You have a dream and a passion for your cause. You have supporters and volunteers. It’s hard work. You are working for your mission daily, but is it enough?
The reality is, the vast majority of nonprofits fail within three years of incorporation, and many more limp along year after year. Are you content to limp or are you ready to run? Your success doesn’t depend on your commitment to your cause as much as how you tackle the fundamentals.
- Build your strategic plan. Consider this your training program to get you in running shape. It identifies where you are headed and how you will get there. Tie your annual or semi-annual goals to your strategic plan and refer back to your plan frequently. Don’t forget this is a living, breathing document. It’s okay to make course corrections along the way.
- Build your case. What do you hope to change and how will you change it? What have you already done to make a difference? What distinguishes you from the other 15 million nonprofits in the United States and those that do similar work in your own community?
- Build your business plan. How are you going to sustain your operations? Being a nonprofit doesn’t exempt you from having a strong business plan. Donors are holding nonprofits to a higher level of accountability than ever before. Your donors are your stakeholders. You must demonstrate you are good stewards of their donations.