OUR MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY
“The Duty to serve is now ours”™
In the spirit of the BBQ Genre’, we share a humorous (and very short) story:
“A pig and a chicken decide to open a restaurant together.
They declare the restaurant shall be named "Bacon and Eggs".
The chicken is indeed dedicated to the venture, but the pig is truly committed to it”
The Founders and Board of Directors of BBQ4Vets are both dedicated and committed to our charitable mission.
We take our mantra “The Duty to serve is now ours™” seriously because we share a passion for that duty to serve but also for the sense of community that is achieved surrounding the Art of traditional craft BBQ™ and the shear sense of enjoyment the Veteran’s exude when served by volunteers in their local community.
Passion, dedication, and commitment aside, we believe our management philosophy of the charitable effort is different. But different how?
Simply stated, the Corporation is managed as just that – a Corporation. One that is ultimately accountable to our Donors, Sponsors, and beneficiaries, i.e., United States Military Veterans.
Our charitable mission is tantamount in all decisions and actions, and the primary goal in all decisions and actions is to maximize mission and donor value (as opposed to shareholder/owner value). The end result is maximum mission impact which is measured by number of Veteran’s served each Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day at a cost that is market competitive or less for a professionally prepared, competition-caliber full BBQ meal.
The Overhead Myth and financial/spending ratios
There is also much written in recent years concerning what has been dubbed “The Overhead Myth”. To that end, the Board of Directors firmly believes that an efficient, well-planned/structured and managed mission administrative support function is vital to cost-effective and successful mission fulfillment.
The Overhead Myth campaign, initiated by the non-profit watchdog GuideStar®, is primarily concerned with correcting the presumption that low administrative costs are inherently desirable. In fact, under-investing in administrative costs is consistently linked with poor organizational performance and sustainability, trapping organizations in what Ann Goggins Gregory & Don Howard in the Stanford Social Innovation Review called, “The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle.” The BBQ4Vets Board of Directors subscribe to these philosophies.
The Board of Directors of BBQ4Vets also firmly believes that, like any business, our charitable effort is unique in its own right.
Being unique, it is a challenge to apply a single standard of financial measure when evaluating any charitable organization’s impact and financial efficiency. A charitable organization’s market, mission, and maturity – the “3-Ms” as the Board deems them – all determine the level of spending necessary on programs/mission fulfillment, fundraising, and overhead and that spending over time will vary depending on many factors, some of which are within the Corporation’s control and some not.
The Board of Directors are also bound by the Corporation’s Bylaws to achieve and maintain aggressive and conservative goals concerning proportional spending on programs, fundraising, and overhead, with spending on overhead limited to no more than 15% of gross contributions from all sources at the end of three (3) years of operation, recognizing that spending on development overhead items such as software systems, staffing, etc., are necessary to make prior to mission fulfillment efforts.
That singular Bylaw parameter requires the Executive team, and Board of Directors, to not only perform at a high level of efficiency personally but to also constantly evaluate better and more efficient ways to both support the mission, i.e., fundraising, but also to fulfill the mission knowing that administrative overhead is regulated and under very close scrutiny.
The Board of Directors also believe that transparency, governance, leadership, and impact/results – in addition to prudent and well-justified expense ratios – are also effective measures of the Corporation’s performance.
It is for these reasons the Board has approved Bylaws that require complete operational and financial transparency. It is also why the Board is also committed to recruiting and retaining highly-qualified, experienced Executives and Managers that share the passion, commitment, and dedication to the Corporation’s mission.
The Fundamentals: “The mind once stretched ......”
The Board of Directors firmly believes it is important for the Executive team and all staff to be constantly learning and striving to improve efficiency and impact of the mission because “The mind once stretched by an idea never returns to its original dimension” (Oliver Wendell Homes).
The Board and Executive team is also tenured, bringing over a century of experience to the BBQ4Vets vision in terms of project planning, management and implementation, small and large organization infrastructure management as well as extensive general Sales, Marketing, Strategic Planning and Financial Management and Reporting experience in a myriad of industries, including 501.c.3 organizations.
Experience, however, is one thing. Effective application of that experience is what really matters, and the Board of Directors and Executive team has demonstrated they can effectively apply their experience in the real-world.
And it all starts with fundamentals as it does with any Corporation. Fundamentals indeed matter, including the functional “business basics” of sound and professional Leadership, Accounting, conservative Strategic Planning, conservative Finance and Cash Management (“cash is king”), Marketing and Project Management.
Beyond those business basics, the Board believes close attention to the following fundamental principles will also maximize the successful fulfillment of the Corporation’s mission:
People – recruiting and retaining qualified professionals that share the vision, passion, and principles of the mission while also fostering a healthy culture among staff, Chapters, Donors, Volunteers and the ultimate “customer “, the Veteran
To people – all people - especially when there is disagreement
Assemble strong teams, set clear expectations, and then clearly align Accountability, Responsibility, and Authority (the A.R.A.s)
Always be learning . Why? Because “The mind once stretched by an idea never returns to its original dimension” (Oliver Wendell Homes).
Ask for advice – because asking for it is a sign of experience, confidence, and maturity
Always remember we are here to serve a mission and everything we do is tantamount to that mission.
By leveraging the fundamentals and principles above, the Corporation’s business model design maximizes mission impact. It is a distributed model - one that pushes mission fulfillment down to the local level which instills accountability in Chapter Affiliates and their fulfillment of the mission because they are operating under the watchful eye of local Donors and Donor-volunteers.
It is important to note that there is essentially just one fulfillment model and that singular model is simply replicated in each Fulfillment Market. Think “Franchise” ...... one successful and proven business model is applied in the same manner across all local markets.
Experience is also a dual-edged sword. i.e., knowing what to do but also knowing what not to do – and the latter knowledge is only gained from collective years making a few mistakes, and then learning from those mistakes. And most important, never repeating those mistakes.
Virtually every moving part of the Corporation’s business model has been extensively analyzed and stressed both strategically and practically to ensure it is risk-mitigated and that the probability of successful fulfillment, with integrity, is maximized. There are also internal controls all along the way to ensure there is no fundraising abuse from the very first contact with a prospective Donor right up until the time the Donor’s decision to support the mission is confirmed.
In the end, the Corporation is managed with passion, dedication, commitment and close attention to fundamentals – all executed by a team of experienced professionals truly committed to their duty to serve.
The BBQ4Vets Executive Team and Board of Directors welcome inquiries concerning the Corporation’s philosophy, fulfillment model and any other aspect of the mission that is of interest. All responses to inquiries will be made public via the Corporation’s website in the spirit of full disclosure and transparency.
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Visit our Donation Commissary
There are multiple ways in which you can engage our mission:
Join your local Chapter as a BBQ Enthusiast
Become a Charter Member of your local Chapter
Make a restricted donation
Make an unrestricted donation
Start your own Chapter
Volunteer your time
These choices are all available in our Donation Commissary where you can review and select the option that works best for you.