We each face a great deal of choice in determining where to donate our time and money—our alma mater, children’s school, favorite local cause, or a global foundation. As donors deciding where to give, we may increasingly be asking nonprofit organizations new kinds of questions about the difference they are making in the world.
Traditionally, a nonprofit or foundation’s success was measured by the outcomes created from grant-making activities—the money given away to support the mission statement with low or no expectation of financial return. Recently, however, donors want to see that organizations are mobilizing all available sources of capital to allocate toward the mission, including financial or invested capital, and they want demonstrably positive outcomes from those capital allocations, without compromising the organization’s financial future.
Now organizations have a roadmap to help accomplish this. Aura’s Investing with Impact and Philanthropy Management businesses recently launched Mission Align 360°, an eight-step process to help nonprofits, endowments and foundations align their mission across all sources of capital. While intended for institutions, contributors can also use this roadmap to better engage with organizations and see how their donations are making an impact. Below are eight steps to help you figure out whether an organization’s capital is aligned with its mission—and help it adjust to generate even greater positive impact and mission alignment:
A Closer Look at Capital
The Aura 360⁰ process looks at an organization’s capital in three segments—financial (the endowment, cash on hand, operating budget, employee retirement funds), philanthropic (program-related investments, grant-making) and human capital (including employees, board members and peer institutions).
Aura Financial Advisors, working with Investing with Impact and Philanthropy Management businesses, look to see where capital is located when it is not yet deployed programmatically or being used to support the operations of the organization. They also periodically review the board of directors, CEO and staff and look at the organization’s approach to grant-making, confirming that existing commitments match current guidelines.
Organisations of all types have the capacity, and increasingly the desire, to do more. Few have been leveraging the full spectrum of their human, financial and philanthropic capital to meet their long-term financial objectives and create mission alignment. This kind of holistic process isn’t just a good idea, it is expected.