Non-Profit Leadership: Clarifying Your Non-Profit Values

group of people putting hands on top of each other
group of people putting hands on top of each other

Whenever I provide consulting for any organization, I create the mission, the vision, and something that people often forget to identify: the values and/or core beliefs of the organization. This is a way to articulate what the leadership and staff value for the environment and programs they create.

I feel it is essential that these value statements are clearly stated and reinforced as a part of the staff conversations and evaluations. In fact, it is even good to talk to clients and those that are part of our constituency to see if they sense those values in how the organization and staff implement their programs and impact.

At Lakeside, this is one of the first orientations we provide to our new staff. It sets the tone for everything else they will experience in orientation and in how we operate the many facets of our organization. This can be extremely motivating and inspiring as we attempt to align the staff around these values and set expectations for what to expect from supervisors and leadership.

Any non-profit organization should identify the values and core beliefs that are important for them as they serve their community.

At Lakeside, this is the list of values I emphasize to our new staff that we attempt to reinforce throughout the year as we do our mission.

  • Character
  • Consistency
  • Relationally intact
  • Process-oriented
  • Grace-driven
  • Excellence
  • Teamwork
  • Solution-based and trauma-informed
  • Strength-based
  • Servanthood
  • Professionalism

One important part of my presentation to new staff is to give permission for everyone to only trust these values as they see them on display by our staff and leadership. It is important to give staff room to discover the path to trusting their organization since so many organizations are not committed to a strong set of core beliefs that are resonant and safe.

I encourage all non-profit leaders to reflect on their organizational values, present them, and set expectations that they will guide your posture with both your clients and one another.

Also, it is important to acknowledge that our values are a work in progress that can grow in depth and expression. This will set your non-profit apart from other types of organizations.

It also will inspire your staff to embrace an organizational mindset that will empower all those in your sphere of influence! It is a great way to motivate and encourage your non-profit family.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO

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