Many social-good organizations start off the new year with strategic plans to increase their impact. Now that it is almost halfway through the year, it’s time for a mid-year check-up. Are you sticking to your plans, or have your good intentions gotten lost in the shuffle of running an organization, managing programs, and working towards lasting social change?
The Standards for Excellent Institute provides a “Nonprofit Self-Assessment Checklist” to help social-good leaders gauge the health of their organization. These same standards can also serve as a jumping off point for creating strategic plans if you are just getting started in your quest to create measurable outcomes and sustainable impact.
Though the full checklist contains dozens of benchmarks across six different major areas, here are just a few ideas to help you assess your mission and strategy.
Develop a Clear Mission Statement
Your organization’s mission is your reason for existing. Having a clear and concise explanation of that mission is essential for communicating your nonprofit’s purpose to staff, volunteers, and community members. Your mission statement should explain who you serve, what you hope to achieve, and how you plan to accomplish your objectives.
If a potential funder or collaborative partner read your nonprofit’s mission statement, would they immediately understand who you are and what you strive to achieve?
Stay True to Your Mission
Though explaining your purpose is important, your mission statement is more than just a communication tool. It should function as a measuring stick for everything you do as an organization, from fundraising to program creation.
Are all of your organization’s activities consistent with your stated mission? Are you able to demonstrate how your beneficiaries are better off as a result of your organization?
Create a Vision
While a mission statement outlines your purpose as an organization, a vision statement is all about where you want to be in the future. Creating an inspiring vision requires two parts. The first is a deep understanding of the complex issues facing your communities and the demographics you serve. You cannot create a vision for the future without an understanding of the present.
The second piece to creating a vision for your social-good organization is dreaming big. If you could design the ideal future, what would it look like? What products and services would you offer? Who would you serve? What outcomes would your program participants experience?
Does your social-good organization have a clear vision? Is it consistent with both the needs of your community and your stated mission?
Utilize Short and Long-term Goals
Neither your mission nor your vision can be accomplished in one enormous leap. Having short and long-term goals allows you to fill the gap between where you are and where you want to go with manageable steps. Besides being manageable, your goals must be measurable. Data-driven goals include key indicators and metrics that give you the ability to define and quantify success. The best goals help your organization work to become more efficient, effective, and equitable.
Does your organization have both short and long-term goals, and are you measuring their progress regularly?
In addition to tracking goals, your organization should have a framework for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of all your programs and services. You need qualitative and quantitative data to assess both participant satisfaction and positive outcomes. Your target outcomes should be based on both your mission and vision, as well as aimed at creating the maximum social impact.
Measuring your progress towards goals and your social impact may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Purpose-built software solutions give you the tools you need to track and analyze real-time outcomes and impact data. They also make it easier to achieve goals by streamlining everyday tasks and workflows, simplifying reporting, and improving communication.
Does your organization have a framework and strategy for measuring impact?
How did you score on your assessment? Now is a good time to celebrate your successes and set new goals for improvement. SureImpact shares your passion for driving social change. Our impact management platform is designed for social-good change makers by social-change makers. SureImpact provides the data collection and impact reporting infrastructure to meet the unique needs of social-good organizations as you work to achieve your organization’s mission all year long. SureImpact’s simple and collaborative case management and outcome tracking tools are designed to help you manage, measure, and communicate your social impact while also increasing data capacity for your team members and supporting a high-performing culture.
Watch our quick product tour to learn more about SureImpact.