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Your Nonprofit Is Next

Over the past several years, investors have placed increasing emphasis on companies’ values, reputation, culture, and value to society. Those investors are the major donors of national and multinational nonprofits. Now they are making similar demands of the nonprofits they support.

Your major donors are probably investors also. While they may be small investors when compared to the ones who have the resources to influence major corporations, they watch and often emulate what the major investors are doing. In short, your nonprofit will be seeing the same pressure as the major nonprofits.

The best defense in this case is a good offence. Now is the time to emphasize your nonprofit’s values, reputation, culture, and your value to your community. Collecting the evidence (data) now will ensure you have plenty of data when the demand arrives. Having the data in advance of the need demonstrates to the donors that your nonprofit is one of the leaders in your community, regardless of its size. Being on the leading edge is a great way to attract new donors, increase your nonprofit’s sustainability, and demonstrate your commitment to excellence. It also demonstrates that your board is forward thinking.

An important collateral benefit is that the data you collect will help your nonprofit improve its services, increase its value to your community and clients, improve outcomes and keep the promises of your mission statement, and attract the next generation of workers. Recent college recruiting information indicates that millennials are using the same standards when choosing between job offers. They will probably begin to apply or are applying those standards to the nonprofits they support.

Next Step:

Determine what evidence your nonprofit needs to prove its values are appropriate, its reputation is sterling, its culture enriches lives and enhances your performance, and your mission has significant practical value for your community

Develop goals for each of the four areas

Develop a plan to achieve your goals

Report annually to your stakeholders on your current results and your progress toward your goals

It may seem difficult to measure the four elements of interest to major donors. With a little creativity and practice you will find several ways to demonstrate your success. For instance, an organization that is transparent and accountable is unlikely to be at the center of a scandal or investigated for financial mismanagement. A history devoid of scandal and financial mismanagement is evidence of a good reputation, which also demonstrates that its services are effective and improve the lives the nonprofit touches. The absence of bad news is good. A better reputation is to have an abundance of good news in your history. How will you change your nonprofit’s culture to generate more good news?

Focusing on values, reputation, culture, and your nonprofit’s value to your community now will provide immediate benefits while providing a competitive fundraising advantage in the future.

Take It Further:

Monitor what major investors are demanding of the major corporations

Hold your board accountable for your nonprofit’s sustainability, reputation, and the value it creates for your community

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