Nonprofit Mission Possible
I work for Indiana Division of The Salvation Army. The nonprofit mission is as follows: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
To better understand our nonprofit mission, the Indiana Division of The Salvation Army recently established a “Mission Effectiveness Week.” The purpose of the week was for Salvation Army officers and staff to learn more about the nonprofit mission in a variety of different ways. Some of these ways included one-on-one meetings between employees and officers; group presentations between various departments and constituencies they serve; training sessions for officers and volunteers; and inspirational messages by organizational leaders that focused on creating a better understanding of the nonprofit mission.
As leaders of the development department, which encompasses annual gifts, major gifts, planned gifts and development services, I was asked to prepare and present a 90-minute development department update during “Mission Effectiveness Week.” At first thought, with my experience in teaching, I thought I would prepare a wonderful presentation that only included myself and not my 14-person staff. In the past, I used this method of presentation, and it seemed to work fine. This time, I quickly decided to engage everyone on my team and ask for their input. I am so glad I did.
When I met with my group, two of the youngest members of my staff excitingly took the “bull by the horns.” They agreed to emcee this session, which they titled, “Mission Possible.” Each staff member agreed to participate in this session. The session consisted of Kristen Bourke and Amanda Eck dressed up as “agents” as a take-off from Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible” movie series. They introduced me to make a brief presentation followed by a member of my staff, Jennifer Jarrell, for updates on data systems.
Kristen and Amanda then made a series of presentations with awards featuring Salvation Army officers across the state of Indiana that, throughout the past year, created new programs that influenced either time, talent or treasure in their community. Summit Marketing Company provided awards to these officers. To close this session, Major Dan Sawka, an officer leader, directed a session to fellow officers on the importance of the development process to Statewide Corps. The session was a tremendous success due to the ownership of the session by the development team.
The primary purpose of “Mission Effectiveness Week” was for everyone to embrace the nonprofit mission, which they did in a very positive way. I wanted my team to have fun and own the week through the main development department presentation and one-on-one sessions. I hoped that a by-product of the week would be a reinforced team focused work environment.
In the article titled, “5 Ways to Create a Positive Work Environment,” the author noted you must create a positive work environment if you want to get the most out of your team. The five tips for doing this include:
- Engage in meaningful (in-person) dialog that shows your employees matter.
- Show your appreciation by telling your employees they did a good job. I gave handwritten notes and Starbuck gift cards to Kristen and Amanda for a job well done.
- Listen to everyone’s ideas, which I did in the case of the presentation and as the result of the session was totally theirs.
- Trust your team members, which I seek to do, as I am not a micro-manager.
- Be spontaneous and have a little fun. As I am very serious at work, I try my best to lighten up from time to time. I especially enjoy youthful ideas, which my team is ready to execute.
In the article titled, “Motivation,” it is pointed out that when motivated people have a positive outlook they become excited and feel invested in their work. There are two types of motivation: extrinsic, using external factors to encourage your work team to perform, and intrinsic, seeking team members to have a personal desire to produce quality work.
Your goal as a manager is to keep your team motivated and enthusiastic about their work. Seek to assign employees tasks they enjoy. Understand that each employee has their own needs and wants. As a former youth baseball coach for many years, I always tried to motivate each player for team success. Be flexible and open to their ideas for success. Praise your employees and get over the fact that certain successful ideas and strategies may not be yours. It is about having a winning team and organizational attitude.
I thank my employer for establishing “Mission Effectiveness Week.” By using our “Mission Possible” theme, my staff showed the organization that anything is possible if all of us work toward mutual goals and objectives. I enjoyed seeing my staff take collective ownership and pride in our organization.
According to Evangeline Booth, General of The Salvation Army from 1934 through 1939 and daughter of Salvation Army founder William Booth, “There is no reward equal to that of doing the most good to the most people in the most need.” With total employee engagement and positive support achieving our mission is possible!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, educator and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 10 years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 26 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division plus Adjunct Professor for Olivet Nazarene University. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.