Quite regularly someone asks: “Should we apply for this project? What do you think about it?” The easy answer is of course to say, Oh yes, do it. Or: Please no, stay away from it. But that’s not really the right answer. If you’re wondering what projects you should do, let’s start with the beginning.

So what projects should we do?

So the right answer is: do you have a vision, mission and value statement for your nonprofit?

Is this project idea aligned with that? That, there, is where you can find your answer yourself.

That’s really your starting point for a decision.

Use your vision, mission, value statement

Get your vision, mission, value statement and check any idea you have against it.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Does it contribute to our vision?

If not, this idea is not for you. 

  • If it contributes to the vision, is it aligned to the mission? Is it part of what we are here to do?

If not, it’s something that perhaps another organisation is suited to do. As it’s aligned with your vision this may be an organisation you are in contact with or even collaborating with already.

  • If it is aligned with the mission, can we implement it while respecting our values?

If not, this is not for you. It may be for another organisation that has different values from yours. 

If all answers are yes, then go for it!

OK, sorry. If all your answers are yes, you will need to check a few other things. I will share that separately.



Why is a vision, mission, value statement key?

For now, I just want to emphasise that you really need a vision, mission and value statement. And you need to use it and refer to it all the time. To let it guide your work and team.

So if you don’t have a vision, mission, value statement, this is the first thing to work on.

This statement is your nonprofit’s lighthouse, so to speak. A guiding light that will help you know what’s yours to do – why and how.

Importantly, it will also help others know what they can count on you for. They will be able to understand what you can bring in the world and what they need you for.

What about flexibility

It may seem that you can be more flexible if you don’t make clear choices regarding your vision, mission and values. You might feel like you have more possibilities, and more opportunities, without having a vision or mission or values that focus – or limit – what you do.

In reality, though, that kind of flexibility is not something your supporters and donors are keen on. They won’t be able to recognise your strengths. And they won’t feel they can trust in your expertise, if there is no focus in your work.

So your chance of winning a project outside your vision, mission, value scope is very small (or practically zilch I would say).

And that’s a good thing, for you, too, and for the community or cause you serve. With a clear focus, you and your team can gain much experience in your particular field of work. You can become more efficient and effective in that work. And you can more easily create more impact than others without your focus, expertise, efficiency and effectiveness.

How I can help

If you don’t have your vision, mission, value statement, I have a free mini course for you to help you with that. You can sign up here: https://www.changingtides.eu/3-steps-to-a-solid-base-for-your-nonprofit/ to get started straightaway.

If you want to learn more about how you can design a successful project, join my course Project Design for nonprofits. You can learn at your own pace and ask me anything in our live sessions and in our members only community. Find out more and enroll via this link: https://www.changingtides.eu/projectdesign

Want to know more and ask questions?

If you want to discuss this more – jump into my nonprofit support community and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!

Here is how you can join my free nonprofit support community

You can join my free nonprofit support community on the Heartbeat platform here. This group is a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc.

You can visit the community via a browser or via an app. Here is the link to download the Heartbeat chat app in the Google Play store.

Want to support me with a cup of coffee?

The seaside always inspires me and helps me think of articles, videos, workshops and courses I can create for you.

If you want to support me without getting a paid workshop, course or review – you can donate me a coffee and speed up my thinking process!

You can support me here: https://ko-fi.com/suzannebakker