Many organizations struggle to determine if they should start a new program, expand a program that currently exists or even eliminate a program that has been around “forever.” The struggle for many nonprofits and ministries is that there is a lot of passion on the board, on staff and in the volunteer pool, so lots of great ideas get tossed around. But, how do we know if it’s something we should pursue or something for someone else?
First, I want you to know that your organization should not be doing every great idea. It has a mission and that mission should be its focus. There are other organizations to solve other issues.
Using the questions below, walk through a decision-making process to determine if the program or service is a good fit for the organization at this time. Note, because a new project is not right for right now, does not mean that it won’t be right for a time in the future. And, likewise, simply because a program or service has always existed doesn’t mean that it should always be around.
Questions To Ask:
- Does the program or service align with our mission? Or, is it a stretch? Do we need to look at our mission sideways to make it fit? If so, it is not a good fit and we should move on.
- Does the program or service somewhat align with our mission but has the potential to bring in a lot of money that can be used to support our mission in other areas? If so, we may want to look closer at this opportunity.
- Does the program align with our mission but is expensive or has no potential to bring in a lot of revenue…or even enough to pay for itself? How does it fit with our strategic plan? This is an opportunity with high impact, so we should look deeper.
- Does the program align with our mission and have the potential to bring in a lot of financial resources, publicity, etc.? This is our dream program! We need to look at how it can be implemented.
Obviously, for many programs and services the solutions are not so cut and dry. For most, the answer falls somewhere in the gray area. Somewhere between being a great fit and no profitability, somewhere between being profitable but not mission driven.
Having an awareness of these questions can help direct the board as it thinks through opportunities and alignment with mission. But, also remember, nonprofits and ministries must be sustainable; they must be financially healthy to be viable entities. These questions can help lead the organization’s leadership to make decisions that lead to greater mission impact and increased financial sustainability.
Members have access to a complete Money Matrix in the Membership Site.