5 Steps to Avoid of Mission Creep
Mission creep is a common challenge for many nonprofit organizations. It happens when an organization gradually shifts focus away from its original mission in order to take on new initiatives not closely aligned with its core goals.
Mission creep can happen due to a variety of factors: changes in lay and professional leadership, adjustments in environmental factors that affect the organization, internal and external pressures, or lack of clear direction. It can be detrimental to the effectiveness of the organization and, ultimately, its sustainability.
Based on my experience in numerous executive leadership roles over the last four decades, here are my top five tips for avoiding mission creep in a nonprofit:
1. Clearly Define Your Mission Statement
It is important to have a clear and concise mission statement that outlines the organization's purpose, goals and values. This statement should guide all of decision-making and actions the organization takes. Any new programs, projects and services should closely align with the organization’s mission statement.
2. Set Specific Objectives and Goals
Once you have a clear mission statement, it is important to set specific objectives and goals that align with it. These should be aspirational, measurable and realistic, and reviewed regularly and updated as needed.
3. Establish a Strategic Plan
A strategic plan can help the organization stay focused on its mission and goals, and provide a roadmap for achieving them. This plan should include a timeline, budget and action steps. Most importantly, leadership needs to follow the strategic plan.
4. Conduct Regular Evaluations
Regular evaluations can help the organization assess its progress toward its goals, and identify any areas where mission creep may be occurring. This can help the organization make necessary adjustments and stay on track.
5. Communicate With Stakeholders
Communication with stakeholders, including donors, volunteers and the community, can help ensure that the organization stays true to its mission. It can also help to engage these stakeholders in the organization's work and keep them invested in its success.
By following these steps, nonprofit organizations can avoid mission creep and stay focused on their mission and goals. This can help them to be more effective in achieving their objectives and making a positive impact in their communities. As Stephen Covey writes, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
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Elliot B. Karp is a lead consultant at RAISE Nonprofit Advisors. Elliot has extensive experience in all aspects of fundraising and financial resource development as well as many other facets of executive leadership.