The following post was written by Issela Sono, Nonprofit Management and Governance Intern at the Standards for Excellence Institute®. Issela has volunteered in various nonprofit organizations in the Maryland and Washington, DC area while pursuing her undergraduate studies in Global Business and Public Policy. Issela is certified in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and is currently pursuing a M.B.A., with a concentration in Public Management, at Hood College.
Every nonprofit organization’s work revolves around one particular phrase: the mission statement. It is predominantly displayed throughout the organization’s facilities, printed materials, websites, social media sites, among others. The mission statement is used to properly describe the organization’s purpose – the reason for its existence. While all nonprofits have a mission statement, not all revise them accordingly to ensure that it still reflects their work. For instance, if a nonprofit organization was established to provide aid to children with polio in the United States, and the mission has been accomplished, then the organization will either disintegrate or focus on achieving a new goal, which will entail creating a new mission statement to reflect the work they do. As part of ongoing planning, it is highly recommended that an organization’s mission statement is revised and updated at least every five years to ensure that the goals and programs still reflect the work that the organization is trying to achieve. The revision of an organization’s mission statement ties to the entire process of evaluating the effectiveness and impact of the programs offered, analyzing the potential for creating partnerships with similar-minded organizations, and developing and implementing parameters to measure short-term and long-term viability of the organization.
While this process may be tedious, it is highly beneficial to nonprofits that want to succeed without wasting resources. Based on this notion, the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector was created. The Standards for Excellence® code is the foundation of the Standards for Excellence program. It was carefully drafted with the help of experts in the fields of management, human resources, law, finance, among others, to provide the nonprofit sector with a wide array of tools to help them achieve their mission, by taking into consideration effective, widely-used practices in the most responsibly-governed nonprofits. The Standards for Excellence code creates a structured approach to building capacity, and creating accountability and sustainability in nonprofit organizations.
The Standards for Excellence code is divided into six categories, each focusing on a different set of topics pertaining nonprofit management, governance and accountability. As part of our continuous efforts to help nonprofit organizations excel at accomplishing their mission through the development and implementation of sound policies and procedures to effectively and efficiently manage resources, we have developed twenty seven educational resource packets that cover all sections of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.
As you may already know, part of the launching of version 2.0 of the Standards for Excellence code includes an update to all our educational resource packets in order to provide the most recent and reliable information available. The first section of the Standards for Excellence code is titled Mission, Impact and Planning and states:
“Nonprofits are founded for the public good and operate to accomplish a stated purpose through specific program activities. A nonprofit should have a well-defined mission, and its programs should effectively and efficiently work toward achieving that mission. Nonprofits have an obligation to ensure program effectiveness and to devote the resources of the organization to achieving its stated purpose.”
The revised Mission, Strategy and Evaluation Standards for Excellence educational resource packets focus on the following areas:
Mission, Impact and Planning
- Engaging in strategic planning: Developing a short-term and long-term plan
- Developing a mission statement: The benefits of continuously revising it, complying with the legal aspect, and efficiently and effectively using your mission statement
- Defining the purpose of program evaluation
- The program cycle: Defining, monitoring and evaluating programs
- Outcome evaluations: Assessing methodologies, measuring participant satisfaction and utilizing this data, and conducting a cost benefit analysis
Sustainability and Sustainable Planning
- Defining and considering approaches to working towards a more sustainable organization
- Considerations of sustainability in terms of programming, leadership, personnel, finances, and infrastructure
- Types of partnerships and important considerations
- Identifying and vetting potential partners
- The role of the Board in the Strategic Partnership process
In addition to providing insightful information on topics of interest to our readers, each packet includes helpful sample policies, procedures, checklists, and that will help your organization stay on track, maintain compliance with the ever-changing laws and regulations, and overall strengthen your nonprofit.
The new educational resource packets are available, free of charge, to all our Standards for Excellence Institute members and can be accessed by logging into our website at standardsforexcellenceinstitute.org.
If you are not a member yet, sign up now to have full access to these educational resources and many more!