David Hutchinson’s Nonprofit Leadership Strategies reveals six keys to make your nonprofit stronger. David is the president of Cause Leadership.
Nonprofit organizations provide considerable value to Canadian society. The latest statistics show that approximately 10 percent of all business entities in Canada are nonprofit, and other data states there are over 170,000 nonprofit and charitable organizations.
Of those, 85,000 are registered charities, and the Canada Revenue Agency expects that number to rise due to growing societal needs.
A nonprofit organization (or simply NPO) is a nonprofit institution or not-for-profit organization. It is a non-business entity that seeks funding or revenue to support different initiatives in local communities. These include educational, scientific, public safety, humanitarian, charitable, religious, literary, and cruelty prevention.
A nonprofit organization follows a legal structure focused on serving the public or groups of people. For example, an NPO may be a small communal group, university, a large hospital, religious organization, or international aid mission.
Unlike a business or enterprise which offers services to make a profit, a nonprofit organization does not focus on profit-taking. However, it still needs to cover daily running and overhead costs. Therefore, NPOs are exempt from paying taxes to aid in service provision and cut down on expenses.
Are you aware that the nonprofit sector contributed approximately $169.2 billion to the Canadian economy as of 2017? This accounts for about 8.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The input from community-based nonprofit entities was 16.4%, while that of nonprofit business organizations was 10.4%. Based on the data and market guides, there is still a big gap that needs fulfilment. To do this, a nonprofit should strengthen its position and revenue collection. The following are some of the proven strategies for improving a nonprofit organization:
Identifying with your audience is critical. Doing so makes it easy to pitch your ideas and try to convince your partners to increase their support. For example, a humanitarian-oriented entity will find it easier to collaborate with people or businesses that focus on food and beverage provision. Likewise, a religious organization may find it easier to deal with people of similar faith. Before selling your ideas, it is vital to connect with your target partner or donor. The more aligned your visions, goals, and missions are, the more likely the other party will make or increase its contribution.
Turning the entity into a brand could help strengthen the organization. Many people will remember a brand more than the company. They will recall an experience they had and not so much about the organization itself. An individual may miss an opportunity during the hiring process. However, they may become partners or donate to the organization soon due to the excellent interaction.
What may have worked ten years ago may be less effective today. For instance, holding seminars, conferences, and visiting potential donors in their offices or homes was normal a decade ago. However, the recent global pandemic (Covid-19) has restricted social interaction and ease of movement. The lockdowns and closures affected revenue sourcing and the economy. The online space provides a much better alternative. And with online transactions improving by the day, you can track revenue collection and maintain regular communication.
To run a nonprofit successfully, you need to have the best talent. Moreover, the leader should share the same vision with the organization and keep up with the latest developments. The nonprofit executive recruiters are no longer just for a few individuals or much older folks. Nowadays, more people are actively involved. Quoting David Hutchinson, failure to attract GenX 3 decades ago has resulted in a leadership talent gap due to aging boomers and few young people. This problem is affecting many organizations, especially those in leadership. Therefore, it is vital to have a contingency plan to fill any void in an organization.
Running a nonprofit entity is no different from operating a profit-making business. It would be best if you had staff that is competent to deliver. However, if the working environment is not conducive, the employees will perform under par. Mental, emotional, and physical abuse, stuffy and congested workspaces, lack of equipment, and poor compensation undermine the working space. The right workplace environment motivates the staff to work harder and smarter. Staff will maintain constant communication, follow up on donors, offer great ideas and feel part of the organization.
An NPO does not focus on making a profit. However, it incurs similar running or overhead costs as a for-profit business. The staff, utilities, and other things need to get paid. Without these expenses, running the organization will be quite a challenge. It is critical to match the costs to the benefits. You do not want expenses being too high such that they exceed income or benefits. This situation may lead to lesser contributions/ donations due to covering the costs. It is always advisable to hire a specialist or expert with professional training.
An NPO takes part in social, communal, and public activities. Also, it is a pivotal contributor to the economy and touches many lives. However, some not-for-profit institutions still lag in revenue collection and allocation, undermining the organization’s goals.
An increased understanding of your audience, using a good branding guide, being innovative, hiring the best talent, improving the work environment, and matching costs to benefits. Adopting proven strategies is essential for strengthening the NPO.
Since 1997 David Hutchinson, the president of Cause Leadership, a nonprofit executive search firm, has successfully placed senior-level candidates with a broad spectrum of organizations in the charitable sector. He also has a great interest in helping charitable organizations diversify, become younger in their leadership, and better represent their own clients.
David Hutchinson’s Nonprofit Leadership Strategies was first posted at INSIDE CHARITY
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