Mission Drift – Wishy Washy Doesn’t Wash With Folks

 A LESSON FROM RECENT EVENTS WITH APPLICATION for your non-profit organization

imagesI18CTDYQOn March 28th, PC candidate and ex-Wildrose leader, Danielle Smith lost her bid to represent the Highwood riding in Alberta in the general election to newcomer Carrie Fischer.

Let me back up here to give you some background information that led up to these events.

By mid 2014, Smith, as leader of the Wildrose had successfully brought the party to a place where they’d won the hearts, imaginations and support of rural Albertans.

The party had become an effective opposition, shaking up the PCs who have held power in Alberta for more than four decades.

In the fall of 2014, the Wildrose party hit a few speed bumps when several party members crossed the floor to join the PCs. Smith was outraged and even ended a long-term friendship over the issue; telling the defector that she’d have her constituents to answer to.

Shortly afterward, in a plot twist worthy of a Stephen King novel, that left the mouths of many people gaping across the province – regardless of their political affiliation – Smith herself, crossed the floor, urging remaining Wildrose members to do the same.

So on the 28th, the residents of Highwood made their voices heard and expressed them loud and clear by rejecting Smith.


A lesson with applications for the non-profit sector

This is what happens when who you are, and what you stand for, is discarded. In other words when mission drift occurs. And the same thing can happen to your organization if you don’t remain true to who you are.

When you take your eyes off the prize, when you go along with popular opinion, when you compromise who you are to chase money and garner support, your foundation begins to crumble. It becomes increasingly difficult to engage your community in meaningful ways. Your closest relationships and your best fundraising practices cannot save you when you stray from your mission. Wishy-washy doesn’t wash with folks.

If you don’t stand firm for something, you will fall for anything. And it will be those whom you serve that will suffer the most.

What do you stand for? How do you ensure you’re staying true to your mission?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. Jean

    A great strong message. Last night I was chatting up with a long-time close friend who is the director for a smallish library system in Ontario. Right now it’s stressful since all managers in municipality, are asked to develop cost-cutting budgets. Incredibly a few wks. ago, her library system received unexpectedly a one-time $59,000 donation from someone who recently died. A local businessman. It was to help salvage the library’s summer tutoring program for children in maths and reading.

    An organization’s mandate and expression of how it lives out that mandate must be strong and consistent so that the clients experience the true heart of excellent service to its community.

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