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Don't Fall Into These Nonprofit Traps. Featured

Don't Fall Into These Nonprofit Traps. Freddie Sze

Nonprofits can attain maximum success if the right processes are put in place. However, not all of them have efficient strategies to allow them to thrive and the well-meaning people who dedicate their lives to guide the organization's success. Unlike for-profits, starting a charity must be approached differently since a slight misstep could ruin everything. With this in mind, going from a new charity to a well-established one requires assessment of the possible traps and pitfalls, something that is not as simple as it may sound. Here are a few traps that your nonprofits should not fall into. 

  • Running a nonprofit without a concrete business plan.

Although this may sound weird, any nonprofit, just like the for-profits, needs a business plan. As such, you must research how you will operate your charity. Just like other business ventures, you must carefully plan what you need to achieve with your nonprofit. Since you will need financial and material help from other people, you will need to be clear on what you want to achieve and how you will achieve your mission and vision. Without the right information and guide, which is what your business plan offers, you will scare away potential donors and supporters. Sadly, some nonprofits lack a concrete plan, budget and mission, and vision that is good enough to attract donors. This is the first recipe for disaster for any charity. 

  • Failing to understand the problem

The first step in solving a problem is to first understand it. This is precisely what nonprofits must do if they are to be efficient in their operations. They must take as much time as possible to understand the problem they want to solve and align with the mission and vision. However, most nonprofit leaders are in a hurry to solve a problem they have little understanding of, and they often end up failing altogether. As a nonprofit leader, take your time, study the problem from all viewpoints, and determine how to approach them strategically. 

  • Too much duplication of services

Although working on a project is good regardless of whether someone else is doing it, in charity, working on a cause that many people are already involved in can create too much duplication. This cannot set you apart from the rest. Therefore, you must study the cause you want to work on and how it will impact society and your target audience. Failing to do this can be harmful to your nonprofit. Ask questions such as:

Are there organizations already doing a cause similar to mine?

What will I do differently from the rest?

Do I have the knowledge and people to help me achieve this?

While the questions might not be straightforward, they are critical to the success of your nonprofit. Therefore, be as slow and thorough as possible when approaching your cause. 

  • Poor communication

For any organization-for-profit or not-for-profit- effective communication is necessary for better service delivery. It helps streamline operations, especially among people working on a specific project or a task. As an organization, there is no need for information silos that create miscommunication to be eliminated. Having an online reporting system can be a good starting point for proper communication and will help eliminate silos. 

  • Unwillingness to seek help

Regardless of how well you have prepared to start a charity, you will always need someone to help you at some point. You will not achieve anything on your own without assistance. Volunteers are in the best place to help. You might also need to pay for some services. Although you might not have the right amount of cash to pay for everything, seek as much help as you could from people who better understand a particular topic. 

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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