(read this post in 105 seconds)
How are you moving the needle?
What amazing changes are achieved because of the work you are doing?
If you or your organization can’t effectively answer those questions, you are either strategically adrift or suffering from poor communications – or both.
Surely someone will ask you how the work you’re doing is making a difference. In most organizations, there is some sort of an answer. All too often, the answer is not compelling; perhaps some combination of number of people reached, number of new staff members or how much money was raised or spent.
Are those “metrics” really what your organization is about? Is that what will excite your donors, volunteers and staff? Is that what excites you?
If you’re soliciting a gift, a committed donor should ask you about your goals and how you know that the organization is achieving its goals. Assuming your organization has compelling, articulable goals, your inspired and specific response should inspire an even more generous gift. And inside your organization, at your staff meetings, think about the enthusiasm generated by sharing the amazing and transformational organizational achievements.
In order to answer this question, though, you have to know three things:
- What’s your starting point?
- What’s your ending point?
- How to measure and define progress in between?
Yeah, I know it seems simple and fundamental. But all too often, individuals and organizations are busy with “stuff” – important and busy stuff they’ve been doing for years. The grind of daily, weekly and monthly routine of organizational life cycles through, and before you know it another year has passed. Maybe it was an “ok” year, meaning there’s no crisis. But getting by just means that organizational drift or inertia is slowly but surely choking your organization.
Perhaps it’s assumed that the needle has moved, or nobody is really paying attention. Maybe you’re fine with that because it means no complaints (and even a few compliments). But at some point, you or someone will (should!) ask, “What’s the point”? For what purpose does our organization exist? Are we achieving that purpose? What is changing because of what we do?
Asking and answering the right questions and making them a regular part of the language of your organization, should tell an amazing story of how your organization is moving the needle.