Last week we began a series on stewardship and organizational mission. We are going to continue this subject area with a discussion on using your mission to make decisions. You see, many nonprofits and ministries understand that their mission is important and that it should have a vital role in the decisions being made, but quite often, they are not completely sure how to integrate the two. Let’s look at it step by step.
Before starting, I want you to know that it is ok to decide not to make a decision as a result of going through the questions below. And, by using these questions, you will also be able to share with your board of directors the process that is used to make decisions—this will give the board comfort in knowing that you are looking at all sides of an issue before bringing a recommendation to them. Using the questions below will also help you to identify the information that is missing (don’t you hate it when you work through a decision only to discover that you have forgotten to include some important factor?).
- Is this choice consistent with our mission and the strategies we presently use to fulfill our mission? (It is quite possible that if the choice doesn’t align with current strategies that you are looking at innovative opportunities —this may be a good thing).
- Is this something that we can do well? (Remember that as a faith based organization you are answering to a “higher power” thus your work needs to be done well).
- Do we have the resources to implement the choice – staff, physical facilities, financial, etc.
- How will this choice impact what we are presently doing?
- Have we obtained input from our staff and volunteers? What are their thoughts?
As part of the decision making process, you will also want to spend some time analyzing the financial return on investment (see last week). This includes reviewing how much cash you need to have on hand to get started and how long it will take for the cash to begin to flow, and how will this decision affect your relationship with current partners, donors and constituents. Finally, you may actually want to ask the question, “can we do this?”
Only after working through these questions can you proceed…or not. Know that just because you decide not to proceed now, does not mean NEVER. Perhaps now is not the right time—looking at your responses to the questions above will provide you with the information you need to prepare for the time when you are ready to proceed.
If your process shows you that you are ready to proceed, take the time to develop a plan of action. This plan of action will show your board of directors as well as funders that you have thought through all aspects of the decision and that you are not taking the decision lightly.
Going through a decision making process is part of being a good steward. Luke 14:28 tells us, “”But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”
Our members have access to a checklist to use for decision making. Contact us to learn how we can serve you or to become a member of the Faith Based Nonprofit Resource Center.