Sometimes, the math geek in me comes out. For a while, now, I have been talking to religious, non-profits groups about the importance of developing a clear mission and vision. In that process, I came up with the formula: M + V = R = $$$. In other words, Mission + Vision = Relevance = $$$. The challenge non-profits face today is that of lack of funding to do the work. The other challenge is the amount of competition for those funds.
Developing a clear mission and vision:
Successful funding occurs when the organization delineates a clear mission and concise vision. I often speak to groups about the importance of developing a clear vision and vision. The common response I receive is: “We have a Mission and Vision Statement,” but that is not enough. Developing a clear mission and vision is more than words on a wall; it is the heart of the organization! Organizations tend to falter and diminish when they lose track of who they are and the reason for their existence.
Relevance is as important as the mission and vision of an organization. How does the mission and vision translate into action? In the non-profit and religious world that translates into, what does the organization do to transform lives in tangible ways? For example, I am a Rotarian. My club defeats the demographics of many Rotary Clubs in the U.S. We are a multi-generational, multi-cultural, gender-inclusive organization. Our mission is to transform the lives of children and youth in our community. Our vision is to create and support leadership opportunities for them. Everything we do is geared to that end. As a result, we have developed a great reputation in our community and we are often sought to engage in projects that support the younger generation in our community. Relevance is the name of the game! Donors want to support successful organizations that focus on transforming lives.
When the organization is perceived as relevant, donors will respond to appeals. As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of competition for the same dollars. Without a clear mission and vision, those dollars will go elsewhere.
One of my coaching areas of expertise is organizational development. When I work with organizations I often ask, “What makes you unique and relevant?” A clear mission and vision translates into relevance, which in turn, translates into dollars.