Is Your Nonprofit Truly Successful?
A nonprofit organization is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public, or social benefit, according to Wikipedia. This is in contrast to an entity that operates as a business, aiming to generate a profit for its owners. A nonprofit that has revenues exceeding expenses must commit that excess back to the nonprofit. Nonprofit entities generally seek a tax-exempt status. Nonprofit organizations are accountable to a variety of constituents, including donors, volunteers, program participants and the community it serves. Nonprofits must focus on the mission of its organization. It must also operate in an ethical manner, both in standards and practices.
A 501 Commons directive states that a healthy nonprofit must incorporate five elements, which include strong governance and oversight; good management and a healthy organizational culture; resources to carry out the mission; excellent relationships with those who support the organization; and efficient and effective programs. Practices that reinforce a high-impact nonprofit are those that advocate and serve; make markets work; inspire evangelists; nurture nonprofit networks; master the art of adaptation; and share leadership internally and with networks.
A LinkedIn article on the characteristics of nonprofits shared elements of successful nonprofits that included a qualified staff, constantly flowing positive revenue, a good board of trustees, concise mission statement, filling an important community need, strong public relations and marketing program, dynamic volunteer base, a strategic plan that allows for flexibility. A successful nonprofit must grow its mission and reach its target audience. The organizational leader and board must work together in positive alignment and seek to secure the same goals. The organization cannot be status quo. It must know where it is and where it needs to go in the future.
A Giving USA blog points to the book "Make Trouble," and its title can be applied to nonprofit organizations. For these organizations to truly succeed, these organizations must set concrete goals that can be achieved, be willing to constantly ask for money, take big risks and adapt to successes and failures, plus master organizational rules. It is important that everyone within a nonprofit play a role in the outcomes of organizational operations. Seek to ask for advice and build relationships with a variety of stakeholders — and success will follow over time.
Building a high-performing and successful nonprofit is not easy. Sustaining one is even harder in this everchanging world, according to Donorbox. A successful nonprofit must be financially stable, have passionate volunteers and strong leadership. This organization must also be agile, focused n their mission, donor-centric, able to create diverse funding sources, can inspire others, digitally-savvy and constantly listening to improve. They use a variety of innovative approaches to identify results from their program activities. They develop and maintain a culture of feedback and passion for growth. They are curious and continuously seek opportunities to grow.
A blog by Board Effect emphasizes that each day, nonprofit organizations cause, purpose and service community is at stake. The board of directors must make sure the organization is financially stable and has a positive long-term outlook. These boards must have best practices that include board development, succession planning, legal responsibilities, liabilities, and handling conflicts of interest. A strong board will have a mix of experience, skills, and abilities to lead the organization. Board leaders will know how to work best with the CEO for maximum effectiveness by all concerned.
Nonprofits that aspire to achieve success must think differently about reporting their organizational impact. The Nonprofit Leadership Center states nonprofits need to identify and measure the right performance metrics. Ask yourself if your nonprofit activity is changing lives and making positive changes to the communities we serve. Seek to note if you are continually telling the right stories about a variety of your organizational impacts that relate to mission and goals. Convey your organizational story in a way that resonates with your audience. Communicate your impact with all segments of your community.
Joan Garry believes the following 14 attributes are those the best non-profit organizations do well.
These things are:
- The nonprofit is seen as a workplace of choice.
- The executive director is the effective public champion for the organization.
- The organizational is financially stable.
- Fundraising streams are balanced, diverse, and sophisticated.
- The board is diverse and reflective of the community it serves.
- The board is clear about its responsibilities and executes well.
- The programs are mission centric.
- Programs are evaluated to determine impact.
- The organization has a compelling external presence.
- The organization has an intelligent strategy that engages stakeholder in the work.
- There are regular performance reviews for staff and board.
- Board and staff have a strong leadership pipeline and solid bench strength.
- There is a well-thought-out long-term strategy developed by board and staff.
- The board chair and executive director have an amazing partnership.
Successful nonprofit representatives have passion, energy, resources, and a clear vision. They are proud of their organization and nonprofit sector. They want to make a difference and work each day to serve others. The attitude is always positive, and the organization always come first.
Nonprofit success is not easy. Organizations must realize that accomplishments are attained through a continuing quest and a lifelong commitment. Is your nonprofit truly successful? Do best-of-class research and compare your organization with others. If your nonprofit is continually progressive, partnerships will follow, and the nonprofit sector will benefit.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.