This is the first necessary step in designing your nonprofit's strategy



What do you start with when trying to create a strong and successful strategy for your nonprofit/programs?

While your nonprofit/program is able to explain its programs clearly, it might be struggling to demonstrate that it is in fact tackling some of the very serious issues in the community in a way that no one else doing.

Before your nonprofit can begin designing and implementing a strategy, you and your team have to understand what the problem is that your nonprofit is trying to solve. Understanding what the problem we are trying to solve is empowers us not jump to conclusions or solutions.

Developing a clear problem statement is really the first necessary step in designing your organization's strategy. You might ask yourself, why is that so?

Well, that’s because grant-maker agencies award money to nonprofit organizations in order to help them address a problem or an issue or even fill a gap related to a need in a community or society. For you to have access to those grants, you need to have a clear cutting strategy in solving the faced problem/issue. 

Donors are typically seeking to make the world a better place, and they want to do that through you.  If you are unable to show to them how your work addresses serious, and urgent issues, they will be less compelled to donate.

Before describing what change your nonprofit wishes to make in the community, you must first be able to clearly define the problem your nonprofit is trying to solve. Begin by thinking through the problem that your nonprofit or program wishes to solve. Clarify the problem you wish to solve or get solved.

With that been said, where do you start? Simply just start by asking yourself the following questions: 
  • Is what you are trying to solve really a problem?
  • How far do you consider it to be a problem?
  • Why do you think it’s a problem?
  • What pain is it causing?
  • Why is solving the problem important? Etc.

The process of defining the problem typically begins with the description of the current state of affairs and what your nonprofit or program finds wrong with it. You should be able to apply the 5 'W's (Who, What, Where, When and Why) to the problem statement. However, asking the WHY questions as many times as possible leads us toward our goal of developing an effective problem statement.

A needs statement answers the question: “Why care?” It demonstrates to the funder that there is a problem that is important; is significant; and is urgent.

It should be clear that one of the most important goals of any problem statement is to define the problem being addressed in a way that's clear and precise. By doing this we are able to narrow down to the actual problem and we are able to address it effectively and bring about social impact.

Why should you have a Problem statement as a key starter in your nonprofit strategy?

That’s because it clarify and justify the existence of such a need or problem, as well as, helping the grant providers see how well you understand the problem, and how it might be addressed. Identifying the problem addressed by your nonprofit organization is an essential first step to ensure that you’re addressing the right problem in designing a strategy for social impact.

In general, a problem statement will outline the negative points of the current situation and explain why this matters. It also serves as a great communication tool, helping to get buy­in and support from others.

So, what should a compelling Problem statement include?
  •  A specific description of the problem
  • An explanation of the impact of the underlying problem on the targeted population (These are the people you have in mind when you define the problem that your NGO is trying to solve
  • An explanation of what may happen if the problem is not solved
  • Summarization of product(s) or service(s) that can be provided to prevent the underlying problem from happening.

A good rule of thumb is to only address problems that you can definitively solve beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you're not sure of a definitive solution that can solve your entire problem, you may want to narrow the scope of your project and change your problem statement to reflect this new focus.
Therefore, the first step needed in formulating a strategy for your nonprofit is to articulate: what the problem you are working to solve is, because when faced with a social problem it's tempting to immediately ask what the solution is, however, addressing the right problem should be taken very serious and critical, for without a clear pathway it would be difficult to succeed.

And always remember: A need must be justified with facts, data, stories, research findings, expert opinion, or historical information. An excellent problem statement grabs your funder's interest using both facts—quantitative data—and stories—qualitative data.

An effective problems statement gets to the heart of the problem.


Or going through the NONPROFIT STRATEGY category. 

I hope this post will help you learn more and more on the matters of developing an effective strategy for your nonprofit organizations or program. If might have any further questions you would like me to answer don't hesitate to contact me Here

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The author of IACTips

About The Author:

Rumishael Ulomi (RyChris), the Publisher and Creator of RYCHRIS JOURNAL is a Christian Believer, Singer, Entrepreneur, and an Independent Social Sector Consultant residing in Moshi, Tanzania interested in helping others thrive and grow. LEARN MORE HERE
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