In order to be successful, large nonprofit organizations often have to overcome some extreme challenges to stay on the right track towards achieving their mission and goals. Currently, there are 1.4 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States alone so there is no shortage of nonprofit’s competing to find resources, financial assistance, and talent.
The challenge becomes even more difficult because a large nonprofit (and small) is expected to make all of its strategical decisions with its organizational mission in mind. The good news is a nonprofit’s mission can help guide their organization towards making the right decisions and overcoming obstacles. Large nonprofits deal with many challenges on a daily basis in an effort to stay on track. These challenges including sustainability, retaining and engaging donors, finding the right volunteers, and organizing their internal and external processes. Today we will discuss these issues and tips to overcome them in more detail.
How Large Nonprofits Can Be Sustainable
Sustainability is crucial to the long-term success of a large nonprofit. Large nonprofit organizations often have a recognizable brand and a reputation to uphold. Creating a strategic plan with sustainability as the foundation begins in conjunction with an organizations mission and vision. Here are a few additional tips a large nonprofit should consider when creating a plan around sustainability:
- Messaging should be consistent across all marketing materials, internal communications and stakeholder interactions.
- Large nonprofits need to understand who their target audience is and adapt to their behaviors and preferences.
- Organizations should develop strategic partnerships in an effort to enhance outreach potential.
- Nonprofits should focus ongoing effort on identifying problem areas and reconciling these issues.
How Large Nonprofits Can Retain and Engage Donors
Another challenge that large nonprofit organizations often face is their ability to retain and engage donors. Did you know that 373.25 billion dollars were donated to charitable causes in 2015? Large nonprofit organizations are tasked with the responsibility of creating new donor conversions, engaging their donor pool, and retaining valuable relationships.
The average donor retention rates for offline-only donors is 29% and online-only donors average a 21% retention rate. Raising these averages just a few percentage points can mean more reach for a large nonprofit organization. So how can a nonprofit retain and engage donors? Here are a few strategic tips:
- Nonprofits need to be authentic with their donors, provide content based on quality and consistency, and meet expectations.
- Organizations should deploy a recognition program and acknowledge donors for their financial contributions and commitments towards the nonprofit’s mission and goals.
- Nonprofits need to have an engagement process that they can manage (create realistic goals and expectations of staff)
- Organizations should use social media and marketing tools to strategically initiate engagement with donors.
- Nonprofits should create a separate strategy for engaging major donors
- Organizations can increase fundraising engagement by personalizing and segmenting there marketing initiatives based target behavior.
How Large Nonprofit Can Find the Right Volunteers
Identifying and recruiting the right volunteers for the right strategic jobs can save a large nonprofit a lot of money. The average volunteer hour has been valued at over $24.00 (2016 data) according to an Independent Sector study. For large nonprofit organizations that use a lot of volunteers the value of volunteerism can add up very quickly. Volunteers also provide nonprofits with valuable skillsets that can enhance an organizations ability across departments. Finding the right volunteers for a particular function can be challenging but here are a few tips to make the process a little easier:
- Nonprofits need to make sure they are asking prospects the right questions to better understand their skill set and motivations for volunteering.
- Nonprofits should establish expectations for each volunteer opportunity.
- Organizations should invest time and strategic direction into creating an effective volunteer training program that focuses on expectations, guidelines, procedures, and goals. (note: nonprofits should also include their mission as part of training!)
- Requesting feedback from volunteers and prospects can also help an organization strengthen their volunteer recruitment efforts.
- Nonprofits should encourage transparency across their organization and volunteers.
How Large Nonprofits Can Improve Processes
Putting processes in place is one of the most important steps that a large nonprofit can take to ensure consistency and control across the organization. Nonprofits should have a process in place for every aspect of the organization including but not limited to fundraising, volunteer coordination, training, strategic engagement, and retention strategies. Organizations that want to develop a roadmap to success need to invest time into strategic planning. Here are a few additional reasons why business processes are important in the nonprofit industry:
- Process creates higher visibility
- Process creates more control
- Process creates improved communication with stakeholders
- Process helps to reduce expenditures
- Process can increase the agility of an organization
Learn how volunteer management software can improve processes for large nonprofits (complete form to download study)
Large nonprofit organizations are in a constant battle to identify new funding opportunities, find talented volunteers, encourage engagement, be sustainable and improve both internal and external processes. Taking the time to think strategically, putting processes on paper, and partnering with other organizations that can push a nonprofit forward are all great ways to overcome challenges.