How to run a nonprofit like a business

Many non-profit organizations don’t see themselves as a business. It’s time they stop seeing themselves that way and run the non-profit the same way that a business would run. The foundations for both are similar so we’ll help you understand how to run a nonprofit like a business. Imagine if the builders of the pyramids had just started stacking stone blocks with no clear idea of what the end result would look like. Today’s tourists to Egypt wouldn’t be quite as awestruck by the “Great Rock Piles of Giza.” What we see in Egypt today needed a detailed plan and a LOT of people to accomplish.

How to run a nonprofit like a business

In both governmental and business enterprises, a careful plan of attack always precedes a successful new venture. The Boeing 747 took over five years from drawing board to commercial flight. Even the great inventor Thomas Edison had teams of brilliant young men working nine hours a day, six days a week on his ideas. They managed to perfect the alkaline battery in only ten years.  

As a leader in a nonprofit, you’re a key player, and a lot of the time it feels like you scrambling just to keep the pile of rocks from collapsing. Most nonprofits seem born to struggle in order to lend their helping hand to their cause. Why the wheel-spinning and resource-chasing? Wouldn’t it be great to turn, having to ask into attracting?

So here it is: stop chasing. Go back and take a good look at the structure on which your mission is built. Get clarity about the structure that is designed to attract resources. Analyze your organization for missing pieces and build on the pieces that work well. Zero in on your hard goals and their impact on the world when accomplished. Then get clarity on marketable communication that does the attracting.

If it sounds a bit like what for-profit businesses do, then you heard us correctly. Strategic planning and marketing are for nonprofits too! If more nonprofits operate like businesses, the non-profit world would be a much better place!


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