Nonprofits continue to grow in numbers each year. Sure, it is worth treating your nonprofit as you would a for-profit business. But make the same mistakes too many owners and managers made, and you are only setting up your organization for failure. Aside from the common business mistakes, the following are costly decisions you can’t afford to make when running your nonprofit.
Ignoring Legal Issues
Running any organization comes with certain legal issues. This goes beyond having the organization registered, paying your taxes, and making sure you are compliant with local standards. Certain risks expose your nonprofit to many legal issues, which can impact your ability to continue operations and in attracting and retaining volunteers, staff, and donors.
The best way to handle nonprofit legal issues is with the help of legal counsel. This way, you get to learn the best ways to mitigate existing risks while protecting and building your nonprofit’s reputation. This could mean hiring the right kind of lawyer to help with specific legal issues.
For instance, a board member got involved in a driving under influence (DUI) case. Being part of the organization, such an incidence can harm your nonprofit’s reputation. This is why it makes sense to hire a reliable criminal attorney to them up.
Returning Phone Calls a Little Too Late
You might have been successful enough to retain a good number of loyal donors who are actively supporting your business. But failure to take care of their needs can quickly make your relationship with them turn sour. One great example of this is ignoring their phone calls.
Calls left unanswered and not returned on time may seem like a tiny mistake anyone can forgive and forget. But when it comes to your donors, this is a sign of non-engagement. The last thing you want them to think and feel is that you no longer value their time that you are now ignoring their calls after getting what you need from them.
Treat your donors as to how you would treat your clients. Be kind, friendly, respectful, and professional. Assign someone to answer each and every phone call, mail, or direct message. Avoid automatic and generic responses or else donors would feel like they are not dealing with real people who truly care.
Poor Grant Proposals
Well-written grants can land you more and bigger donations. It is not enough that you are sending the same proposals to all potential donors. Keep in mind that each donor is unique, and will have varying interests.
The following lists some of the best ways to write effective grant proposals.
- Target a single cause instead of multiple, general causes
- Use storytelling to your advantage
- Cite solutions
- Pay attention to your donor’s interests
- Write clear and well-researched grants
- Never Depersonalize Your Donors
One of the biggest mistakes you don’t want to commit when writing a grant proposal is aligning the interests of your donors with your own. There is a need to do enough research if you want your donors to even finish reading your proposal. This will increase your chances of increasing your grant proposal acceptance rate.
Failure to Prioritize Fundraising
Many nonprofits focus their spending on programs and services offered. They make use of all donations and ensure every penny is spent on their respective operations. However, there is also a need to prioritize fundraising if you want your nonprofit to last.
What you need is to treat fundraising as an essential expense. Remember that fundraising allows you to gather more funds to pay for overhead costs, finance your mission, and in improving the organization as a whole, to name a few. You also get to share causes with the community through nonprofit fundraising.
Skimp on Marketing
Like businesses, non-profits can’t afford to miss out on marketing. Marketing enables you to build an online presence, boost its reputation, acquire more volunteers and donors, and increase the success of every project. Treat marketing anything but of great importance and your organization can quickly fall into oblivion.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can effectively market your nonprofit without spending too much. For one, there are free platforms and tools you can use. Some businesses would even offer discounts to nonprofits requiring their services.
With the number of competitors your nonprofit has, it only becomes a must that you take every necessary step just to protect your organization’s reputation and profitability. It won’t be easy and many challenges will come barging your way. But by knowing what mistakes to avoid, you can increase the success rate of your nonprofit organization.