Nonprofits to the rescue…

Robin Noah

Did you know that the fastest-growing part of the U.S. economy is not business, at least not the commercial kind. It’s the nonprofit sector. In the past decade, the number of nonprofit groups has grown by 25 percent to 1.6 million. They now account for 5.4 percent of gross domestic product and 10 percent of jobs (http://www.huffingtonpost.com).

No wonder the nonprofit sector is receiving more and more interest as government resources continue to shrink. More and more expectations are being created for social problems to be resolved by nonprofit organizations even though their funding is also shrinking year by year. Nonprofits are becoming a much greater factor in the overall economy; being recognized as a critical segment of the social change we are experiencing.

Just look at the demands for your services. Has there been a significant change? Are you keeping financially secure or are you concerned that you will not be able to provide services? Where will 2014 take you?

Funders, public and private, seem to be more interested on the outcomes, end results and return on their investments than they are in the mission. The funding challenge is greater than ever and Nonprofits need to become smart, to be articulate in presenting their results to the public and to their funders. This environment requires that nonprofits craft a compelling, thoughtful argument for why a funder or donor should give to their organization.

Nonprofits need to be on the operations edge, to report their results in language that is common to funders.

Nonprofits need to consider creating a broader spectrum for securing the overall financing necessary to achieve the mission goals, to develop financial strategy plans instead of fund development programs.

It’s also time to take a step back, check in and evaluate how aligned with their mission they are, what the level of their core competencies is and if their fund creation programs are compatible with today’s financial environment. Is it costing more time and money to generate needed revenues?

Stepping back is about bringing the organization to the forefront of its operations; to ensure that they are taking advantage of all their opportunities to better connect with donors and stakeholders, cultivate awareness and create organizational operational efficiencies.  This is not the end all – be all, but it is a start in the right direction.