As an organization, your goal is to change lives. There are many ways to make this goal into a reality but some founders and staffers forget that no one organization can fix every problem. They often become burnt out from taking on too large of a burden too early on.
Determine the strength of your NPO and build your programming on that foundation. Determine the core needs of your clients and tailor your strengths to meeting those needs. Start small in terms of volume and scale of programs and execute them well.
This does not imply you should avoid a challenge or new method but it does mean you should take the time to evaluate the success of your current programming before expanding your services.
Huiling Care Center first started in Guangzhou serving mentally disabled children by opening special kindergartens for these children. After the organization started, a social worker researched the needs of this target population and realized that there were many other organizations serving these children but none serving adults with mental disabilities.
Huiling then changed their mission to serve the adults with mental disabilities. Their research showed that these adults needed help with daily living such as finding suitable housing and work. The NPO then started programming that placed 4-5 adults into community-based homes so that the residents could help each other with daily tasks. They also opened day centers where participants could come to socialize and learn how to make handcrafted goods. These crafts are then sold and the proceeds go back to the makers.
Huiling then went on to open 14 more branches across China.
Huiling concretely researched the true needs of the community and assessed their resources in terms of staffing and funding prior to changing their mission statement. The success of their change in programming is a testament to the value in due diligence. They started small and as they saw successful outcomes, they continued to grow and expand – researching and evaluating the potential success of each program prior execution.
Whatever you do, DO IT WELL.