Focus Leads To Nonprofit Success: Is Your Organization Rowing or Drifting

Picture yourself standing on the bank of a river watching a rowing competition. Carefully watch the crews. Crewmembers dip the oars and bring them to the surface again and again in a carefully orchestrated rhythm. Crewmembers are working together to realize their common vision of a first place finish. Every team member is clear about the mission - complete the race in the fastest time.

Everyone is working hard to pull in the same direction at the same time. They are focused on the desired end results.

Now picture a nonprofit organization coping with increased competition. Funding is a constant struggle. Conversations with board members and staff paint a picture of people operating with different definitions of the purpose and future of the organization. The organization is adrift.

Is your organization rowing or drifting?

Organizations that are drifting suffer from three common problems. Staff and board members develop programs, services or products based on their own version of the organization's mission; it is hard to identify the underlying strategies and the core programs. In addition, staff and board members chase dollars to support activities. Finally, staff and board members have no standard upon which to base decisions. At times, one option seems as good as another.

These actions lead to disjointed programs, decreased funding and poor decision-making. If any of these problems sound familiar, you can take steps to solve them.

First, develop a clear vision statement that provides staff and board members with a sense of direction. Second, define the mission of your organization in terms of that future. A clearly defined mission allows each person in the organization to understand why the organization exists. Third, define your measures of success. Measures of success help everyone understand what you are trying to achieve.

Start pulling in the same direction and focus on the end results. Taking action now can put you on the path to becoming a more effective organization that creates greater impact in the community.

Judith Rothbaum's passion is helping nonprofits thrive. Through her monthly e-newsletter, she offers practical management, fundraising and communication solutions for bold nonprofits on the move. She gives seminars, workshops, presentations and coaching programs nationwide for nonprofit professionals and volunteers. Visit to learn more.

In The News:

pen paper and inkwell

cat break through

The Significance of the Mundane

This article begins with a tip of the hat to... Read More

Solve Problems Permanently - Ask WHY

As Albert Einstein said:-"The significant problems we face today, cannot... Read More

Avoiding The Sheep Dip

It is a sad fact that many employees are still... Read More

My Companys Leadership Sucks!

Maybe it's the season or just a more buoyant job... Read More

Tales From the Corporate Frontlines: Team Dynamics and Communication

This article relates to the Team Dynamics competency, which evaluates... Read More

Communicating Effectively In The Workplace: Four Vital Steps

Ineffective communication is a major, yet avoidable, obstacle to business... Read More

Change and Performance - Training May Not Be The Answer

Introducing new products or services, bringing new people on board,... Read More

What Every Manager Should Know About How to Enhance the Motivational Climate of the Workplace

It has been well documented that employees' productivity and job... Read More

Preparing For ISO 9001 2000 Registration

The steps need to be taken to prepare an organization... Read More

People - You Cant Make Them What Theyre Not

Many business people and managers are spending too much time... Read More

Employee Retention: Five Leadership Fundamentals

Are your management practices on the right track? Retaining your... Read More

Keeping Team Meetings Vibrant

Meetings can be the life-blood of an organisation or the... Read More

Einstein, The Universe, And Leadership

Every since serving a hitch in the military, I have... Read More

Behavioral Interview Questions You Can Use Monday Morning

If past behavior is the best way to determine future... Read More

Humor in Business

With the advancement of computer simulators, anybody can repeat all... Read More

Your Biggest Problem in Business? Work Ethic

US Work Ethic Issues and Lack of serviceWell many... Read More

Real Costs in Distribution and What it Means To Your Company

Ever feel that all the lawyers in thh Country need... Read More

10 Steps Towards A Stress-Free Introduction Into Management

Becoming a manager for the first time can be an... Read More

Technology & Communication

A study a couple of years ago found that 63%... Read More

Listening Strategically

Usually, we're most interested in communicating outwardly; getting our messages... Read More

Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Employee Ideas Achieve Work Life Balance

This article relates to the Work/Life Balance competency, which investigates... Read More

How to Delegate More Effectively

Do this simple excercise, and transform your life.First, Make a... Read More

How To Manage A Difficult Employee

Having to manage a difficult employee is never fun and... Read More

Einstein - Definition of Insanity

Insanity in the Sign & Graphics IndustryEinstein's DefinitionAlbert Einstein once... Read More

Performance Management Made Easy

Performance Management is a process that both employer and employee... Read More

Developing Your Management Style

One thing a lot of us don't do in sales... Read More

Innovation Management: The Hype Cycle

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation... Read More

Communicating CEOs

I see a PR firm has done a survey on... Read More

Five Ways to Influence Change in Others

Because of my work as a consultant, trainer and coach... Read More

Sarbanes-Oxley and Section 404: Old Dog, New Teeth

The failures we have seen in the quality and integrity... Read More

Where Businesses Fall Short

1. No vision. Successful businesses have a clear vision or... Read More

Effective Meetings Begin With a Real Agenda

Everyone knows that an agenda is the key to an... Read More

Cross Cultural Solutions for International Business

Globalisation, the expansion of intercontinental trade, technological advances and the... Read More