According to the 2018 Nonprofit Finance Fund State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, 86% of nonprofit practitioners said that demand for their services was rising, and 57% said that they didn’t think they could meet this demand. In tandem with this, 59% said that rounding out their staff was a challenge to achieving all their work. Whether you confront these dynamics at your organization or you’re aware of peers that do, consider the following ways that you can better approach your management structures.
Begin with mission: A mission statement is a formal verbalization of your organization’s goals and values. You should be able to align your guiding principles, programming, and stewardship strategies as a direct extension of your mission. It should guide how you treat your staff, how you approach your work, and how you engage with supporters.1
Turn to your people: Every organization should actively consider how their team is an extension of the mission. Ideally, your staff members are good fits for their roles. Empower them by providing opportunities for growth and creating specific job descriptions that carve out a path to develop in the role and outline what the role is and is not.
Evaluate your internal policies: More than most sectors, nonprofits and social good organizations rely on people. Effective policies engage your staff and encourage their achievement. Your team’s ability to create impact is intimately intertwined with their satisfaction in the role.
- All policies: There are certain requirements that allow you to operate as a nonprofit organization. Some of these may be legally required by the Internal Revenue Service, whereas others, like organizational bylaws set by your founders executive leadership, may stipulate guidelines for board members and paid staff. Organizations can work with legal counsel, advisors, and pursue free legal services to ensure that your activities accord with a nonprofit status.
Use a strategy geared to your audience: Whether you work in disaster philanthropy or for a private hospital, ensure that the fundraising, financial management, and stewardship strategies reflect the voices of your audience. Be sure that you can tie your approaches back to the constituent, and that your team understands how these are linked, too. You can enliven the mission in your work by incorporating constituent voices in staff and board meetings, strategic planning sessions, and daily rituals to ensure that your operations reflect these experiences.