Nonprofits often fall victim to mission creep. This gradual shift of focus from one cause to another impedes organizational vision and reduces impact, but you can avoid it.
Even though the causes are worthy and you have the best intentions, expanding your mission can be tricky. Your audience may get confused about your organization’s mission and story. To your funders, your organization might appear to be spread too thin. It can seem as though you are unable to make real progress on any one part of the vision. Your narrative may be hazy, your staff can get burnout out from the exhaustion of too many objectives, and your metrics might falter. These negative impacts may not even be readily apparent until you are fully entwined in multiple areas of focus. If your nonprofit has fallen victim to mission creep, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are effective ways to get back on track.
Read on for five strategies that can defeat the creep and help you make an even greater impact.
1. Lead with what makes you different.
If you have a niche focus, own it. You’ve already established yourself in that area, so examine what people have emotionally connected with about it. This will allow you to better define what your purpose really is rather than taking a hodgepodge approach whenever a need arises. You can continue to invest in some of those additional endeavors but make staying in your lane a priority. Contribute to the conversation for additional endeavors but don’t lead the effort.
2. Revisit your strategic plan.
Your revenue stream drives everything you do. Take a holistic view of your organization by examining the main sources of your funding and why they are supporting your cause. Is the majority of your capital related to your core purpose or has it morphed to include programs that stray from your mission? Fundraising is bound to take a hit if your purpose has become diluted.
3. Audit your messaging.
You can’t expect support to align with your mission if your communications have become a patchwork of disconnected narratives. Master your messaging by performing regular audits of your various platforms. Take stock of the verbiage on your website, social media, emails, digital ads, and other marketing materials. What’s the lead narrative on your homepage? Is your mission apparent? What stories are you telling? What’s not being said that should be? Fine-tune your messaging and make your priorities crystal clear to create a compelling story.
4. Seek out smart partnerships.
You don’t have to take on everything yourself. There are probably many synergistic organizations that are also working on systemic change in your niche or tangential to your niche. Reach out to those organizations and see what you could achieve if you work together. Win-wins are a smart way to make the greatest impact.
5. Tell your unique story in a way that captures attention.
Whatever combination of approaches you decide to adopt, remember that, ultimately, it’s consistent communication that gets the job done. Craft a persuasive, comprehensive story that includes all of the work you do and present it in a way that is meaningful to your supporters. These folks are invested in your organization and they care deeply about what you do and why you do it. They also want to know how they can effect change, so give them a clear understanding of where their money and time are going so they can be part of making a difference.
When you cut out mission creep, your impact reaches farther and more effectively. Create a strategy or combination of strategies that block out the noise and make your most meaningful messages and top priorities crystal clear.
Are you ready to improve your members’ experience and give your patrons something to get excited about? Start by giving mission creep the boot. Contact our experts today to get started.
About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS , LMS , and Cloud Financial Software for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at www.ibconcepts.com or call 443.603.0215.