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Organizational Health Creates Impact

Congratulations! You made it. You survived year-end giving and the busyness of the holidays. Now you can enjoy the relative quiet and slower pace of January. I heartily encourage you to do just that—grab coffee with a friend, schedule a massage, go to the gym for a tough spin class, read a book for fun, and go to bed early because it’s dark and cold. Between these restful and healthy activities, please take the time to invest in one key activity that will inform your organization’s plan for the rest of the year, reduce stress, and improve your nonprofit’s performance:

Conduct An Annual Nonprofit Wellness Assessment.

Your primary care physician likes to see you at least once a year to monitor your wellness. Your nonprofit deserves the same level of attention.

Wellness Check Just as an annual physical has both standard components and personalized elements based on your age, gender, family history, and pre-existing health conditions, your nonprofit wellness assessment should explore general and specific questions. You might look at:

  • Mission: Is the organization remaining faithful to its mission and vision? Or is there mission creep that needs to be addressed?

  • Organizational Development: How does your organization compare to the growth trajectory laid out in the book, The Five Life Stages of Nonprofit Organizations (by Judith Sharken Simon)? What growth activities should your organization focus on? Or what challenges might you anticipate in this stage?

  • Governance: Does the board have clarity about its roles and responsibilities? Are they benefiting from regular education and support? Does the board reflect the community/participants served?

  • Staffing: Are there cancers of frustration or burnout growing that need to be dealt with? Are there vacancies that need to be filled?

  • Programs/Services: What are program evaluations showing about the organization’s impact? Does the current impact align with the mission, goals, and annual objectives?

  • Systems: Are there inefficient systems that require more staff time and energy than is prudent? Are there policies and procedures that need to be documented and shared with the team?

  • Recent changes or challenges you’ve faced: Is there lingering damage—to relationships, staff capacity, systems, processes? What do you see in the community that the organization needs to consider?

Learn more...

Other ideas to get started on assessing organizational wellness include:

  • An informal chat at a staff meeting to get insights from a variety of perspectives on the types of questions posed above

  • A more formal employee survey administered through your HR department

  • A board meeting or retreat to review progress on the strategic plan and revise as needed

Healthy heart photo by Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.


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