PB42 Anyone? 10 Key Elements of a Successful Nonprofit
The National Center for Charitable Statistics maintains a Table Wizard that gives users access to many reports on nonprofits in the United States. According to this wizard, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. The Urban Institute notes that 30 percent fewer applications for 501(c)3 status were made since the start of the recession in 2007. In 2008, the IRS eliminated the advanced ruling process for 501(c)3 organizations, which led to fewer applications over time.
Still, creating a new 501(c)3 organization takes dedication, focus and passion for a cause. The competition is keen for the philanthropic dollar, and many charities begin and end for a variety of reasons. The initial intent is there, but the long-term process for sustainability is not present. Due to the uncertainty of success, I am always fascinated with new charities to see if they can stand the test of time. One such charity that caught my eye is Pink and Blue for Two (PB42) based in California.
In 1992, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer. Newton-John has sold more than 100 million albums; received four Grammy's, numerous Country Music, American Music, Billboard and People's Choice awards; an Emmy Award; 10 No. 1 hits; and the list continues. In 1978, her co-starring role with John Travolta in the musical "Grease" catapulted her to super-stardom. She has the star power but couldn't escape the health issue of cancer. Because of her situation, which was successful with early detection, she was on a mission to help others.
In honor of his aunt and others like her, race car driver Emerson Newton-John established the Pink and Blue for Two breast and prostate cancer awareness charity in 2013. The mission of PB42 is threefold. The first is to raise awareness of the striking similarities between breast cancer and prostate cancer. The second is to urge couples to go together for annual screenings. The third is to educate people on the importance of overall mind, body and spiritual wellness.
As a new organization, PB42 created a board of directors, a website, mission and vision statement, and is developing relationships. I noticed, for example, on May 3, 2014, Olivia Newton-John will be leading the PB42 Cancer Awareness Walk at the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis. This charity has a focus, purpose and star power.
Do you realize that approximately 240,000 new cases of breast cancer and 240,000 of prostate cancer are detected annually, and sadly, about 40,000 patients from each disease die each year? Many can be saved and enjoy a long life with proper early checkups. It will be interesting to watch the progress of PB42 and many other new 501(c)3 organizations over time.
Whether it is PB42 or like organizations, to thrive and not just survive, nonprofits must have the following key elements. This should include ongoing consulting advice if possible:
- A needs assessment to determine if the need for their charity exists and can be justified;
- Determination of the organization to attract long-term financial and volunteer support;
- Creation of a clearly defined mission statement and strategic and business plan;
- Establishment of a board of directors that "owns" the mission, vision and values of the founding leaders;
- Committees that must include development, operations and programs;
- A full- or part-time staff member that runs the day-to-day operations and budget;
- Development of a marketing and branding program plus database;
- Ability to research best-of-class examples to include both successes and failures;
- Ability to develop priorities, prospects, processes — are you going to be a local, regional, national or international charity?;
- Sustained initial funding and continual funding sources.
I wish PB42 and other like organizations much success in this unpredictable world of philanthropy. Many organizations in trouble should consider partnering with those of similar causes. Major funders have a say in this regard. No one can predict the future, but it is clear the nonprofit sector is here to stay — and the competition for time, talent and treasure will continue to intensify. Keep thinking why people should invest in your cause. You better be on top of your game!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.