One of the primary reasons nonprofit leaders feel like they’re spinning their wheels is because they never take the time to align their strategy with their overall mission and goals. However, this is an easy fix once you understand how to effectively connect your nonprofit’s mission with your strategy.
Why Many Nonprofits Struggle to Connect Their Mission and Strategy
The connection of elements in the strategic agenda framework is simple: The most important elements of your strategy must be defined before lower elements can be appropriately addressed.
One of the most common mistakes nonprofits make is focusing on operational needs outside the context of the strategic initiatives and vision that make their operational needs so important. You might agree that the mission statement and core values are the absolute starting point for defining any organization, but the decisions you make don’t reflect that at all.
For example, you might inherently know why a new building or a new donor management system or additional staff members are needed. But you fail to define the link between those operational imperatives and their strategic counterparts.
Why is that?
Because operational elements tend to be much more tangible than strategic ones. It’s easier to see and touch them. Nonetheless, operational needs can be best understood only when they are linked to strategies and vision.
How to Connect Your Mission and Strategy
There’s one word nonprofit leaders must know when it comes to connecting their mission with their operational strategy: vision.
Vision is most effectively established when it’s developed with three areas clearly defined:
- The needs/interests of the institution’s target customers and donors
- A full understanding of the external environment
- The unique skills and abilities which make the organization distinctive
Vision, along with an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, represents inputs to the annual strategic plan. If you want to overcome some of the challenges that are created when there’s a lack of vision, download our resource entitled The Strategic Agenda today. In it, you’ll learn how to create a plan that helps you overcome those challenges and strive for a better future that includes long-term fundraising success!
Nonprofit Leaders: What vision are you casting to connect your nonprofit’s mission with the strategy you’re using to accomplish it?