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Five ways to improve your foundation

Jun 17, 2016

Looking to improve the effectiveness of your club or district foundation, but not sure where to start? It might be time to get back to basics. Below are tips to help assess your foundation—and ensure you fulfill your mission.

Review your mission statement. Your mission not only explains your foundation’s purpose but guides your organization. It should be reviewed regularly. During a review, list your foundation’s current objectives. Do they support each other? Recognize changes and revise your statement to keep it current. And watch for “mission creep,” when you stretch your mission to encompass so many areas that your purpose and passion get lost. Remember to keep it short, specific and sharply focused.

Set goals and benchmarks. What do you plan to accomplish this year? What about long term? Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Include detailed plans, timelines, financial resources and the responsibilities of team members. Strategies for achieving each goal should align with your organization’s mission statement. Get the board involved in goal-setting. (Classy has a helpful blog on the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting strategy.)

Budget responsibly. Your foundation should prepare a comprehensive annual budget that includes all program and management elements, all development activities, and all sources and uses of funds. It is important to get board approval for the coming year’s budget. Prepare monthly financial statements to see your month-to-month activity as well as year-to-date income and expenses. Download a sample budget worksheet if you need help getting started.

Revamp your communication strategy. Communication strategy depends on each foundation’s resources and objectives. Start by identifying your stakeholders, and then decide the best way to communicate with each group. This could be any combination of emails, printed resources, social media or a website. Keep your resources in mind. For example, an effective website should be updated regularly with current content. Social media requires someone to share relevant content frequently.  

Evaluate yourself. Assess your organization regularly. Make changes along the way as needed.