Today’s non-profits face increasing competition. Getting your message out to donors and stakeholders can be a challenge. Donors in particular have a wide range of potential causes to which they can choose to offer their support.
How can you make sure your non-profit succeeds in this challenging environment? It turns out there are numerous strategies non-profit leaders can borrow from the world’s most successful companies. Applying these approaches can help you not only survive, but thrive in today’s non-profit landscape.
Here are a few strategies you may want to consider:
Know Your Competition
As any successful business management team will tell you, an understanding of your organization’s competitive advantages and how you fit in with the overall competitive landscape of your industry is vital to your success. For non-profits, this means carefully considering what services your organization is uniquely well-positioned to provide. You’ll also want to consider which areas are less efficient for you to focus your energies on. For example, if there are many other organizations that offer the same service to the same population, but have much greater expertise and capacity in this area than yours does, you may want to consider shifting your focus.
Understand the Importance of Measurement and Return on Investment
When individuals or organizations invest in something, they expect to see returns. In the business world, companies may lose investors if they consistently fail to meet expectations. In the non-profit world, the same thing can happen. Sure, you may not measure returns in the rise and fall of share prices, but your donors will still want to see clear evidence of impact before they continue donating to your organization.
When designing your programs, make sure you think carefully about how you are going to measure and document your success. Having clear data and a strong story about how your work has made a difference will help you give your supporters a compelling reason to continue funding your organization.
Provide Great Service
Successful companies are typically those that develop meaningful relationships with their customers. In an era where brand loyalty is under increased pressure, providing an exceptional customer experience is all the more important.
For non-profits, it’s important to get the basics right. Providing prompt, courteous, and professional responses to people who contact your organization is an important first step in developing strong relationships with your stakeholders. However, you’ll also be rewarded for finding ways to go above and beyond. Engaging with your followers on social media, developing your organization’s online presence, and increasing your visibility in the community such as through a physical presence at fundraisers and community events can help you build the kind of meaningful relationships that will lead to loyal financial support.
Invest in Your People
According to Fast Company in Tips For Running a Nonprofit like a For-Profit, it’s important to think of your people as more than just overhead. Indeed, the constant pressure to reduce administrative costs can negatively impact a non-profit’s ability to do good work. You’re not going to be able to attract, retain, and develop the most talented employees if your people don’t feel like you’re invested in them.
While most non-profits may never be able to offer salaries that compete with those of major for profit companies, it’s important to offer employees room to develop and grow within your organization.
While none of these strategies are quick fixes for funding woes, over time, borrowing these ideas from the business world can help you set up your organization for long-lasting success and financial stability.