Glossary

Here we define some commonly used terms:

Board relations is how one manages an organization’s Board of Directors, including the recruitment of new members, defining roles and responsibilities, setting expectations, managing membership, and facilitating meetings. The goal is to foster a cohesive and productive group of people that enable the organization to thrive.

A business plan is a document used by for-profit companies that describes what a company is, what it does, and who its target audience is. It also includes a market analysis that describes the market in which the company operates and how the company fits in a way that will position it to succeed.

Communications is the use of different means of verbal and symbolic communication to share and exchange information. This is includes oral, written, and electronic means of communication.

A communications plan is a document that describes how an organization will utilize communications to achieve its programmatic goals. The plan should include goals, objectives, audiences, messages, strategies, tactics, a work plan, and measures of evaluation.

A financial sustainability plan is a document that describes how an organization will generate enough revenues to cover the full costs of doing business over an extended period of time (usually 3-5 years). It is more holistic and comprehensive than a fundraising plan in that it considers income sources other than donations and grants.

fundraising plan is a document that describes how an organization will generate revenues from donors and funders to support its programmatic goals over an extended period of time (1-5 years).

Executive coaching is a helpful relationship between a client who has a managerial role in an organization and a consultant who helps the client to improve his or her professional performance and personal satisfaction. Ideally, the client’s success also translates into greater effectiveness of the client’s organization.

Internal communications is the way information is shared and exchanged within organizations, including within teams, between teams, and across all levels of the organization.

A logic model is a planning tool that clarifies and graphically displays what a project intends to do and how it will create impact over time.

Messaging is the construction of the key or primary content or information, or the underlying ideas and themes, that are to be conveyed to an audience.

A mission statement is an organization’s statement of purpose. It should state what the organization intends to do in response to a particular problem. A mission statement may also identify an organization’s constituents, define its approach, and convey its values and brand.

An operational plan is a document that defines the actions to be taken in order to achieve strategic goals and objectives. It usually includes action items, timelines, budgets, roles and responsibilities, and measures of evaluation.

Organizational development is an increase in an organization’s effectiveness and health through planned interventions and processes. It affects all aspects of an organization’s activities, such as management and leadership, planning and policies, communication and teamwork, and organizational culture and design.

A strategic plan is a document that defines the organization’s goals and describes the approaches and actions the organization will take to achieve them within a given timeframe (usually 3-5 years).

A theory of change is an if-then statement about the conditions that are necessary for achieving a desired vision. It defines both the critical needs as well as the specific outcomes that would result. It is a view of what a system could be and helps to identify the potential leverage points for transforming that system. It is the nonprofit equivalent of market analysis done for a business plan.

unique value proposition (also known as a unique selling proposition, or USP) is a clear statement that defines the benefits you offer, how you are solving the problem, and how you are different from others like you.

A vision statement defines the ideal future state of a system in which the current problems are solved. The vision should not be unique to any single organization but rather shared by all those working in the same system on the same issue.