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Creating Long-Term Nonprofit Sustainability

Planning and positioning your nonprofit for sustainability is one of the most important processes that your organization must take.  Careful planning can ensure that your organization has the best chance of providing services to the community for a longer period of time.  There are many variables to consider when creating an effective sustainability plan for your nonprofit, and the process should start at the beginning of the nonprofits life.  In this week’s blog article, we will examine some strategies for creating a sustainable nonprofit organization.

Create a sincere mission and vision statement

Your nonprofit’s mission and vision statement should be the backbone of all organizational components.  Your nonprofit needs to focus on creating a mission, and vision statement that is sincere, and aligns with your organizational goals.  The ability to create an effective mission and vision statement will allow the community to fully understand your nonprofit’s purpose.  These statements should be created with your organizations long, and short-term goals in mind.  All of your nonprofit’s key stakeholders should also be aware of the mission, and vision statement so that business planning can align with them.

Consistent messaging across mediums is key

Once your nonprofit organization has created and obtained alignment surrounding your mission, and vision statement it’s time to create messaging to your target audience that reflects it.  It is crucial that your organization maintains brand consistency across all platforms that are being utilized to create awareness, engagement, and sustainability.

Here are a few questions you should ask when creating a consistent message:

  • Does your messaging align with your organization’s mission, vision, and goals?
  • Have you created an effective brand identity? And does your messaging reflect it?
  • Are you maintaining a consistent look across channels?
  • Is your content appropriate for your brand, and target audience?
  • Are you incorporating your key differentiators into your messaging?
  • Are you using the same tone across all marketing, and organizational channels?
  • Are you maintaining visual unity?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions about consistency then it is time to rethink your marketing strategy and make the appropriate changes.  Creating consistent brand messaging is one of the most important steps your nonprofit can take to communicate, and sustain your identity.

Understand your target audience

Understanding and adapting to your target audience is another critical step in creating long-term sustainability.  Fully understanding your target audience will allow your organization to create better marketing strategies to reach, and engage with them.  Creating personas is one of the best actions that your nonprofit can take to outline the attributes of your target audience.

Here is some information you are going to want to capture about them:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Career Field
  • Motivations
  • Preferred Communication Channels
  • Personal Goals
  • Frustrations
  • Personality Type

Once you have your target audience identified and documented the process of making changes, and adapting to the future will become much easier.

Develop strategic partnerships in an effort to enhance outreach

Developing strategic partnerships can dramatically increase your nonprofit’s outreach ability, and brand exposure.  Your organization should identify partnership opportunities in which the value is equal to both parties involved.  You should also look for partners who align with your organization’s mission, vision, and goals.  There are many benefits of forming strategic partnerships for a nonprofit.

A few of these key benefits are:

  • The ability to acquire new donors
  • The ability to reach new volunteers
  • Expanded geographic reach for your brand
  • Access to new technologies
  • Resource sharing opportunities
  • Increased media coverage
  • Development of earned income opportunities

As you can see from the above list there are many benefits to forming, and maintaining strategic partnerships that can take your nonprofit organization to new heights.  The goal is to find partners that can provide your nonprofit with both short-term, and long-term growth opportunities.  If you find an organization that may make a good strategic partner there are a few questions that you need to ask:

  • Does the partner share your nonprofits values?
  • How can the partnership help drive the mission of your nonprofit?
  • Can the partnership help your nonprofit reach its goals?
  • Can your nonprofit offer the partner any value in return?
  • What are the goals of the potential partner?

Identify and define organizational problem areas

In order to sustain your nonprofit, and stay on track for the long term you need to identify and address organizational problem areas.  Addressing problem areas early in the life of the nonprofit could make the difference between being around in ten years, or not.  Finding problem areas can be challenging especially if they are not obvious ones.  Here are a few tips for identifying issues that could cause your nonprofit problems in the long term:

  • Spend time crunching the numbers
  • Know your industry so you can evaluate whether your numbers are positive in the space
  • Create a process of communication for you, and your nonprofits stakeholders….and listen.
  • Have a clear understanding of some of the problem areas that nonprofits often face
  • Create a process for evaluating your nonprofit, and the goals of the organization
  • Become a data-driven nonprofit, and make decisions based on metrics.
  • Utilize social media to see what your community is saying about the organization

Final Thoughts

Creating long-term nonprofit sustainability can be challenging especially in a highly competitive landscape.  However, if you are strategic about your nonprofit’s decision-making process, and how you analyze and adjust to outcomes you have a much higher chance of creating long-term success.  As we discussed in this blog post it all starts with your organization’s mission and vision statements.  The business decisions you make in the future should align with these statements and help your nonprofit reach its goals.

VolunteerHub can help your nonprofit broadcast volunteer opportunities, and reach more people.  Our solution can easily optimize your volunteer management efforts and create a sustainable process for reaching your volunteer goals.  Interested in learning more about VolunteerHub? Contact us today to receive a no-obligation consultation.

About Eric Burger

Eric Burger is VolunteerHub's Marketing Communications Manager. He is passionate about the nonprofit industry and doing his part to help others in the community.

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