Best Practices for Running a Non-Profit

In an ever-changing business landscape, it is very important for nonprofit managers and stakeholders to seek out new information in order to appropriately adapt their practices. But one such advantage in entering the industry now is that we have a wealth of information from the past to learn from and improve upon. This brings us to the idea of best practices which can be described as a technique or methodology that has been proven, through experience and research, to yield the greatest outcomes. Adhering to best practices in any aspect of nonprofit management allows us to utilize the wealth of information and technology that is at our disposal. As such, this article will take a look at tried and true

Best Practices for Running a Non-Profit

Operations Management

Although the term operations management may vary depending on the organizational structure of a nonprofit, it is generally referred to the efficiency-focused administration of business practices.

Analyze Work Functions and Upgrade Equipment

  • Even though this may seem counter intuitive, it is important that the productivity level of employees be met with the appropriate work accommodation.
  • Plus, more is gained in terms of worker satisfaction and even monetarily when employees’ skills are enhanced rather than hindered.

Training

  • In partnership with human resource personnel, it is important for operations managers to ensure that training new and current staff is done efficiently and thoroughly.
  • Oftentimes, without a standardized structure for initial and continued training, workers can be thrust into environments that they may not be able to adapt to and work efficiently in.
  • What’s more, continued training and certification are very important for employees of an organization to feel as though their growth is being fostered in the workplace. This, in turn, reflects positively on the company and puts their new skills immediately to use.

Communication

  • Because the operations manager can sometimes act as the liaison between departments, they have the special position of controlling the ebb and flow of an organizations communication and thus have to find a way to make it efficient.
  • The faster different departments deliver pertinent information to one another, the faster everyone can get back to doing their job. Finding the right tech platform for this job is especially important because it is the fastest, most-efficient and low-cost tool for constant communication.

Accountability/Transparency

Transparency and accountability practices set a bar for the overall performance of a nonprofit organization by urging them to constantly innovate and improve upon inefficiencies. Internally, accountability practices provide a rationale for the company’s decision-making process. Thereby embedding a transparent and communicative working culture which attracts like-minded individuals.

Accreditation

  • The process of being acknowledged by a objective third party organization has pre-established quality standards such as board governance, client programs & services, employee and volunteer engagement.
  • Accreditation can be a lengthy and arduous process in addition to requiring quite an investment. But nonprofits stand to gain legitimization which indicates to the public or any potential donor that your organization has met very extensive requirements and thus, is trustworthy.

Embracing Revenue Transparency

  • This practice includes posting tax filings, annual financial reports, and can even be apart of a larger publication of overall profit, number of customers, number of website visits per day and many other details.
  • However, some of the drawbacks of this practice are the possibility that competing organizations might take this as a chance to replicate some features of your nonprofit as well as public criticism.

Self-Assessment

  • Evaluating an organization’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats places emphasis on internal performance and financial acumen.
  • There is a chance for correction when challenges and strengths within a nonprofit are identified. It also leaves the floor open for input from constituents because it streamlines their platform for contribution.

Marketplace trends are seeing an increase in two things: nonprofit organizations modelling their internal structures like businesses and businesses opting to be more transparent. With this in mind, it is easy to make the link between the need for nonprofit organizations to seek out transparency practices. But first a little about the current landscape of nonprofit stakeholders; according to a Stanford Business article younger donors are particularly interested in “high-impact philanthropy”. What this means is that the potential donors of today are seeking measurable and accessible data from the nonprofits they intend on donating to. Overall, ensuring that your nonprofit enters the market with these and many more best practices is what will make the difference between marginal and absolute success in the marketplace. Following these best practices allow for nonprofits to maximize their output while not having to sacrifice worker satisfaction.

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