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Nonprofit Evolution to Sustainability

It takes time and patience to build the foundation that can persistently and consistently deliver the mission over time.
Which is why every month there are many nonprofit start-ups.
And why every month more nonprofits sink than swim.
It’s the way of the world. There are too many variables that have to come together that will result in Success.
Here are a few of those variables for your entertainment:
1. Board. It takes a strong, experienced and independent group of board members to help the nonprofit navigate the rough waters, particularly in the first years. Staff need smart and committed volunteers at the ready to advise on big decisions on policy and direction. We don’t want “Yes” men and women. But we do want Board members who will commit to decisions that the Board makes, even if you may not personally agree with it. Once the Board votes to Act, that’s it. You may not love it, but it’s the law of the land.

2. Strategic Direction. What will the main program of the nonprofit be? How will it be delivered? How will results be measured? These are big, important decisions at the outset that might need a tweak or two as the nonprofit moves forward. These decisions need to be well thought out. There might be a bit of trial-and-error involved. Listening to the customer will help get it right sooner rather than later. Early in the game, be patient.

3. Communication. Which starts with a lot of listening. Most nonprofits make the mistake starting in broadcast mode. Not necessarily the right move. Seek lots of advice. Listen to community leaders. Identify stakeholders in the mission. Hear them out. Let the information you gather by your guide.

4. Fundraising. If we’re going to raise healthy crops, we’ve got to tend the fields. And put down ample manure. So we have to raise money so we can get our job done. And this will require all hands to pitch in. And attention to Relationship Building which is the Development side of Fundraising.

Paying attention to these strategic areas of nonprofit development can help get the organization off in the right direction. It all sounds pretty simple. And actually, it is. But when you get a bunch of folks in a room, you can count on getting it pretty complexifying pretty quick. You can look it up. I can guarantee it.

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