The Necessity of Planning and Monitoring Results at Rescue Missions

Can non-profits be well managed?? Success in the for-profit business sector can be measured quite easily; does the company or corporation earn a profit? Non-profit organizations have a comparable "bottom line: service. In other words, their success is measured primarily in how well they render the services for which they were granted their initial tax exempt status by the government.

In the business world, certain "control tools" have been developed to measure the success of their various profit-making activities. The challenge for the non-profit organization is to develop similar methods of determining the success of its activities. Certainly, the non-profit organization has a responsibility to use the funds entrusted to it by its donors as effectively as possible. Therefore, there is a real need to develop better systems of determining their level out put in order to accurately measure what an organization actually does, and how well it does it. In this day of intense competition for donor support, the non--profit organizations that will survive and grow will be those that know what they are about and can demonstrate, in real terms, that they are making the most of the dollars entrusted to them.

The starting point of this process is the development of goals for the organization that spell out it purpose or reason for being. This is normally embodied in what is commonly called the organization's "mission statement." The development and periodic review of the mission statement is the responsibility of the organization's Board of Directors in conjunction with its chief executive and other senior management. In essence, the board sets the policies that guide the organization's staff members to maintain program activities that accomplish its stated purposes.

The role of the non-profit administrator and manager in all of this is to remember that his work is not necessarily to do the work directly, but to see that the work gets done through others. One of the problems seen in the majority of non-profits is that those who normally rise to the level of administrators tend to be technical experts in their particular field of service, but not necessarily trained managers. Therefore, it is critical that those who are given the responsibility to run today's non-profit organizations gain training to learn effective professional management principles.

This is so important because there are still many similarities between nonprofit and for profit organizations

  • Both have objectives (whether formal or undocumented, yet understood)

  • Both make decisions about the use of resources to accomplish these objectives

  • An important management function of both is to see to it that the organization uses these resources efficiently and effectively

Among the business tools that non-profit administrators can utilize to more effectively manage their organizations are;

1. Budgets

2. Responsibility Centers

3. Cost Analysis

4. Analyses of Variances

5. "Management by Objectives"

6. Linear Programming

7. Standards Costs

8. Probability Analysis

This focus of session of Course 304 is illustrate the importance of planning as it relates specifically to the service end of the rescue mission. "Its always been done this way" may seem a justification for continuing to provide a certain service at the mission. But, we live in a day and age where an on-going program of evaluation must be instituted to determine if, in fact, a ministry is directing its efforts and resources to effectively making an impact on the areas of greatest need in its community.

With all of the resources at their disposal today, there is no reason why rescue missions cannot excel in managing their resources, thereby making the most significant investment in the Kingdom of God. 


An Outline of the "Results by Objective" Process for Use by the Rescue Mission Manager

  1. Identify the over-all goal(s) of the organization based on the current (or an updated) mission/purpose statement and the policy directives of its Board of Directors.

    -  Where - what is our geographical service area?
    -  Who - what is our target population?
    -  Why - which problems do our programs address?
    -  How  - what are our on-going programs?
    -  What - what are the goals of our programs?

  2. Determine the target period on which the planning process will focus  (six month, a year, three years, five years, twenty years)

  3. Identify the major program areas that are essential for the future growth of the organization and the attainment of its goals as stated in its mission/purpose statement.

  4. Evaluate the current resources (human, financial, facilities) of the ministry to determine its ability to achieve the desired results in the critical areas identified in the previous step.

  5. With the input of key staff members representing each program area, establish the objectives to be achieved by the ministry as a whole during the target period.

    : A specific written statement of a measurable end result that is to be attained in a set period of time.

  6. Once the over-all objectives are established and prioritized, establish objectives for each program and department, and for each individual staff member responsible for accomplishing the stated objectives.

  7. Develop a system for gathering the data that will be needed to measure the effectiveness of the plan. In other words, determine what types of data and statistics are to be kept and create forms that can be compiled into reports that measure, in concrete terms, how successful the activities are in accomplishing previously defined objectives.

  8. Based on reports developed by compiling data on the results of program activities, periodically evaluate program performance as it relates to the established objectives, making necessary adjustments.

  9. Begin at step #1 for new target period.