“Just Get It Done” Is Not A Strategy

Volunteers for nonprofits of any kind often feel like they are “building the plane and flying it at the same time” as the old saying goes.  This happens when the need for short-term action (“just get it done”) competes with longer-term planning (“plan for a better future”).  When the Disciplinary Committee meets to discuss an unruly parent and finds there is no code of conduct in place, the tension begins: do we stop and craft a new code of conduct or handle the situation at hand?

Board members of a nonprofit face this kind of dilemma on a regular basis.  I suspect everyone who has ever served on a nonprofit board has endorsed, or even formally voted for, a course of action that wasn’t ideal simply because it was too late or too costly to do anything else.

Below are five ways you and your fellow board members can help head off situations like that and, in the process, create a more sustainable and successful organization.  Perhaps somewhat paradoxically, I believe these strategies will also SAVE everyone involved a lot of time and energy.  And look…they even spell out a nice little acronym: CODEX.

  1. Communication

At the core of any successful organization is a leadership team that communicates well.  Before, during, and after taking any sort of action on behalf of the organization, it is critical to clarify who is doing what, unearth dependencies, and reduce confusion.

  1. Ownership

Having a single party leading any given initiative clarifies responsibility and facilitates communication.  Note this does NOT equate to one person “doing everything”, but rather to an individual who understands the overall task and manages it to completion.

  1. Documentation

Ideally, every significant initiative, task or even should have a “manual” of sorts that helps future volunteers.  If that’s not possible, even just a few notes and helpful tips can help things run smoother and more successfully.

  1. Early Planning

Personally, I’ve been in countless meetings (for nonprofits AND for-profits) where great ideas had to be rejected because there simply “wasn’t enough time”.  Early planning prevents that, so get started early and you’ll save time while achieving greater success.

  1. Examine Results

After any large undertaking, there is a very natural tendency to wipe the sweat from your brow and be thankful it’s all over.  Instead, take the time right after any event or key task to examine what worked, what didn’t, and how it can improve the next time around.  Make sure to document that too, of course.

For more information, visit the SportsOrganized.Com website, which hosts resources to help youth sports organizations pursue organizational excellence.  Or drop us a line at help@sportsorganized.com with any questions, comments or suggestions you might have.  We especially love to hear from organizations about best practices that work well.  Share your knowledge with others!