Hello. This is your Nonprofit Possibility Engineer Russ Dennis. I’m here with part two of the blog series,

Four Steps to Building a High-Performance Nonprofit.

4 Steps to Building a High Performance Nonprofit
Today, we’re going to be talking about creating effective action plans, and there are a lot of moving parts to do this. It starts by creating a value statement to really capture the most important values that define your business. That could be authenticity, integrity, honesty, presence. Many things could define what are most important to you, but these are the things that will go into your value statement. They will be the benchmark by which you do everything in your nonprofit.

You use these values to craft a vision statement for your high-performance nonprofit.

A vision statement is why you’re doing what you’re doing. It talks about what services you’re providing to whom and what the ultimate impact you want to deliver is. Where do you want to move people? An example of that would be to take people who are homeless, move them into stable housing, get them the services they need to get employed, get their children into school, and ultimately become self-sustaining. That’s a lofty vision to have for people who otherwise aren’t functioning in society.

Once you create that, you have a mission, and that talks about how are we going to deliver services to the homeless. For example, “We’re going to support homeless people to get their lives back by putting them in stable housing, getting them connected with employment services, and providing any other services they need to make sure that their family functions well.” That’s a great mission.

Now, the goals are the building blocks of that mission. How exactly are you going to do this? Well, you eat an elephant one bite at a time, and when you establish goals, those are benchmarks or things you want to accomplish first. An example of that might be “identify sources of funding to create affordable housing.” That would be a goal that would be broken down into what we call tasks. We break those down. We reverse-engineer it. What things do we have to do? One, two, three. Goals are best when they are smart, specific, there’s a certain thing that you want done and you’re clear about what that is. Measurable: You can see some results, either quantitative or qualitative. A is accountable. We create accountability systems in what we do so that we get the right people for the right job. Realistic: We don’t want to set goals that are so lofty that they’re impossible to accomplish. Then time-bound: We want to create results in a specific period of time.

This is the nature of creating good goals and moving through to create effective action plans. When we write these goals, we write future things that we want to be done in the present tense. For example, “We have placed 50 families in affordable housing this year. It’s already a done deal,” and that’s how we write our goals.

Also, when it comes to creating effective action plans, we want to focus. We don’t want so many moving parts that we manage them badly. Focus is defined by, my friend Hugh Ballou, founder of the SynerVision Leadership Foundation, who defines high-performance nonprofits as “free of clutter and unnecessary stuff.” We want to be effective and efficient in all the actions that we’re taking. This is why taking the time to create effective action plans will launch a nonprofit into a more efficient and effective world. It’ll give you the tools to deliver more impact.

In the course, we have modules and handouts. We’ve got that broken down into three modules because it’s large in scope and very important. In the Four Steps to Building a High-Performance Nonprofit course, we will cover it, creating actions plans in some great detail, but this is important so that you’ve got a roadmap to success to get out there and create the kind of impact that’s going to change lives.

This is your Nonprofit Possibility Engineer Russ Dennis signing off for now, and I look forward to seeing you on the next blog post where we talk about staying on track.
4 Steps to Building a High Performance Nonprofit

Join my FREE Course: Creating A Devoted Donor Base
Schedule A Nonprofit Growth Session With Me