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Three Ways to Run Your Nonprofit like a Business

Posted By Jeremy Hunnewell, EMH Strategy, Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To most, there is a distinct delineation between the non-profit world and the private sector. Businesses focus on the bottom line, and non-profits work for some sort of social cause. In some ways, it is beneficial to separate these two worlds: a non-profit should always focus on maximizing the impact of its mission statement, and not satisfying shareholders, while a business cannot rely on philanthropic donations to keep the doors open. However, there are three fundamental principles critical to the success of any business that any non-profit should consider for its own organization.

Make Money

Non-profits often rely heavily on donations and grants to remain operationally functional. Although philanthropic income will always be a staple of the non-profit sector, an organization should also consider how it can supplement charitable income streams with revenue generated from commercial activity. Diversifying an organization’s revenue... more

Invest in the Organization

A common concern in the non-profit world is overhead: donors do not want to see valuable dollars spent on it, and non-profits are often forced to operate at a prohibitively lean level. Successful businesses invest in themselves, be it bringing in (and paying for) top talent, spending on employee training, or purchasing a productive and efficient piece of equipment. In order to grow.... more

Stand out from the competition

Non-profits—just like private companies—compete against one another for revenue. Although this competition is most often for revenue from philanthropic entities, it is competition just the same: one non-profit has to prove that it will be more effective with a donation than a non-profit working on a similar cause. Clearly defining the community need, measuring organizational impact, avoiding... more




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