The implications of not having a structured way to manage an organization or plan for its fiscal health can be costly. Organizations can significantly impact their overall success by taking a course of action that outlines their operational needs. A framework is essential for leaders to articulate to themselves, their board, and their funders what they offer. It also helps contextualize the needs they are addressing.
We recently had the opportunity to work with two clients who presented similar challenges, despite their businesses located in two different states and focusing on two distinct areas. Both of our clients are experienced leaders in the community and in their field. Each has unique talents that led them to create an organization. And as any business owner knows, having a business requires many different skills to meet operational and fiscal responsibilities. Despite the years of experience and service to the community, both leaders did not set aside enough funding for a well-earned salary or the operational needs of the business.
They reached out to us intending to create and clarify an organizational framework for new projects they had in mind. They reported their frustrations of having no funding or capital for those projects. Understanding our clients’ funding limitations, we created an organizational framework document they could replicate for specific grants and use for future sponsorship solicitation.
For our most recent client, MAPA Collaborative created an Organizational Framework document. The result was a 15-page comprehensive document that clearly articulated vital strategies under the following sections:
Statement of Need
Proposed Solution/Project Description
Project Outcome Objectives
Below are some highlights of the content:
We used seven sources to ascertain a strong case in the statement of need and target population. Funders often have strict guidelines on their focus areas and want to ensure that what they are funding fits their missions and their intended goals.
A well-defined project includes a timeline, goals, and objectives. The project’s success has to be measured, and funders want to see a carefully considered plan. We outlined these items for our client and asked them to follow up on specific information to determine a schedule that made sense for themselves and their company. Grants will ask for, What are the expected outcomes of your project, and how will you achieve them?
Fiscal responsibility is one of the most important aspects of any business. Depending on how the company is registered, specific tax structures and legal requirements must be followed consistently. For this particular client, we shared articles on establishing a nonprofit organization. Also, to address short and long-term sustainability, we helped our client identify ten manageable funding strategies for review and consideration.
One of the organizational framework’s feature was to help the client give careful thought around partnerships. Building capacity for the organization means establishing a clear understanding with partners. We linked the document to articles on how to establish a Memorandum of Understanding. A general distinction about partnerships is that unlike collaborators, partners are a contractual relationship, while collaborators cooperate, and the relationship is less legally binding.
However, the key is strategic implementation. Business owners need to have a supportive infrastructure to establish who will do what, and operational systems with a written process to guide a team. The finished product presented to our client reflected our client's short and long term strategic needs for the successful implementation of their project. Without strategic implementation, the document will only be that. Knowing the passion and dedication our clients have for their work, we are confident that they will use the organizational framework to achieve their goals. We will certainly follow up and check on them and their progress. Our vision is to generate momentum and creativity so leaders can confidently navigate their professional and personal lives.