Sustainability In Values, Impact, Your Nonprofit

Prioritizing sustainability in your organization is similar to eating your vegetables and going to the gym on the mornings you’d much rather snooze a few more minutes. You might grumble about it at the time, but you know it is important to achieving balance for the long-term growth and well-being of your organization.

Making your organization as sustainable as possible ensures that you can continue doing meaningful work for years to come. Marshall H. Ginn, CFRE, of Capital Development Strategies and Joe Callahan, CFRE, of The Writer’s Center gave a talk at the recent Bridge To Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in National Harbor, Md., titled “Sustainability Success Factors” focusing on methods to ensure sustainability and clarity within your organization. Here are six of the ideas:

  • The first step in creating sustainability is having a framework that articulates values, impact, and your business model. This should answer the basics questions asked by many such as “Who are you?” “Why are you doing this work?” and “How will you make it happen?”;
  • Clear objectives translate your “Why?” into your “How?” These objectives should be understandable by all and everyone should see their potential role;
  • Objectives should lead into an action-oriented plan, focused on impact and results. Evaluation and monitoring is critical to always having the most effective action plan;
  • Your messages should be consistent, with an overarching strategy in place. This is essential for engaging staff, board, stakeholders, and the broader community;
  • Supportive management allows your staff to be successful; and,
  • Creating a culture of leadership where everyone can play a part in organizational success and a chief executive who leads by example help propel the organization forward.