Montana Nonprofit Association

promoting a strong nonprofit sector in MONTANA

Mission, Vision and History

MNA's mission is to provide leadership for Montana's nonprofit sector and partner with charitable nonprofits to promote a sustainable, networked, and influential sector. 

Vision for the Nonprofit Community

Awareness: MNA envisions a future where policymakers, community leaders, and Montana citizens widely recognize and celebrate the contributions, professionalism, and impact of the nonprofit sector. Further, Montana citizens view the nonprofit sector as a vital partner, along with government and business, in building our communities and enhancing our quality of life. Through individual advocacy and collective action, nonprofits voice their perspectives and positively shape and influence key public policy that impacts nonprofits, our missions, and the people we serve.

Resources: MNA envisions a future where nonprofits possess the resources necessary for mission fulfillment. Nonprofits have access to: (1) adequate start-up, scale-up, and maintenance capital; (2) a sufficient and well trained work force and voluntary sector; (3) pathways to professional career development including continuing education; and (4) resources such as leadership and management support, consultants, accountants, and attorneys to enhance the professionalism and accountability of the sector.

Networks: MNA envisions a future where the nonprofit community in Montana is well connected, supportive of one another, and recognized for sustained collaboration and sharing of resources. Montana nonprofits efficiently and effectively serve our communities across Montana, including our rural and native communities. To ensure maximum impact, nonprofits leverage strategic partnerships with other nonprofits, government, and businesses to build and strengthen communities. Nonprofits are at the forefront of providing leadership all across our state.

Vision for MNA 

MNA is the recognized leader for and voice of the nonprofit sector in Montana. Nonprofits, government, business, and the media seek out MNA as a partner and advisor on issues that impact nonprofits.

To strengthen the nonprofit sector, MNA provides a comprehensive suite of affordable programs and benefits. MNA’s leadership has the commitment, knowledge, experience, diversity, and adaptive skills required for success. MNA involves the right people at all levels, generates significant financial capital from operations, and incorporates leading edge infrastructure to meet our mission. In all that we do, MNA leads by example and is a recognized model for nonprofit leadership, management and impact.

To maximize our impact, MNA is connected to and supports local networks of nonprofits across the state and partners with foundations, government, business, and citizens for the good of Montana. MNA is a leader in building the field of nonprofit support organizations in the state and region.

Guiding Principles: The MNA Board of Directors and staff developed the following principles that guide our work:

  • We believe that a strong nonprofit sector is vital to our communities and that, if nonprofits were lost, the health and well-being of our communities would be significantly lessened.
  • We believe that MNA and nonprofits are more effective working together and collaboratively and that we can accomplish more collectively than we can independently. There is strength in numbers.
  • We believe that nonprofits strengthen their impact by working collaboratively with other sectors including business and government.
  • We recognize the value that a diverse nonprofit sector brings to the health and well being of our communities and we honor that diversity.
  • We believe that nonprofits have the right of self-determination within a framework of accountability and we work to facilitate and preserve that right.
  • We practice and model principles and practices for nonprofit excellence and believe that adherence to such principles and practices lead an organization to a higher level of accomplishment, accountability, and sustainability.
  • We believe that an organization’s health and vitality are directly and positively influenced by the participation and engagement of its members in its activities.
  • We believe that people who are affected by decisions and actions have a right and a responsibility to be part of them. We seek member input and are responsive to members.
  • We use resources to make things happen that we want to have happen. We do what we say and we invest where we need to invest to build a strong nonprofit community.
  • We bring hope, perseverance and tenacity to our work. We believe that we can make a difference. 


Additional Information:  

Milestones: MNA's Ten Year Report chronicles MNA’s development and milestones, profiles a number of the partnerships that have been and will continue to be so important to our success, tells the story of our members at work through words and pictures, and highlights our accomplishments and impact through the years.

Montana Nonprofit Association: A Business Plan for Sustainability, MNA's Business Plan, adopted January, 2011. 

MNA History 

In the early spring of 2001, the Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits (BSI) convened a small group of Montana nonprofit leaders met in Bozeman to discuss how to generate more resources, goods, and services for their organizations and other nonprofits across the state. All involved were deeply committed to a vision of nonprofits working together in ways that would strengthen our sector and benefit organizations of all sizes and missions. Out of these discussions and many Town Hall Meetings across the state, MNA was officially launched and developed in the late fall of 2001.

Over the first several years, MNA focused on building a strong membership base, annual conference, and high quality group buying programs including major medical health insurance, teleconferencing services, and office supplies.  More recently, MNA has expanded its services and benefits to include principles and practices, year-round training opportunities, advocacy and public policy development, and research and information sharing.

Today, MNA is vibrant, strong, and growing and staffed by a full complement of dedicated professionals. Representing the richness and diversity of Montana's charitable sector,  MNA members address a broad array of missions in education, health and human services, arts and culture, religious and spiritual development, environmental protection, animal welfare, economic and workforce development, and more. MNA members come from all four corners of the state and range in size from the largest organizations to the smallest unstaffed nonprofits.  We are many missions with one voice.

MNA Case Study 

The National Council of Nonprofits documented the early development of MNA through a case study created from in-depth interviews with Mike Schechtman, Executive Director of BSI, and Brian Magee, the first Executive Director of the Montana Nonprofit Association.