“In the complicated world of nonprofit organizations, it can seem like everything goes wrong at once.”
Barbara Kibbe and Fred Setterberg, Succeeding with Consultants
I know when I take on a new assignment I am going to step on some toes. After all, I am usually hired to work with nonprofits facing challenges – a struggling board, a scheduled special event without implementation plans, an organization without a strategic plan or a rainmaker founding board member who decides to leave, but won’t let go.
Many times, the stressors are external – loss of funding, harsh political climate or a lack of buy-in from donors on signature projects.
Be sure and conduct a thorough situation analysis to begin. Identify challenges to focus your work. Here are 10 key questions to guide the process:
1) Does the organization have a fundraising plan that identifies different sources and funding activities?
2) Do all the board members contribute money?
3) Is there a donor management program in place?
4) Is there consensus about the organization’s vision and mission?
5) When is the last time the bylaws were updated?
6) Are marketing and development programs based on services and programs instead of the mission?
7) Does the community know the nonprofit?
8) Is the IT infrastructure adequate?
9) Is there an updated strategic plan and is it followed?
10) Does the organization have published ethical guidelines for governance and fundraising? Are they followed?
So, be prepared to ruffle some feathers. And, be prepared to read the warning signs when it is time to go.
But, before you leave, be sure and share the nonprofit’s successes that were accomplished while you were there.