Have you ever heard a rule and thought, “Why does that rule need to be there?” I found myself asking that question just this morning. I began to think about all the times I ask the question of someone, a situation, or myself, “Why?” Maybe it is because I am a millennial or maybe it is because I am just curious, but I ask that question A LOT. I want to know that the work I am doing is meaningful, and that desire is not a bad thing.
I am a development director, so I want to address the benefit of asking why in a nonprofit setting, especially for Fundraisers.
It is most important for nonprofit organizations to continually answer this question, “Why do we do what we do?” The answer should always go straight back to the vision and mission of your organization. If you are not working within the realm of that vision, your work is pointless. The question “Why?” can be just the check up that your organization needs.
Let’s talk about that for a second: Check-ups. A check-up with your doctor is something that many would say is important or taking your dog to the vet every six months for a check-up. But how often do nonprofit leaders do an organizational check-up? I know that I do not do it in my own work enough. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself when you take part in this organizational check-up:
What is the vision statement of my organization? When you understand the vision of your organization, you understand what makes you unique, you understand your diversity.
What are the last three projects that I completed for my organization. You may have to think about this a little, but scan your brain and think of the last three projects that you did.
Were those projects in alignment with your vision statement? This is the time in the check-up where the doctor is checking your heartbeat. All of the work that you do, those major projects, those big changes, must go through the vision statement and confirmed to be important to reach the goal stated in the vision statement.
Why? I will go on and tell you an answer to this question. Your answer should be your vision statement. That should be why your organization does what it does and why they are who they are.
“Why?” I encourage you to ask this question of your organization frequently. In the long run staying on top of the “Why” will increase the effectiveness of your organization.