Written by: Natasha Lopez-Rodriquez, , MBA – Director of Capacity Building & Education.
As leaders in our organizations, we are constantly looking at the bigger picture in running a successful nonprofit. Many see the nonprofit industry as a mythical world or not a real business. Some believe that nonprofit leaders do not really understand business concepts like management, accounting, sales, and marketing. However, that is far from the truth, so let us set the record straight.
Nonprofit Management – Nonprofit leaders are experts at being creative and innovative because we do not always have the latest technology or deep payroll budgets at our fingertips. With these experiences, we have learned to be compassionate servant leaders, directing teams of highly passionate and capable individuals. It has taught us to manage teams of employees who are following great causes and leadership, not a paycheck. These experiences teach us to work in unity, collaborate internally towards a common purpose, and strengthen our skills to collaborate outside our own organization to do more together by combining resources.
Nonprofit Accounting – We understand financial statements, budgeting, forecasting, and revenue and expense management. We are great stewards of others’ money and have strong accountability, making sure every dollar is spent in an efficient and effective manner. Nonprofits strive to have the largest amount of revenue just like their for-profit counterparts. The biggest difference is that nonprofits put most of those funds back into their causes.
Nonprofit Sales and Marketing – As nonprofits, we do have products to sell, such as clean water for children, shelter for families, job placement services, education, entertainment, and more. However, those that buy the products are not necessarily the ones who ultimately benefit from the products. We are skilled at selling products, services, AND passion to donors. Nonprofit leaders are storytellers, displaying the cause in action to the point where others feel compelled to join in. Internal communication and external communication are vital. We put common messages into the community via public relations and have become fundraising experts through our events and social media. Our brand is everything, just like it is for our for-profit counterparts.
All of these examples show how nonprofits are real businesses and nonprofit leaders are experienced and capable leaders. Your organizations are providing excellent client experiences, with aligned processes that are meeting short- and long-term goals just like a for-profit agency. Never forget how vital our sector is to the community at large. Look into 2023 with a positive outlook and one that has an exciting door to open and walk through.