3 tips for nonprofit sustainability

Nonprofits are increasingly facing challenges because of a rise in industry competition. With more players in the field, it's not only important for organizations to differentiate themselves, but do so for an extended period of time.

However, that objective is easier said than done, especially amidst an economic recession. Nonprofits have to rely on online fundraising tools more than ever before to stay above the red. In order to establish long-term sustainability a charity must save, invest and prioritize for the future.

Listed below are three ways to keep your nonprofit growing at a healthy rate:

1. Reinforce your foundation: Most nonprofits have a set of values and a mission statement they abide by. These core values are the reason for your existence - without them, your charity wouldn't be what it is today. Stand by these statements and begin planning how the group can meet the established objectives. These are your guiding principles and distinguish you in the marketplace. Sure, money is the lifeblood of an organization, but it will come if your charity stays true to the course. According to the Houston Chronicle, a good nonprofit mission statement will aid in drawing motivated volunteers and donors to your cause. With passionate individuals acting as a backbone, the word about your group is much more likely carry weight and be spread over time.

2. Develop grassroots programs: A mad dash to fundraise shortly before an event is the nonprofit equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck. While it may prove successful in the short-term, a large-scale sustainability operation has to begin from the ground-up, npENGAGE says. A diverse array of well-established donation channels is the ultimate goal, but a charity must do the heavy lifting upfront. Piggyback your already existing fundraising efforts with social media interaction - its a great way to do prospect research. The NonProfit Quarterly also suggests networking through both current donors, board members and organizational employees. It's a similar premise to social media: one person connects with another, and the sharing compounds itself. Once a vast network is established, retention won't be as difficult if you stand by your mission statement and demonstrate strong community values.

3. Invest in yourselves: Organizational infrastructure is similar to a charity's foundation in that it's entirely necessary for long-term success. However, a group's framework is like a building's plumbing: it's a must have. A technology audit will be advantageous to groups evaluating infrastructure, npENGAGE suggests. This way, the organization becomes familiar with what it already has and what it needs to remain competitive in the marketplace. A practical example would be up-to-date charity auction software - a tool that streamlines donation processing for both benefactors and the nonprofit itself. Although it may push the budget, try and envision the internal audit as an positive venture. Investors don't get rich in the short-term; if they did, everyone would be doing it. Double-down on your organization now and reap the benefits in the near future.

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