I am in the middle of a three-part video series on challenges and pitfalls that nonprofit organizations face.

This second challenge is (like all these pitfalls), not unique to nonprofits, but it does afflict many. That is the tendency to begin to confuse the health of the organization with the effective pursuit of the mission. In other words, the organization begins to believe that anything that’s good for it must by definition be good for the mission. I discuss that here:

This can be a real problem, because it really sneaks up on people. It can befall founder’s organizations, as the entrepreneurial itch that got the organization off the ground continues to flower.

One way to see this in your own organization is to pose this question, as a group: Say we did not exist. Why would someone need to invent us?

(Andrea Jarrell asks a version of this question with her clients.)

Next, and last in this series, is the problem of waste.