Program Design – It’s How You Measure Your Mission

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Written By: Janet Rock, Director, Design & Development

Story, brand, mission, outcomes. If I asked what difference your organization makes, you may use these tools to describe your impact. These tools have received a lot of attention and are commonly expected from an organization in grant applications and presentations to stakeholders, but how well do they represent your why your organization exists and how you know you are making the difference you intend to make?

I went lobster fishing once. No, really, I did. And what felt to me like floating around a random ocean, was really a chartered path between buoys that led to traps waiting to be collected – a bounty in the sea. Tools like the story, brand, mission, and outcomes that are un-tethered to Program Design are like buoys adrift on the sea, with nothing to help you find the pathways between them. The Program Design is the route that connects the dots and helps you to use your tools together to reap the best results.

The thing about Program Design is that it is really so much more than a guide to a good program. It’s really the charter of your organization. A charter can help you link the impact of all of your programs and even help you measure your mission. It can help you make decisions and empower your people with the discretion to make strategic choices for the growth and success of your organization. It’s the through line of all of your programs to your purpose, ensuring your programs work together to achieve the mission.

Looking for more? Read about measuring your mission here.

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