In 1885, Clark W. Bryan published the first edition of Good Housekeeping, with a “mission to fulfill compounded of about equal portions of public duty and private enterprise…to produce and perpetuate perfection as may be obtained in the household.” Years later, the organization’s commitment to “perpetuating perfection” manifested itself in the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
The Kiwanis Family House has a rich history of service to families experiencing traumatic chapters of their lives. Individuals and clubs support our mission partly because they have been moved by one or more of our guest stories. There have been many pivotal points in the 31-year evolution of the Kiwanis Family House, many related to the challenge of ensuring we have enough operating capital in the bank to keep doing what we do. Planning – when we have done it – has been more operational and reactive than strategic.
These days, our Board of Directors and management team are speaking in more forward-thinking terms. We are purposefully committed to the continuous improvement of organizational management, service delivery, diversity, and cultural competence. We want to focus on standards of excellence that will earn the trust and support of our stakeholders for the long term. This does not necessarily mean that we will pursue a highly prestigious accreditation, although we might decide to do so as an element of our next strategic plan. It is enough for me to know that we aspire to lead in accordance with standards published by accrediting organizations, even if we will not formally seek their seals of approval.
One such entity, the Standards for Excellence Institute, tells us that if we succeed in meeting its standards of ethics, effectiveness, and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, we will strengthen our leadership, engage our board of directors, gain a deeper understanding of our organization, prepare for transitions, improve decision-making, minimize risk, strengthen evaluation, and facilitate fundraising and resource development.
We should want to meet high standards, not so we can post somebody’s seal of approval on our front door, but because we value the trust and confidence of all our stakeholders. We have an obligation to all of you and to the thousands of families we serve to embrace continuous improvement in how we deliver services and manage this precious Kiwanis Family House. When I step away from my current role in a few years, I expect to be proud of all of us for our focus on perpetuating perfection. After all, that’s good housekeeping.