Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How You Do That Thing You Do...

Remember that movie from 1996, written and directed by Tom Hanks, That Thing You Do?  It was about a small band making a hit in the 60's.

So just what is "that thing you do?"  I'm going to help you begin to define your ministry or nonprofit by asking a few simple questions.  The answers are not so simple.  Take your time...

Who or what are you trying to help?  In other words, have you defined your target audience?

Define exactly who you're intending to help or support with your mission.  Be very specific here - kids, single moms, or unwanted dogs is not enough.

Where are they?  In a city, neighborhood, or country?  What differentiates them - economics, low grades, incarcerated parents?  How many of them are there?

What are you going to try to solve?  Define the problem at hand.

This is where statistics and research come into play.  Get specific with this one.  Maybe you want to reduce crime in a borough, provide education to child workers overseas, or eliminate the stray cats in an abandoned building.

What are the results if you don't do this?

How are you going to solve the problem?  What's your solution?

Try to briefly describe the things that you will do to make the world a better place.  This is where your programs are discussed.  What do you do?  How often do you do this?  Where is it done?

There are probably a list of things that you do.  Categorize them and define those categories.  Explain who does each and what you're expecting as a result of each one.

Who?  What?  How?

These are the first questions you need to answer.  Think about these, discuss them with your board, staff, and volunteers.  Talk through them with those you intend to help.

You will end up with a lot of information.  Too much information.

Break it down to the basics.  Your answers should be read and understood in less time than it took you to watch the video above.

Congratulations!  You've just defined that thing you do!

The next step is to encapsulate that into a working strategy.  We'll discuss that next time...

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