Vision for Montana's Nonprofit Community
Resources: 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: The Montana nonprofit community is well connected, supportive of one another, and recognized for sustained collaboration and sharing of resources. Montana nonprofits efficiently and effectively serve communities across the state, including 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 across Montana.
Guiding Principles—as developed by the MNA Board of Directors
- We believe that a strong nonprofit sector is vital to our communities and, if lost, the health and well-being of our communities would be significantly lessened.
- We believe that MNA and nonprofits are more effective working collaboratively with other sectors including business and government. We can accomplish more collectively than we can independently.
- 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.
In the spring of 2001, the Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits (BSI) convened a small group of Montana nonprofit leaders in Bozeman to discuss how to generate more resources, goods, and services for their organizations and other nonprofits across the state. All involved were committed to a vision of nonprofits working together to strengthen their sector and benefit organizations of all sizes and missions. Out of these discussions and many town hall meetings across the state, MNA developed and officially launched in the fall of 2001.
In its first years, MNA focused on building a strong membership base, hosting an annual conference, and establishing high quality group buying programs including major medical health insurance, teleconferencing services, and office supplies. Recently, MNA expanded its services and benefits to also 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 is staffed by a full complement of professionals. Representing the richness and diversity of Montana's charitable sector, MNA members address an 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 large organizations to small, unstaffed nonprofits. We are many missions with one voice.