5 Questions Every Nonprofit Organization Must Ask Itself

If you are leading a nonprofit organization, take the hour or two to read Peter F. Drucker's book, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization.  The 100-plus page book, co-written with Jim Collins, Philip Kotler, James Kouzes, Judith Rodin, V. Kasturi Rangan and Frances Hesselbein, encourages readers to ask these five critical questions about their organizations:
  1. What is our Mission?
  2. Who is our Customer?
  3. What does the Customer Value?
  4. What are our Results?
  5. What is our Plan?
These questions seem basic, but it is surprising how some nonprofits don't dedicate the time and effort to formally ask these questions on a routine basis.

Often, an organization may have a clearly defined mission, but that mission may not sync up with what their customer truly values.  Other times, an organization's results don't fully meet what the customer values most.  And, if #4 and #3 above don't match up correctly, then the organization must take action to set a plan to correct the disconnect.

Each of the five questions leads to sub-questions that are outlined in Drucker's book, so it's important to read the entire book to fully understand how to ask the questions and why they are so important.

One recommendation is to at least include members of your management team, your Board, marketing team and volunteers when you ask the five questions.  You may find that each of these teams may give you different answers for #1 and #2, and that may present more challenges for you that will also need to be addressed.


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