First Things First
Planning is a redolent term in our nonprofit sector and, we could easily agree, the basis for a discipline unto itself. This brief entry ain’t gonna go there, however.
What I want to chew on for a bit is that moving from the planning we do day in and day out to the action we need to do in nonprofits doesn’t just happen. So maybe it makes sense to always qualify our planning by labeling it planning for action. Just to make the point, And always connect the two factors of nonprofit existence, what we think about & what we do.
And, always when you’re getting together to plan outward, start where you want to end up. Start your planning for action when it’s clear what your action is intended to accomplish. Push your efforts up against a known and agreed upon vision of the future - probably something that fits within the frame of your organization’s mission.
As for your mission, it makes no sense to slur it or slight it – in the name of some other perceived benefit (a grant makers dissonant value that accompanies your quest for funds comes to mind).
Put another way, there will be grants you have no business pursuing because there isn’t a values mesh.
If it seems reasonable to begin at the beginning when it comes to nonprofit pursuits, then we can say this should include getting clear on the mission because it ought to frame every occasion when we decide, for example, to pursue grants.
I’m inclined to believe that the mission of nonprofits is not simply to offer participants high quality services, but also – and more importantly- to help participants help themselves to attain some measure of what they would agree is success in overcoming what gets in their way.