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15. Improving Organizational Management and Development

This toolkit provides guidance for enhancing your organization's governance structure and improving communication.

  1. Planning and Assessment

    1. Identify and engage a network of persons who share your concern.
      1. Name the problem or issue you are concerned about
      2. Identify those persons or organization who are also concerned and why
      3. Propose a meeting to get together and discuss possible ways to work together
        Related resources:
        Encouraging Involvement in Community Work
        Coalition Building I: Starting a Coalition
    2. Set up an exploratory task force
      1. Utilize your current network to identify more people interested in the issue
      2. Who do you know that could represent different sectors of the community (e.g., business, faith communities)?
        Related resources:
        Developing Multi-Sector Task Forces or Action Committees for the Initiative
    3. Define a service area and know your territory
      1. Describe where those persons affected by the issue live, and thus where you should target your efforts
      2. Outline your target area and population- whether geographically or by sector
      3. Inventory existing community resources related to the problem and strategize how they might be tapped
        Related resources:
        Understanding and Describing the Community
        Determining Service Utilization
    4. Discover/uncover priority needs
      1. Conduct needs surveys and focus groups among those in the community of interest.
      2. Research past surveys or statistical information related to the issue.
      3. Talk to other organizations either working with your target population or working on similar issues in other communities.
        Related resources:
        Conducting Focus Groups
        Conducting Needs Assessments Surveys
        Collecting Information About the Problem
    5. Pick a focus, set objectives, and plan on how to accomplish them.
      1. Clearly define what it is you want to accomplish as an organization
      2. Set objectives (e.g., by this date this risk factor will decrease)
      3. Write out what changes will need to occur in the community
        Related resources:
        Proclaiming Your Dream: Selecting a Vision and Mission
        Creating Objectives
        Developing an Action Plan
    6. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your organization as it is now and what outside threats work against its success.
      1. Your organization's strengths (e.g., experience of staff)
      2. Your organization's weaknesses (e.g., not well known in the community)
      3. Outside factors that may provide opportunities to advance your goals (e.g., national media covering your issue)
      4. Outside factors that may act as threats or barriers to your success (e.g., increasing risk factors in the community)
        Related resources:
        SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Theats
  2. Creating a Governing Structure

    1. Recognize the need for a governing structure
      1. It provides members with clear guidelines for how to proceed.
      2. It creates a structure that binds members together and facilitates their interactions.
        Related resources:
        Organizational Structure: An Overview
    2. Review the structures necessary for an organization to function.
      1. Some form of governance
      2. Rules of operation
      3. Explicit distribution of work
        Related resources:
        Choosing a Group to Create or Run Your Initiative
    3. Identify the formal roles or committees that need to be established to ensure your organization's success.
      1. Steering committee
      2. Coordinating council/committee
      3. Project coordinator
      4. Task force
      5. Board of directors
      6. Action committees
      7. Support committees
      8. Other supports
        Related resources:
        Organizational Structure: An Overview
    4. Describe the rules of operation
      1. By-laws
      2. Conflict of interest policies
      3. Financial policies
      4. Personnel policies
      5. Media policies
      6. Volunteer policies
      7. Quality assurance policies
      8. Program policies
      9. Disaster policies
        Related resources:
        Writing By-Laws
        Developing Personnel Policies
    5. Outline who will be responsible for what within the organization
      1. Write position descriptions for all members
      2. Decide which positions will be volunteer and which will be paid
      3. Create a visual representation of the relationships between different roles within the organization.
      4. Circumvent future power struggles and conflict by outlining:
  3. Managing and Enhancing Staff and Volunteer Efforts

    1. Determine whether your organization will utilize the community's volunteer pool.
      1. How will the volunteer and staff managers connect with the planning and evaluation of the organization or project?
      2. Does the governing body of your organization see the value of using volunteers and consultants to reach the organization's goals and objectives? Are volunteers included in your mission statement?
      3. How will you report the contributions of volunteers to your governing board?
        Related resources:
        Developing a Plan for Involving Volunteers
    2. Review your organization's goals and objectives and describe the tasks it will have to do to reach them.
      1. What skills will be required?
      2. Are the tasks ongoing or one-time activities?
      3. Is this to carry out a new activity?
        Related resources:
        Providing Training and Technical Assistance
    3. Determine the skill level and qualifications of people who will carry out the tasks.
      1. What background or training will the person need to carry out the work?
      2. Develop a job description
    4. Decide whether the tasks can be carried out by staff, consultants, or by volunteers.
      1. If you hire someone to carry out the work, what will you pay them?
      2. Will you need approval from the board?
      3. What tasks does staff need help with? How will that be determined?
      4. Will you need a volunteer manager? What role will they play? Will they be paid?
      5. How will you assist staff in seeing volunteers as partners?
      6. Will you have a budget for volunteers?
    5. Devise a recruiting and hiring plan for staff or volunteers
      1. How will you draw on the interests of individuals and motivate them to apply or volunteer? How will you match this with your opportunities?
      2. Where will you seek volunteers or staff? What groups and individuals will you target? What message will you give them
      3. How will you get to know the applicant and screen them? Will you do reference or other background check? How well do you have to know the applicant to be able to place them?
      4. How will you make the offer?
      5. How will you handle those not qualified for placement?
        Related resources:
        Developing a Plan for Involving Volunteers
        Advertising for Positions
        Interviewing for Positions
    6. Decide who will orient, supervise and provide support to staff and volunteers and how that will be accomplished
      1. Who is best suited to manage this activity, staff or volunteer?
      2. Will your volunteers know what their job is and whom they can turn to for assistance and support?
      3. How will you protect volunteers, your group, and those you serve?
      4. How can staff and volunteers provide feedback to the management or new ideas to the organization?
        Related resources:
        Developing a Management Plan
        Developing Volunteer Orientation Programs
    7. Create an evaluation system to assess performance of staff and volunteers
      1. How will you evaluate the volunteers as well as the staff who supervise them?
      2. How will you provide feedback on performance to staff and volunteers?
        Related resources:
        Achieving and Maintaining Quality Performance
    8. Provide career development opportunities to staff and volunteers
      1. Do your staff or volunteers see a future with your group?
      2. Are there clear paths to and opportunities for more advanced work within your organization for staff and volunteers?
      3. How will you support development of staff and volunteers?
    9. Recognize the accomplishments of staff and volunteers
      1. How will supervisors provide immediate feedback on performance and behavior
      2. Will your organization provide more formal forums for recognition
  4. Planning for Managing Finances

    1. State your mission, goals, and objectives. How has your organization chosen to meet these objectives
      Related resources:
      An Overview of Strategic Planning
    2. What specific activities are needed to reach your objectives and what staff will be needed to carry out those activities?
      1. Describe the needs of those served
      2. Describe your objectives
      3. Describe how budgetary decisions will be made
        Related resources:
        Develop a Plan for Identifying Local Needs and Resources
        Creating Objectives
        Managing Your Money
    3. Describe the role of the board, CEO, financial officer, program manager, and others in developing and using the budget.
      1. Who will establish policy related objectives, income targets, and personnel and other costs
      2. What policies and procedures govern your budget, and projection of income, cash flow or expenses
      3. Describe your financial record keeping
      4. Determine the types of accounting functions the organization needs
      5. Decide who will carry out these functions
      6. Describe the types and sources of income your organization will have
      7. Who needs to know about the organization's finances and decide how that will be communicated with them and how often
      8. What controls are needed to maintain secure finances
      9. How will you handle problems? Who will resolve financial disputes
      10. How will you keep track and report your finances? What controls will you have over your budget and resources
        Related resources:
        Organizational Structure
        Handling Accounting
        Managing Your Money
        Creating a Financial & Audit Committee
        Planning and Writing an Annual Budget
    4. Seek resources to support your efforts
      1. Match your outcomes, goals and services with potential funders, volunteers, and other donors. Who are they and why did you choose them
      2. Describe the types of support you will seek
      3. Describe how you will seek this support
      4. Describe how you will sustain current and future funding relationships
      5. Set your performance measures for success
      6. Explain how you will be an ethical steward of your resources
        Related resources:
        Recruiting Volunteers
        Developing a Plan for Financial Sustainability
        Promoting Adoption of the Initiative's Mission and Objectives
        Developing a Plan for Financial Sustainability
        Attracting Support for Specific Programs
        Strategies for Sustaining the Initiative
        Establishing and Maintaining a Membership Program
    5. Specify how you manage your finances
      1. Identify the type of budget your need (e.g., organizational or opportunity)
      2. Develop a budget
        Related resources:
        Planning & Writing an Annual Budget
  5. Enabling Communication Within and Outside the Organization

    1. What do you want to accomplish? What are your objectives?
      1. Did you specify how your goals and objectives are related to your overall mission?
      2. How do you want more people to know about your organization?
      3. Do you influence people who can help you reach your goals?
      4. Do you want to raise money and acquire resources?
      5. Are you advocating for change?
      6. Are you trying to increase membership or get more volunteers?
        Related resources:
        Promoting Adoption of the Initiative's Objectives & Mission
        Establishing & Maintaining a Membership Program
        Developing a Plan for Communication
        Conducting a Social Marketing Campaign
        Segmenting the Market
        Identifying Targets and Agents of Change
        Strategies For Sustaining the Initiative
        Overview Getting an Advocacy Campaign of the Ground
    2. Identify your audience. Who are you trying to influence or attract?
      Related resources:
      Identifying Community Assets & Resources
      Developing a Plan For Increasing Participation in Community Action
      Conduct a Social Marketing Campaign
    3. Describe your main messages
      Related resources:
      Developing Creative Promotions
    4. Identify the best channels through which you will reach individuals in your targeted audience.
      1. Describe the approached you will use to convey your message
      2. How will you stay in touch with the media? How will you make it easier for them to help you?
        Related resources:
        Conducting a Social Marketing Campaign
        Promoting Awareness and Interest Through Communication
    5. Describe the materials and items that will be used to transmit your message
      Related resources:

      Developing a Plan for Communication
      Promoting Awareness and Interest Through Communication
    6. List the dates by which you want to carry out your plan
      Related resources:
      Developing a Plan for Communication
      Developing an Action Plan
    7. Determine the cost for carrying out your plan
      Related resources:
      Developing a Plan for Communication
      Developing an Action Plan


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