Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Juggling priorities.A not-for-profit entity is not that much different from a for-profit one: an overall mission drives strategic decisions and that determines every day activities.
Put into practical applications, it is easy to determine that we need to employ kennel attendants, because keeping a kennel or cage clean (a daily activity), allows us to shelter at-risk dogs and cats transferred in from public shelters (one of our strategies), which ensures that those dogs and cats are not euthanized (our mission).
Were it always that simple!
The missions of corporate entities nearly always include profitability, which is an excellent measurement of success. Non-profits do not. Where a non-profit gets complicated is determining which financial obligations fulfill the mission the most, with the most efficient use of dollars. Based on a merely estimated flow of funds.
It's a juggling act: balancing the right proportions of funds directed to Shelter Operations, which provide for the animals' immediate needs; to Marketing, which provides tomorrow's clients; to Development, which provides for next years' needs; and to Adminstration, which does the actual juggling while everything else is going on.
While Limpy (to the right) performs in the play yard, oblivious to the machinations that allow for his existence, we are moving into the center ring.
We are planning right now for 2006, like we do at the end of every summer, so this is on my mind.