There is much to be done if you want to supercharge your non-profit organisation
Maintaining the status quo is not usually your best option.
If you’re like me, you work for or with non-profit organisations because you believe in the cause and the services they provide to the community, and you would like to contribute to making a difference.
Over the years I have found a few important ways to supercharge a non-profit organisation, of any size and in any sized community.
High motivation. Nobody wants to work for an organisation that is apathetic and unmotivated. If you are not excited about your organisation you will find it difficult to attract the right people, or to make anything happen.
Technology. Technology and communications are arguably the most important aspects of supercharging any organisation. There is no excuse for having old technology and there have been many great advances and non-profits attract big discounts. Remote communities are in a great position with the new cloud technologies to supercharge their organisation.
The environment. Today, good staff and volunteers are looking carefully at the working environment before they become involved. If you operate from shabby premises, with out-dated equipment that ill-adapted to the wants and needs of the staff and their clients, the status quo will remain.
Leadership. Without good leadership coming from the Board and the CEO, a steady decline in the status of the organisation is inevitable. While many ideas and opportunities can come from clients and staff, if they are ignored, forget about supercharging your non-profit organisation.
“You can start to supercharge your non-profit with a one-page plan, as long as you stay focused on the customers”. Peter Sergeant
Taking responsibility. This is one of the most important things you can do to show that you are ready for bigger challenges. This not only includes you but also the Board members, staff and volunteers.
New knowledge. Acquiring new knowledge about your clients and your community’s problems, frustrations wants and needs is critical. It’s a great way to generate new ideas and opportunities and to put innovation at the forefront of your product and services development.
Innovation. The world is changing so fast that without creativity and innovation your organisation will most likely stagnate and go into decline. Start today to look for more creative ways to do things better than anyone else.
Fundraising. Traditional ways of fundraising are not delivering the funding needed and governments are becoming harder do deal with as their budgets are under pressure. Look to the businesses in your community and elsewhere and devote time to building relationships where problems and issues can be shared.
Take Risks – Far too many non-profits are very risk adverse, afraid of upsetting anyone, particularly their funders. The people who supercharge their organisation usually do so by taking risks. Sometimes it can mean taking a stand against the Board in order to move the organisation forward, launching a new program or fundraising campaign that requires more work and risk.
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Waiting for the government, as many non-profits seem to do, can mean you will be waiting forever to supercharge your organisation.
Many don’t fully understand the extent of the possibilities that are open to them. While many others don’t fully understand their situation and tend to believe in their own understanding. Few have little more than a few scraps of paper as their plan for moving the organisation forward and staying on track with their vision and objectives.
I have found that in many cases a good CEO is much more a change agent than the Board members. This is because they are closer to the action and have a better understanding of client problems, frustrations wants and needs.
In many non-profits, it can be difficult to attract the right mix of skills to the Board, in which case and external advisor can be a great catalyst for the much-needed action.
Unfortunately, In many cases, sound business principles and best practices used by businesses are not utilised. Many non-profit organisations fail to understand they are a business too, the only difference being the way profits (surpluses) are distributed.
I feel that perhaps the most important aspect of supercharging an organisation is entrepreneurship. If the attributes of an entrepreneur are not present within the organisation, or amongst supporters, most organisations will languish.