Boards of Directors create the path for nonprofit organizations. Effective board leadership and governance helps ensure that an organization can operate to its fullest capacity. It is imperative that the correct people are serving on the board. Is your board informed and prepared to make the right and legal decisions for your organization? Board leadership and development is important to the success of a nonprofit organization because they take ownership. The board is responsible for the well being as provided in all by-laws approved by the United States Treasury Department. Boards provide the foundation for the organization. Boards are the powerhouse in the planning of the future for nonprofits. Boards are responsible for delivering the Mission and Vision of the organization. Without a strong board of directors, the executive director and staff are expected to not only have the vision for what the organization can become, but also to do all of the work. In general, nonprofit boards are instrumental in developing organizational policy, providing oversight to ensure the organization's mission is fulfilled, and keeping the organization financially healthy. The bottom line: Without a strong board, nonprofit organizations show limited success in meeting both client and community need.
Like paid nonprofit employees, volunteers find satisfaction in feeling like they have contributed to the success of the organization and made an impact, while being recognized for their work. Also like paid employees, volunteers require a management structure that is clear and supportive. The number of volunteers is declining year after year. Volunteer Management that provides the understanding, input, and cooperation of all can ensure success in developing and retaining volunteers. Organizations can accomplish their missions through expanded and improved engagement of volunteers. It's one thing to know that your organization needs additional help and that volunteers are the likely source. It's quite another thing to figure out how to best involve volunteers. Volunteers can help by meeting a variety of needs. With increasing demand and heightened awareness of the value of volunteers, organizations need their professional staff to manage this great resource of people.
Nonprofits are being called upon to address more social and economic challenges that require greater complexity in our operations. Now more than ever, organizations are in need of the latest nonprofit fiscal management information, tools, and resources.How do you know how your organization is performing if you don't have the financial information you need? Even in the best of times financial information can be confusing. Accurate financial management provides information to enable the nonprofit manager to make better decisions faster. Sound financial management allows the organization to be accountable to funding sources, regulatory and tax authorities such as Internal Revenue Service, contributors,the organization's constituency, and the general public. Today's competitive nonprofit environment demands smart financial management, beckoning leaders to use money even more resourcefully as revenue streams shrink across the sector. By thinking more strategically about your nonprofit's finances, you make every dollar count—and every dollar work—to ensure your programs and your staff operate to their fullest potential.
In a changing environment, organizational change is a necessity for survival. The environment in which nonprofits function today has is ever changing. In the face of such change, nonprofit leaders must consider creative strategies to strengthen their programs and build capacity and, at the same time, maximize valuable human and financial resources. Strategic alliances can be a wonderful way for nonprofits to meet challenges but only if the nonprofit is ready for the alliance, chooses the right kind of alliance, and finds the right partner. Strategic alliances include mergers, collaborations, and shared services. Before undertaking a strategic alliance, nonprofit leaders must understand how to position their organizations to make the right alliance. Once your nonprofit organization becomes interested in strategic alliances with businesses, a systematic process can prepare the board and staff for meeting the challenges involved. This process can help your nonprofit develop effective alliances and incorporate alliance development into the broader processes of improving effectiveness, resource development, and strategic planning.
Program evaluation is an essential task for non-profit organization. Program evaluation is carefully collecting information about a program or some aspect of a program in order to make necessary decisions about the program. Program evaluation can include any or a variety of types of evaluation, such as for needs assessments, accreditation, cost/benefit analysis, effectiveness, efficiency, formative, summative, goal-based, process, outcomes, etc. The type of evaluation you undertake to improve your programs depends on what you want to learn about the program. Don't worry about what type of evaluation you need or are doing -- worry about what you need to know to make the program decisions you need to make, and worry about how you can accurately collect and understand that information. Well-run organizations and effective programs are those that demonstrate the achievement of results. Results are derived from good management. Good management is based on good decision making. Good decision making depends on good information. Good information requires good data and careful analysis of the data. These are all critical elements of evaluation. Program evaluation can alert you to trouble areas before they become unmanageable. It can also assist you in determining how best to allocate resources.
Social media are beginning to transform the way that nonprofits operate, as well the way that they interact with their constituents. For many nonprofits social networking is a young and growing field. With many free social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, there are unprecedented opportunities for nonprofits to use technology to promote their mission. You can use Social Media to spread the word about events within your organization through a blog or SMS text message campaign. To use social media effectively, a nonprofit must understand how it differs from traditional media. Social Media offer a two-way messaging mechanism that allows you to engage in conversation with your supporters. We're just at the beginning of seeing how social media will impact nonprofits.
Today's nonprofits are making increasing use of technology to streamline their operations. Currently there is a range of software targeted at nonprofits that are interested in creating their own email marketing campaigns, or editing their websites and blogs with a content management system (CMS). Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software is helping nonprofits manage relationships with their donors, members and volunteers. Technology solutions are appealing because there is a low barrier to entry, and maintenance costs are minimal. The latest software programs are easy to use and involve little or no programming expertise.
Fundraising is the art of motivating your organization’s supporters to contribute financially to your nonprofit. Not only is fundraising about seeking donations, it is also about strengthening support for the nonprofit’s mission. Effective fundraising requires a clear message, established and measurable goals, and a well laid plan to accomplish your financial objectives. It requires that short and long term targets be set in order to ensure consistent financial stability. Most nonprofits rely heavily on a combination of corporate and foundation grants, government grants, and individual giving to secure the necessary funds to operate on a daily basis. Dynamic fundraising is essential to the success of any nonprofit.
Public relations focuses on promoting the best public image for your nonprofit. You need to articulate your organization’s mission clearly, and keep your supporters informed about what you are doing to advance your mission. In addition, you need to keep your mission relevant to the community you serve as well as the society at large. This involves constantly thinking about your image and whether your image advances or impedes your work. Traditional press releases and media interviews are valuable as well as more modern techniques like the use of social media. In any event, creating a lasting reputation on your supporters requires constant outreach to the people who care about what you are doing.
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