In the fast-changing world of nonprofits, staying true to mission while resisting the allure of scope creep can be a challenging dance. Miriam Dicks, founder and CEO of 180 Management Group, recently shed light on this topic during a riveting chat with hosts Mitch Stein and Sherry Quam Taylor.

Miriam begins by defining scope creep, drawing parallels to its militaristic synonym, mission creep. She shares the webster definition, “Mission creep is a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a military campaign, often resulting in unplanned long-term commitments.” She then links this definition to the nonprofit landscape, highlighting the challenges of altering objectives mid-campaign, akin to navigating the ever-changing battlefield of nonprofit work.

The interesting interview digs into the root causes of scope creep, with Miriam pinpointing changes in leadership, shifts in board perspectives, and the allure of diversifying revenue streams as common culprits. She points out the need for strategic planning and operationalization, stating, “Having an up-to-date strategic plan that has been operationalized is crucial. It provides teeth to your organization’s direction, ensuring everyone moves towards a common goal.”

Miriam’s insights on wrap-around services further illuminated the discussion. She shares a compelling example, illustrating how organizations must tread cautiously when expanding their services beyond their core expertise. “If you’re magnifying the voice that’s already there, that’s the same voice. But if you change your voice, the impact means people may not be able to hear you because that voice is unfamiliar coming from you,” she wisely notes.

Throughout, Miriam speaks to the importance of maintaining objectivity amidst the passion that drives nonprofit work. “Passion can take us on high highs and low lows. But if we stay objective, knowing that the mission is at the center of what we do, it helps us remain objective without losing our passion,” she offers. Miriam then takes the moment to talk about the significance of regularly evaluating resource utilization and capacity building.