Nonprofit organizations exist as publicly funded entities regulated by state, federal, and sometimes local laws. As a result, there are expectations about what nonprofit organizations can and cannot do. Some laws, regulations, and ordinances evolve or change. A nonprofit organization is expected to comply with them. The members, partners, and clients of a nonprofit organization have expectations about its operations and activities. The community at large has expectations about a nonprofit organization. These expectations related to the programs and services offered by an organization are called the "organizational mandate." For example, an organizational mandate of a nonprofit organization is inherent to the fact that such entities
- Have an obligation to maintain and update their legal status based on existing and new laws, ordinances, and regulations
- Maintain and update documents related to their governance (e.g., article of incorporation, bylaws, policies)
- Provide services within the realm for which the organizations were created, based on the needs of its target population, and the expectations of its internal and external stakeholders.
BOX 6.3 ORGANIZATIONAL MANDATE
1. Keep our legal status current with all applicable laws at the local, state, and federal levels.
2. Develop and maintain a secure and stable operating budget for the next 5 years.
3. Create and maintain a database of information and research on topics of interest to our target population.
4. Provide refugees and immigrants in need of social services referrals to appropriate agencies.
5. Develop and maintain a network of volunteers to offer community support to individuals, families, enterprises, organizations, and communities.
The organizational mandate constitutes the foundation of what an organization must accomplish as a means to remain connected with the fulfillment of the vision and mission statements (Box 6.3).
DEFINE OR REVISE MISSION, VISION, AND STATEMENTS
The vision, mission, and values statements constitute the core identity of a nonprofit organization (see Boxes 6.4. 6.5, and 6.6). In other words, a nonprofit organization justifies its social or community relevance through its vision, mission, and values, and the extent to which they are reflected in governance and program implementation. During the strategic-planning process, a nonprofit organization should
- Make an inventory of internal and external stakeholders.
- Develop its vision, mission, and values statements.
- Review, revise, or clarify its vision, mission, and values statements, if necessary.
Box 6.4 Sample Vision Statement
To be recognized by our clients, private, and public agencies as an organization leader that provides professional and culturally competent programs, products, services, and models of community empowerment and human development that positively impact the cultural, social, and economic lives of children, families, professionals, enterprises, organizations, and communities.
Box 6.5 Sample Mission Statement
Make positive and durable change in the lives of children, families, and communities by promoting an awareness of cultural diversity, implementing health, community education, and economic opportunities and technical assistance programs, and preventing child abuse and neglect and domestic violence.
BOX 6.6 SAMPLE STATEMENT OF VALUES
RESPONSIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The HOPE will strive to understand and meet the changing requirements of its clients by treating them as valuable partners, listening to them, responding fairly, and living up to our commitments. We must comply with all applicable laws and regulations at all government levels, and will address social, cultural, and economic issues responsibly. Therefore, we ought to provide superior performance and are accountable for our actions and results.
CONTINUOUS QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
Continuous quality improvement is both a strategy and a value through which the HOPE will achieve its vision to be an organizational leader. The ongoing quality improvement of our programs is our first priority in achieving client satisfaction. Empowerment, process, outcomes, and impact evaluation play a key role in all products, programs, and services that we provide. We believe that continuous quality improvement can help us learn from experience, embrace change, and achieve the full involvement of staff members in our quest for excellence.
We believe that an organization must be financially viable in order to fulfill its mission. Therefore, we must evaluate the sustainability of our projects and programs to ensure their durability before any implementation. We are committed to manage with prudence the financial resources entrusted to us by:
- Applying fiduciary responsibility to all expenditures to assure that full value is obtained for money we spend
- Setting financial management objectives that can help implementing our strategic plan
- Providing continuing quality services
- Making all possible effort to ensure the endowment of our programs
RISK AND INNOVATION
We strongly believe that well-calculated risks and innovation are the principal drivers of organizational growth. Based on this assumption, we experiment with alternative models of programs, products, and services in order to challenge the status quo. We recognize that change and risk are the challenge of innovation. Therefore, we reward successful risk taking and do not penalize an innovative idea that failed. We foster an environment of creativity, innovation, and personal ownership.
Honesty and fairness are the basis of our code of ethics. We will strive to conduct relationships with clients and partners in a fair, open, and ethical manner. We will keep our promises to anyone. Equal opportunity for advancement will be provided to every member of the organization in an atmosphere of open communication, trust, respect, and support.
We will remain an organization of dedicated and competent individuals of high integrity and credibility who are in strict compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations that govern the communities where we are working. In accordance with the value we place on responsiveness and accountability, we will always live up to our responsibilities, meet our obligations, and fulfill our commitments.
We value cultural competency and will work to leverage the creative potential of individual differences. We are committed to considering the background and abilities of everyone and to promote a greater diversity in positions of influence, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and beliefs. However, we understand diversity within the meaning of universal human rights. We believe that differing points of view must be sought and understood in a perspective of cultural diversity.
We value partnership, collaboration, and teamwork, both externally and internally. We will always explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration to achieve common goals. We encourage collective problem-solving and decision-making processes and promote open and supportive frameworks for new approaches or ideas.