This is a common phrase in the nonprofit world. The gist of it is that the charity’s programs will be so successful that it accomplishes its mission, making itself irrelevant. Given the broad scope of many nonprofits, it is also a goal that never seems possible. That’s not to say that programs can’t make significant headway.
Take for instance this headline from today’s New York Daily News: No One Reported Shot, Stabbed or Slashed in New York City on Monday, Police Sources Say. Straight and to the point, while not exactly frugal with the word count, this headline screams good news.
So what can we learn from the sharing of this story?
It can be easy to sound like a broken record; prattling on about the horrible state of things to justify your nonprofit’s existence. Dig up some good news, the more unexpected the better.
You better like looking at reports. Comb the data and see where you are making a difference. Did you improve over last year? How about if you compare the data to a few years ago? Find the numbers that support your impact and stop justifying your nonprofit’s existence solely by highlighting the need.
According to the data, where are you making headway? Which programs are most effective? Talk to your colleagues and find out what they tweaked or instituted that created change.
Your nonprofit is succeeding so be sure to tell your media contacts, supporters, and staff. Do you have a newsletter? Intranet? Social media footprint? Internal notice boards? Post it everywhere you have an audience.
Now that you shared the horrible stories of the kitten that was cooked in the microwave, the Pit Bull puppy thrown from a building, or the starved miniature horses (trust me, I’ve been there) tell your supporters how your nonprofit helped each situation (maybe by reattaching a cat’s face or restoring sight so a dog can see it’s owner for the first time in two years). Respond to comments on social media and create a space for supporters to visit for regular updates. No one wants to constantly hear from Debbie Downer.