Saturday, May 10, 2008


What a new NFP needs most

For a new non-profit people are of fundamental importance - staff, volunteers, advocates, media contacts, opinion formers will all be vital to its success. Investing up-front in selection and relationship-building will pay dividends later on. Sourcing the necessary funding is obviously a priority as well. However, in my view the single most important resource for a young non-profit is a clear, compelling, self-critical high-level strategy statement. This should set out in writing the organisation's vision and values (business philosophy), establish its distinct proposition, and frame its modus operandi including financials. Without it as a reference point, it is hard to consistently articulate the case for support, protect integrity and focus the work rigorously on what you can do uniquely well. And in turn that means that all other sorts of resources may well be squandered or frittered away. At start-up it's not easy to make the time or find the energy for this when there is so much "real" work to get done (and when the case for the non-profit seems so glaringly self-evident), but when the firefighting begins two years downstream, it will be far too late.


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