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Know Your Building Blocks – Start With the End in Mind

A nonprofit or festival needs to evolve. This happens over time and there is a life cycle for organizations. There is one issue that transcends all stages of the life cycle, whether an organization is new, growing, or mature. With each of these scenarios, as change occurs, it is important to remember the foundation and structure of the organization and its role in change.

One might want to implement change right away or do something quickly. That can be important, depending upon the situation. However, it is vital to take a step back and figure out the structure and infrastructure might need to be revamped.

This infrastructure can be something simple as volunteers or extra staff to implement the changes. Usually there are implications with all aspects of the organization. In prior blogs, I discussed how all components relate to each other. Each area has a set of policies and procedures. These should be reviewed or revised prior to implementing changes.

This reminds me of when I worked on a software conversion for an organization for their fundraising system. As the new software was being put into place, we had teams review the policies and procedures as to what was currently happening, and more importantly, what would have to be changed with the new system. Policies and procedures were revised to fit how the new system operated.

Having a proper infrastructure is important. As an organization grows, having a plan for growth and covering the basic business operations is critical. A nonprofit is a business. The organization needs to decide early how it will operate within the business world. The nonprofit cannot be competitive or be unable to meet the ever changing world. Otherwise, the organization will stagnate.

With both of these scenarios, it is important to keep the end in mind. Having that vision of where an organization want to be and how it operates will help with decisions on the foundation and infrastructure needed. It is great to be able to have all systems up and running and being the top of the line from the beginning. That is not always realistic. There should be a plan to build to the vision and also how the conversions will take place. The old adage is correct – it takes money to make money. An organization cannot ignore funding its infrastructure, developing systems, or creating processes and expect to grow. Having that look and vision of where you want to be is important in building a fundraising and sponsorship program and helps raise capital for an organization’s infrastructure.

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