By Sharon Danosky
Mission is probably the most sacrosanct part of any nonprofit organization. It’s the reason your nonprofit was founded. It’s been your touchstone for all the years you’ve been operating. It’s on your business cards, the walls of your organization. You review it while developing your strategic plan.
In the past few months, many nonprofits have struggled to deliver the services promised by their missions. And some have found interesting ways to do so. Groups that traditionally offer mentoring services began providing food to the community. One Goodwill closed its doors, but not its services; it began locating, gathering, cleaning and delivering scrubs to a visiting nurse association. Another organization which provides financial literacy courses for students, started leveraging their relationships with school teachers, social workers and administrators to connect them with some of their partners directly so they could help students and families pay for essentials.
Now, more than ever, boards and executive directors must examine their mission and ask the difficult questions. Why was our organization founded? What was our purpose then and what is our purpose now? Are we filling our purpose in the best way possible?
I like to think of mission as a moral compass, the true north for an organization. As you consider which programs to re-open, which should remain closed and which should be delivered differently, re-visit your mission. How does this decision re-inforce your mission? How will it impact the people you were meant to serve?
We know that this pandemic has heightened the gross inequities in our society. As we begin to emerge from this pandemic; we have the opportunity to create a more just and equitable world – and nonprofits are on the front line of this. This is the time to ask ourselves whether we are meeting the needs for which we were founded and our missions were written?