Every once in a while, an organization is presented with an opportunity….an opportunity that on the surface seems like a great idea. Perhaps it is an opportunity to get additional funding, start a new program or serve in a new community. All of these opportunities in and of themselves are great things, but how can you decide whether or not to “jump” on the opportunity?
Many nonprofit leaders are visionaries—they see the world for what it could become. And, that is a good thing, without visionaries many of the challenges and issues that have faced our world in the past would not be solved today. Since there is a less desirable attribute to counter every positive one, let’s look for a moment at the destructive side to a visionary. Visionaries often get so caught up in the great idea that they are unable to evaluate the idea’s effect on themselves and those around them. They develop a case of tunnel vision which presses them forward without consideration for everything else. And, since visionaries tend to be idealists and positive people, they are unable to see the negative in their great idea.[bctt tweet=”Many nonprofit leaders are visionaries—they see the world for what it could become. #nonprofit #ministry” username=”Grantconsultant”]
Evaluating Opportunities That Fit Your Organization
Below is a checklist that can be used to evaluate great ideas and plans to determine if they are a good idea for right now or a good idea for the future, a good idea for you and your organization or a good idea for someone else and another organization.
- Does the idea, project, funding align with your mission? It is important to evaluate whether there is true mission alignment or whether you are stretching it to make it fit….to justify it.
- Will you need to turn the organization upside down to implement it? There are sometimes great ideas that just need to wait because the organization is not quite ready for it. That is ok, begin adjusting and moving the organization toward the opportunity in the future. It is better to be prepared in the future than to start something that you and your staff are not prepared for.
- What additional demands will you place on your volunteers and staff? Generally visionaries are high capacity people….we take on a lot because we have the capacity to do so….and we like it that way. But, our staff and volunteers are often not the same type of people. Sometimes when we add programs, services or try to meet the guidelines of a funding source we forget to think about what we are doing to our staff. Take time to evaluate the organization’s capacity at all levels to implement.
- How will you keep it going? Even if we stretch our staff and all of our resources to their capacity for a short time, we must ask ourselves how we will keep it going. If we implement a new program or service or receive a new funding source that is only available for a short time, do we have a plan to continue? Sometimes, it is worse to begin something that you can’t continue than to never start at all. Think through the consequences of not being able to continue.
All good ideas have a time and place. Know that sometimes you are not the right person right now. And, that is ok, if it is truly a great idea, the time will come. But, for now, remember who you are and what your mission is.
A lot of organizations struggle with staying true to their mission. On May 3, 2017, we will hear from Peter Greer, President and CEO of Hope International, about how to keep your organization or ministry on track. Register early and save $38! You will also receive a FREE copy of Peter Greer’s book, Mission Drift.