There’s no denying that to succeed, even the smallest grassroots community nonprofits should be run like real businesses.
Warm fuzzies only go so far in helping a young nonprofit achieve sustainable results over the long haul. If you’re managing donation income and employees for a charitable organization, you definitely want to apply as many best business practices as you can muster to ensure that you are being a good steward of your nonprofit’s limited resource.
At Donorbox, we work with hundreds of nonprofit organizations around the world to help them raise funds with our donation software integrations. We witness firsthand the successes and failures that come when a nonprofit operates like a well-oiled business machine — or doesn’t. So our team put together five things to keep in mind when striving to run your nonprofit like a business.
Raise funds strategically
If your young nonprofit is just starting to build a brand and you happen to get lucky with a few random donations, great! Just be sure to stay current on fundraising best practices and get ahead of the game as far in advance as possible by carefully establishing and following a fundraising strategic plan that targets all the critical funding sources (private donors, corporate sponsorships, foundation gifts, grants, etc.). This article from The Balance breaks down all the things you will want to do when developing a strategic fundraising plan for your charitable organization.
Steward the funds you raise carefully.
Raising money is only half the battle when managing your nonprofit like a real business. Be sure to work closely with a financial professional to ensure that your nonprofit is fiscally responsible and that you have the right accounting measures in place to ensure that you are carefully allocating the money you raise into the right pots, investing whatever you don’t need to use in the near term. Propel offers 12 golden rules for nonprofit finance – follow them and you’ll do well.
Spend wisely with ROI in mind.
Return on investment, or ROI, isn’t just a business buzzword. It is the guiding light that helps businesses of all types — including nonprofits — to act responsibly and grow strategically. You can measure the return on investment — for example, the return you get from new donation dollars compared against what you spend on that fundraising campaign — using a number of Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. This article from Donorbox outlines 20 useful KPIs for nonprofit organizations.
Build a positive workplace culture.
Nonprofit jobs are notoriously burnout positions. People choose nonprofit work because of passion, often foregoing the pay they might receive from the for-profit world. But these employees soon find that being overworked and underpaid can cause that passion to wane. As such, it is essential to create a supportive and nurturing workplace culture that shows your employees you value them and what they contribute. GuideStar offers tips for how to develop a happy nonprofit workplace in this article.
Invest in technology.
There is no reason not to harness the amazing software and tech tools designed just for nonprofits. There are many incredible tools at the disposal of nonprofit management teams these days and many are worth every penny. From incredible donor database tools to donation management software plugins for your website and social media (www.donorbox.org), there are technologies that will make your job raising funds and awareness about your work that much easier and have the ROI to prove it.
By running your nonprofit organization like a serious business, you’ll be on your way to achieving sustainable long-term growth.
Used by more than 20,000 organizations from 25 countries, Donorbox is a donation platform centered around the fundraising needs of nonprofits. The state-of-the-art, recurring donation plugin can be seamlessly embedded into any website or with a popup widget, allowing nonprofit organizations to accept monthly, recurring donations managed by the donors themselves. View a live example and sign up for free at donorbox.org.
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