Sunday, June 06, 2010

How Any Nonprofit Can Raise More Support, Acquire the Best Talent, Strive, and Grow...

Each nonprofit, in order to receive its community's trust and support, must always be effective, relevant, and efficient in all of its operations, but especially in the services and programs it provides in order to achieve the goal of its mission statement.  This is how any nonprofit not only thrives and then grows, over time, it is also how a nonprofit accomplishing these standards both demonstrates its leadership's clarity of the organization's purpose, and also the organization's own integrity; through its performance and the resulting real outcomes, in the community, of its performance.

No nonprofit operates without the support of its community and the support that is needed by each nonprofit from its community includes: all forms of fundraising (including grant writing), recruiting and retaining volunteers, acquiring partners in the community (i.e. other nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, schools, etc.), and perhaps hiring staff or consultants.  So, whether a nonprofit's leadership raises support, or not, is directly related to how well a nonprofit interacts with its community (including what the organization's programs' success rates are (or are not), how efficiently money is spent, how transparent an organization is in its operations, its reputation as a professional operation, the reputation of the leadership and key staff as individual professionals, and how well it listens to the population it exists to serve in order for its leadership to be able to plan new programs or projects that will be relevant because these are based in real, current, but as yet unmet needs within the community (that of course are related to the organization's mission statement)).

How does any organization's leadership get any nonprofit into such a strong position?

__ All decision making (by both the organization's leadership and also key staff) is done putting the mission statement; the best interest of the nonprofit, itself; and the best interest of the beneficiaries (of the organization's work) first and foremost, always, from the small decisions made in day to day work through to the biggest organization-wide decision making such as agency vision, new programming, new goals, etc.

__ Each year's organization-wide operations, each program and project, and each internal operation is fully planned in advance, is fully budgeted for (including planning out and allocating income to cover all expenses such as from various different constant fundraising all year long), and is evaluated based on surveys designed according to the professional standards for anonymous client survey design, in the organization's professional field, which are disseminated after each program or project's end, and then gathered after filled in, in order to acquire anonymous client, member, or beneficiary population feedback after each occurrence, those findings are tabulated, and all findings are reviewed to determined where improvements are needed and to plan out and then implement those improvements, and to also gather real data on successes, service statistics, achievements, and lessons learned.  The organization's board also: reviews the executive director annually for job performance (including their subordinates' anonymous input, to be weighed as part of executive director's job performance outcome) each year; reviews its own performance, annually; and reviews and compares the organization's current performance, goals, programs, and those programs' outcomes to the agency's mission statement and the goal of that mission to review how effective, relevant, and effective the organization is at least annually, but hopefully more often.  Honest organizational self evaluation is valued because it is the only way that an organization can improve its operations and gain more successes in the community)

__ At least 80% of each dollar raised is spent on programs and services and an accurate, complete, and honest breakdown of the organization's actual spending and actual income, year to date, is determined and updated monthly (i.e.in a pie chart, for each); each year a complete organizational operating budget is planned, put to the board, reviewed, corrected, and ratified; each year there is an independent, professional, financial audit; each year an annual report is created; the organization's financials are finalized, provided to the board, reviewed by the board, corrected, and ratified on both a quarterly and annual basis; and each of these documents are offered to donors and other supporters for their review, and given to anyone who requests them (i.e. putting these up on the organization's website for any one's review is an easy way to guarantee their easy availability)

__ Donors, volunteers, and clients or the beneficiaries, members, etc. are given and constantly notified about at least a couple of different, reliable, easily accessible, regularly reviewed, and fully anonymous ways to submit feedback, suggestions, concerns, etc.to the organization about the organization or their interaction or experience with it (good or bad).  Each submission should be reviewed by a formal, balanced, representative, official committee convened regularly specifically to professionally and objectively discern the meaning of, opportunity in, and official organizational response to each (i.e. potential improvements, independent review of an incident, internal investigation of an incident, or gratitude for recognition)

__ All recruiting for the organization includes: determining the organization's current needs, prior to the recruitment effort, what the job description is for the position (volunteer or paid) that is being recruited for,  who is well regarded locally and nationally for their work in this field and this type of position, planning (including who will be responsible for what, the time line, and benchmarks) identifying and targeting desired recruits for the position, proactively recruiting them, interviewing potential candidates, either recruiting or putting the board a vote for the recruit (depending for what position the recruit is being sought), and then training the recruit once officially brought on with the organization, and then proactively managing acquired talent using positive resource management so that the recruits are retained. Anyone with exceptional professional reputations; professional accolades; credentials, and relevant, successful, professional experience that relates to the organization's work and goals should be considered and recruited to add to the organization's credibility

__ All beneficiary population's demographics and any organizational raw data that are findings (especially those refereed to in the organization's: newsletter, website, programs brochures, fundraising solicitations, marketing, press, public relations, recruitment materials, etc.) such as; compiled service statistics, organizational successes, accomplishments, outcomes beating anticipated outcomes, fundraising successes, volunteer successes, client successes, testimonials for the organization or its individual efforts, etc. should be provided to the general public, made easily accessible (such as on the organization's website) and regularly (also updating it regularly) without infringing on any one person or group of people's confidences, anonymity, right to privacy, protections afforded by law, etc.

Any real data or team members that demonstrate an organization's: relevance, transparency, success, potential, capability, effectiveness, efficiency, and how needed the nonprofit's work currently is should be touted to the public at every chance that the organization gets (which includes in the press, in the organization's own literature, online, and in solicitations and during all different types of recruitment).

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