Staff teams in community-based organizations with case management programming are busy with authentically meeting the needs of clients, entering case notes, completing other types of paperwork, and juggling the chronic stress of doing case management work (i.e. see helpful chronic-stress research from Wellness Central Valley).
Within this context, who has time to build organizational infrastructure!?!?!?
What Do You Mean?
Practices and tools for hiring, onboarding, marketing your awesome mission, website maintenance, professional development, fundraising, safety practices, accountability mechanisms, etc.
Structure, once in place, will set you and your colleagues free to use your time and talents in ways most authentic to your professional happiness (i.e. check-out Annie McKee’s article on happiness on the job with content from folks like the psychiatrist and holocaust survivor Victor Frankl who’s well-known book Man’s Search for Meaning has made quite the impact). And this, in turn benefits clients and the organizational climate.
The benefits of furthering your organization’s structure are many and some of them include the following:
1 | All staff, new and long-time, are working from the same set of operational and program standards because those standards are set, clear, and can be referenced quickly.
2 | Supervision and support of staff follows an established process where everyone gets the coaching and time that they deserve and need.
3 | Fundraising practices are engaged by all in the organization to varying degrees and everyone knows their role.
4 | Safety standards, and violations of them, are clear, upheld, and secure a respectful climate.
Identify the slowest time of the year to dedicate attention to developing structure, avoiding major grant writing seasons, annual events, and client high needs periods.
Spend as little time as possible on how to build structure and more time on borrowing existing practices and tools that are proven useful for organizations like yours.
How to Get Started with Tip 1
Craft a quick annual organizational schedule using months or quarters to outline the major happenings for the year. Then, set-up structure development goals and incorporate the Board of Directors, staff, and interns into those goals, as appropriate.
Where to Look:
- Wild Apricot for a Complete List of Items for Your Annual Organizational Schedule! Use this check-off list to empower your bad self to move forward, step-by-step.
How to Get Started with Tip 2
If your organizational mission does not include “recreating the wheel,” then rely on great practices and tools that already exist in order to advance your organizational structure.
Where to Look:
- BoardSource for Board Recruitment & Onboarding Tools!
- Anchoring Success for Program Evaluation & Organizational Research!
- National Mentoring Resource Center Mentoring Program Tools!
- Blue Avocado fir Volunteer Management!
- John Haydon for Fundraising Trainings and Tips!
- Wellness Central Valley for evidence- and research-based staff wellness trainings and practices!
- Council for Nonprofits for Annual, Financial Filing Reminders!
- Check-out the co-authored blog by Anchoring Success and Cain Nonprofit Solutions for Structure Will Set You Free to Do the Work You Love, Arts Orgs for more practical structure development tools!
Why did we develop 2 Tips videos?
We know that many professionals and organizational leaders do not have the funds to partner with specialists (like us) and/or the time to strategize on what might seem like extra projects.
We launched these 2 Tips videos to support you with making tweaks, adjustments, and refinements in programs and operations — doable for busy professionals like you!