Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Are nonprofits focusing too much on mission and not enough on strategy?

The current hierarchy from Nonprofits may be too condensed and focusing emphasis on the wrong thing.

  • Mission
  • Values
  • Vision
  • Strategy Statement
  • Strategic Plan
  • Balanced Scorecard

Nonprofits have strategic plans. This is not novel. They are the guiding purpose behind the organization and drive the specific programmatic and strategic decisions over the years. It defines its relevance and relative scope within a larger framework of socially-focused institutions. However, the strategic plans are sometimes pushed to the side and ignored in order to meet the day-to-day needs of the organization. Strategy is thrown out of the window just to keep the organization running another day. Mission statements, however, are vague descriptors that can guide the organization loosely over an extended (probably undetermined) period of time. This mission statement, however, is where much of the emphasis is given within the organization. It is how the overall effectiveness is judged against: are the financials showing mission reach? What are their programs?

However, more effort should be made to create a more concise strategy statement to condense the strategic plan into a singular statement that is easily consumable and memorable. It will give more definite boundaries for the organization and help to reinforce the more detailed goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics of a more formal strategic plan. From my current understandings of some major nonprofits, they do not have these strategy statements to round-out their operations. This is a major weakness in the strategic operations of the organization because missions are fluffy and theoretical whereas strategy statements are concrete. If more emphasis was made creating a clearer strategy – strategy statement, strategic plan, and balanced scorecard – organizations may be able to more deliberately operate, sustain, and grow the organization over a longer period of time.

This is, obviously just a theory from the readings.

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