Hi and welcome! This organizational sustainability training is brought to you by the Café Technical Assistance Center. This is the first of four presentations that are intended to build the development capacity of consumer-run organizations and help create the sustainable infrastructure. It can also be used to educate boards of directors, partners, staff and other members of the community who might be involved in developing the organization. We hope that it can also be used to grow new organizational leaders and new organizations along the way to help with the work that has to be done. It can be downloaded in used is your own training tool shared from you others to help them understand how to participate in the growth of your organization or to start their own.
So, let's get started. Did you know that at least one hundred thousand nonprofits nationwide will be forced to close their doors in the next two years? And sixty two percent of nonprofit have seen increased demand for their services as available funding shrinks. Thirty six percent of great-makers decrease their payouts in two 2009. And organizations across the nonprofit sector are using combinations of staff management strategies including salary freezes and layoffs just to deal with the economy.
A nonprofit corporation is a special type of corporation it has been organized to meet specific tax except purposes. To qualify for nonprofit status your corporation must be formed to the benefit of the public, a specific group of individuals, or the membership of the nonprofit.
National nonprofit trends show us that chief executives wear too many hats. We see chief executives, executive directors, board presidents, that are doing the work of many many people sometime serving a secretary, information referral, training expert and going out and getting funding. We also know that donors are looking for something back for the money that they're giving in. And nonprofits have small staffs in small budget which is compounded the leadership and management problems that they've faced.
There has also been increasing the number of nonprofits. Training and adequate support for leadership has been lacking and there are a few resources to pay for outside advice, support or service.
So what are some of the implications for consumer run organizations? Well certainly the economy has increased the competition and there's of lack of overall resources to support the critical needs of organizations. We've seen consumer run organizations without offices, without desks, without computers. And assigning a value to the work of consumer-run organizations is still unscientific. There's no evidence-based practice or tools that are currently being used that document that the consumer run organizations are actually accomplishing their goals even though we all know that they are.
In addition organizations are facing the side effects of the resource and time poverty -- in other words they had you re sources and very little time. And the informal leadership may also limit the competitive edge of consumer organizations. Consumer and community organizations are now being asked to compete with universities, with governments with other formal professionally run programs. Programs that can hire lawyers, accountants, and great writers.
So exactly what is sustainability? Sustainability is the ability of an organization to develop a strategy of grow and development that allows it to continue to function indefinitely.
Well exactly what does that included? Well it can include a lot of different things possibly money that's the first one that comes to most people's minds. Office space, staff, equipment, incidentals other operating expenses or other things that you might define as being necessary in order for your organization to continue operating.
So how would we set up a framework for sustainability? Well within that framework we would like to see your vision, a defined direction for the organization, defined results (what it is you that you're hoping to accomplish), strategic financial planning, diverse resources coming from more than one source, diverse and revolving leadership, adaptability to change, accountability, and then of course, a sustainability plan.
So, you probably already have a vision. A vision includes the organizational direction -- maybe you call it your mission -- it's your purpose, it tells what it is that people need from you and it describes the market of people that you do it with. It may also describe your partners.
Do you know exactly what it is that you want to sustain? Have you looked at how this fits into the context of the community or state that you serve? And can you explain how this compliments other initiatives in the state our community?
A defined direction. This requires that organizations know what they're doing. You have to understand who you are doing it for and have a plan to meet your mission or your vision. It's important to also be able to recognize success and failure and to have the ability to making adjustments as necessary along the way.
So, some more checkpoints. Have developed and implemented a logic model? Is your direction based upon the needs of consumers or the needs of the organization? Do you know the difference? And how do you document the difference between the two? Your organization certainly has needs and so do the consumers that you serve.
You'd have to have results in the form of evidence. You need to be able to use data to document outcomes and set your direction. Data will also offer credible resources that are indicators of expertise, and it provides feedback on how well you doing.
More checkpoints. Do your long-term goals and objectives change? They should. Do you have an evaluation plan for the overall organization? Do you have an evaluation plan for each individual project? How do you know you are succeeding?
And of course we all know about strategic financial planning. Without money the organization cannot sustain itself. So Financial Security and includes looking at exactly what it is that you need and having realistic budgeting. You need to have budgeting that promotes longevity that looks down the road two, three, four, and five years away and a budget analysis that looks for gaps that shows you where it is you need to have money so that you can identify resources that will help build that.
So, these checkpoints. Do you know exactly how much money is required to sustain your work? Have you requested outside technical assistance to analyze the efficiency of your spending? Do multiple people in the organization have access to and understand your budget. And do you know your breakeven cost? How much will it cost you to operate your organization for the next week, for the next month, for the next year. That is your break even cost.
Organizations also need diverse resource. About those eggs in a basket. You know your mother was right, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Your organization cannot sustain itself on one source. One source will limit your capacity to grow. And when that source dies, so will your organization.
Do you know what types of funding are necessary for your work? Have you identified all potential funding sources related to your work? That includes private and public? Do you have a contact list with a formal plan for acquiring additional funding.
We also need diverse and revolving leadership. The leadership must be diverse and organizational growth is dependent upon the creation of new leaders but the leadership growth and change can not disrupt the work of the organization. So as leaders come and grow, and take over, and change, the work of the organization has to continue.
Do all staff have a personal growth and transition plan? Is there an organizational plan to bring in and support new leaders? Is there a strategic plan to ensure the leadership represents the populations that are served? Do you have authentic leaders in your organization?
You have to have the adaptability to change. Change is inevitable. We’ve learned that by today’s economy. And changes necessary if you’re going to keep up with this industry. And “yes” nonprofit is an industry. You will have to be able to keep pace with that change and that will define the future of your organization. You have to anticipate and plan for change.
Do you have an emergency operation plan? Do you have the resources to continue if you lost one of your funding sources? Do of funding to maintain critical services such as electricity, phone, Internet, and staff pay. What if that grant that you have, or that one funding source that you have that covers most of your expenses, what if for some reason the check got lost? What if they didn’t the money to pay you? What if the legislature or Congress did away with that funding source – are you going to be able to sustain your organization.
Accountability is your organization’s ability to be responsible and respond to the laws, the contract rules, the scope of work, and anything else you’re supposed to do. Accountability defines the organization and if you’ve lost it, it’s very difficult to recover it. It needs to be an ongoing process and it’s the responsibility of the entire organization and requires that you live as if your audit is tomorrow.
Do you have a mechanism to market the accountability of your organization? Can you tell people exactly how great you are? Can you justify each activity and expenditure? Each activity and each expenditure. Do they match with your mission and vision? Have you developed an accountability checklist from all of your funding sources to make sure that you’re doing every single little tiny thing that is being asked of you even in the little print?
Good sustainability planning should be done on a regular basis. It compares work and expenditures with your mission it builds in the growth of your community and of the organization and the people that you serve and it creates a blueprint to drive the direction and growth of your organization.
So our final checkpoints. Do you have a short and long-term plan for your organization? Do you have one for, say, six months, a year, two years? Does your plan define the resources that will be necessary for your organization’s growth and to meet the needs of the people that you serve? Does your plan outline potential challenges such as the loss of funding and the organization’s response?
Our next training will focus on putting the fundamentals into practice, developing directions for sustainability and building organizational potential and longevity.
The release date will be on or around July 18th, 2011. Watch your emails and check the Café TAC website for more information.
Thanks again for joining us. The Café Technical Assistance Center is supported by SAMSAH to operate one of its five technical assistance centers providing technical assistance training and resources that facilitate a restructuring of the mental Health System through effective consumer-directed approaches for adults with serious mental illness across the country. We look forward to talking with you again soon.