Nonprofit organizations do so many things really well: First of all…they impact lives! Every. Single. Day. The paid staff and leadership for nonprofits work tirelessly long hours and often get paid much less than they could if they worked in the private or corporate sector. Or, maybe they’re a volunteer board member serving faithfully. Either way, all involved give liberally of who they are for the mission.
For nonprofits to break free of traditional constraints and transform into high-performing, high-growth organizations, there is a need to clearly define what limits growth and become intentional with solutions to effectively expand these limits. Much like the private sector maximizing profits is paramount. Unlike the private sector, profits in the nonprofit sector is manifested through people and mission.
The 7 areas below serve as key discussion topics for nonprofits looking to evaluate and potentially re-position themselves to further thrive. The more nonprofits are talking about these topics, the more likely it is that they will realize increased goodwill within their community by achieving transparency, accountability, and high performance.
- People. The best orgs attract and keep top talent with competitive salaries and a happy, supportive culture. It’s a destructive myth that nonprofit staffs should martyr themselves.
- Social Return on Investment (SROI). The best non-profits don’t beg for money. They proclaim their SROI: 1) exactly who or what they change; 2) what the changes actually are; 3) proof the changes are actually happening; 4) measures of other major influences; and 5) percentage of the problem they are solving.
- Business Plan. The org has a concise, comprehensive, compelling business plan built around its SROI– with aspirational goals that are significant against the size of the problem; milestones; key performance indicators; and a detailed financial projection.
- Financial Controls. The best orgs will readily share their financials (balance sheet, profit and loss, budget) in an easy-to-read format. Top performers have a budget that looks at income and expense and they make sure there is at least 6 months in cash in the bank.
- Board. Among other skill sets, are there at least 3-4 people on the board with deep experience in business, finance or accounting? Proper governance demands that skilled, experienced, high-integrity, focused business leaders spend time supervising and supporting the staff.
- Relationships. The best orgs understand that we are all people who thrive in authentic relationships so they take the time to explain how funds are utilized and the motivation behind a gift. This includes providing ways you can get personally involved with a community of like-minded supporters.
- Joy. The work of the best non-profits is suffused with joy. The lucky folks who get to work with and for and around high-performing non-profits aren’t working—they are living out their values. There’s nothing better than being part of an organization that changes the world for the better.
Here’s a simple way of starting the conversation that every nonprofit should be having: How can we position ourselves better financially, so we can simply do more ?
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Semble is an expert financial solutions provider specialized in helping secure low cost loans for nonprofit organizations. Our vision is to profoundly impact every community in America by significantly lowering the cost of loans to free up millions for local nonprofits. Along with our ability to work with commercial lenders, what differentiates Semble is our lending platform which makes it possible for your impact-minded supporters to align their investments to directly meet your loan need.