Has the CHECK ENGINE light in your car ever come on?
As car issues go, it can be pretty minor. It might require nothing more than adjustment of the gas cap. Or it might indicate that your car needs a significant repair! All you know is what you can see — that one warning light.
The same can be true at your nonprofit. Maybe you notice some small signs. Annual appeal numbers that are a little soft. Campaigns or events that aren’t meeting expectations.
What can be going on? Is it nothing, or is it something? And if it’s something … how can you fix it?
With your car, there’s a handy machine that runs a full diagnostic test on your engine and spits out a code, telling you precisely what the issue is. In the case of your nonprofit, the diagnostic test comes in the form of a stakeholder assessment.
Assessments give you candid feedback on your mission, goals, messages and strategies from all your stakeholders — those who love you, and those who don’t. If something isn’t working, assessments uncover the issue. And if everything’s working great, assessments provide a solid foundation for a strategic plan for growth. Kind of like getting a tune-up before a long road trip.
We often hear nonprofit leaders say “we don’t want to waste a lot of time interviewing donors, board and staff — we just want to raise more money.” Yep. We want that too! An assessment might not be as fast as a mechanic’s diagnostic code reader. But it’s the best way to know for sure what’s not working and how to fix it.