use them as a shield. In any event, they are necessary to ensure functional accountability.
Policies and procedures when properly administered provide guidance to staff. Each department should have a policy statement that clearly outlines their department’s responsibilities. This fosters accountability – a way to set standards and to measure goals and performance.
Your organization is an entrepreneurial organization – one that seizes the moment and gives broad flexibility to those with responsibility. However, each area must still follow the initial steps prior to embarking on new business. Control is essential.
Although, entrepreneurial organizations do not typically conform to a rigid set of rules which set boundaries for each department, departmental accountability is still essential to maintain control.
Staff input is another crucial ingredient to the policies and procedures manual. One must find out how to improve productivity, quality, and performance by asking the staff who do the work – not tell them what they are to be doing based on subjective knowledge.
Additionally, it should be noted that raising productivity of the staff is management’s first social priority.
Forth, implement! It is time to put the plan developed in steps one through three into action. Now the work begins.
But, before we start, I would like you to picture the following: take a plate and fill it almost full with water. Let this water stand for a few moments until there is not movement. Now, add a drop of water from a respectable distance. Notice, concentric circles are formed from the entry point to the outer edge. This represents communication.
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