Monday, November 28, 2016

Has your nonprofit answered these key questions?

Has your nonprofit answered these key questions?

Markets always change, that’s the real constant. And those shifts, whether they be motivated by economics, consumer moods or another factor, impact nonprofit organizations as well. Sometimes, these factors hit charity organizations sooner … and harder. So, what questions should you ask to set yourself up for success and protect your place in the market when change is always coming.

How’s your cash flow? Cash should not be a dirty word in nonprofit work. You need to be able to make your bills and still have enough in reserves for slow times, marketing, PR, and business-building. Doing administration and doing it as it should be done is worth what it costs.

How strong are your connections with the right people? In business – and in charity work – who you know matters more than what you know. If you don’t have the right connections or if those connections are tenuous, you will not be able to sustain your growth. The right community footprint and local connections can mean the difference between a “good try” and a “long haul.”

Does your leadership team have a complete, working understanding of how you build and grow? If your leadership, both executive and management, doesn’t understand the dynamics of how you bring in both funds and volunteers, they won’t make the best decisions about how to advance the company through rough spots. A heart for the cause simply isn’t enough.

Do you fully and completely understand all of the local, state, and federal regulations governing what you’re doing and what you’re trying to do? If not, you could be building something that could be vulnerable in blind spots you’re not aware of. Do not play fast and loose in situations where ignorance is no excuse for transgressions.

Do you know which departments are being the most successful and which are more of a drag on your mission than a benefit to it? This is a tough question, but a very important one to answer properly. If you skip it, assuming everyone is on the same page, pulling with the same effort and efficiency, you could be missing some very important information that could come back to bite you.

So, how did your organization score on this little quiz? Are you asking and answering the questions
that will set you up for success? Are there any you do ask that are missing from this list?

David Milberg is a financial analyst in NYC.

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