Where to Start
With the hectic nature of the day-to-day in nonprofit organizations, it’s increasingly important to slow down and ask structural questions of your organization. Putting one foot in front of the other will get you to tomorrow, but it might not get you to the day after tomorrow. I’ve found that by pausing & checking in with the following ideas & questions, that pivoting and building operational efficiencies becomes a lot more realistic.
1. Unpack the “How”
Make sure the HOW is unpacked thoughtfully and deliberately. If you don’t have a plan for HOW you are going to achieve the good you want to see in the world, chances are you will waste a lot of time & money. Before jumping right in, build the model.
As in, how is your organization going to do this? How will you partner with other organizations, how will you achieve funding, what service or value will you offer?
2. Build Replicable Systems
Build replicable systems into your organization. If you don’t stop to build system for doing the work you do, your work will be inefficient. What’s more, you might not even end up doing what you intend to do.
Is it easy for anyone to quickly understand how to complete a task in the organization? Is how you do what you do mapped out on paper? How do you do what you do?
3. Pay Attention to Earned Income
Earned Income MUST be a focus. Nonprofits have known for years now that grants and donations aren’t enough to keep a nonprofit sustainable. Barring massive gifts from extremely wealthy benefactors, nonprofits need to be able to forecast earnings & costs.
What’s your earned income business model? What products & services will your organization offer that add value, earn revenue, and sustainably fund the organization?
4. Get Your Digital Strategy Right
Get your digital strategy right & stay adaptive. There’s no excuse for bad digital strategy. It’s not OK to have a crappy website, not ever use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or not have a newsletter list that is serving value to your community. In an increasingly flattening tech landscape, there is a lot we can teach ourselves, and we have to.
What’s your nonprofit organization’s digital strategy?
5. Remember “Broad Impact, Narrow Focus”
Everyone knows nonprofit employees need to be ready to help out with various deliverables, but that’s not excuse for a lack of organization. There are great tools these days to keep projects, events, & small teams in communication. Use them!
Feel free to give Evan a shout via email if you have any specific questions related to these points! He would love to help your nonprofit sort things out. The future of good work is at stake!