4 Ways That Nonprofits Can Avoid Mission Creep

pexels-tara-winstead-7666429Nonprofits exist to fulfill a specific mission and help with a societal need, and that can make nonprofits try to help in ways that extend beyond that mission. This is called “mission creep.” This is a common but significant challenge for nonprofit organizations. It can dilute the organization's impact and harm its reputation and brand. Here are some ways that nonprofits can avoid mission creep:

Develop a clear mission statement and stick to it: A clear and concise mission statement is crucial for any nonprofit organization. This statement should articulate the organization's core purpose, and guide all its activities. Ensure that all staff and board members are familiar with the mission statement, and that it remains the focus of all activities. If questions arise about whether to take on a certain type of work, return to the mission statement and determine if the work fits the mission.

Establish priorities: Nonprofit organizations often have many worthy causes they could pursue, but they must stay focused on the highest priorities that align with their mission. Establish a clear set of priorities based on that mission, and refer back to them regularly to stay on track.

Involve stakeholders in decision-making: The people benefiting from your work are often the first to notice when that work is going astray, that’s why having people benefiting from the organization involved in decision-making is a key strategy to avoid mission creep.

Educate everyone about the mission: Nonprofits should educate stakeholders about the mission and priorities of the organization. This includes board members, staff, volunteers, and donors. When everyone is on the same page and focused on the organization's mission, there’s less ambiguity about what direction to go with the work or the messaging. ResultPlus is a great tool for tracking who you’ve reached with the message of your mission and priorities, and can help you keep all stakeholders on the same page.

Mission creep can be a significant challenge for nonprofit organizations, but it can be avoided with careful planning, clear communication, and stakeholder involvement. By staying focused on their mission, nonprofits can maximize their impact and build trust with their supporters.