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Nonprofit Business Operations: New Measurements of Success

It's not easy to make a nonprofit organization work well and succeed. Keeping one going is even harder, especially in a world where complexity and ambiguity are the new "norm." For a nonprofit to succeed, it needs to be financially stable, have a group of passionate employees and have strong, committed leadership from an experienced Board of Directors. These are not the only things that set struggling nonprofits apart from the nonprofits doing well. If you're starting a nonprofit or running one, you can do several good things to help it succeed.

Crisis Management

Clients have problems, but these problems shouldn't spread through your business. A crisis management team is a clear way for nonprofits to deal with problems. It comprises a core group of leaders whose roles and skills include the skills needed to be quick and decisive.

Demands of Compliance

Compliance should be part of your planning process and budget if you want to avoid fines that could force your organization to spend money on corrective measures after a citation. Every budget should have a line item for requirements set by the government. You need one if you don't already have one. Even if it starts small, organizations should have this line item to make the idea of compliance real.

Lack of Resources

How effective a nonprofit is depends greatly on what donors want to get out of it. Those with the most potential to make a difference are often underfunded and at their limit. Many nonprofits that do good work don't have enough money, management, or fundraising systems, and their Board and staff aren't taught the skills they need to do their jobs well. Donors willing to help organizations that share their goals, make a significant difference. By hiring an experienced grant writer that is knowledgeable in your specific area, is a resource that is worth more than its initial investment.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning for nonprofits is figuring out what parts of a plan will help you reach your goals. It requires your organization to set goals and plan how to reach them. Your strategic plan isn't put together in a straight line. Instead, it's more like a flow chart, with each part leading to a different result. A good strategic plan considers this and ensures you know how to reach (and, ideally, exceed) your goals in every part of your organization. For the best results, hiring an outside company such as Sunshine Nonprofit Solutions has its benefits, because an outside perspective looks at things objectively, and can determine areas where gaps need to be filled much more quickly and better than someone emotionally close to their nonprofit organization.

Measurable Goals

No matter how big or small, all nonprofits should have goals. Goals help a nonprofit get closer to its mission step by step and, in the end, help the community more. Make sure your nonprofit organization’s goals can be measured. This will add a sense of accountability to how your nonprofit organization works. Measurability also lets the whole nonprofit organization know where you are in reaching your goals and can help make your nonprofit organization more open, both inside and outside.

Time Management

Board members usually have busy schedules, making it easier to explain why they are always late. This usually means that meetings keep moving back, and your board members keep getting there later and later. Start your meetings on time every time! In the same way, make sure that your board meetings for your nonprofit end on time. This shows that you value the time of your board members and take your nonprofit organization seriously.


Accountability is both a big word and a big idea. It is also an important part of running a business, whether for profit or not. Accountability can't exist without accounting, by definition. Focusing on how funds are used has always been a big part of a nonprofit's effectiveness, however, the big picture of accountability also needs to show how the funds are invested in their mission. Governmental bodies must also answer to their customers, taxpayers, and local authorities. Voters, who are the ones who pay for nonprofit organizations, are asking for this kind of accountability and transparency more than ever.

Email Communication

Email marketing for nonprofits can be a way to get people involved and spread the word about your important goals. It can also be the difference between reaching your goals and missing the mark. Most people who work for nonprofits don't have much time, and sometimes they don't even have a team. Email marketing is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your donors. You can show donors how their donations help and how your nonprofit organization appreciates them through email newsletters.

Use of Technology

With email and collaboration software, nonprofit organizations can use cloud technologies to make it easier for their staff to talk to each other and store information (with office software and data backup). The cost of services and the time it takes to share information are both cut down by cloud technologies.

Walking Meetings

When you walk by yourself, you can work through some problems or come up with new ways to solve them. But walking with coworkers can help build relationships and work better together. That means meetings need to be rethought. Before you leave, set the rules, such as "stay with the group" or "no cell phones." If there are many people in the group, you might want to choose someone to take notes. If there is more than one person, you may need to split the group up based on how fast they walk. Include breaks in your meeting to go over the points on the agenda and move on to the next subject.

Data Culture

Nonprofits can compete in this environment and get more out of their limited resources if they have a data culture. Staff must agree on a data culture to measure results, act on available data, and add to what is already known over time. Having all the information at your fingertips can help you make a business plan for your nonprofit and give you the freedom to act on the spot, knowing you have all the trends and specific information you need to make the best decisions. When you think about reporting, you can divide it into two main groups: internal and external.

Internal Reports

Internal reporting is not available to the public but is used within your organization. Your board of directors, staff, volunteers, members, and other key people can benefit from internal reporting. These reports ensure that everyone is on the same page by giving in-depth information about your nonprofit's finances and signs of its health and success.

External Reports

This type of reporting is for the public, funders, the IRS, state services, members, supporters, and possible donors. Since this is public information, everything must be reported as needed. For example, getting the IRS Form 990 right is the most important thing to ensure accountability and openness.

Selfcare Culture

More and more people are talking about how important good mental health and well-being are in the workplace. This shows that stress is the main cause of long-term absences from work. So, the best nonprofit directors are coming up with a wide range of ways to make workplaces that put the health and happiness of their employees first. Self-care is an important part of being happy and healthy. It means setting up and prioritizing a routine of self-care that improves health and happiness and leads to more creativity, higher productivity, and better relationships.

Mental Wellness

Nonprofits can set the standard for employee wellness and work-life balance because they care about their staff and communities and understand their needs. Conversations within the nonprofit organization that are honest about the need to protect each other's mental health and the nonprofit organization as a whole, as well as welcome each other's identities can help a nonprofit commit to give their staff the support they need to keep serving their communities.

A nonprofit's mission has always been to make the world a better place and bring about social change. This has not changed. Traditional measures of success still work, such as being able to make money, getting a lot of donations, or helping a lot of people; but, the definition of success has started to change. What it means for a nonprofit to be successful, effective, and high-performing is not only about making money. The above traits are just a few signs we've seen that donors, employees and non profit organizations themselves are looking for today, and we hope you found the information useful.