Friday, May 9, 2014

Agenda item: Share mission moments

Agenda item 17: Regularly identify and share mission moments with the board.

Note: I've referred to mission moments many times here over the years, but I've never actually spotlighted them. Sharing a fantastic local example last week prompted me to do so today.

Purchased from Bigstock Photo

We all know that a nonprofit’s mission is its reason for being. We also know that protecting and advancing the mission is a board’s ultimate responsibility.

But how do we keep it front and center in the push to pore over financial statements, committee reports and other routine tasks that fill the average board meeting agenda?

How do we keep the mission from becoming a special event topic that we dust off for a retreat every couple of years?

How do we ensure that our board fulfills its ultimate governance responsibility?

The answer: Mission moments.

A mission moment is exactly what it sounds like: a brief opportunity stop, learn, and reflect on our organization’s purpose. I really do mean brief – think five to 15 minutes, tops. That’s all you really need to share anecdotes, examples and other evidence that connects board members to the work that you do and the impact that you’re making on others’ lives.  For example:

  • Have a staff member share an anecdote – anonymously, of course – about a client whose life was changed because of services provided.
  • Ask a fellow board member to share how he or she successfully engaged a donor or other supporter and how they together found a connection between that donor’s interests and the agency’s needs.
  • Invite a former client to visit a board meeting to share his or her story personally.
  • Ask a frontline volunteer to talk about why he or she serves – what motivates that person to contribute time to your cause and your organization.
  • Share an infographic, dashboard or other summary that highlights the organization’s impact – emphasis on “share.”

Whatever you choose to highlight in a mission moment, make sure that it is memorable and easy to share.

How can you use mission moments to make your impact real, compelling and worthy of sharing to your board members?

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