4 obstacles to nonprofit strategy execution

As iATS Payments continues to examine its popular piece "The Five Stages of Performance Management", audiences should be aware of how each step in the process influences the others. In the last section, a detailed explanation of how to successfully run a planning meeting should set an organization up for the next stage: execution.

When carrying out a fundraiser, an operational change or new software implementation, it's important the actual performance of the task receives the same attention as any other phase in performance management. Here are four challenges volunteers and leaders could face during execution that stem from planning problems or other factors:

1. Plans don't match reality
One of primary obstacles to successful execution is a lack of planning. Forbes shared Concord Leadership Group research that found almost half of nonprofits begin strategies without a documented plan to reference. It's important every member of an organization's operation knows what is to be done, who is responsible for each task and what should be achieved.

Another common problem stemming from poor planning is unrealistic goals. As volunteers and leaders perform projects, they may discover plans made assumptions that weren't true or accounted for resources that were unavailable. It's important all participants consider benchmarks to be attainable before beginning execution.

2. Non-integrated actions
Sometimes goals are reasonable to managers but seem much more daunting to volunteers. The Nonprofit Times said all invested parties must begin fundraising projects or other tasks with a unified interpretation of responsibilities and strategies. A single unhappy stakeholder may sink procedures if his or her point of view is not recognized.

Meetings that allows people to voice their feelings on projects ensure everyone is on the same page. This gives leaders a chance to share enthusiasm through hard numbers and volunteers to check in on individual responsibilities. Even eager participants may harm projects if they work with a unique interpretation of instructions.

3. Can't change course
Communication should begin projects and open dialogue should continue throughout execution. It's important that every responsible party has a platform to share results and changes as they happen. Without constant communication, an organization member could discover a problem that spirals out of control before the details reach executive leaders.

Many nonprofits operate using centralized customer relationship management software to ensure all donor activities remain visible to every user. It's important all information systems used by organizations during projects integrate to share data. Without a unified system, it's difficult to adapt strategies to new obstacles.

4. Not collecting results
Another barrier to visibility is an inability to collect data as it is submitted by volunteers, leaders and donors. Entrepreneur said collecting and analyzing information in real time is paramount to any strategy execution. Nonprofits need to be sure they have volunteer management, communication and payment processing software that works in sync.

During fundraising strategies, payment processing technology that integrates with CRM solutions shows users the results of individual actions. Instead of waiting for a project to be over to judge results, they can see how each phase of execution succeeds or needs to be adjusted. This ensures every individual has what he or she need to perform tasks. 

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