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BizWorld Lesson #6: Overhead Ain't Bad

Posted by Ian Lauth on Sep 15, 2015 11:12:53 AM

 

This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector we can apply to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact. 

There’s a big double standard when it comes to overhead at for-profits and nonprofit organizations. Where investment decisions regarding overhead might be no-brainers in the for-profit sector, they often come with much scrutiny in the nonprofit arena.

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Topics: nonprofits, biz-world-lessons

BizWorld Lesson #5: Manage Your Donors More Like Customers

Posted by Ian Lauth on Mar 25, 2015 8:19:00 AM

BizWorld-ManageDonorsLikeCustomers-02This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector we can apply to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact. 

There are many of parallels that can be drawn between a business's healthy customer portfolio and a thriving nonprofit donor base. In both cases, it is up to the organization to spur individual patrons to spend or contribute some of their hard-earned cash.

The for-profits and nonprofits who are best at this understand how to keep their target audience coming back and opening their wallets time and time again. 

Companies are typically far more effective than nonprofits when it comes to developing these relationships, in part because businesses can make "customer satisfaction" a main pillar of their mission statement. Nonprofits, on the other hand, are focused on fulfilling their charitable mission, so concepts like "donor satisfaction" may end up taking a back seat.

To counteract this, enterprising nonprofit executives can use business tactics to manage their donors more like customers, putting donors at the forefront of their fundraising strategy.

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Topics: fundraising, biz-world-lessons

BizWorld Lesson #4: Utilize Nonprofit Branding Strategies

Posted by Ian Lauth on Mar 3, 2015 11:06:00 AM

Utilize-Branding-Strategies-1

This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector that can be applied to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact. 

Some organizations spend millions of dollars building their brand and keep their key messages visible among target audiences. This includes companies like Coca-Cola and Walmart, as well as nonprofits like Susan G. Komen for the Cure. While your nonprofit may not have that kind of budget, there are still plenty of ways to develop brand reputation and marketing messages. After all, if people don’t know who you are, what you do and why they should care, they are going to donate elsewhere.

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Topics: nonprofits, biz-world-lessons, nonprofit branding

BizWorld Lesson #3: Track and Measure EVERYTHING

Posted by Ian Lauth on Dec 18, 2014 8:00:00 AM

BizWorld-Lesson-3_Track-and-Measure-Everything

This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector that can be applied to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact. 

Lesson 3:
Track and measure successes (and failures)

Virtually everything a successful for-profit business does is tracked and analyzed to ensure long-term results. Smart nonprofits will do the same. Not only does this help to keep financial investments on track, but it can also influence the decisions made by the board and future donors.

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Topics: nonprofits, biz-world-lessons

BizWorld Lesson #2: Invest in Good People

Posted by Ian Lauth on Oct 28, 2014 12:08:00 PM

Nonprofits Need to Invest in Good People

This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector that can be applied to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact. 

Lesson 2: Invest in good people

When it comes to finding passionate, experienced and intelligent people to work for your Nonprofit, it's important to budget appropriate funds to attract top talent. Just like at a for-profit company, acquiring and retaining people who have the proper skills and drive might come at a cost, but it is the sort of investment necessary to create long-term success conditions within an organization. 

Contributors

Melissa Beck CEO

Melissa Beck
Chief Executive Officer

Big-Brothers-Big-Sisters-OC-Logo-sm
Carlos Leija CDO

Carlos Leija
Chief Development Officer

Orangewood-Childrens-Foundation-Logo-sm

Lessons from the Biz World

The for-profit business world offers many valuable lessons that can be applied to nonprofit management. In this series we look at how these can translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization that has a greater impact. 

Lesson 1: Manage capital wisely  

Lesson 2: Invest in good people 

Lesson 3: Track & measure EVERYTHING

Lesson 4: Utilize branding strategies 

Lesson 5: Manage your donor base like customers

Lesson 6: Overhead is not negative

Lesson 7: Embrace resistance

“Some of our youth are on the cusp of either making it or not. When I say not making it, that could mean living in a park, incarceration, death, or falling victim to human trafficking,” says Carlos Leija, Chief Development Director for Orangewood Children Foundation. “So we really invest in who we hire ‒ knowledgeable individuals who truly know what it means to work for a Nonprofit, who want to make an impact and, in our case, foster youths.”

Find the Right Talent

How can you find the right talent for your Nonprofit? Network, network, network! Leverage your professional and personal connections on sites like LinkedIn and even Facebook to post job openings and discover candidates. This is going to be your least expensive option since it only requires your time. 

Don't hesitate to use your board as a resource for finding and developing new employees. “We’re fortunate to have a very strong and influential board of directors. They bring business sense, leadership and knowledge, as they generously invest their time to help us guide and govern our organization,” Leija explains.

You can also make some small investments in recruitment. Place job postings with leading job listing sites such as CommonGoodCareers.org or Idealist.org. You can also hire a recruiter to take the lead if you lack the time or skills to manage the process, but that can be expensive so you may want to use this option as a last resort.

Make a Competitive Offer

Once you've found the ideal candidate, it's time to make a competitive offer to get that talent onboard. Check the latest salary trends before entering negotiations. You can use sites like Salary.com or GlassDoor.com, but check multiple sources because job valuations can vary quite a bit. Establish an initial salary offer you think is fair based on the candidate's qualifications, the job and standards within the industry. It's also important to set a maximum salary above your initial offer that your board would be comfortable with to give yourself a little wiggle room in case you get a counter offer.

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Topics: nonprofits, biz-world-lessons

BizWorld Lesson #1: Running Your Nonprofit More Like a For-Profit Business

Posted by Ian Lauth on Oct 14, 2014 11:48:00 AM

How to run your nonprofit like a for-profit business

Running a nonprofit organization (NPO) is all about making a positive impact, which is why many people exit the for-profit sector and dedicate themselves to a career that prioritizes social impact over the bottom line. Not surprisingly, some of the most successful nonprofits use the same strategies that big businesses use to not only stay in the black but also grow exponentially. With more money and resources comes the opportunity to make a bigger difference.

Have you considered ways you can run your nonprofit more like a business? We asked two prominent figures in the southern California nonprofit sector for help answering this question:

Melissa Beck CEO

Melissa Beck
Chief Executive Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County

Carlos Leija CDO

Carlos Leija
Chief Development Officer
Orangewood Children's Foundation

 

There are many fundamental differences between nonprofits and businesses, not least of which is that nonprofits' objective is to make a difference, not make money. That said, there are some valuable lessons that can be applied to nonprofit management that can translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization which can have a greater impact. 

At their core, nonprofits operate with two bottom lines: social impact and fiscal success. Impact may trump the bottom line, but when the two work hand in hand, it’s easier to make wider strides toward social good.

Some nonprofits who run their organizations like a business have stopped using the term “nonprofit” altogether. “We have started using ‘social impact organization’ in its place,” explains Melissa Beck, ‎CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. “I am incredibly conscious of my ‘profitability’ and hold us to being financially sustainable just as I would a business.”

Others are subjected to the kind of heavy scrutiny that accompanies many nonprofit operations. "The accountability for nonprofits increases every single year," says Carlos Leija, the Chief Development Officer for Orangewood Children's Foundation. "You might hear about nonprofits in national news stories that aren’t operated well or where there might be wasteful spending. We are really truly heavily scrutinized and we should be."

Over the next several months we will explore the following lessons from the business world and look at how they can be applied to nonprofits, regardless of size, shape or scope of the mission: 

Lessons from the Biz World

Lesson 1: Manage capital wisely 

Lesson 2: Invest in good people

Lesson 3: Track and measure EVERYTHING

Lesson 4: Utilize branding strategies 

Lesson 5: Manage your donor base like customers

Lesson 6: Overhead isn't a bad thing

Lesson 7: Embrace resistance

Lesson 1: Manage capital wisely to ensure profitability

A focus on impact over earnings is typically the main reason professionals choose to work at a nonprofit. In reality, financial resources are a big part of being able to fulfill a nonprofit’s mission, so it’s wise to take queues from for-profit businesses in regards to managing capital appropriately and ensuring steady revenue. In short, it takes money to raise the money you need to make a difference.

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Topics: nonprofits, biz-world-lessons

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Meet Winston & Winnie, the Winspire Twins

Winston & Winnie love to help Nonprofits raise money for amazing causes. They also love to travel and have a bucket list of amazing Experiences they are determined to complete in their lifetime. Winspire News is the result of this shared passion, offering fundraising advice, industry news and insight into charity fundraising with travel.