Process and procedures

Process and Procedures – Why You Need Them and Why They Fail

There are many reasons that your organization needs process and procedures – and only one reason they fail

But creating process and procedures are BOOORING! Like zero (negative?) fun for most nonprofit founders, Board members and even most Executive Directors. Providing programs and services is way more fun and hipper with this group of passionate visionaries!


Why Does Your Nonprofit Business Need Them?

Though there are many reasons that your organization needs the boring process and procedures stuff, three of the main reasons are to:


  1. Reduce “shiny object syndrome.”
  2. Create inefficiency that takes away from the fun stuff – diminishing your impact.
  3. Improve communication within and outside your organization.


Reduce “Shiny Object Syndrome”

When your organization is small and just starting out, you want and often feel you need to take every offer of assistance that comes your way. So, you chase all the shiny objects that come into your field of view. But as your organization and its efforts start to get noticed in the community, you get more and more people and businesses offering help. Offers of help could be:


  • local businesses asking to host a fundraiser or awareness event
  • organizations wanting to partner to create new programs
  • retailers or artists asking to sell their goods in your store (online or physical) for a portion of the sales.


Just what you always wanted, right? Well, not necessarily. Accepting all those offers takes time and money, often at the expense of your more crucial programs and needs. This may cause a significant problem.


You run the risk of putting others in the driver’s seat of your organization.


Create Efficiency and Improve Communication

At the same time, you cannot just ignore those who want to help. This is where process and procedures save the day!


When a business contacts you about hosting a charity event for your organization, determining when, what, and how often takes several hours. And, after spending that time you may decide that the event will not help your cause.


Having process and procedures to respond someone who contacts you about a new event, program, or any other request you routinely receive will greatly reduce the number of hours spent sorting out details. They also will help you to more clearly and consistently communicate what you need to community members and those wanting to help.


Over the next few blogs, I will discuss different processes and procedures commonly needed in nonprofit organizations, along with tips on setting them up and software tools available that make them easier to manage.


But before I get to that, you need to know…


THE Reason Process and Procedures Fail

Simply put, process and procedures fail when they are not consistently followed. Procedures may need to be tweaked, but if they are completely abandoned on a regular basis, they obviously will not create efficiencies in operations or communication.  EVERYONE – all staff, Board members, volunteers, vendors, customers, you name it – must be committed and required to follow them at least 99% of the time. I will point out two VERY RARE exceptions:


  • A donor gave you $20 million (or some other ridiculously large sum) to do a new program or project.
  • An unforeseen legal issue arises.


Learn more about Process and Procedures for Your Organization

If you are ready to put processes and procedures in place at your organization or want an assessment of your current operations, I would love to learn more about your organization and discuss what processes and procedures may be most beneficial to you. Just submit a request on the form under my picture for a free 30-minute coaching session to get you going. In the meantime….


Here’s a great discussion on a process versus a procedure.  Also my blog, Four Steps to Tracking Impact, provides a recipe to create procedures to track your impact. I will be writing similar blogs over the next month on volunteer management, event planning and donor management. Be sure to check back soon!

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See Brenda

Hi! Welcome to Brenda's Blog!

I help business owners and nonprofit leaders design strategies and align their finances with their business goals. I live in St. Augustine, Florida with my two daughters and 2 cats. I love walks in the woods, gardening and reading historical fiction. 

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