11 Things Every Non-Profit Should Know How to Do

If you run a non-profit, then you will know that you often have to be more resourceful and more resilient than the average business owner, but it’s all worth it in the end, when you can say that you have added value to the world, right?

Well no matter how worthwhile running a non-profit may be, it can still be very challenging, which is why you should learn the following things to make life so much easier for you:

1. Mastering the Art of Storytelling

If there is one thing that is true, but which a lot of people running non-profits have not really gotten to grips with, it is that non-profits need to be storytellers. Not the “once upon a time” kind, but the kind that grabs people by the heartstrings and shows them why your cause is worth their time and money. Whether it’s through social media, your website, or the age-old newsletter, your story needs to be front and center, compelling, and genuine – because that is how you will encourage people to fall in love with your company in the end.

Of course, in the digital age, a picture really is worth a thousand words, and videos might just be worth a million, which is why non-profits should become adept at visual storytelling, harnessing the power of photos and videos to bring their missions to life. Platforms like Instagram and YouTube are your galleries and cinemas, where the stories of those you help can be shared far and wide.

2. Rocking Social Media Like a Star

When you run a non-profit, then social media is a great, low-budget way of connecting with your supporters and letting them know what is going on, what they can do to help and of course, what they can spend their money on too. That is why you need to make a real effort to engage, share meaningful content, and create a community around your cause. This one really is non-negotiable.

3. Using Grant Management Software

Grants are one of the most important parts of running a successful non-profit because they help you to obtain more money to meet your goals and objectives, but it is fair today that managing them effectively can take up a lot of you time and cause you a lot of stress. Luckily, grant management software is now available and it is a real game-changer that keeps everything running smoothly. You can use it to help track deadlines, manage applications, and report on your progress, making it easier to keep the funds flowing and your projects moving. 

4. Networking

Networking might sound like something out of a stuffy corporate playbook, but it’s crucial for non-profits too. Connecting with other organizations, potential donors, and even competitors can open doors you didn’t even know existed. So, it goes without saying that you are going to want to attend conferences, join online forums, and try not to be shy about reaching out. 

5. Budgeting Like a Boss

Running a non-profit doesn’t mean money is a non-issue. In fact, managing your finances wisely is more important than ever. So, of course, you need to budget like a boss, ensuring every dollar is spent in service of your mission. This means getting cozy with spreadsheets, forecasting, and maybe even a finance management tool. 

6. Volunteer Management

Volunteers are also, arguably, the lifeblood of many non-profits, but managing them can feel a bit like herding a field of sheep without the help of your trusty sheepdog to keep things in check. You need to know how to recruit, train, and retain these invaluable members of your team if you want to succeed, which is also why you need to create a welcoming environment, offer meaningful work, and don’t forget to show your appreciation.

7. Continuous Learning

The world is constantly changing, and to stay relevant, non-profits need to be perpetual students. Stay informed about trends in your sector, learn new skills, and don’t be afraid to pivot when necessary. Whether it’s a new fundraising strategy or a social media platform, keeping your knowledge fresh ensures your non-profit remains in the spotlight.

8. Develop a Flair for Fundraising Events

Throwing a fundraising event is akin to organizing a concert for your favorite cause—where the entertainment also generates revenue. Whether it’s a gala, a 5k run, or a virtual auction, mastering the art of the fundraising event can significantly boost your coffers. It’s about creating an experience that’s so memorable, attendees are already looking forward to next year’s event before the night is over. Get creative, be bold, and remember, the aim is to make giving fun.

9. Cultivate Partnerships with Businesses

Cultivating partnerships with businesses can lead to a symbiotic relationship where everyone wins. Businesses get to boost their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) credentials, and you get additional resources and exposure. It’s like going on tour, with businesses acting as your sponsors, providing you with the means to play on bigger stages and reach larger audiences.

10. Data Analysis

In the world of non-profits, data analysis might not sound sexy, but it’s as essential as knowing how to breathe underwater if you want to be a scuba diver. Understanding who your supporters are, what resonates with them, and how they prefer to engage can help you tailor your efforts more effectively. Use data analytics tools to decipher the demographics, preferences, and behaviors of your audience. It’s like having a roadmap that shows you where to go next, ensuring your message always finds its way to those who need to hear it most.

11. Self-Care

Finally, in your efforts to run the biggest and best non-profit you possibly can, you are going to want to make sure that you don’t forget to take care of yourself and your team. Burnout is real, especially in an industry driven by passion and purpose. Make self-care a priority, encourage work-life balance, and remember, even the best need to rest.

Running a non-profit is not always easy and you have to be more resourceful, adaptable and resilient than you do in many other industries, but that doesn’t mean life has to be hard for you; if you incorporate all of the above into your life, and you know how to do them well, you can run a successful org without burning out!

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