Jun 17, 2014
Regardless of the industry, a maturing organization must have the self-awareness to ask - and truthfully answer - direct questions about its future growth. This practice is especially true for nonprofits because without pointed questions and honest answers, a charity has no guidance as to what it's doing right or wrong.
Exposing bad habits is never a fun thing to do, but it's necessary if your nonprofit wants to reach its future goals. No organization has improved itself by ignoring its flaws, so it's crucial that decision-makers identify what areas of the nonprofit can be improved. An honest, reflective look at operational practices can yield important results. Listed below are three questions to help you get started on your nonprofit self-reflection:
- How have we adapted to meet new technology?: If you're scratching your head and saying, "We haven't," then it might be time to start asking a whole new set of questions. Nonprofits that want to keep pace with an increasingly competitive market have to utilize new technology in their outreach strategy. No longer can charities rely on a small contingency of donors that they reach out to via snail mail; the entire nonprofit sector has shifted toward a digital landscape, and charities need to do everything they can to integrate mobile and online technology into their success models.
- Are we using our resources the best we can?: The term resources is pretty broad, but generally speaking, it refers to manpower, finances and anything else a nonprofit is using to accept online donations. Nonprofits can ask further questions in the same vein, such as: Are we funding the right donation programs? Are these outreach efforts effective? Is our staff efficient? How are we utilizing new technological developments to our success? Is there a way we can make a program more productive than it currently is? Charities should not be afraid to make full use of the tools at their disposal, MarketingProfs suggests. Also, things like budget reviews and serious discussions about money can help an organization figure out where their money is being best spent.
- What are we doing to meet our goals?: First things first: A nonprofit has to establish objectives to work toward. Without goals, an organization cannot grow effectively. A recent Avectra study found that 41 percent of nonprofits surveyed attribute their social media success to having a developed social media strategy. With the right goals in place, and an actionable plan to help reach these objectives, nonprofits can leverage new technology such as online fundraising tools. A separate Waggener Edstrom report found that 55 percent of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action. Organizations without a digital strategy may want to begin planning ahead and create one due to the high volume of potential donors online. Even charities with an established online presence may want to explore new and unique ways to reach out to benefactors; the more technology grows, the more donor demands will continue to shift.