the  m p w c Foundation,  inc. 

continuity
mpwcf homepage back to parent page

 

mpwcf homepage
back to parent page

We believe that an ongoing and continually updated plan for continuity of mission, operations, training, etc., should also be in place at the earliest possible moment for any organizations that professes to want to continue to accomplish their mission.  We have observed, since arriving in this town in 1993, that too many organizations, founded by good people, lose their way when the second, third, fourth or later generations of management take over.  Promises made become promises  not kept so many times.  Anyone, be they volunteer, contributor, beneficiary, or merely an observer, lacks the assurance that what the organization is doing today, may or may not be what it does tomorrow.  We also believe that transparency also includes making much of the "continuity" (as defined below) available to the public.

Among the many points that you should consider are the following points that good "continuity" plans include:
1-a mission statement that discloses what the organization is attempting to accomplish including the who, what, where, when, and why of its mission.
2-a set of by-laws that explains the mission and how it is to be accomplished in great detail.
3-a recording of the minutes of meetings (mostly for historical purposes but also an aid in training your successors) documenting the discussions that go into the decisions that end up in changes or additions to operating procedures or even reasons why a discussed thought was NOT adopted.
4a-written operating procedures, policies, rules, processes, etc. that describe just how every part of every process that culminates in the operation of the entire organization and its mission is to be accomplished by providing new personnel (or even long-term participants new to each job or position) written words describing how the particular job, assignment, task,  etc., has been accomplished in the past.  Training new people becomes easier and there should be no need to reinvent the wheel any time a new person starts an old assignment that is new to them.   An organization chart (which itself will change periodically) is probably the first step in creating the abovementioned descriptions of the processes that operate your organization.   Each box on that chart should have as underlying it a "transition memo" that aids any new replacement for that position in his or her understanding of how to do that job.
4b-as the MPWCFoundation has been in continuous existence since 2000, we have finally come to the point where THIS web-site will have to provide 99% of the information in HOW a grantee is to create all annual input that they send to us.   We have answered all of your previous unanswered questions as asked (and immediately ALSO placed the new or amended answers on the web-site as well) so it is now up to each grantee to maintain files of our answers, suggestions, emails, etc., so that each grantee now knows that we are no longer going to TEACH you how to do your annual input.  From now on, you have to train and re-train all successors in the process of creating the annual input.  You are on your own and we will not duplicate prior instructions from past annual Comments letters.  In isolated cases, if asked well before each December 31st, we will answer specific and well-phrased and documented questions that have not been asked before, but we will not repeat them from then on.
4c- a well-created "To Do" list for use by (and contributions to it from) all members (temporary or permanent, volunteers or paid workers) of your organization that tells date by date how and when to do things that re-occur.  This would include things that must be done on weekly, monthly, semi-annual, annual, etc. bases and would be things that must be done by your people for the MPWCF as well as any and all facets of your mission or management of your mission. 
5-a summary listing describing all significant contracts or agreements plus individual extracts for each of the items on that listing.  The extracts and/or the originals of the contracts or agreements with any other parties (be they contributors, vendors, organization office holders, volunteers, beneficiaries, whatever) should be maintained in a secure central location and a specific person should be designated to be in charge of keeping the historical integrity of such records.  This contemplates the creation of "written notes to the file" for any important agreement with anyone which has not been committed to paper (contractual or otherwise).
6-each grantee organization should have a plan that includes a method that tracks the performance of their organization, their programs and/or its participants. This tracking should define clearly their main objectives as well as the obstacles.  This plan should also enable anyone to evaluate the effectiveness of any plan and its methods.  If a grantee organization won't commit to measure their own return on their own investments in themselves, how can others measure it or otherwise evaluate it?  Among your plans should be the following points:
6a-insiders and outsiders need insight into your plans for what happens when your current grant increases to as much as us$20,000 to us$50,000 a year.
6b-How will you handle the transition (your current grant quickly increasing each year in steps like - say - $10,000 > $20,000 > $50,000 or more a year?
6c-Certainly you know the details better than I do but even I know that you will have problems that must be addressed. For examples, you will:
6c1-have much more to give to each beneficiary of your mission - how will they and you handle that?
6c2-have more money so you can help even more beneficiaries - what are your thoughts on this?
6c3-need more volunteers on your staff to process all of this - how will you get them?
6c4-need more volunteers on your staff to mentor or otherwise guide each beneficiary - how will you get this type of volunteer?
6c5-have to think of expanding your programs which, in turn, will create new and different problems.
6c6-have to consider whether (and how if you do) you will desire "partial pay-back in kind" from graduates (lawyers, accountants, mentors for current beneficiaries, etc.)
6c7-have to consider the job prospects in and around Guanajuato for students considering certain curricula
6c8-have to consider how you are competing with other local organizations for the volunteer staff you need and what kinds of credentials are useful.
6c9-have to consider how you are going to handle (incoming, outgoing, investing, endowments, etc.) the vastly larger sums of money coming in from us.
6c10-have to think about how you are going to plan for (and deal with) occasional annual grants that may be higher or lower than a norm (we, too, have to plan for that).
6c11-have to consider how will your own endowment fund be structured and how will it be used
6c12-have to implement controls over the greater amounts of funds (internal audit, internal controls, more board oversight).
6c13-have to increase the amount and type of information that you place in your internal (and probably external, too) financial statements - You will need more and better narrative, fuller disclosure, and more comparisons and explanations of variations need to know the details of what every current person does so as to replace their abilities if or when anyone leaves unexpectedly in any way.
6c14-The above are just a few questions that occurred to us that should already have occurred to you and your organization as you are INSIDE and we are on the outside. And the questions are the easy part. You probably should have already thought about answers but now the details for each answer become more important. Each answer should be, if you consider each problem, an answer that creates even more new questions which should also then be considered.
7 - the above are the "beginner's questions under Continuity" -- for the advanced-status Grantee, use (and answer) the questions as presented on due Jan 31st

Respond to the above points by using our templates which do everything for you except fill in your unique answers.  We recognize that this is an ongoing process and recommend that  you send us your current responses to each of the above.  But, don't reinvent the wheel.  Consider each "last year's response" as the printed beginning point for "this year's response" and add to it, edit it for errors or changes, and constantly update it.  It should be a growing document getting longer, better, and more detailed every year for the next 10,000 (well, maybe not that long) years.   And, if you have a web-site, your response to this question could be handled by reference to a URL link to the page or pages that address this question (although we do insist upon using our numbering/reference system on your website and in your reply).

None of the above is intended to say that evolution within the organization should not occur or that such evolution is a bad thing.  What it is intended to say and do is to make evolution something that has been discussed by the principals of the organization before it occurs and as it is occurring and make it transparent to all interested parties.   "We have always done it this way" is the other extreme and neither extreme works well.  Change should always be considered but only in knowledgeable comparison with past considerations.

And, as a supplementary definition, the following comes from the Founder's estate papers:

"Also, regarding CONTINUITY,  the organization should have built up a ongoing and updated written (for all to see) manual (or something similar) of procedures and policies and discussion of its mission (together with current and future plans), its operating processes, its job responsibilities and how to perform jobs, etc, so that the organization (every time a new administration takes over) does not have to reinvent the wheel and/or teach everyone what and how to do things, and also to allow outsiders to have a reasonable expectation of what THIS organization is doing and what it plans to do in the near future.  This, too, is further discussed on various MPWCF web-pages shown on its site-map ,,, most specifically the “Transparency” and the “Continuity” pages.

And, one more thing.  If you want examples of continuity's, or the lack of continuity's effect on what might otherwise be a good idea or a good organization, I refer you to various projects, a listing of the results of many of the efforts of our Founder during his years here between 1993 and around 2005 (and later).  His ideas were generally intended to help others and/or to even enjoy, himself, things that he thought might be good to "have existing here".   Most of the ideas worked as long as he kept them afloat.  Others died when he lost the stamina to continue and did not provide continuity for others.  Some prospered without him.   The lessons learned from these actions and his experiences inside and outside of the Biblioteca form the basis of his beliefs in the need for CONTINUITY.   You are most especially referred to the section of various projects highlighted in GREEN about 2/3rds of the way down that long page.

And, if you need one more shove, reflect on this poem from Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), "Oxymandias"

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Underpromise and Overdeliver”

Some, but not all, pages on this web-site were selectively modified as recently as the date shown at the bottom of the MPWCFoundation home web-page. This entire web-site is copyrighted © 2000-2016 by The Michael Paul Wein Charitable Foundation, Inc  

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS about this web-site? E-mail us at mpwcfoundation@gmail.com. SPECIFY EXACTLY (using copy and paste) (and include the page name, i.e., the URL link) what your question or comment refers to.