• You can recite your mission statement in your sleep, and the tagline falls out your mouth like a reflex.
  • You can regurgitate statistics about your cause instantaneously.
  • You have compacted your vision and mission into 7 words or a 15 second elevator pitch.

Sometimes it can be really helpful to address your reasons for being here in a different way with different words. It can be all too easy to trot out your usual lines and conversation without really thinking about what those words mean.

Let’s go back to why anyone bothered to start your organization in the first place:

  • What was the problem was your agency created to address?
  • What were the ways you were going to solve those problems?
  • How were you going to implement those plans: who was going to do what, when and where?

 The Top Three

  • Who are three people who are utterly critical to your operation?
  • What are the top three programs your organization has going on right now?
  • What are the three most important things you have to do each day, each month, each quarter and each year?

Why Does this Matter?

When I listen and hear about board, staff and volunteer problems and disconnections, it often seems as if the problems have gone astray from why you are all working so hard in the first place. Sometimes the problems can be found in the most basic of places, a fundamental understanding of who you are and what you want to do.

At your next board meeting, start off with a short, time limited, discussion of your mission, purpose and practices. Listen carefully to what people say- it may be very illuminating. Then, at the end of the meeting, revisit those questions after all the business has been done.

It can be tough to make those constantly tough choices when time and resources are so stretched; reviewing your place in space can help you sort out priorities.  

  • When I may want to strangle a volunteer, I remember it is the kittens that we are working together to benefit;
  • When the development director tells me she is burnt, we remember the kids who depend on us to provide for them;
  • When I feel too tired to carry on, I remember why I chose this work, I take a break and then go right back to it.  

Recall your purpose and how important your work is, you exist for a reason.  If you need some help framing your questions, just call, we know how it can be.